Friday, February 01, 2008

Our Depraved Culture

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Depravity is more than having a few rude or sexually inappropriate words said on TV and some people having too much to drink at Mardi Gras. There is something far more sinister, that I believe, is definitional to depravity. According to the Book of Genesis, mankind's fall into sin had nothing to do with sex, bad language, or drinking. It had to do with Satan tempting a woman into upsetting the order of creation, rebelling against the divinely established hierarchy, appealing to her selfish ambition and rejection of submission - all the while her husband sat idly by and let it happen - for he too had some putative benefit in the unholy deal.

This is when the wheels came off. This is when sickness and death entered our existence. This is when the seeds of violent crime and war were sown - seeds that would necessitate dangerous vocations such as police officers and military personnel - part of the husband's punishment that he would have to make his living by the sweat of his brow. The woman's cross had to do with pain in childbearing. The man's natural bodily strength and the woman's natural vocation for mothering created a universal cultural understanding of sex roles.

Our inability to submit: mankind to God, women to men, children to parents - our loathing for hierarchy - is what has led us into our depravity. And the depravity continues to worsen, and will worsen, until the End.

Our desire to rule: children over parents, women over men, mankind over God, continues to increase the consequences of the fall in new and more depraved ways.

In our culture, we have especially focused on the upsetting of the divine order between the sexes. The leading issues dividing the body politic and the Church are all so-called "gender issues" (e.g. homosexuality, the role of women, abortion, etc.). And these issues are nearly always discussed not in terms of how God's creation was designed to work, but rather in terms of "rights" and "what I want."

Further complicating matters, is that our notion of rights is no longer consistent with that of the founders of the United States. According to Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, rights are bestowed on creation by the Creator. In today's culture, we have dethroned the Creator. Rights are whatever we say they are. They are whatever we want - whether consistent with creation and natural law or not.

When we follow the natural order of creation, things simply work better. A hammer is more effective at pounding in a nail than a screwdriver - by virtue of its design. A screwdriver may be able to do the job, but not nearly as efficiently as a hammer. You may even hurt yourself or damage something in the process of pretending that a screwdriver is just as suited to driving nails as a hammer. It just isn't. Not even an army of ideologue professors, a crush of lawyers, and an aggressive campaign of "political correctness" can change the reality.

Similarly, if you want plumbing to work well, a male fitting needs to be coupled with a female fitting. You may be able to get two male or two female fittings to imitate the job of a properly designed joint (especially with some welding and tape), but it is a flight of fancy to think that such an unnatural arrangement will work as well as the original design and will have the staying power of a more stable arrangement. And there may well be unforeseen (and expensive) consequences for stubbornly trying to outsmart the natural order instead of simply submitting to it.

Feminism is not the "radical notion that woman are human beings" (created in the image of God, to boot). That "radical notion" is called "Christianity." Rather feminism is the radical notion that male and female are only social constructs, that there is no physical, psychological, or spiritual distinction between the sexes. Feminism is the mathematical fallacy that equality is the same as congruity. It's a lie - just as it was six thousand years ago when the Serpent first uttered it and sold us on its alleged benefits - "benefits" which include death itself.

New Orleans recently lost a police officer in the line of duty - always a sobering and somber moment for a community - especially for police officers and their families. In this particular instance the officer killed was well-liked and respected, brave, and a 24-year old woman. She was also two months pregnant.

She was overpowered by a male suspect who disarmed her and shot her with her own weapon.

Feminism killed this woman. For she was fed the lie that she could go to police school, could meet lower physical standards, learn some martial arts, carry a gun, and then she would be at no disadvantage when compared to male officers. "You can be like God" says the Serpent. You don't have to submit to the reality of a natural order you have no control over. "A screwdriver can drive in a nail as well as a hammer" says the Serpent. "Did God really say you would die?" In our post-modern and post-hierarchical culture, we are told that we can ignore the reality of nature and create our own reality. Angelina Jolie can beat up men like rag dolls in the movies, so it must be true.

The officer, Nicola Cotton, was described as a "shy, soft-spoken and ambitious young officer patrolling some of the city's most violent corridors." Her ambition to be something she was not proved fatal. Her shyness, soft-spokenness, and her upper body strength did not give her the ability to overpower her opponent. God did not make this woman for the purpose (however necessary) of confronting criminals and hauling them in. God created this woman for a more noble and sublime purpose - to bring new life into the world. By her very nature, her created nature, Officer Cotton was carrying a two-month old baby inside of her - a baby that will now never be born. I am not being critical of this heroic police officer, but rather of the culture that would approve of putting such a brave woman - a mother - into such a situation. It shows nothing but contempt for women, children, families, and God's created order.

