By Harry Reeder
“And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Gen. 1:27
My wife is Cindy. Cindy and I are different. Praise the Lord! This is an obvious statement. In fact, it is more accurately an understatement. In legal terms and God-given inalienable rights, my wife and I, like other men and women, are absolutely equal. Furthermore, we are equal as Christians. Both of us are sinners and incapable of saving ourselves or coming up with a religion that is able to save us. Most of all we are equal in that both of us have been gloriously and undeservedly saved by the grace of God from the tomb of sin to the triumph of Christ by His Cross and by His Resurrection. Yet those marvelous realities of equality do not mean that we are the same.
Egalitarian Myth #1: Equality = Sameness! Let me give some examples. First one is academic ability. Cindy was in the Honor Society and graduated Cum Laude. I … graduated. (It was reported that when I walked across the stage and received my diploma my dad did shout “laude how come!”) At times, Cindy and I have the opportunity to work out together at the gym. We do not lift the same weights. Likewise in parenting, Cindy, as wonderful as she is, cannot give a father’s love to our children; nor can I give them that unique dynamic of a mother’s love. We are not the same. We are equal but not the same. We are different and that is a glorious blessing for us and our children. Why? Because our children need us as parents of equality but they also need us in the distinctive yet complementary roles of mother and father which are made possible in light of our gender-based differences.
All of the above, which can be multiplied by similar illustrations, do not exist because of tradition-laden cultural oppression. They exist simply, yet profoundly, because of our Divinely-designed differences. We are not the product of a series of cosmic accidents and mindless mutations. God made me and He made Cindy, just as He did each and every one of us. All of us are created equal but none of us are created the same individually nor are we afflicted with gender sameness. “Man” is created male and female and therefore unique by gender as well as individually. But even more to the point of this particular article, God made me as a man both able and responsible to protect my wife. Common sense and natural law not only support this claim, they punctuate it. This does not mean that in a moment of danger a woman’s motherly protective instincts will not rise to the occasion, but it does mean that I am the one who was designed and called to protect her, as well as our children.
The conviction of this moral imperative embedded in the culture through Christian influence is why the sinking of the Titanic recorded the sacrificial deaths of hundreds of men, many of whom were multi-billionaires while hundreds of women and children were saved some of whom were domestics and indentured servants. Women and children first to the lifeboats! Interestingly, we recently witnessed the sinking of a cruise liner in the Mediterranean Sea, providing a vivid example of the rampant narcissism and gender chaos of today’s culture as everyone stampeded for the lifeboats only to be outdistanced by the captain. Our wives and daughters can and may have to assist us in an extremity as we regularly complement each other daily but men bear the primary responsibility to protect and provide for their wives and daughters intentionally. Let me repeat, after experiencing and observing the bravery of women, I am fully aware and assured of their desire and readiness to assist in any emergency and men and women do not live in isolation of one another but interdependently with each other. But as men we do not and must not send our wives and daughters to protect us and our homes.
Egalitarian Myth #2: Equality = Interchangeability. Men and women complement each other by their ontological equality and their existential diversity. Men and women are not interchangeable parts with only insignificant physical cosmetic differences. We are equal, yet we are different and therefore not interchangeable; biologically, psychologically, physiologically, socially, relationally, etc. Simply consider some of the delightful everyday common experiences we have with one another by observing the unique ways men and women converse, relate, observe, problem-solve, plan, perceive life, use words and on and on. The list is delightfully endless. We are equal but not the same; we are equal but not interchangeable.
Egalitarian Myth #3: Gender Distinctiveness = Gender Superiority/Inferiority Difference is not an issue of superiority or inferiority, it is simply difference. In reality, the difference we enjoy is marvelous and ought to be celebrated instead of attacked, circumvented and denied. Why do we arrogantly and aggressively avoid our complementary gifts, skills and calling to descend into the myth of egalitarianism? At best it is the result of misguided policies; or at worst the result of an agenda propagated by self-anointed social engineers who are motivated by an atheistic Darwinian evolutionary view of origins, which, in essence, is demonstrably more philosophical and religious than scientific.
