WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Defense announced on Thursday that it will open up all combat roles to women for the first time in the nation’s history, a move that has drawn both applause and concern.
“As long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a news conference at the Pentagon.
“They’ll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars, and lead infantry soldiers into combat. They’ll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALS, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers and everything else that was previously open only to men,” he said.
While women have been able to serve in military support roles in various capacities, since 1994, they have been prohibited from being assigned to front-line ground combat. Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced in 2013 prior to his departure that he had planned to make the change to bring about a “fully inclusive military.”
Barack Obama applauded the move.
“In recent years, we ended ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and allowed gay and lesbian Americans to serve openly — and it’s made our military stronger,” he said following Carter’s announcement. “As Commander in Chief, I know that this change, like others before it, will again make our military even stronger.”
But some expressed strong objections.
“Shame on us. Shame on us for treating women with such disrespect,” wrote Michael Farris, a constitutional attorney and chancellor of Patrick Henry College in Virginia. “Shame on us for denying that God created men and women with genuine physical differences that matter.”
“Shame on us if we continue to pursue a form of radical feminism that denies the intrinsic dignity of women,” he stated. “A nation that sends its women to war is a nation of cowardly men.”
As previously reported, Matt Trewhella, pastor of Mercy Seat Christian Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin likewise told Christian News Network last year when the Marine Corps delayed its pull-up requirements as more than half of women were failing the test that women were never meant to fight battles according to God’s created order.
“Nowhere [in the Scriptures] did God ever have women do the fighting,” he said. “The armies of the Lord are made up of males.”
“The men are known in Scripture to be protectors of their wives and children. Women were never given this role,” Trewhella continued. “Peter made clear that women are the weaker vessel, including physically weaker.”
He said that it is the duty of the man to be the strong protector that God made him to be, and it has nothing to do with misogyny.
“It’s not because we hate women that we don’t want them to fight,” Trewhella said. “It’s that we don’t want them to fight because we love them.”