Nicola Cotton was indeed brave and obviously cared about her city and the quality of life in our community. But she was victimized by feminism - as was her baby. The Serpent, the father of lies and the harbinger of death, is laughing.

Had she been driving a car with her two-year old child not strapped properly into a government approved safety seat, the public would be filled with outrage. If a child dies as a result of something like this, people are indignant, and may even want to proffer charges against the grieving parents. But we allow (and even encourage) a pregnant woman carrying a two month old fetus to patrol "some of the city's most violent corridors," carrying a gun, and confronting belligerent and hardened criminals who vastly overpower her physically. Does this make any sense? It does to the Serpent. He is still laughing.

What a sick and depraved culture we have become! We used to hold doors open for women and avoid spitting and using bad language in their presence - but now we ask them to protect us from murderers and thugs who outweigh them, who out-muscle them in upper body strength - and we even ask them to do it while they carry a helpless baby along with them while on patrol.

In the January 2008 edition of Lutheran Witness, LCMS president Gerald Kieschnick mentions "the shaken and upset 26-year-old wife and mother, a U.S. Marine, who sat next to [him] on a plane. She was on her way to Iraq with only a few hours notice, leaving her husband and two young children behind."

Once more, can you think of anything more depraved? This is in no way a critique of President Kieschnick, but rather with the cultural situation. Here you see the ultimate goal of the Serpent - children who lack maternal protection, mothers placed into hostile situations, fathers forced into a nurturing maternal role while their wives are off in a foreign land under martial orders and arms. Not only does this do violence to the order of creation, but also to the consequences laid down by God as a result of the fall. In this case, the wife is earning the family's bread (and taking up arms in a military action) by the sweat of her brow, while the husband has the painful duty of raising the children without her, without their mother. And this is all by choice. This woman was not drafted into the Marines.

In fact, it is especially interesting that this young woman is a Marine. For every Marine is, by definition, an armed fighting man regardless of his specialty or job . This is why there are no Marine chaplains or medical personnel (they are provided by the Navy). International law and codes of civility prevent chaplains, doctors, and corpsmen from being Marines - but the same doesn't apply to women - not even pregnant women. This is potentially the Nicola Cotton situation all over again.

How sick a society have we become when men stay at home while women are overseas being taken as POWs and getting wounded in combat situations? Could you imagine, say, Titus Pullo from HBOs Rome staying home to change diapers and buy groceries while his petite wife is camping with Caesar's Army in Gaul and taking part in gruesome battles? I imagine Titus Pullo would not believe such a thing possible, that any society could be so disordered and depraved. He certainly wouldn't just shrug and accept this as normal (and he was not even a believer in God's order of creation as a matter of theology, and knew nothing of the laughing Serpent).

The Christian Church has much more reason to be appalled than Titus Pullo.

Where is Christian outrage when young women - some pregnant, others with children at home - are being put into uniforms, given weapons, and ordered into gunfire - while Dad keeps the home-fires burning? The U.S. military forces have perfectly healthy strong young men in non-combat roles even as we have women, like this 26-year old mom, in battle zones. Police forces around the country have perfectly healthy strong young men sitting behind desks and shuffling paperwork while young women, like the 23-year old pregnant Nicola Cotton, on the streets with their service revolvers and flack jackets. Why don't the men rise up and protect the women? What has become of our civilization?

Why is it that Missouri Synod Lutherans trot out the doctrine of the order of creation when the question of ordaining women comes up, but they suddenly shelve the doctrine when it comes to dressing young mothers in cammies and combat boots and outfitting them with 9 mm revolvers or M16s? Why won't we let a woman serve as a military chaplain, but we do let our unarmed chaplains be protected by these armed women? Why do we let our wives and daughters go off to war without even a word of admonishment from the Book of Genesis? In fact, we seem to laud the practice. And can an LCMS chaplain legally criticize the U.S. policy that is at odds with Scripture? I honestly don't know what he can and can't say, but I do suspect that WELS chaplains (who are civilians) have a little more wiggle room when the Lord and Caesar don't see eye to eye.

