The Terry Pratchett quote on my left sidebar [“The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they’ve found it.”] is from his Discworld novel, Monstrous Regiment, which deals with religious whackoes and women in the military.
The novel was relevant to the recent decision by the Joint Chiefs to stop ignoring reality, and admit women serve in combat these days and should receive all of the pay, benefits, and opportunities that come with the risk. It became even more relevant when, as Digby notes, Jerry ‘Bonkers’ Boykin decided to spew some his religion-based misogyny. Boykin gained notoriety by claiming that “My God is bigger than your God” before a church congregation.
People assume that you have to take Boykin seriously because of all of the important posts he has had. I would suggest that people need to do a bit more research to see how effective and successful he has been in those posts. Like any large organization, people are sometimes promoted as the easiest way of getting rid of them without making waves.
I wish Boykin could have met one of the women who was in my police academy class. She would have given him a whole new definition of baton twirling. She would have definitely disabused him of the notion that women cannot be aggressive and effective in combat. Although she was not quite 5′ 4″, she didn’t have a problem firing a 12-gauge shotgun, and was a very good pistol shot.
The title of Sir Terry’s novel is from a tract by John Knox, The first blast of the trumpet against the monstruous regiment of women, complaining about how ‘unnatural’ it was for Scotland and England both being ruled by Queens in the 16th century. Knox was a religious whacko of the Protestant variety, and was really upset by the fact that these women were also Catholics. His little tract was the main reason that when Elizabeth I, a Protestant, ascended the throne in England, he wasn’t invited to visit. Boykin’s ideas and blithering is no different than Knox’s.
People are talking about the rise in sexual assaults in the military. I wonder if anyone has compared the rise of the influence of evangelicals with the rise in assaults. Given the attitude of many evangelicals towards women I wouldn’t be surprised to see a correlation.