Christian Feminism? (VII)
The Orange County Register (3.29.07) ran an article on page 10 entitled, “Clinton receives NOW endorsement, affirms feminism.” To any sane person, and especially any Christian, this ought to be substantially adequate information to prevent them voting for her for anything, let alone as President of the United States. Ironically and sadly, a number of secularists as well as some Christians will have little or no problem with the fact that the Democrat Senator from NY is either lying or just giving us some chilling truth. At any rate, these endorsements and Senator Clinton’s reply give me every right to assert that no Christian should be voting for such a candidate, if, indeed, she becomes a candidate. Her stance on key issues is antithetical to the Christian ethic.
NOW also has, since the days of Kate Millet’s admission to being a lesbian, supported and embraced lesbianism. The former president of NOW, Patricia Ireland, had a lesbian relationship while she was married. (Maybe she wasn’t a hardcore lesbian, but just a chic bisexual.) In addition, NOW endorses abortion (as part of a woman’s reproductive rights), women in the military, including their being sent into combat, and being placed in overall “power” positions in society. Part of the irony of NOW vis-à-vis the military (don’t ask them to be consistent) is that a lion’s share of feminists tend to be pacifists such as Hanoi Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon, Cindy Sheehan, and the Code Pink organization. The very fact that NOW would endorse women in the military and women in combat cuts against their mainline tenets of Pacifism.
Not so oddly (NOW did the same thing with the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky debacle), the various women’s organizations have been strangely silent about British female sailor, Faye Turney, and her recent capture by the Iranians. Of all groups in American culture we should expect them to be one of the most vociferous not only about Turney’s capture but also about the blatant, obvious lies of the Iranian government that the British ship was in Iranian waters. GPS data proves that the ship was 1.7 nautical miles inside of Iraqi waters at the time of the capture. This is clearly a silence of convenience. Moreover, the pro-women-in-the-military facets of the Pentagon and the upper echelons of our armed forces are also strangely silent.
What the military doesn’t want you to know is that a captured female not only has to face the very real possibility of torture, but that extra money has had to be spent on conditioning and training the males when they hear a female scream under the pain and duress of torture. While we’re carping about extremely mild forms of “torture” (loud music, sleep deprivation, bright lights, water boarding), other rogue nations use torture freely, widely, and in its most grotesque and cruel forms. I just thought you, some parts of our armed forces, and the women’s organizations could use this tidbit of factual information. But, some may ask, what about Israel? After all, most of us have heard stories about women serving in the Israeli armed forces. Doesn’t this prove that women can serve and serve well in the military?
Amazons, Israeli Women, and Other Myths
The garden variety man or woman on the street has come to believe the oft-repeated lie that women in Israel did and still do play an integral role in that country’s military. That is about as true as the fabrication of the female Amazon warriors. Of course, like most myths, they can also reside in “high places.” For example, in 1979 the House Armed Services Committee asked Antonia Handler Chayes—Jimmy Carter’s undersecretary of the Air Force—about women in combat. Her reply was to the effect that our views of women fighting and killing was more or less a “cultural concept” that does not necessarily correspond to the truth. To make her point she said, “Look at the Amazons.” No one questioned her, but more complete data indicate that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to look at the Amazons because they never really existed. And yet, the myth of the female Amazon warrior has been perpetrated for so long that most accept the myth as fact.
A little known author, Abby Weltan Kleinbaum, professor of social science at the City University of New York, researched her book The War Against the Amazons, only to conclude that they did not, in fact, exist. So there is a definite ideological agenda along with a bit of romanticizing of women in combat and ruling society. Mitchell surmises that “It was the very barbarity of a society ruled by women that excited their imagination, not the actual or possible existence of such a society.”
Mitchell also informs us that “Many myths—like the nonexistent Amazons—have served to advance the cause of military women. The most popular is Israeli women. The tough but womanly Israeli sabra who bravely deals death to the enemies of her embattled nation is almost entirely a creation of Hollywood.” Why are we not surprised? What other segment of society is so out of touch with reality and mainstream America than Hollywood? The myth of the female Israeli “Delta Force,” “Navy SEAL,” “Marine Recon,” or “Air Force Para-Jumper” is just that: a myth. How did this myth come into existence?