I don't endorse female ordination by any stretch. But if we were consistent, we would either speak out against putting women in combat (domestic or foreign, police or military), or we would allow women to serve as spiritual warriors in the pulpit. The order of creation is the order of creation. Gaging by the recently published statistics of the opinions of young members of LCMS churches, we are more likely to see women serving as pastors before we see any consistent call for women to cease serving as cops and soldiers. More depraved amusement for the Serpent.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.


Rev. Shane R. Cota said...

I firmly believe that a society that allows and even encourages women into the armed forces and "protection" professions (police, firefighters, etc.) is a sick, sick society that is on the way out. I get ill even thinking of it.

Brian P Westgate said...

Another good thing about the WELS chaplaincy is that is saves the government money. Another is that the government can't call up pastors, and vice versa.

Fr. J. Sollberger said...

This is the finest "article" on this matter that I have seen thus far. My humble opinion is that it should be published widely. It will be rejected by many. It will be dspeised by many. Yet, I have never seen this matter so objectively conveyed, and gently pointed; it is unmistakable in both its truth and tact.
I am grateful to have read it, and may shamelessly steal from it in catechesis to my flock.

Past Elder said...

I think WELS' non participation in military chaplaincy per se is based on questions of unionism and syncretism rather than the order of creation -- that as a "Protestant" chaplain they may have to function in ways inconsistent with the call of a Lutheran pastor.

That, however, does not detract from your point about the order of creation, and I applaud you for making it.

Another aspect of that -- should I ever need the "protection" services to be hauled or otherwise bailed out of a physically threatening situation, I would not want someone, male or female, who met reduced physical standards to get the job responding.

Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

In the back room of the bookshop where I work, my boss always has the TV turned on to Fox News. So your excellent piece here brings to my mind also the story, of which I see constant updates lately, of the pregnant Marine who was missing, and then turned up dead, with her likely killer hiding out in Mexico (if I got the latest theory correct). The story goes, I guess, that her killer, a fellow Mrine, may have also been responsible for her pregnancy, by rape.

One of the thoughts that I voiced to my boss is that when men and women are mixed in such an unhealthy, unnatural way, such as is the case when we have women in the Marine Corp, only evil can result.

In the increasingly feminized manner of thinking prevalent in the Missouri Synod, I thank the Lord Christ, the God-man, that He is speaking up though some of His churchmen yet today. Feminism won't just go away, like the latest church growth trend; neither must we.

Benjamin J. Ulledalen said...

I believe it was either Dr. Clyde N. Wilson or Dr. Thomas Fleming who said, "Civilized, Christian men don't send women in to combat."

Father Hollywood said...

Shane and Benjamin:

This is indeed something that should be self-evident - and indeed was before the social revolution of the 1960s - but the Church has suddenly become silent - if not a willing participant in the rebellion against the Lord's order of creation and natural hierarchy.


Excellent point. It seems to make more sense from the Church's point of view.

Past Elder:

I'm sure you're right about why the WELS has civilian chaplains. I used to work in a jail, and our sociological notions about equality led to a lot of idiotic circumstances there. Maybe I'll post about it some time.


Here here! And I appreciate your latest post on this topic as well.


Thank you for your way-too-kind words. "Steal" away. Please feel free to use anything of mine for any reason. I'm honored to count you as a brother in arms.

Gregory Chudy said...

Amen, Fr. Hollywood. Perhaps the strongest indication of our cultural degeneracy is the fact that, with a few choice primary victories, we might be stuck with a woman president. I heartily agree with your indictment of the inconsistencies in the standard LCMS treatment of gender roles. Of course, this isn't the only issue the LCMS is woefully inconsistent on.

Past Elder said...

At the risk of being overly reductive -- I remember a time when "Your mother wears combat boots" was an insult. That's progress as the world understands it -- put mothers (actual or potential) in combat boots and call it good and equality.

I wonder if it ever strikes any of these "feminists" that they glorfy maleness worse than the worst "male chauvinist", finding it the only good, and therefore it must be theirs too to be equal.

Didn't somebody write something somewhere about one part of the body getting upset because it was not another part of the body?

What's happened to the word "Man"is symptomatic. The generic meaning is the "inclusive" one, so in the name of inclusiveness they reject the inclusive meaning and use it only to refer to males.

I suppose that's why the difference between grammatical gender and biological sex is nearly completely lost as well.

Every time I have to fill out a form asking my "gender" I want to cross it out and write "sex". Being a person rather than a noun, I don't have gender but I do have sex. But I suppose THAT would be completely misunderstood as well!