The Practical Reality Let me pose the question begging to be asked and answered. In the full scope of a national military system, is there a place for women to participate by using their unique gifts to complement the combat role of men to properly protect our nation or, as it is called today, our Home(land)? Absolutely! One only has to read the history of how the complementary role of women contributed to the stunning 3-front victory of World War II and furthermore, how it actually supplied and enabled men to victoriously endure combat. Or the Deborah’s and Jael’s in the Bible. But is that place to replace the role of men who are created, designed and called to physically and, if necessary, violently and combatively defend and protect their home and those who reside within it? Absolutely not!
It’s late at night. I hear the glass in the door downstairs breaking and the door opening and then footsteps. I turn to my wife and say “Honey, there is someone breaking into our home downstairs and, since I know you are willing, why don’t you go downstairs and see if you can overpower him? By the way if he maims you or kills you don’t worry! I have two daughters who are brave enough to go down and risk their life to protect our home while I remain here safe.
This hypothetical scenario is patently and stunningly ridiculous. Yet, interestingly what we would be embarrassed to contemplate personally much less actually do within our own home we are assertively doing nationally with either pathetic naiveté or intentionally absurdity.
The Unbelievable Reality The unbelievable reality is that the men of this nation are allowing the politically correct, elected officials in general and unfortunately our President in particular—along with the elite self-appointed culture-shapers pontificating while shielded in the media and the academy—to institute policies which will send our wives and daughters, not effectively into the military to use their unique skills and abilities to enhance our armed forces, but to the front lines to protect the Home(land) while they (and we) remain safely in our room. Forget for the moment the obvious arguments of how ignoring gender differences will inevitably force the adoption of inadequate training regimens and standards, inadequate testing for combat readiness, necessary redefinition of combat protocols and the inevitable sexual mayhem in the combat theater (already documented). I am fully aware of the claim that today’s combat is not the same and to some degree I agree. But boots on the ground, hand to hand combat, dragging a 200+ comrade to safety, carrying 45 lb. support equipment, etc. has not and will not change.
Finally, it is simply and utterly staggering to hear the President of the United States in the same speech question whether he would allow his son to play football because it is too dangerous while simultaneously promoting an irrational and mythical moral imperative to send the wives and daughters of our nation into harm’s way to possibly be killed and maimed on the front lines. I have heard the argument – “but it is a volunteer armed service”. It is at the moment until a draft is necessary and given the present framework used to promote women in combat, the drafting of our wives and daughters would be inevitable and inevitably pursued legally. Now consider how many fathers and husbands will be imprisoned before they allow this travesty to be visited upon their marriages and their families. This historically unthinkable initiative will not only degrade our military readiness and effectiveness, it will also ultimately demoralize an entire nation in the name and cause of an unrestrained and foolish definition of equality – the untenable notion that equality demands gender sameness and interchangeability.
The juggernaut of social and cultural irrationality has now spread from the laughable and the ridiculous to the dangerous and the frightening, as a nation sacrifices its wives and daughters by sending them into combat at the inevitable expense of national security, combat integrity, military effectiveness and efficiency. We are in desperate need of sane and courageous leadership. Unfortunately my generation, decade after decade, has proven itself incapable of providing such leaders and/or solving cultural problems. Yet we do seem to be quite adept at creating them. In our narcissistic fascination arrogantly promoting cultural absurdity and insanity which is now supported and propagated in the halls of government and a Pentagon led by politically correct and politically ambitious Generals, we have clearly lost our way. My hope and prayer is that the patience of God will lead us to repentance (that’s correct I believe this is sin) and a Gospel awakening through the next generation bringing a flood of redeeming and transforming grace which will produce an outpouring and overflow of God’s common grace. I freely admit my desire and prayer that my children and grandchildren might inherit a nation of sanity and not the national ruins of absurdity in rebellion against the Triune God of glory, who alone is Creator, Redeemer and Provider.
Harry Reeder serves as senior pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Birmingham, Ala. He is the author of several books, including Embers to a Flame and The Leadership Dynamic. He is a regular contributor to many blogs and publications, including Tabletalk and the Gospel Coalition.
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