Probably because around 1948 a handful of women did see combat. The result of inserting women into combat suffered from a twofold dose of the Law of Unintended Consequences. In truth, “their presence resulted in both sides suffering higher casualties. Israeli men risked their lives and missions to protect their women, and Arab troops fought more fiercely to avoid the humiliation of being defeated by women.” When you strip all the mythology and unsubstantiated hype away the reality is that Israeli women played a miniscule role in that war or any other Israeli war for that matter and that their roles were “strictly subordinate and supportive.” In fact, “Most served as radio operators, nurses, quartermasters, or couriers.” In today’s Israeli armed forces “the Israelis use women far more conservatively than most NATO nations.” Did you know that? Most don’t because we’ve been taught by the politically correct crowd that Israeli women are to be our models for the contemporary female warrior type. Almost all Israeli women serve in what is called the Chen branch of the military, which means that “They do not serve as pilots, nor on ships, nor where there are no shower facilities.”
One Chen colonel explained, “And even if a girl could drive a truck, where would she drive it in wartime? To the front. And we don’t send girls to the front in wartime.” Moreover, “Israeli law requires that women be evacuated from the front in the event of hostilities…. Chen women do not have equal status with male soldiers. They are paid less and serve only two years instead of three for men. Training for both officers and enlisted personnel is segregated by sex.” And after basic training, “the only time most Chen women carry weapons is on parade, a photo opportunity for journalists interested in perpetuating a myth.” This kind of myth is perpetrated here in the U.S. as well. When you see a commercial for the U.S. Army and you see a woman carrying a M-16, you should remember that the U.S. Army does not have one female infantryman…uh, person. There are also no female tankers, Rangers, Delta Force, SEALs, Marine Recon, or Air Force Para-Jumpers. The TV visual is a ruse.
If we want an example of integrating women fully into the military, we should not look at Israel, but at Canada, whose experiment can rightly be termed “the fog of peace.” Canada’s Human Rights Commission—you just have to know that this commission is comprised of leftist, feminist ideologues—became upset about the exclusion of females from combats. Obviously their subscription to Amazon Warriors has lapsed along with their common sense. This illustrious commission ordered the director of Canadian land personnel “to open all your occupations to women with the exception of submarine service.” I suppose no Amazon ever served in subs.
The entire Canadian Army is about the size of the New York City Fire Department—that, by the way, is not a joke; it’s the truth. The initial response was, in a word, underwhelming. Out of one hundred applicants, only one passed basic training: twenty-two-year-old Heather Erxleben, “a former timber hauler and construction worker.” The entire undertaking has been and remains a dismal failure. This social experiment by the Canadian Army is akin to Socialism and socialized medicine. Our attitude here seems to be: well, it didn’t work there, but we can make it fit here because we are so much smarter. Wrong. Both Socialism and women in combat didn’t work in Europe and Canada because they were bad ideas just waiting for their time to fail.
The Church is Not Exempt
I use the above as introductory material to point out that the mainline tenets of feminism did not die in the middle of the 1970s, but are alive and well in all areas of society today, including the Church, and also including some of our ostensibly “cutting edge” Presbyterian Church in America church plants as well as organized churches. The concept of the “domino theory” is disdained almost as much as the “proof texting” mentality, but each of these contains their own elements of truth.
What occurred in the late 1960s and early 1970s was a kind of Copernican Revolution without bras. After Feminism really picked up steam in the early to mid 1970s, “It challenged and redefined every niche of human existence.” Feminists were of the opinion that all of life’s meaning was defined by men and that arbitrarily. It was around that time that the buzz words “patriarchy” and “patriarchal” began to come into common usage among feminists. Kassian is not exaggerating when she reminds us that Feminism truly challenged and redefined every niche of human existence—including the Church. For those of us old enough to remember, the halcyon yet poor days of our seminary study were interrupted by the sometimes shrill voice of feminist theologians, generally mouthing the platitudes of their secular counterparts.
Kassian is also correct when she states that “as the philosophy of feminism spread, it challenged society to make women’s experience a reference point for determining life’s meaning.” She chronicles how Feminism profoundly impacted and influence language and literature studies, psychology, theology, sociology, motherhood, and politics. Interestingly, Kassian also demonstrates how the concept of “holistic medicine” evolved, in part, because of a conspiracy theory that “doctors regarded pregnancy, childbirth, menstruation, menopause, and all the other functions unique to women as problematic rather than natural…” The devotees were encouraged to turn from medical science to Eastern mysticism and to the practices of witches. It can be reasonably argued that some are still riding their brooms.
