By Wayne Drash, CNN
(CNN) - The pregnant 12-year-old girl was strung out on heroin and looked like a walking skeleton when she arrived at the hospital. The conversation that followed, said Phoenix police chaplain John South, has stuck with him ever since.
“Do you know who the father is?” South recalled asking her.
“She said, ‘Yes, it’s my biological father. He’s the one who hooked me on heroin so he could continue to rape me whenever he wanted to.’ ”
The Protestant chaplain has consoled about 50 pregnant rape victims - typically girls raped by their fathers - in his years working with the Phoenix Police Department.
South describes himself as “pro-life,” but when it comes to dealing with a girl or woman impregnated by a rapist, he keeps his personal views to himself.
“I don’t give them a lecture or preach at them,” South said. “I’ve seen crimes beyond comprehension.”
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock stirred controversy during a debate in Indiana Tuesday when he said pregnancies from rape are “something that God intended to happen.” The instant reaction in political circles was predictable: Democrats decried him, and many conservative Republicans defended his position as steadfastly “pro-life.”
But theologians were quick with a more nuanced approach, saying the issue of pregnancies from rape strikes at the core of a timeless question: How do you explain evil in a world where God is loving?
That said, many expressed outright dismay by Mourdock’s remarks.
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South wanted to know what Bible Mourdock reads because “what he’s saying is absolutely wrong. It’s not biblical.”
The police chaplain said pregnancies from rape aren’t meant to be politicized and said the victims suffer from physical and mental wounds and are often suicidal. About 60% of the time, South surmised from his experience, the women or girls choose to give the baby up for adoption, as long as they never see the child at birth.
“I hurt for these kids,” he said. “Rape is evil.”
Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of the best-selling book “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” said Mourdock’s remarks were off-base: “He’s invoking the will of God where it is not appropriate."
People “should have compassion for the person whose life is messed up by this and not make her an instrument for our idiosyncratic, theological commitment,” Kushner said.
“If you believe she has no right to terminate that pregnancy, you're free to believe that,” Kushner said. “But for you to write your preferences into law and compel another person to mess her life up because of what you believe, I think you're going too far.”
“I continue to be bemused by the ultraconservative lawmakers who say they want smaller government and less government intrusion into people’s lives, except when it comes to who you can marry and how many children you should have.”
Plenty of liberal Christians bemoaned how Mourdock was being perceived by some as the face of American Christianity.
"Once again, expressions of Christian faith that honor the rights of women to choose their own health care options and what happens to their bodies are not seen or heard," wrote the Rev. Barbara Kershner Daniel, who pastors the Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ of Frederick, Maryland, in a message that she circulated via email.
"The lack of another voice, another perspective, another vision from the Christian community leaves an impression that all Christians share this single perspective about pregnancy through rape," she wrote.
Father Tom Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, said he found Mourdock’s comments troubling from a Catholic perspective because “God does not want rape to happen.”
“Someone getting pregnant through rape simply means biology continues to function,” Reese said. “That doesn’t mean God wills it.
“If we look at the Scriptures, we see a God who weeps with those going through pain, who is compassionate for those who suffer and condemns those who do injustice,” Reese said
During the Tuesday debate, Mourdock was explaining his opposition to abortion in cases of rape or incest when he made his remark. “I came to realize life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” said Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer.
Amid the uproar Wednesday, Mourdock sought to clarify his comments, saying he was sorry if he offended anyone but said his comments were twisted and distorted for political gain. “The God that I worship would never, ever want to see evil done,” he said.
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Paul Root Wolpe, the director for the Center of Ethics at Emory University, said Mourdock’s comments were the equivalent “of saying you shouldn't pull people out of the rubble because God intended the earthquake to happen or we shouldn't try to cure disease because it's God who gave us the disease,” Wolpe said.
"That perspective was theologically rejected by virtually every major religion a long, long time ago,” Wolpe added.
Mourdock has been an active member of Christian Fellowship Church in Evansville, Indiana, for nearly two decades, according to Mike Deeg, the executive pastor of the 2,000-plus member nondenominational evangelical church.
Mourdock has gone on missions trips with a group connected to the church to Bolivia and is well-regarded among congregants Deeg said.
Deeg says the church tries to remain largely out of politics. “We don’t think God is Republican or a Democrat,” he said by phone from Evansville, noting they encourage members to vote, the church just doesn’t say for whom.
The pastor said of what he has read about Mourdock’s remarks, they largely lined up with the church’s teachings on the sanctity of life and their belief that life begins at conception.
“I think rape is a horrible thing, and I think God would condemn rape as horrible,” Deeg said. “I think we’re made in the image of God regardless,” he added, “I don’t think the circumstances dictate whether God knows us and loves us, regardless of how our conception comes about.”
South, the chaplain in Phoenix, said the 12-year-old girl he met years ago opted for an abortion and her father was ultimately convicted of rape. He said he grappled often with “why she was subjected to such horrendous pain and torture, mentally, physically and emotionally.”
“Did it shake my faith? No,” South said. “Did I ask God why? Of course.”
CNN’s Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report
I guess it is much easier to mock than try to understand what he really meant.
No, we can do both. WE DO understand what he meant, and what he meant means he is a small and ignorant person.
I AM APPALLED that anyone would even CONSIDER voting for this id1ot!!
Enighten us oh wise one.
Luke, I am your father. Your father says to quit trying to understand these idiots making retarded comments.
I mock him because I understood exactly what he meant.
You're talkin about Luke from the bible not the one form the movies ain't ya?
I think you're assuming that whatever some anti-choice candidate says just MUST be nice and right because they're on your, and supposedly God's, side. If you ever bother to take an objective look at what these men say you'd see that they do not have a clue about, or a care for, women.
'god' is an idiotic idea promoted by immoral people to control and pacify the weak minded.
