‘Transgender Service’ is an Oxymoron
As a service-member, citizens of our great nation will frequently thank me for my service. Even out of uniform, I am apparently recognizable as a soldier and I am intensely thankful for the regard our nation has for those in uniform. When they approach me at the airport or Waffle House or on the street and say,
“Thank you for your service,” what they really mean is,
“Thank you for subordinating your own self on behalf of a greater good,” or really,
“Thank you for going off to fight because I (cannot/will not).”
Not once has a citizen ever thanked me for my “work” or my “occupation” or my “labor”. No, they thank me for my service, for serving them.
Increasingly, disparate groups have demanded the right to serve. Homosexuals demanded and received the right to serve. Women demanded and received the right to serve in ground combat units. Just last year, transgender people received the right to serve. This invokes some necessary though unpopular questions. What about when someone’s rights are detrimental to the greater good? Can it really be called service? Is there such a thing as the right to serve?
Service – contribution to the welfare of others
Right – that which is due to anyone; the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled
Immediately we notice the contrasting focus. Service is focused on others. Rights are focused on self. Service says, I will subordinate myself to the needs of others. The Army even adds a qualifier: selfless service. Rights says, I am entitled to this thing because of who I am regardless of the ancillary effect upon others. Lest you confuse Rosa Parks with Bradley Manning, allow me to elaborate.
The military is a necessarily pragmatic organization. A meritocracy grounded in efficiency and effectiveness, the military may require of its members unnatural things, the subordination of self for the greater good i.e. service. The military may ask a man or woman to give of themselves all the way up to and including their lives, and the necessary subordination is that it’s never done for selfish gain or personal benefit.
Homosexuals’ right to serve is moot at this point. Prior to repealing DADT in 2010, many of the stodgy old guard denounced the impending decision. “It’ll affect combat readiness. There’ll be chaos in the ranks!” I suspected this to be hyperbolic rhetoric as the bulk of the military, 18-24 year-olds largely raised outside the church, could care less about biblical sexuality. To them, homosexuality is a perfectly acceptable alternative. Once you abandon a Christian ethic, it is tough to make a pragmatic case for exclusion. To the best of my knowledge, there have been no issues and many homosexual soldiers serve with distinction.
I had hopes the new administration would reverse the 2015 decision to open all combat positions to women. This exemplifies a situation when the ‘rights’ of a group to ‘serve’ in a particular manner trump the greater good. Only the misinformed or the foolish could argue that including women in infantry, Special Forces, and other ground branches does anything but weaken our military. Sadly, it doesn’t yet appear as if this annulment will happen so my encouragement comes in that few women will qualify—at least until the standards change—or even want to be a part of ground combat. Who would’ve thought but women don’t make good grunts.
The rabid pursuit of this ‘right’ is largely based upon promotion, that ground combat, ranger school, and combat-arms assignments enable promotion. Overturning these restrictions will finally allow women to shatter that glass ceiling some so desperately desire to shatter. Never mind if it comes at the expense of risk and lives. This is the very definition of selfish service, the antithesis of actual service.
Transgender ‘service’ presents an altogether more egregious situation. In 2016, Secretary of Defense Carter announced that transgender people will be allowed to serve openly and ‘authentically’, whatever that means. The Department of Defense immediately developed a training curriculum to educate first the commanders and then the entire force on aspects such as the transition process and the commander’s roles and responsibilities in facilitating transitioning service-members. We learned odd new terms such as “gender marker”, “preferred gender”, and “Real life experience (RLE)”.
Aside from the overt lunacy, transgender service presents a devious aspect of the conflict between ‘rights’ and ‘service’. The military is set to become the largest provider of taxpayer-funded sex reassignment surgeries which cost well over $100,000 each, not to mention the litany of additional costs such as genital electrolysis, hormone therapy, aesthetic plastic surgeries, breast augmentation, and the additional behavioral health requirements. The military cannot afford to fly its planes, sail its ships, or drive its tanks, but will now bear this additional burden.
Further, the military has saddled already-distracted and task-saturated commanders with facilitating this process. They must learn this new language, navigate this unfamiliar system, and invest time and organizational energy into facilitating ‘transitions’. They should be training their units for combat, to close with and destroy the enemy. Instead, the leadership has added yet another group they must now coddle.
Again, this is the antithesis of service.
Imagine the conversation another way. A random citizen approaches you in uniform and says,
“Thank you for receiving benefit at my expense and endangering everyone in the process.” Who is serving who?
As always, Christ provides the benchmark. “The greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11) “For even the Son of Man came not be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) Consider that at the Last Supper, as the disciples argued over who was the greatest, Jesus stood, removed His outer garments, tied a towel around His waist, and washed their feet.
In essence, He said, you want to see greatness. Here it is. And He washed their feet, displaying greatness in His willingness to serve, to accomplish the basest task at no benefit to Him whatsoever.
This is service, selfless service.
Our nation’s drift from God and righteousness is well-documented. Military social engineering—inventing a ‘right to serve’ for transgender people in this example—is symptomatic of a larger issue, national sin. But we expect the godless to behave in a certain manner. Why wouldn’t they? Complicit are the millions of Christians who stand neutered and silent as our national digression continues.
What will you do?
*The comments reflect the personal opinion of the author and do not represent any sort of official position nor are they tied to any official capacity.
Author - Founder
Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).
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