Along with this theory was the concomitant proposal that the Church was anti-scientific, anti-sexual, and anti-female doctrines. “Feminists therefore advocated that women return to self-awareness, imagery, ritual, reflexology, acupuncture, auras, gemstones, magic, and any other modality of treatment or prevention that had been, in the past, practiced by women.” This is difficult to square with their accusation against the Church of being anti-scientific since a number of the practices of witches would hardly qualify as science.
In the area of the Church, as we have seen in previous installments, feminists “received a boost in the nineteenth century from the belief, common in many Protestant Christian churches, that women were morally superior, though today feminists often denounce Christianity as a male religion.” Within the realm of possibility, we can conceive that much of the modern rhetoric about the so-called “women’s issues” in the PCA can be traced—directly or indirectly—back to these sentiments. But if we are willing to stick to Scripture and our Presbyterian tradition, many, most, almost all of these issues rapidly become non-issues.
I look at some of the accusations leveled at our Women in the Church organization as analogous to the difference between female officers and enlisted personnel. I use this analogy because I’ve heard some of our “cutting edge” PCA pastors referring to the educated women in their respective congregations as “professional women.” (No that does not refer to the second oldest profession.) What they mean is that these women occupy “important” positions in society—doctors, lawyers, Ph.D.-types, and the like—and cannot understand why they can be a CEO, CFO, IED, BLT, HR in society and not be able to be in “leadership” in the Church. Okay, okay. I made some of those up. I’ve never heard an educated woman suggest that she was a Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato sandwich. Clearly, there is a teaching opportunity here to instruct these educated women to submit to the truth of Scripture.
The analogy is paralleled by “educated” (or brainwashed) female officers who often express “resentment, sometimes anger, at emerging career constraints without the military.” While enlisted women tend to carp, gripe most about conditions in the field, the lack of privacy, having to use a slit latrine, and unwanted lesbian advances, female officers defined sexual harassment “as anything that offended their feminist sensibilities, including sexist language, traditional sex roles, and combat restrictions.” That leaves the field wide open and subjective at best. Apparently, there are some—and I’m inclined to believe that it is a decided minority—who are pushing the envelope in PCA church plants as well as in some established churches to accommodate these “professional” women. Special deference is paid to them because of their position similar to the way that some “suck up” to the wealthy, which, when you think about it, seems to be contrary to what James talks about in his New Testament wisdom literature letter. Why can’t we simply be satisfied with a practical view of the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture and our tradition found in the Westminster Standards or Three Forms of Unity?
 See Brian Mitchell, Women in the Military, Flirting with Disaster, (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1998), p. 240. For example, in Air Force’s SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) training now includes the near impossible task of training the male pilots to be impervious to a woman screaming while being tortured, which is no easy feat. Not only this, but Air Force Academy student, Elizabeth Saum, a feminist darling thought it would be “cool” to be a pilot and attend SERE training, which is painful, humiliating, scary, and realistic. Torture techniques are as realistic as possible including sleep and food deprivation. Part of Saum’s realistic training included simulated rape. Mitchell writes, “When combat planes were opened to women, male servicemen started getting SERE training designed to ‘desensitize’ them to the cries of female fellow POWs, so in addition to standard does of starvation, isolation, filth, and battering noise, women got rape, or as the Air Force called it, ‘the rape scenario’” (p. 240). The upshot of Saum’s SERE training was that she came “unglued” during the simulated rape and sexual harassment language used by the trainers and sued the Air Force for sexual harassment incurred in routine training, which she believed had destroyed her self-esteem. Way to go, Amazon warrior!
 Hearings before the Military Personnel Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, Subject: Women in the Military, 11.13-16.1979 & 2.11.1980, pp. 55-56.
 Cited in Brian Mitchell, Women in the Military, Flirting with Disaster, (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1998), p. 184.
 Ibid., 185.
 Ibid. End italics mine.
 Ibid., 186
 Ibid., 187.
 Germany, Spain, and Italy have no women in combat arms. France…well, never mind.
 Quoted by Stephanie Gutmann, The Kinder, Gentler Military, (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2000), pp. 265-266. Italics mine.
 Ibid., 266.
 Mary Kassian, The Feminist Gospel, (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1992), p. 71.
 Ibid., 77.
 Ibid., 78.
 Mitchell, WIM, 183.
 Ibid., 179.
 Ibid., 179-180.