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IRD: Christian Leaders Must Speak Against Women in Combat & Conscription

Contact: Jeff Walton, Institute on Religion & Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell, jwalton@TheIRD.org

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ -- Endorsement by several Republican presidential candidates of registering women for a hypothetical military draft, and the Obama Administration's removing remaining strictures against women in combat roles, have provoked controversy from some conservative Christians. Nearly all of the critics so far have been Evangelical, mostly Southern Baptist.

IRD Evangelical Action Director Chelsen Vicari commented:

    "Christian leaders should oppose conscripting women into the military. Not only Evangelicals, but also Catholics and Christian pacifists should speak out. Can the church be silent about the potentially coercive militarization of America's daughters?

    "Women are serving and have been serving their country alongside men. We support and thank them for their sacrifices. Women have important roles to fill in the military, but women also play vital roles in the home. Forcing mothers, daughters, and our sisters to register for Selective Service would be a tragic mistake.

    "I'm thankful for the Evangelical men gallantly opposing women being conscripted into the horrors of war. Their recognition that God made women and men uniquely different is not misogyny. Misogyny looks like men pulling women away from their families and sacrificing their safety for the sake of political correctness and their political careers."

IRD Just War and Global Statecraft Scholar Marc LiVecche commented:

    "Women being drawn into the fight is very different from intentionally integrating them into direct ground combat positions.

    "Men have – or ought to have – a natural predisposition toward gallantry. We expect the men on a sinking ship to give up their seats on the lifeboat to women or to shield their female co-workers from the terrorist's bullets with their bodies – as happened in San Bernardino.

    "But in combat, while it's true that the leaders of fighting units must never waste the lives of their men they nevertheless must be willing to spend them. If women are in their ranks, then either gallantry risks jeopardizing combat effectiveness as commanders honor it and shield their women from danger or commanders override gallantry and treat their women indiscriminately, thereby jeopardizing an important facet of human nature.

    "Included in the array of obligations of being a man is the protection, care, and preservation of women -- even those women who don't necessarily need male protection."

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