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I am a 1967 graduate of The Citadel (Distinguished Military Student, member of the Economic Honor Society, Dean's List), a 1975 graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div., magna cum laude, member of the Phi Alpha Chi academic honor society); I attended the Free University of Amsterdam and completed my History of Dogma there and then received a full scholarship from the Dutch government to transfer to the sister school in Kampen, Holland. In 1979 I graduated from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Churches of Holland (Drs. with honors in Ethics). My New Testament minor was completed with Herman Ridderbos. I am also a 2001 Ph.D. graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (Systematic Theology) in Philly with a dissertation on the "unio mystica" in the theology of Dr. Herman Bavinck (1854-1921). I am a former tank commander, and instructor in the US Army Armor School at Ft. Knox, KY. I have been happily married to my childhood sweetheart and best friend, Sally, for 43 years. We have 6 children, one of whom is with the Lord, and 14 wonderful grandchildren.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Christian Feminism? (VI)

Mixing the Church and Society
We have been seeing how profoundly the mid-1960s and 1970s placed their stamps on both Church and society. It would not be saying too much to state—emphatically—that they were watershed years, but not necessarily in the good sense. During the rise of Feminism a number of views regarding women were put forward and even though they were not accepted in toto by all women and certainly not by all Christian women, there was and there is a traceable connection of thoughts and actions.
As often as not, we far too rarely stop and reflect upon the origins of our thoughts. We simply “have” them—or they have us—and we’re not sure where they came from. When we do pause and reflect, we might very well conclude that they are not derived from any one source but rather are the products of a multitude of influences. This is, in all likelihood, correct.
In the first five installments on this subject, I have chronicled some of the secular and ecclesiastical influences that have propelled us to where we are today. Not all of them have been positive in nature. In fact, it’s safe to say that whether we’re dealing with either the secularists or our ecclesiastical institutions we have been more deluded than we have been dealing with reality and we have followed many rabbit trails. One example will suffice. The secularists tried to teach us that boys play with guns and trucks and girls play with dollies because society has conditioned them to do so. That is to say, they are simply products of their environments.
Yet with all the “research”[1] and the social, do-gooder engineering boys still prefer trucks and guns and girls of feminists still like Barbie. But hardcore activists and ideologues are not satisfied with a few paltry inconclusive results. They want more and more they went after—with help. In the last installment I mentioned what a key role former-President Jimmy Carter and his wife played in the rise of Feminism and the destruction of the family. Here I’ll just reiterate that it was Carter who sponsored, encouraged, and supported various conferences on the “families.” Do you see the subtlety here? Carter was not predisposed to concentrate on strengthening the fabric of the nuclear family—singular—but rather to impose a concept of “families” on the nation that opened the door for much of the nonsense that we’re facing today in our same-sex “unions” and the cultural war about homosexual marriage.
Carter’s support of Feminism has, no doubt, suffered from unintended consequences, but, at the same time, has also caused American society and the Church to suffer from some very intention consequences as well. These intended consequences have harmed us rather than helped us, and yet the ideologues are still pushing their agendas and few are standing up to them and crying “Foul!” Let me give you an example that few like to discuss: women in the military and on our police forces because these two go hand and hand and are only separated by gradations of violence.
In the last issue I mentioned how the Carter administration strategically placed a number of women, who had never served in the military, in our Department of Defense. There was no substantial rationale for such a move other than it suited Carter’s ideology. At the same time, it was Carter who forced—yes, that’s the correct word—into our service academies, the Air Force Academy being the first sacrificial lamb. Prior to Carter’s tinkering with our military academies and our military, General Douglas MacArthur had addressed the corps of cadets at West Point and had said in the course of his address, “Your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable—it is to win our wars. Everything else in your professional career is but corollary to this vital dedication. All other public purposes…will find others for their accomplishment; but you are the ones who are trained to fight; yours is the profession of arms.” MacArthur delivered his stirring address in 1962, a year before I entered The Citadel.
My grandfather obtained a copy of that speech and gave it to me to read. Even without the certainty that I wanted to make the military a career, I had some recognition that I was about to enter an all-male institution with an outstanding tradition, pride, esprit de corps, and a ton of testosterone. MacArthur’s speech spoke to my heart and senses of pride and masculinity. When I graduated in 1967 El Cid was still an all-male institution. That would not change until the ACLU, social engineers, feminists, and the Carter influence was injected into the system. Slowly, but surely, the male dragons of military service academies as well as The Citadel and V.M.I. were slain. Those bastions of male warriors were infiltrated by “the feminist principles of equality and androgyny.”[2]
