Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Fighter and Child-Bearer He Made Them

Yesterday, for whatever reason, I allowed myself to rant on Twitter after reading a headline over at Crisis Magazine: "Men were made for fighting; women were made for childbearing."

The headline was clearly clickbait to get people to head over to Crisis and read a very long and thoughtful article on women in combat role and the current discussion around consider having women sign up for a potential future military draft. 

I was kind of surprised by the response to my rant, to be honest, and I decided I might as well share my 140+ character thoughts on the ol' weblog. Read on, if you'd like...

Many people feel that women should not be in combat roles in the military, and I understand their point of view. 

Not only is it an emotionally charged issue, especially for men with daughters, but something just doesn't feel quite right about it. One can argue this discomfort comes from the very nature of who men and women are, who God made us to be, which is written on our hearts despite how hard we try to fight it.

That being said, I see no issue with allowing women who freely choose to work toward combat roles in the military to reach those goals, given they meet the necessary requirements (which I'm guessing even I couldn't meet, in all honesty). 

For the sake of brevity, I'll list my points quickly rather than make you read on for days:

  • Women should not be drafted into the military, and in my opinion neither should men. 
  • Women should be allowed to work toward being in combat roles if they freely choose to and are able to achieve this goal.
  • To claim "men were made for fighting" is a gross misrepresentation of the truth. No one was "made for fighting." God was not sitting around prior to the creation thinking about everything Adam would need to be able to punch someone in the face. One could say that men were "made for protecting," and this would be true. However, equating our nature as men to protect our family with fighting would be overly simplistic and just plain wrong. 
  • To claim "women were made for childbearing" is also an incomplete truth. One could say that women were "made for motherhood," and this would be true. However, equating all that motherhood encompasses with "childrearing" is shortsighted and hurtful to many women who don't have the opportunity to live out their role of motherhood in this way. 
  • It seems ridiculous to me to say "I don't want my daughters in combat roles," because I'm pretty sure none of us would want our sons in that role either.
  • If we are going to say women can't be in combat because it violates their nature of protecting, would we also need to say that men shouldn't be doctors or nurses because those roles line up more with the nature of women than men?
Men and women are different, and while we were both made for love, we were meant to live out that purpose if different (and complimentary) ways. And that's just it. We need each other in order for us to be whole. We help each other with living out our nature.

St. John Paul II makes a bold claim in Mulieris Dignitatem when he says that men owe everything they know about being a good parent to the example of women. Without the example of my wife and my mother before her, I would have no clue how to be a nurturing, loving, and life giving father.

And that makes me wonder if women in combat roles might actually be a good thing, in one sense. I mean, imagine if those dudes who were made to fight had the example of nurturing and loving women keeping them on the straight and narrow on amidst the insanity of the battlefield.

I could go on and on and on (like asking why someone who is standing up against women in combat because it violates their nature isn't more vocally asking for laws to outlaw contraception, which obviously violates their nature more directly and intensely), but I won't. 

Hate it, or love it, that's where I'm at. 

I hate to drag the debate back out, but what are your thoughts?

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