Defense Department says Bible and Constitution are ‘Sexist’ Documents

I’m not sure why the Defense Department cares anything about the Bible and Constitution, or the Declaration of Independence, since our government doesn’t pay attention to any of them.

The Daily Caller reports:

“Those three cherished texts all count as ‘historical influences that allow sexism to continue,’ according to a presentation prepared by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, whose mission is to give a ‘world-class human relations education.’”

Here’s a screen shot of one of the slides:

Defense Department declaration of Independnce

Actually, the comment about the Bible is mostly true. It can be misinterpreted like any piece of literature if a passage is taken out of context. The Bible can be made to say “there is no God” if only a portion of Psalm 14:1 is quoted: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”

Women are given a prominent role in the Bible. There’s Proverbs 31:10-31 where the worthy woman is worth “far above jewels” (v. 10). She has some sort of business enterprise since she has earned money to buy land where she plants a vineyard (vv. 16). In addition, “She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen” (v. 24).

In the New Testament women are given a prominent role in the ministry of Jesus and the work of the church.

John MacArthur writes:

“From the very first chapter of the Bible, we are taught that women, like men, bear the stamp of God’s own image (Gen. 1:275:1-2) — men and women were created equal. Women play prominent roles in many key biblical narratives. Wives are seen as venerated partners and cherished companions to their husbands, not merely slaves or pieces of household furniture (2:20-24Prov. 19:14Eccl. 9:9). At Sinai, God commanded children to honor both father and mother (Ex. 20:12).


“The Bible teaches women are not only equals with men (Gal. 3:28), but are also set apart for special honor (1 Peter 3:7). Husbands are commanded to love their wives sacrificially, as Christ loves the church–even, if necessary, at the cost of their own lives (Eph 5:25-31). The Bible acknowledges and celebrates the priceless value of a virtuous woman (Prov. 12:431:101 Cor. 11:7).”

At the same time that women are considered equal with men in so many areas, “the Bible teaches divinely ordained role distinctions between men and women — many of which are perfectly evident from the circumstances of creation alone.” Men and women are not the same. For example, men and women are different physically. Only women have the biological equipment to bear children. The Olympic Games have separate events for men and women. It’s today’s humanist culture that tries to make men and women equal in everything.

It’s not sexist to argue that men and women are different and aren’t equal in everything.

What about the Constitution? The above slide claims that the opening phrase – “We the people . . .” – only referred to “white men.” Unlike the Declaration of Independence that states “all men are created equal, the word “men” does not occur in the Constitution. It does, however, use the pronouns “him” and “he.” Of course, this was standard usage of the time and referred, as it does today, to men and women. For example “The Fifth Amendment provides that “no person . . . shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” “No person” refers to men and women even though the word “himself” is used.1

Those who pushed for the Equal Rights Amendment argued “that “women were left out of the Constitution.”  Robert A. Goldwin, writing in “Why Blacks, Women & Jews Are Not Mentioned in the Constitution,” states the following:

“The fact is, however, that women were not left out; they have always been included in all of the constitutional protections provided to all persons, fully and equally, without any basis in the text for discrimination on the basis of sex. How were they included without being mentioned?

“The place to start is that famous provision we considered previously, Article I, section 2, clause 3, describing who will be counted for purposes of representation in the House of Representatives. The phrase ‘the whole number of free persons’ is chiefly where the women are, but they are also among ‘those bound to service for a term of years,’ and even among taxed Indians and ‘all other persons.’ It is quite remarkable that they are not excluded from any one of these groups because, in 1787, women did not vote or hold office anywhere in the United States and were excluded from every level of government. What would be unremarkable, and typical of the time, would be a clear exclusion of women.”

Compare the Constitution to the Northwest Ordinance, which was drafted in the same year as the Constitution, where the phrase “free male inhabitants, of full age, in the district . . . shall receive authority . . . to elect representatives . . . to represent them in the general assembly. . . . Provided also, that a freehold in fifty acres of land . . . shall be necessary to qualify a man as an elector of a representative.”2

Goldwin continues in his very informative article that everybody should read, especially those at the Defense Department:

“In the original Constitution, unlike the Northwest Ordinance, the words ‘man’ or ‘male’ do not occur, nor does any other noun or adjective denoting sex. By not mentioning women or men, speaking instead only of persons, the Constitution must mean that every right, privilege, and protection afforded to persons in the Constitution is afforded to female persons as well as male persons, equally.”

The Bible and the Constitution are very forward-thinking documents. Goldwin’s comments on the “Three-Fifths clause” and its relationship to blacks and slavery are very helpful.

  1. See Robert A. Goldwin, “Why Blacks, Women & Jews Are Not Mentioned in the Constitution,” Commentary (May 1987) for a more complete discussion of this topic. []
  2. Goldwin, “Why Blacks, Women & Jews Are Not Mentioned in the Constitution.” []
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