The clear intention was—and still is—to feminize our young men by placing women in these academies not caring one whit if America’s males lost their masculine warrior image. In fact, some celebrated the possible disappearance of that image. Even though the feminists would have us believe that the transition of women into the military schools was virtually seamless and received widespread acceptance, the opposite is really the case. “Male students at all of the academies registered overwhelming disapproval of the changes.”[3] The criticisms, carping, and general griping about the inclusion of women took myriad forms, but “The most common complaint heard from male cadets and midshipmen was that integration had lowered the academies’ physical standards. Physically, the women simply could not keep up.”[4] That’s the unvarnished truth.
Now I’m going to say some things that feminists and Christian feminists are not going to like, but I really don’t care. You can call me any name you want, but flattery will get you nowhere. What I’m about to say has been said previously by a non-Christian woman—not that it makes any difference to me—and she has said it quite well. To a number of my PCA colleagues who see no problem with women in the service academies and in the military Stephanie Gutmann and I suggest that “Maybe because civilians are increasingly disconnected from the concrete details of soldiering”[5] is your problem. If you haven’t been in it, you shouldn’t be for women in combat. If you haven’t been in the military I cannot imagine why you would want to speak out on what is so typically and blatantly a feminist agenda that has weakened and continues to weaken our country. Quite simply put, putting women into a place that, by and large, trains warriors goes like this: “A lot of the problems had to do with the fact that we were dropping a softer, weaker, shorter, lighter-boned creatures into a world scaled for the male body.”[6] Yikes! That sounds like there are differences between males and females!
What Gutmann is saying translates into the following cold, hard facts: “The average woman is about five inches shorter than the average man, she has 55 to 60 percent less upper body strength, a lower center of gravity, a higher fat-to-muscle ratio, lighter bones that are more subject to fracture, a heart that can’t move oxygen to the muscles as fast as a man’s (i.e., 20 percent less aerobic capacity), and a rather more complicate lower abdomen full of reproductive equipment.”[7] Nevertheless, the feminists and other social engineers that given enough time and money America can eventually produce a female Rambo.
The late COL David Hackworth—a soldier’s soldier—had an online newsletter called The Voice of the Grunt. His viewpoint was that you do the job—whoever you are or you get out of the proverbial kitchen.[8] He went on to say, “I recollect that almost 80 percent of the injuries (to women) were lower extremity damage, broken and cracked fibula or tibia bones, stress cracks, etc. Many, many claims for foot injuries too. That told me that women don’t have the LEGS to do what soldiers do, haul a** over hilltops, diddy through jungles, carrying ammo and radios, and shooting the s*** out of pursuers.” And yet a number of do-good, feel-good pastors believe that women in combat isn’t a bad thing at all, when in point of fact it severely weakens the unit and its ability to accomplish the mission effectively. This is not to “diss” women, it is simply fact.
Gutmann’s research—by the way, Gutmann served in the military—concludes that “The hospitalization rate among females was more than tenfold than among males. The rate among white, nonhispanic, junior enlisted female soldiers was more than 15 times higher than that of the Army overall.”[9] In order to lessen the instances of these injuries and lowered cases of self-esteem—the Oprahization of America—those Army units mandated to have gender-integrated boot camp allow women to pass the physical tests “with a lower grade.”[10] In a number of cases, the armed services has “created dual obstacle courses, the easier one for the women, and many have shifted emphasis to more cerebral skills like map-reading, first aid, and putting on protective gear.”[11]
When you think about it, this kind of approach makes perfect sense. If you’ve ever visited Normandy where the D-Day invasion occurred, you’ve no doubt noticed that the Germans had special, easier obstacles for the women that accompanied our soldiers along with a special protected map-reading, first aid, and protective gear area designated: Frauen. Right.
The upshot of all of this finagling with those who are the warriors in our land has led to the rewriting of a number of official regulations “to compensate for weaker soldiers and to avoid the spectacle of female failure—a woman attempting to do a task the way it is described in a training manual and failing.”[12] This is patently absurd and yet some in the PCA seem oblivious to the reality of how much weaker we are now after the Carter Oprahization of the military and military schools.
When integration began at Annapolis, surveys of the midshipmen “showed that 81 percent of upperclassmen and 74 percent of plebes still opposed integration.”[13] Moreover, the drop out rate on morning runs was 23% for females and less than 3% for the males. “In the seventh week of training, 26.3 percent of female cadets reported for physical ‘reconditioning’ instead of he morning run, compared to 5.6 percent of men. Women reported to sick call (XM-pooh-pooh)[14] an average of 6.8 times per female cadet, compared to the male average of 1.7 times. They suffered more than ten times as many stress fractures as men…. Even after a year of regular physical training, West Point women in the first integrated class suffered five times as many injuries as men during field training. The following year, the injury rate for women in field training was fourteen times the rate for men.”[15]I tell you all this because many of the edicts of Feminism have filtered into the Church of Christ and are alive and well in our “discussions” on the roles and places of women in the Church. It is the wise denomination that goes to Scripture to decide these matters rather than accepting the tenets of a world that we all agree is going to hell in a hand basket. If society is as bad and immoral as we say it is, why in the world do we insist on following it anyway? In our next installment I’ll flesh what I’ve said here out even more.

