Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Senate Candidate: When life begins from rape, 'God intended' it

Richard Mourdock, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Indiana, said in a debate on Tuesday that "even when life begins with that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen."

The remark drew criticism from his Democratic opponent, congressman Joe Donnelly, as well as from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's camp - even as Mourdock defended his words.
Read the rest here.


Phil said...

Clearly, Mourdock was saying that what God intended was the life, not the rape. Nothing good comes from a question like this, and he should have blown it off; it's always a gotcha. But, now that this is out there, I think the people in high outrage over it should be asked: What would you prefer be done with children of rape? Should they be executed? Because they exist and have real lives.

The Archer of the Forest said...

I think this election is a real case study in how one party can completely flush a secure senate seat right down the john by its own free will.

Phil said...

How so, Archer? What did the party do? As far as I can tell, we're talking about statements made by individuals, who were picked to run by voters - against the will of the party in both the case of Indiana and Missouri.

By the way, even if you disagree with it - and I'm conflicted on the morality in these cases myself - what's so horribly wrong with what Mourdock said? Would you hold that an unborn child is a person when sex is consensual, but is transformed into a non-human deserving of execution in the case of a rape - like, maybe, the woman's body magically does that transformation? Sounds like Todd Akin logic to me.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a case of goading someone into saying something that can sound outrageous, and then being outraged when they do. The life is from God. On that, no Christian can disagree. He probably holds to a silly pop American understanding of "God's plan", but given how much politicians have to say, if someone wants to get him to say something that could be taken as outrageous, they'll probably be able to succeed.

In point of fact, it's the people who throw it all over the papers who are being insensitive, by using people who actually are scandalized as human shields. Insensitive to women, and also, jackasses. Of course he said something that could be made to sound bad. So?

The same, actually, goes for Aiken. Ok, yes. What he said was ridiculous. But he was trying to say that trauma often causes a woman who was about to ovulate to not ovulate, and so rape children are not as common as would otherwise be expected--there's a very small window when it could happen. Were there things problematic in what he said? Sure. Should he have been more sensitive. Yes, definitely. But does he deserve all the moral outrage about how he's stupid and doesn't understand science? No way. We need to be better at listening, rather than looking for bad sound-bites. And the people who are looking for bad sound-bites should be called out as dishonest.

Matthew Petersen said...

"God creates life, and that was my point. God does not want rape, and by no means was I suggesting that He does. Rape is a horrible thing, and for anyone to twist my words otherwise is absurd and sick."

Is the first part of that something that any Christian could disagree with? Would it not, in point of fact, be heretical to disagree with it?

Regarding the second half: Can we not see ourselves saying something that can be taken as outrageous, and being in the same position he is in? How easy is it to say something on the spur of the moment that is absolutely clear to you, but isn't actually clear? I know I'd absolutely hate to be held to that standard, and therefore, Christ commands we not hold others to it.

Visibilium said...

The rape and incest loopholes have been around so long that they're part of the political woodwork. Mourdock's opponent accepts those loopholes, and Mourdock chose one of the loopholes as a point of differentiation. One could say that Mourdock differentiated himself by driving a tack into the wall with a sledgehammer. Qualifying for political office is about beliefs, but it's also about prudence.

Matthew Petersen said...

I can understand that it's common parlance, and it may not be prudent to speak out against it at the current time. At the same time, I can definitely understand how difficult it would be for a politician who believes it's wrong to say nothing.

I also definitely don't want the position that abortion is wrong, period, to be taken out of the public discourse. Is it unacceptable to believe that abortion is wrong? Is that position scandalous?

And finally, we all lament the lousy state of public discourse. But this sort of reporting--not excusing mis-speaks, but pouncing on them, regardless of what was intended--is political discourse of the worst sort. And I mean that whether it's Conservatives attacking Obama for saying something that maybe could mean the government builds everything, to liberals jumping all over abortion quotes they don't like. It's despicable to do that to our opponents.

Anonymous said...

I take it from the commenters above that they would approve, therefore, of the well documented organized rape campaigns by terrorist militias in certain countries of Africa. It's an ancient technique used by many to demoralize and denigrate victim populations. All God's will, of course.

Phil said...


How so? Please sketch out the logic based on what's actually been written by other commenters to how that leads to your conclusion.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Anon @ 7:02 -

Your African militants are following the M.O. of conquest throughout human history. They understand something about rape that I bet you don't: that it's a convenient way to expropriate genetic material. Lions use the same strategy. They kill their rival (and his offspring, if they can catch them) and go about impregnating the lionesses, who obligingly start ovulating. (This brings to mind Congressman Aiken's gaffe. He might actually have been wrong, but for reasons we don't like to think about.)

