The seemingly unending war on gender and biological sex has opened up yet another violent front. This time, it’s an effort to further (falsely) erase any difference between men and women in the military draft.
The current National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)—an annual bill providing policy priorities and funding authorization for Department of Defense (DoD) operations—contains a provision that, if not removed, will require women ages 18 to 25 years old to register for the Selective Service. As it stands, existing law only requires all “male citizens” to register. The House NDAA strikes the phrase “male citizen,” replacing it with “citizen.” And just like that, with one stroke of the backspace button, the woke war on women rolls on.
That’s right: If this bill becomes law, then your sisters, your daughters, your nieces, your aunts, and your mothers will be forced by law to register for conscripted military duty, should a draft ever be called.
Over the last 50 years, the United States has relied on an all-volunteer military. Yet, due to the amazing patriotism of our men and women who voluntarily serve, the U.S. has been able to maintain the greatest fighting force in the world. The last draft ended during the Vietnam War in 1973.
So why, now, is there another push to force young women to register for the draft? Because the seeds of radical feminism planted in the sexual revolution are finally in full bloom.
Those on the progressive left want to eradicate every possible vestige of the natural, beautiful, God-designed differences between men and women, hurdling full-throttle towards their idealized androgynous, pansexual eschaton. The current target on this march is what some have called “the last legal form of sex discrimination”—a male-only draft. Right. Because nothing is more empowering for women than forcing them to take a bullet on behalf of “equality.”
In reality, this is sheer social-engineering. Forcing women to register for the draft as a public policy is not based on science, reality, facts, studies, or anything measurable to indicate this is a good idea. It is simply another beachhead to claim as the sexual revolution fights on, promising “equality” but leaving misery in its wake.
It goes without saying that everyone who can muster up a modicum of rational faculty and moral reasoning should adamantly oppose this change. But in a day and age where the ACLU is editing Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes to remove the triggering binary language of specific references to women in the context of abortion, it sadly does not.
One might hope that, even if we can’t count on the left to oppose this secular progressive policy, that surely political conservatives would stand athwart such efforts and shout “stop!” Alas, such a hope would be ill-founded. Apparently, our culture is so deeply confused about ontological realities (who we are in our essence) and teleological ends (what we were made for) that even many self-professed conservatives have caved on this issue.
But since you’re probably not a card-carrying member of the surrender caucus, allow me to bolster your grip on reality with three reasons why drafting our daughters is a disaster:
1. It denies the real differences between men and women
So far, I’ve hired some sharp language and put it to hard work in my assessment of those pushing this madness. Rightly so. As Isaiah 5:20 reminds us, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.” But let’s shift gears for a moment, slow down, and consider together what we learn from the Bible about the differences between men and women.
If you are a Christian, you believe that God created humankind. Pause for a moment and consider the implications of what being created means. It means that we, the creatures, are not our own authors. We were made. And the One who makes us sets the rules.
In Genesis 1:27 we learn that “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Being made in the image of God unequivocally entails that God made men and women with equal worth and dignity. Entirely equal—in worth and dignity.
However, He also made them differently. We see this right on the heels of Genesis 1:27, in Genesis 2:15-25. Here we learn that God made Adam to “work and watch over the Garden of Eden.” Adam, being made first, was given headship, leadership, and certain responsibilities not given to women. The “working and watching over” is physical language. Eve was made second, as a helper, to support Adam in the God-given task of taking dominion of the world. Now to both He gave the command to “be fruitful and multiply.” Yet to the woman, and only the woman, did God give the ability to bear children. Bearing children, giving life, is a key part of a woman’s ontological, God-given essence. Keep that in mind.
So, there exists both 1. a God-given shared equality and 2. a God-given separation of roles and responsibilities between men and women that is set into 3. a natural hierarchal structure. As Alastair Roberts puts it: “The difference between the sexes is a central and constitutive truth about humanity…[and] men and women are created for different primary purposes.” Lest you are tempted to think this was just an Old Testament construction, Jesus affirms these twin realities—equal in worth, different in essence—in Matthew 19:4: “‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female.’”
Another way to put this is that men and women have a distinct givenness. Even if you aren’t a Christian, the natural law—the unavoidable biological reality that confronts you day after day—makes this clear: Men and women are different. These differences are often most noticeably on display in our physical embodiment. Men are, universally speaking, larger, stronger, and more aggressive than women. That doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions, but they are just that—exceptions.
1 Peter 3:7 reminds us that men are to treat their wives “with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life.” This isn’t biblically-sanctioned misogyny, this is God’s inerrant word reminding His children of His glorious and good creation realities.
God made men to be providers and protectors. How so? One way is obvious: By designing men to have more muscle mass, greater bone density, larger bodies, more speed, etc. How does this transfer to the battlefield? In one word: lethality. The way that God has so stamped the DNA of men and women is such that men are more able to both inflict serious physical harm and defend themselves from serious physical harm than women are.
