Pagan Dualism – Alive and Well in 20th Century America
by David O. Berger
David O. Berger is the director of library services at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
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Homosexual conduct by military personnel to be officially approved
The U. S. Senate, on December 18, 2010, acted (S. 4023) to initiate repeal of 10 US Code 654, which prohibits homosexual conduct in the military.
For the code, see http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/10/usc_sec_10_00000654—-000-.html
For the Senate action, see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-111s4023pcs/pdf/BILLS-111s4023pcs.pdf
Note the deceptive short title of the Senate bill (p. 2, ll. 2-3): “This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010.” The real intent of S. 4023 is found several lines later (6-7): “a comprehensive review on the implementation of a repeal of 10 USC 654,” i.e., repeal of the code that prohibits homosexual conduct in the military.
Under the administrative policy, “DADT,” practicing homosexuals were granted license to deceive to enlist or remain in the military, suggesting that one may both disobey the law (10 USC 654) and defend the Constitution. Military leaders, on the other hand, had to refrain from inquiries or investigations vis á vis, or actions enforcing, 10 USC 654. The “DADT” policy was not law and could have been abandoned by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Senate “repeal” of the “DADT” policy is a sham. Confusion reigns. When language is used to deceive and the deception is officially approved, what are we to think of those who represent and govern us?
The President signed the bill into law on December 22. In his State of the Union address he noted that: “Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they [sic] love because of who [sic] they love, . . .”
In February, the President announced his decision that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA – Public Law 104-199) was unconstitutional. His administration would not defend it in court.
For the Department of Justice statement, see http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/February/11-ag-222.html
The decision relates directly to the plan to repeal 10 USC 654. The demise of the DOMA will open the door to providing military benefits to same-sex partners, i.e., partners of openly homosexual military personnel.
From misbegotten policy to mislabeled legislation to unstated purposes, the actions have been necessarily cloaked in deception. How else does one hide sin? The father of lies never sleeps.
The following action, also imminent, is intimately connected with the previous agenda.
Women to be permitted to engage in military combat
Recently, the Department of Defense (DoD) Military Leadership Diversity Commission (MLDC) recommended in its final report to remove all barriers to women’s engaging in military combat: http://mldc.whs.mil/index.php
Below is the key “Recommendation 9” of the report:
DoD and the Services should eliminate the ‘combat exclusion policies’ for women, including the removal of barriers and inconsistencies, to create a level playing field for all qualified service members. The commission recommends a time-phased approach:
a. Women in career fields/specialties currently open to them should be immediately able to be assigned to any unit that requires that career field/specialty, consistent with the current operational environment.
b. DoD and the Services should take deliberate steps in a phased approach to open additional career fields and units involved in “direct ground combat” to qualified women.
c. DoD and the Services should report to Congress the process and timeline for removing barriers that inhibit women from achieving senior leadership positions. [emphases mine]
Official deception continues under the guise of the ultimate political and cultural values of our day: diversity and equal opportunity – for the greater good of woman-kind. The father of lies never sleeps.
How are permitting homosexual conduct in the military and recommending that women serve in combat related? One might have already noted the link between approving the ordination of women and of practicing homosexuals in several church bodies. Neither is a coincidence. At the heart of these actions is a form of pagan dualism: Our bodies and our inner “spiritual” selves are separate entities. The body, an accident of birth, cannot constrain who “I” am and what “I” do (or choose to do) or what “I” feel called to do. While there is more to dualism, in essence it is a profound rejection of God’s plan for His Creation: (Genesis 1:27). One who, despite his or her body, prefers to live and act in ways that deny that body, responding instead to a perceived (immaterial) “self” is a dualist. Dualism, and its modern sister, a kind of neo-gnosticism, in this context denies (or diminishes) the importance of physical (material) male-female distinctions and, at the same time, of the created unity of body and soul.
At the heart of the MLDC recommendation is the rejection of woman (body and soul) as created by God, i.e., distinct from the male, as essentially maternal, divinely created to be virgin, then spouse, then the bearer of life, then the nurturer of that life, and thus also the one to be defended along with that life. The MLDC, on the other hand, recommends that a woman dress up in battle gear and enter the field of mortal combat. Only then can she compete with men for advancement in rank and other military perquisites. Unfortunately, many Christian women (and men) have “bought into” this recent manifestation of dualism, unaware of its history or its spiritual implications.
Biblical models of women in combat do not exist. Those who cite Deborah and Jael (Judges 4) as examples have no case. Generally speaking, narrative texts are unsuited to being used as a basis for practice. Regardless, Deborah’s “combat” experience is not described: mothering Barak, shaming his reluctance to follow the LORD’s command to defeat King Jabin’s army, providing moral support for him on the way to the battlefield, and telling him that his reluctance means that “the honor [of defeating Commander Sisera] would not be his.” And so the LORD handed Sisera over to a woman, Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, who killed Sisera, not on the field of battle, but at home, using stealth and a domestic implement – and, given the circumstances, in self-defense. Why does Scripture not deal directly with the issue? Why would it? Even Israel’s pagan enemies did not bring their women with them to fight in battle.