[1] See my criticism of “research” in my blog “Whatever Happened to My Country?” at
[2] Brian Mitchell, Women in the Military, Flirting with Disaster, (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 1998), p. 55.
[3] Ibid., 57. Italics mine.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Stephanie Gutmann, A Kinder,Gentler Military, How Political Correctness Affects Our Ability to Win Wars, (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2000), p. 246.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid., 247.
[8] He didn’t say it that nicely.
[9] Gutmann, AKGM, 256. Italics mine.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Mitchell, WM, 57.
[14] The Citadel version of “Excused from military duty” otherwise known as XMD.
[15] Mitchell, WM, 58. All italics mine.


Blogger UnderdogFL said...

A commonly affirmed and seldom challenged idea being offered up by the author is,

"If you haven’t been in it, you shouldn’t be for women in combat."

Is that like saying, " If you are not a woman you cannot be against women serving in the military?" or, only women should be able to vote on abortion? (I'm just trying to be consistent with your logic.)

I am not a veteran. I serve in the Veteran's Administration as a Hospital Chaplain (19 years). I'm not an alcoholic but I am a Chaplain serving as the Program Chaplain for Veteran's with addictions. I'm not mentally ill but I serve as the Chaplain for our facility's Chronically mentally ill. Should I be a former mental patient, recovering alcoholic, and veteran to be qualified to serve as a Chaplain? Neither should you dismiss the opinions of American citizens who "have not served."

Most of the employees serving our VA hospitalized veterans are not former military. (If you were to try to limit hiring Nurses to those with prior military service you would REALLY have a nursing shortage!

For these and other reasons I take issue with the author's opinion that one cannot comment if one has not "been there."

America is not a "two-tiered" citizenry. All Americans make policy. All are qualified on the basis of their citizenship, not their military service. Generals have been relieved for not understanding this basic tenant.

Labeling this opinion as a "feminist agenda" in no way diminishes it. Considering the fact that voting is also an ingredient of "the feminist agenda" does that somehow diminish the woman's right to vote? Certainly not.