On the flip side, we endanger women and deny their essence as physically weaker beings when we demand that they too must fight and die for our survival as a country. They simply don’t have the same capacity for lethality and survival as men do. That’s not a sexist statement, that’s an incontrovertible fact. As a good friend and mentor put it to me, “We don’t deserve to survive as a country if we force women to fight for us.”
2. It Goes against God’s good purposes for men and women
To restate the obvious: men and women are different. Anyone who tries to deny this is engaging in Orwellian doublespeak. Remember how he put it in 1984? “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
This difference in essence (ontology) thus entails a difference in purpose (teleology). As alluded to, men, as represented by Adam, were made for providing and protecting, for subduing the land. Eve, on the other hand, as a representative of women, was created by God to serve as a “complementary helpmeet, corresponding to his likeness and complementing his nature with differing sexual, physical, and psycho-social characteristics that form the basis for their complementary roles (Gen. 1:27; 2:18–24; 1 Cor. 11:2–10; 1 Tim. 2:12–13),” as noted by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW).
In other words, God made women to be life-givers, not life-takers. Therefore, it is neither harmful nor sexist for our laws to recognize this reality: men and women have different primary purposes. Our radically egalitarian society simultaneously tries to tell us that women can do anything that men can do, that men can actually be women, that women are, in fact, just “birthing people,” and that gendered language is offensive. But that doesn’t make it right. Nor does it make one tortured drop of sense.
No, men and women were created with a distinct givenness, and thus a correspondingly different purpose. In light of this, it would be wrong for laws to try and ignore or forcibly override that reality. That means in the name of “gender justice” these “draft our daughters” zealots are perpetuating real harm against women. This law, while it makes a deranged case for justice through the woke-looking glass, actually commits a proactive injustice. Good and virtuous laws acknowledge, accommodate, preserve, and promote the God-given creation order, most especially when it comes to matters of human life and dignity. How much more so when it comes to matters of combat and death?
3. It undermines combat readiness
It seems these days I can’t make this point enough: The purpose of our military is to be ready to fight and win wars at a moment’s notice. The military exists to annihilate those who wish to do our nation harm. It does not exist to serve as a playground for progressive social-engineering, social justice, and social diversity campaigns.
Drew White, in his recent piece for The Federalist, “House Republicans Just Voted To Draft Our Daughters — And GOP Senators Will Too,” summarized many of the issues with women in frontline combat roles:
“… a 2013 Marine Corps study showed that all-male units have a higher performance than mixed-sex units in 70% of combat tasks. Women have far higher injury rates than men when undergoing the same training, sometimes 10 times the injury rate. And when the Army opened its both-sexes fitness standards and issued its findings in 2019, it showed that 84% of women could not meet the minimum standard, compared to 30% of men.”
The connection between combat roles and a draft are critical.
Remember, we would only ever institute a draft if we were in desperate need of replenishing our frontline fighting forces. What type of roles are those? Combat roles. As the Wall Street Journal put it: “The Obama-era policy of integrating women into ground combat units is a misguided social experiment that threatens military readiness and wastes resources in the service of a political agenda.”
The inescapable bottom line is this: If the United States found itself in such a serious, deadly international conflict as to necessitate reinstating a draft, forcibly conscripting women would only hurt our warfighting efforts, not help them.
I won’t apologize for anything the Bible has to say about the differences between men and women, no matter how archaic it sounds to our postmodern, radical, egalitarian culture. I also won’t caveat until the cows come home. For every generality, of course there is an exception.
The issue at hand isn’t whether women should be able to volunteer to serve in our military, or even whether those who have served have done so with excellence and bravery—of course, they have. That said, the novel, political, and progressive move by the Obama Administration to move women into combat roles, and the corresponding compromise of physical fitness standards under the Biden administration, is something we should all be against.
As Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America, said, “Our daughters should not be forced to register for the draft to prove they are equal, and our military should not be forced to compromise its focus on our national security to placate liberal activists who don’t respect the intrinsic value and dignity of women."
It’s sad to see so many of our elected officials plugging their ears to arguments like these, ignoring both sound reason and natural law as they come to their own lawmaking duties. A nation that forcibly sends its young women — its mothers and daughters — to the front lines of armed conflict under the false flag of “gender equality” isn’t a serious nation, nor is it one that deserves to continue. One can only hope that this misguided policy never makes it across the legislative finish line. And if it does, it should be at the top of the list to repeal when a more sensible governing party comes into power.
Originally published at Standing for Freedom Center.
William Wolfe served as a senior official in the Trump administration, both as a deputy assistant secretary of defense at the Pentagon and a director of legislative affairs at the State Department. Prior to his service in the administration, Wolfe worked for Heritage Action for America, and as a congressional staffer for three different members of Congress, including the former Rep. Dave Brat. He has a B.A. in history from Covenant College, and is finishing his Masters of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.