Yet again a Republican candidate has come out with an outlandish comment about rape that has drawn widespread criticism from those outside the ideological bubble.
The most recent incident was from Indiana Congressman Richard Murdoch during a debate this past week. This is the latest in what has become a consistent string of rhetoric for white conservative men – notably on the heels of Senate candidate Todd Akin’s introduction of ‘legitimate’ rape into our vernacular.
Apparently Akin, who is on the House Science Committee, thinks that a women’s body can sense if the conception was because of ‘legitimate’ rape and take of the matter on its own. Richard Murdoch took it a step further, beyond biology, and introduced theology into the mix. The resulting pregnancy would be ‘God’s will’.
Let me be clear: I get why some people hate abortion. I do. I get it. I was raised watching movies like ‘Silent Scream’ and listening to Carmen rap/sing about our nation’s demise and invitation of God’s wrath. I get it. That is not what I want to address here.
My concern is with the consistent and frequent rhetoric that is coming from the conservative right on the issue of rape.
There are 3 reasons that this hits so close to home for me:
- My wife ran the rape crisis hotline and prevention education for the county where we lived in NY. For a decade this was a major part of our life and focus.
- As a minister, I have sat with countless women and heard their stories. We have walked a really tough road of recovery and healing with many.
- I have traded my narrow/shallow theological adolescence for a more critical-aware- sophisticated-and progressive one.
These three things come together is a very painful way for me when I hear these continuing statements from non-women candidates.
One starts to ask “What exactly is going on with these guys? What in the world are they thinking?”
If two is a trend and three is a pattern then this is a full-blown school of thought!
Are they just trying to fire-up their base? Are they trying to out religion each other? Are they so fixated on abortion that it blinds them to the absurdity of their other positions?
Or is it worse than that? Is it that there view of God is fundamentally determining this stuff? I’m afraid that this might be true. I think that these might be really good hearted christian men who have bought into a view of God that is so limited and narrow that it necessarily dictates utterances like we have been hearing.
I am suspicious that one’s view of God is like an operating system on a computer and that given enough time, this N. American conservative/fundamentalist program that gets downloaded just inherently comes with some unavoidable glitches and bugs that eventually result in stances like we have been seeing.
Thomas Jay Oord posted the following on Facebook:
Candidate Richard Mourdock’s statements about rape, pregnancy, and God’s intentions point out a major problem with most theologies. John Calvin summarized the problem well, “There can be no distinction between God’s will and God’s permission! Why say ‘permission’ unless it is because God so wills?” The Mourdock episode suggests that those who (rightfully) object to his statements implicitly support a view of divine power closer to process theology’s view, even though they may not realize it.
I’m not trying to pick a fight. I am not trying to be partisan. I am simply heartbroken about these hurtful things that have consistently come to the surface during this election cycle.
Maybe a new guideline should be put in place: as a candidate you are not allowed to talk about rape unless you have walked a mile in those shoes.
At a minimum, I would like to see the name of God disconnected from this subject in political arenas.