It’s tempting to focus only on pragmatic objections to women’s engaging in military combat. There are many. See: http://www.bible-researcher.com/women/women-in-combat.html
Consider, for example, the battlefield liability of limited body strength. Note the well-documented connection between combat stress and risky sexual behavior and sexual assaults. (Women in the services have already been at hazard while serving in combat areas.) A recent study finds that women in the military are more prone to divorce than their civilian sisters. Will female service in the military remain voluntary? If not, are we ready for our daughters and wives to be conscripted into military service and employed in combat? What right does a church body have to oppose such action if it has no public position objecting to women’s serving in combat?
Pragmatic reasons aside, Christians have far more significant grounds to oppose women’s engaging in armed combat. How does one who accepts the marriage of husband and wife as an image of the sacred relationship of God and His people, of Christ and the church (He the Bridegroom, the Protector; she the bride, the protected one) understand a married woman’s risking her life to defend her citizen husband (who remains at home) or another soldier on the field of battle? How does the pregnant woman soldier (married or unmarried) justify putting in jeopardy the new life in her womb, or the new mother justify leaving her newborn at home to risk her life in a combat zone? Is the married female soldier – beholden in her marriage vow to obey her husband – to take life and death orders from another man? The pervasive silence of Christian church bodies on these issues has made them complicit in the confusion of the created order – the image of God – and in distorting, even negating, the image of Christ and his bride, the church, as well as in the ramifications and consequences thereof. Surely our wives and daughters who have been misled by this silence are at risk. With little or no counsel to the contrary, they can hardly be faulted for “buying into” the MLDC’s politically and culturally modish rationale of diversity and equal opportunity.
Several years ago, The Lutheran Witness published a pro/con article on women in military combat: http://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/Witness/LWmay03.pdf. While clarifying some issues, it resolved nothing. Overtures dealing with the issue of women’s serving in combat, submitted to several conventions of the Synod, have not reached the floor for discussion or debate. Thus, the primary deliberative assembly of our church body has not confronted this issue so clearly and intimately related to the image of God and to Christ and His church. Corporate repentance is not easy, but is there any other way?
It will be helpful to consider the clear, prophetic words of John Chrysostom (ca. 400 AD):
Woman was not made for this, O man, to be prostituted as common. O ye subverters of all decency, who use men, as if they were women, and lead out women to war, as if they were men! This is the work of the devil, to subvert and confound all things, to overleap the boundaries that have been appointed from the beginning, and remove those things which God has set to nature. [John Chrysostom, Homily 5 on Titus, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, 13, p. 539, emphasis mine]
To be sure, there is nothing new under the sun. Chrysostom spoke and wrote to people who faced the same pagan philosophies, sinful inclinations, and need for repentance that God’s people face today. His language is strong (read the context!), but the scriptural position of John Chrysostom is incontrovertible. He rightly understood the connection between homosexual behavior and women acting as men. It is the “work of the devil” to “overleap the boundaries appointed from the beginning . . . which God has set to nature,” i.e., His Creation and the creature created in His image. Regarding homosexual behavior, we have even more explicit biblical warnings. How far has our culture already been “given over (up)” to the passions that Paul describes in Romans 1:24ff.?
Some will say that we live in a fallen world. We can fight only so many battles. Fight some; ignore others. Surely, there are more important sins and abuses to renounce and for which to repent. To that we say again, the father of lies never sleeps.
“God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27, also 2:18, 2:24). “Your maker is your Husband; the LORD Almighty is His name” (Isa. 54:5). Cf. Matt.. 9:15, 25:6, John 3:29, Rev. 21:9. While metaphors such as these are difficult to apply to ethical issues, they do carry meaning. We ignore them to our detriment and to our peril. All sin has been covered by the blood of Christ. Not to acknowledge and confess a sin, however, is to reject forgiveness and grace. Not to warn evildoers of the consequences of their deeds has its own consequences (Ezek. 3:16-19, 33:7-9).
What are Christian citizens to do?
First, we reject loveless acts, such as recent protests at military funerals. The conclusion that God punishes soldiers for the erroneous policies of their leaders is not ours to draw, much less to act on. Rather, we are to pray for our elected leaders and representatives, that they disavow and overturn sinful policies and laws that reject the very image of the Creator: male and female. While some may understand the agenda they are promoting, others know not what they do, having never been confronted or informed by a Christian conscience or a scriptural perspective. As members of the body of Christ and citizens of the kingdom of the left hand, we are accountable to exercise our vocation as citizens. Those entrusted with enacting and enforcing just laws deserve to hear from us, clearly and forcefully, individually and corporately, that rejecting the image of the Creator – “overleaping the boundaries appointed from the beginning” – has both natural and spiritual ramifications. Those who have been led astray by the spirit of the age (never new, but always a handy tool for the father of lies) deserve scriptural instruction to remove the blinders that prevent them from seeing culturally accepted sins and false values for what they are. The Gospel, ready and waiting, is proclaimed when the Law has led to repentance.