As far as your example of D-Day: I have met women who served on D-Day and were in the Battle of the Bulge/Ardennes Offensive. Women effectively participated and put their lives on the line as did the majority of the US combatants. (Artillery shells do not distinguish gender.) I have ministered to female rifle carrying troops from the Gulf War Conflict. PTSD does not distinguish between genders either.

The single biggest factor that affects women in the military is the abuse some receive from their male counterparts.

What will the US Military's response be to a Presbyterian and Reformed stance against women serving in the military? (After all, Chaplains and medical professions are the only non-combatants)

I fear that the end result will be that Presbyterian and Reformed presence in the military services will be reduced or even eliminated. (How many Chaplain slots are there for Jehovah's Witnesses?)

Why should the military seek to recruit Chaplains who hold the opinion that a significant minority of enlisted and officers should never have enlisted?

The fact of the matter is that there ARE women in the military. They are not going away. The old ways are gone. Modern combat is a lot different than WWII. Today's military is not like the old days. (Note, I did not say the "good old days.") There is no "rear" safe for non-combatants. 9/11 has proven that.

Trying to remove women from combatant areas means removing women. That is not going to happen. What is going to happen is women are going to continue to enlist, serve, be service-connected, and killed.

The paradigm has shifted. I think that the author needs to accept women serving in the military because they are in fact serving.

In spite of all the scripture some try to use to argue against women serving in the military there is not ONE VERSE commanding women not to enlist.

It is no sin to enlist, nor sinful to encourage enlistment of women in the military. I have three sons who have enlisted and my daughter is applying for an ROTC scholarship for this coming Fall. I'm praying she gets it.

Just curious, but why are there no ROTC scholarships or programs at schools like Covenant College? Surely a denomination so much for military service would want to graduate officers with a Presbyterian and Reformed perspective.

It speaks volumes about what we say vs. what actually is accomplished, doesn't it?

-Robert Byrne
PCA Teaching Elder.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Thanks for your comments, but I really think you missed the point--badly. If you believe that Nancy Pelosi or Bill Clinton are just as competent as anyone else when it comes to military, then we are light years apart on that subject.
Yes, war is different now than in WWII. Actually, Vietnam was substantially different from WWII as well. Our new "modern" warfare is not the long distance type of war former Secretary of Defense Cohen thought that electronic "gizmos" would fight the wars of the future. He was dead wrong--slight pun intended. Modern warfare is more like Mark Bowden's book "Black Hawk Down" that bore the subtitle, "A story of modern war." So Mogadishu and Fallujah are the types of terrorist wars we look to fight and win--and there is no place for women combatants in the mix.
BTW, the percentages of women in WWII was SUBSTANTIALLY lower than today and there were no combatants. If you read the article carefully, you had to notice that I was writing against women in combat. Yes, there are women in the military, but they are there--by and large--because of a feminist and Jimmy Carter agenda, which are practically identical.
As a wrestling coach, it saddens me to hear that dads are so excited about their daughters entering the military. Clearly, there are some jobs that are and should be open to women, but they should be severely limited and not something that will impede the strength of our male warriors. I'm totally opposed to women in combat or on Naval vessels. I suggest that you read Stephanie Gutmann's "The Kinder, Gentler Miliatry," Brian Mitchell's "Women in the Military, Flirting with Disaster," and Kate O'Beirne's "Women Who Make the World Worse."

3:36 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:16 AM  
Blogger Randy said...


After reading your exchange with underdogfl, I want to point out one thing again. Your basis for women serving/not serving, has no biblical basis.

In fact, you have no biblical arguement whatsoever. Any biblical arguement would be in favor of allowing women to serve in the military. I recall a biblical account of a woman leading God's chosen people into battle.

From Judges 4: " 6 She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, "The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you: 'Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead the way to Mount Tabor. 7 I will lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.' "

8 Barak said to her, "If you go with me, I will go; but if you don't go with me, I won't go."

9 "Very well," Deborah said, "I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, [b] the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will hand Sisera over to a woman."


