The following article, from the excellent Emily Hauser, argues quite correctly that this Republican politician has done the world, and America voters, a great service.
From Todd Aiken to here is a straight line. Because here, for once, unambiguously, is the argument laid out for all to see. And that argument is: if you get raped, and you get pregnant, then it is what God intended, and you are honour-bound to carry that child to term and give birth. (No word yet on whether God intended you to bring the child up as well.)
This is nothing new: the recent kerfuffle in the news about Todd Akin was simply because he said out loud what he and his colleagues think but aren’t supposed to say. Todd Akin simply said out loud what his voting record and the voting record of his conservative colleagues showed for years. Three weeks before he walked straight into a shit-storm 203 Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to prohibit abortions even in cases of rape or incest. And earlier this year the Republican party didn’t want to extend funding of $455 million a year for rape crisis centers that already are being funded on the books. They felt it was excessive use of government spending and an over-reach in the size of the federal government (source); it only passed when the Republican leadership said that this would damage the GOP politically.
And in February of this year – Fox News said the Pentagon was spending too much money to defend women soldiers from rape (source) even though a woman soldier is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire (source).
Well, turning to this story, I have a degree in Theology, I am a democrat (note the small D, despite my feelings about this particular election), and I am a man.
On all three counts, I respect this man’s right to express his point of view.
But I also unalterably and completely reject his nonsense as yet another product of the Neanderthal extremist hyper-religious right in America, typified by lunatic old neo-fascists masquerading as Roman Catholic archbishops, raving “pastors” of mainly Southern extreme Protestant cliques, and all the rest of the literalistic fundamentalist Christians that America delights in nurturing.
Just let’s consider this argument carefully. ” Rape is something God intended to happen.”
Apart from how I feel that insults God, it’s only a very small step from that complete abrogation and abnegation of intellectual responsibility to argue that “Slavery is something God intended to happen.” Or “the Holocaust is something God intended to happen.”
The inevitable result of blaming everything on God is we don’t NEED to improve the world ourselves. Well, we can try, of course, but if we happen to fail, well, fuck it – it’s God’s will that we fail, and we can all just accept the consequences.
My dear old Mother would have had a response to that. She would have said, in her delightful Welsh brogue, ” Well, Stephen, God helps those who help themselves.” Meaning, not that we are all supposed to become uber-rich by asset stripping companies, but that God does not, in fact, carefully orchestrate every lifetime moment of every human being on the planet, and he looks to us to look after not only the planet, but ourselves, and our societies.
Hell yes there’s a reason to vote for Obama in this election, and it is to keep nut-cases like this guy and his comrades out of power. And out of your bedroom, and out of your bodies.
Women of America: don’t say you weren’t warned …
Romney/Ryan, abortion, and the humanity of women. (And church and state, too).
Yesterday I had the honor of being on a panel with Daniel Ellsberg on HuffPost Live, and the good fortune to be given the opportunity to talk about how, in fact, the little matter of which party sits in the White House is hugely important to American women, because there’s one party that treats 50% of this nation’s citizens as autonomous people, and one party that doesn’t.
Then a little later in the day, this was reported:
Defending his stance that abortion should be illegal even in the case of rape, [Indiana Treasurer/candidate for US Senate Richard] Mourdock explained that pregnancy resulting from non-consensual sex is the will of God.
“I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God,” Mourdock said. “And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
And I honestly found it refreshing. Because Richard Mourdock said, out loud and for all to hear, that which so many of these anti-choice culture warriors carry in their hearts: This is God’s will, and if you abort any pregnancy, regardless of its provenance, you are acting to thwart the Almighty Himself.
This isn’t about compassion for the poor witless woman who might not know what she’s missing out on if you don’t force her to undergo state-sanctioned rape in the form of a trans-vaginal ultrasound; this isn’t even, really, about human life. This is about the will of God, and the belief held by a great many people that humans are required to bend to that will — and that for women, there’s a lot more will to go around:
Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man…. [A man] the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 1 Corinthians 11:3 & 7
To be clear: There are millions upon millions of Christians who have grappled with verses like those I’ve just quoted and come to an understanding of their faith and Scripture that support women’s equality and our right to bodily autonomy. (And just to be clearer still: I believe that all modern-day monotheism, including my own, requires this kind of grappling, because none of our Scriptures are without ugliness).
But the Christians standing at the head of the American right wing are not that kind of Christian, and they’re the ones we’re facing.
God is above man, and man is above woman. If you were raped, that’s not cool (in no small part because rape is equated with sex, and a woman’s sexuality belongs to the man she married/will marry), but if that rape made you pregnant? Well, that’s what God wanted. And women who attempt to thwart God’s will are not only making God really really mad, they are upsetting the natural order of things, and that cannot be allowed.
I think it’s helpful to be told flat-out that this is what we’re battling. Many anti-choice activists may honestly believe that they’re acting to protect children (though I might argue that if they really want to protect children, they might consider the needs of the fetus after it becomes a baby, but I digress), but leaders of the anti-choice movement are acting to protect what they know to be the Divine order.
But I live in a secular nation. I live in a country where the separation of church and state is written into law. I live in a place where your knowledge of the Divine order should have absolutely no legal bearing on my life.
There is one party that agrees with that notion, and one party — the vice-presidential candidate of which stands behind some of the most extreme anti-choice bills on the American scene – that does not.
One party that is working — however fitfully, however imperfectly — to protect the right of half of this country’s citizens to be legally recognized as humans with autonomy over their own bodies, and one party working to declare zygotes legal people, to require physicians to lie to patients about the established medical facts of abortion, and to allow hospitals to deny abortions to women even when their lives are in immediate danger.
This is not about the medical procedure called “abortion.” This is about the separation of church and state, and it is about allowing women to be human.
Don’t tell me the parties are the same.
Update: Mitt Romney taped an endorsement for Mourdock on Monday, but his campaign told TPM yesterday that Mourdock’s views do not reflect Romney’s. And yet for all that, the campaign has said today that it has not asked Mourdock to pull the ad. So.
- Richard Mourdock, God, and Rape (newyorker.com)
- Pregnancy after rape ‘something that God intended to happen’ (thestar.com)
- Not Just Mourdock — Meet 7 Other Republicans Trying to Block Abortion for Rape Victims (alternet.org)
- Dear Richard Mourdock, God Did Not Intend For My Rape To Happen (mommyish.com)
- Meet The Mourdocks: The Other Republicans Pushing To Block Abortions For Rape Victims (thinkprogress.org)
- Richard Mourdock and the damage done (washingtonpost.com)