The secularists' best argument for abortion would have been understood if not accepted by the ancients: the perpetrator of a genetic theft should not have the satisfaction of seeing his bloodline perpetuated. Since abortion used to repel people's sensibilities, they executed the rapist instead. Now, we've attained such a state of post-modern enlightenment that we just execute the unborn child and tax everyone for the rapist's upkeep and supposed rehabilitation.

There are important issues of evolutionary biology and psychology that are totally absent from the current hysterical thinking about rape. Perhaps your introduction of African militants into the conversation can lead to further discussion. I assume that was your intent.

Anonymous said...

My wife pointed out that the same strategy was used in the recent wars in the Balkans. The Serbians have been particularly noticed in their practice of rape as a method of intimidation.
Genetic arguments notwithstanding, the entire argument fails on numerous counts,

The first is quite simply a matter of logic;

Can one really believe that a "God of Love" can countenance violence as the beginning of one's life?

Can one truly believe that someone subjected to violence has no choice but to submit to the results of that violence?

I'm appalled at how easily those who call themselves Christians can co easily excuse, nay approve, of violence.

Anti-gnostic- your argument is so trie, so banal, in fact, so Satanic, that it swhould and will be ignored.

As for Phil, think about it....

I'm rather sickened by those who call themselves Christians who can;t see the forest for the trees.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

You make an interesting emotional argument. As for logic, I saw none. On a side note tone down the vitriol please.

Anonymous said...


And what, pray tell, is the substance of the "other side"?

Logic? What logic?

Phil said...


You're asking about the question of theodicy, which I'm pretty sure is unresolvable in this thread. Can we agree, though, that violence is a fact of life, and always has been? And so, we might pose your questions more broadly and ask whether a "God of love" would tolerate this world at all? Since I believe in God, I would answer "yes." It sounds as though you would answer "no." Is that true?

But if you believe in God, despite the awful things we see in the world, then I submit to you that your question, "Can one really believe that a 'God of Love' can countenance violence as the beginning of one's life?" has to be answered with a qualified "yes," as well. No, God is not "countenancing" the violence; on the other hand, the violence is irrelevant once a life is created, if you believe an unborn child is a human life. I mean, really, it's an awful situation, and I won't begrudge somebody trying to deal with it by going down the "choose the lesser evil" path, but what do you say should be done with the human beings born as a result of rape? Are they lesser in your eyes? Worthy of death? What?

ochlophobist said...

In the event anyone is interested, Wiki has a fairly decent page on pregnancy from rape:

As A-G suggested, the science isn't really conducive to any of the current political dogmas.

Visibilium said...

Rape fantasies flourish in the absence of stimulative effects?

Jason said...


Victims of violent crime have no choice but to submit to the results of whatver attack they undergo.

How does a person who is assaulted and loses their eye sight have a choice to now not submit to their blindness? What about someone whose limb is cut off? They carry these scars for the rest of their lives. Are they approving of the violence at that point? What other choice do they have?

Matthew Petersen said...

Anon: In the interests of piling on: I am against violence. I am against the wars, even when waged by a Democrat, even when waged by a Republican. I am against violent crimes. What I don't understand is why we think we can put a stop to the violence by doing violence to an innocent party. It is only through love and sacrifice that violence can be overcome. And, in the case of children conceived through rape, that means loving the child, rather than answering the violence with further violence against the child. Is that a tall order? Yes. If a woman isn't able to bear it, would I condemn her? Definitely not. Indeed, I believe the child's blood is mostly on the rapists hands. However, it would have been more saintly for her forgive the incarnation of the rapist in her. If she fails, that's what's confession's for. Jesus is the lover of mankind, and understands and sympathizes with her far far better than I do.

Anonymous said...

It's always interesting to read men's pontifications on situations that they will never, never have to face.

Phil said...

True, especially since men never get married or have sisters, daughters, or mothers.

Anonymous said...


Can you get pregnant?

Phil said...


Can you be an unborn child? If not, then I guess you're not entitled to an opinion, either.

Anonymous said...

So....since neither of us can be either pregnant or unborn,we should basically leave it to those who have an experience of the situation.

I'm really tired of those who absolutize the unborn yet are perfectly willing to relativize the born.

I'm tired of reading about the sacredness of life being espoused by those willing to perpetuate poverty, all willing to use the State to force birth but aghast at the State supporting the born or the pregnant in the name of freedom from coercion etc;.

As far as I know, "pro-choice" advocates have never been against universal health care for all while the "pro-life" certainly have.

I advocate neither position, pro choice or anti choice.

I advocate thinking through this to arrive at, not some perfect solution, but a resolution that recognizes the ambiguity of the entire mess and giving those in that mess the ability and means to arrive at their own decision, without coercion or recrimination.