8:28 AM  
Blogger UnderdogFL said...

Dr. Gleason, I appreciate the benefits of prior experience. I was responding to the suggestion that non-veterans have no input.

On another subject,

Modern warfare has blurred the distinctions between "non-combat" and "combatant" MOS's. IED's have killed and injured a number of "non-combatants" in Iraq.

Modern political realities mean that there are and will be women in combat.


The combatant for Chaplains is the Chaplain Assistant. Many times the Chaplain Assistant is female. So, given the realities of war, a Chaplain Assistant, though not primarily an assault MOS, has a combatant role.

Military transport (i.e. Truck driver) MOS's have traditionally been regarded as support, not combatant and women have served in such capacities were seen as support, not combat.

Iraq has revealed that driving a vehicle is being a target for IED's and thus, a potential casualty.

I challenge the idea that one can make a distinction between combatant and support roles. Thus there is really no military service that is 'non-combatant'.

(Ask the Chaplains in Iraq if they are armed)

Since there is no real distinction and modern warefare means all are combatants, then calling for women to be limited to certain roles makes less and less sense.

I have attended my three son's respective graduations (Fort Jackson and two at Fort Leornard Wood). In all three cases the women scored higher (in some cases highest) in marksmanship.

The explanation was that the women recruits knew they knew nothing about riflery and listened better to instruction whereas the young men assumed they knew something about marksmanship because they had more experience with firearms.

Politics has always been a part of things. Advocating that women be limited to combat support only serves to marginalize theological conservatives. Why recruit PCA Chaplains if the PCA asserts your position?

I am well aware of how the Democrats under Clinton tried to employ combat troops as quasi-social workers. Blackhawk Down was the failed result of such misapplication of the military.

As Rush Limbaugh said, "The US military is designed to kill people and break things." We only weaken the purpose and function of the US military when we attempt to make the military a tool for social engineering.

Like public school busing's influence on integration, women serving in combat roles have positive social influence. It is not an unacceptable compromise and it is not going away.

8:13 AM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Rev. Gleason,

I attended the other school in Lexington, Va., Washington & Lee University. We're right next-door to VMI and I've known a number of cadets. Although women do attend and graduate from VMI, there are two facts most would not be eager to recognize: 1) the retention rate for female students, especially in their first year, is far lower than that for males; 2) it is well-known among the cadets and in the local community that the Institute's physical standards have been lowered to better accomodate female cadets (enough that it is the subject of jokes among male cadets).

Coincidentally, my senior year was Washington & Lee's celebration of coeducation -- women have been admitted to the College for 20 years (and now constitute just about half of the student body).


12:35 PM  
Blogger Rattlesnake6 said...

Thanks for your comments. W&L is a fine school. I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of women not being able to score high enough on fitness tests and compete with men.
To the rest I say this:
We are forgetting that the PCA has incorporated the notion that women in combat is both unbiblical and unnatural. Randy, leave it to you to seize on an exception and promote it to the position of "rule." That's so tedious. In the OT it is considered a travesty that a man is killed by a woman and I would be very interested in the examples you could supply of female combatants in Israel. If you didn't like this post, you REALLY will not like the next one!
Marksmanship is one thing; killing in combat is quite another. My suggestion is that you make Brian Mitchell's "Women in the Military, Flirting with Disaster" a must read. You can buy it cheaply on Amazon. My position is clearly because the "front lines" are so blurred in modern combat that we don't need women there. Which one of you wants to minister to one of your daughters who was savagely raped by the enemy? Why would that be necessary when men are FAR better soldiers? If women are so effective (marksmen, etc.) why don't we have female infantry and armor personnel? Why are there no female Rangers, Delta Force, Marine Recon, Para-Jumpers, or SEALs? Stay tuned for more fun. Rattlesnake 6

5:50 PM  
Blogger Randy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:28 PM  

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