Fuck god. This way the fools can read it easier.
a tumour has more cells than a foetus... no one has qualms about ridding the body of unwanted cells.
Take a good look at that mug- he actually looks that stupid- wow
Looks, and IS that stupid.
Love one another and one might find compassion and an easing of sympathy upon the forlorning moments of living.
The problem of evil has a simple answer that has baffled and been fought by religious believers for ages – There's no God, and if he does exist he either doesn't care or can't help anyway.
Evil is live spelled backwards...
"Theologians" don't know anything about anything. They should get back to arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Last I knew the archbishop of Armagh "determined" that 324 angels can dance on the head of a pin.
Theologians are like political speech writers, there to put the religious thoughts of people into flowery wording that's still just as idiotic, but just sounds a lot better.
Broken are the timeclocks and hidden are their keys.
If the timeclock is broken can i go home now since I'm not getting paid? Or since the keys are hidden am I stuck here?
Do you believe in Aliens?
The term "alien" is superfluous when one looks into biocellular structuralizations.
Did you just hijack your own thread ?
The Christian beliefs and religions have been hijacked and conveluted for political and social profits forever. The leader must be a man of gods direction or else the sheep will be simply mislead. Sheep can only comprehend small concepts on short term basis. This is how and why the bible and some religions in America today have been misinterpreted and preyed upon. The religious far right are correct on their assumption of evil lurking ever presently. They do not realize how much evil has embedded itself into their easily infiltrated churches and synagogs.
gmat, you know this personally? That's right, you read it off the internet.
I don't believe everything I read. But I trust the Internet more than I trust that 6000 year old book of yours.
We need more women in politics
We need more rational moderates in politics.
In principle, I agree, but please not like Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin or Christine (I am not a witch) O'Donnell.
Um maybe because men don't have the insight, or experience that women can bring to the table.
You're not one of them people that thinks women shouldn't be allowed to vote are ya ?
we need more scientists and engineers in politics.
"god's will" implies pre-ordination. Pre-ordination implies fixed responses by humans. Fixed responses implies a lack of free will. A lack of free implies one's ability to choose between right and wrong is non-existant.
If there is a god, and he has a will, then we are all just puppets and who you vote for doesn't matter.
Our cult is more misogynistic than your cult – just ask us how!
for that you will burn in our cult's hell.. even though you think you are going to your cult's heaven.. and I don't care if you think I am going to your cult's hell, because it will be my cult's heaven.
I'm confused now. Who's cult's hell am I burning in? Ah to heck with it. Let's grab a beer and talk about more rational things than religion...like politics.
Is it possible his cult's hell is your cult's heaven and vice versa?? Cuz that would be cool!
Are there different hells, based on ones religion?
Are all the Christians going to Allahs hell ?
Are all the Muslims going to Gods hell ?
Is there anyone, anyone at all in heaven ?
Something tells me, I'm gonna end up in multiple hells.
Pass the sunscreen.
Amazingly this is only on the bottom of the Fox News website in small print... there's your fair and balanced.
No...they report, you decide. Fair and balanced came later when they realized their viewership couldn't think for themselves.
no, it is the free will of the person who decides to either choose right or wrong., good or bad. Gods will is that all should come to know and love Him as their Creator.
so.. god's will is that people should suck up to him? that people should freely love him and pray to him, or else..??! sounds like a megalomaniac.
You can't have free will and Divine Providence.
You are requiring everyone to believe in YOUR myths. As far as I'm concerned there is NO "gods" whatsoever.
The Dark Ages called, they want their Tea Baggers back.
The Tea Party would actually be a beneficial movement without religion. Alas...
Actually the original tea party was not in the dark ages it was around 1776. The year America was founded by Christians for Christians !
The United States was actually founded by rebels and malcontents unhappy with someone telling them how to live and worship.
the 'destruction of the tea' occured in 1773 in Boston Harbor. A group of insurgents destroyed the private trading property of the job creators of the day.
Were a modern analog of the tea party to occur today, a group of 'tea partiers' would break into a big pharmaceutical company's shipping warehouse and symbolically destroy all the contraceptive medications so 'Obamacare' can't be used to provide these medications to women who want to prevent pregnancies.
Vandalism, unlawful break and enter, destruction of property – plenty of charges would have been suitable for such criminals.
Benjamin Franklin an atheist and Thomas Jefferson who considered organized religion oppressive would disagree with you.
"The United States was actually founded by rebels and malcontents unhappy with someone telling them how to live and worship."
rebels – yes
malcontents – yes
unhappy with someone telling them how to live – yes
unhappy with someone telling them how to worship – what group claimed this?
This is intended as a genuine question. I don't believe the revolution had ANYTHING to do with religion.
The fact that a secular state, free of established religion, was created was a (very) happy accident caused by a lack of consensus and some opportunism by enlightenment thinkers. It was not a cause of the revolution.
jac, both men believed in God. In fact, Jefferson edited the bible for his own use.
Religion as Cause of the Revolution
Joseph Galloway (1731-1803), a former speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly and close friend of Benjamin Franklin, opposed the Revolution and fled to England in 1778. Like many Tories he believed, as he asserted in this pamphlet, that the Revolution was, to a considerable extent, a religious quarrel, caused by Presbyterians and Congregationalists whose "principles of religion and polity [were] equally averse to those of the established Church and Government."
Historical and Political Reflections on the Rise and Progress
of the American Rebellion [page 54] – [page 55]
Joseph Galloway, London: G. Wilkie, 1780
Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (81)
Jefferson's personal doctrine is hard to define. It is clear that both he and Franklin disapproved of organized religion. At best, they were 18th century adherents to "spiritual but not religious".
“...those who live by mystery & charlatanerie, fearing you would render them useless by simplifying the Christian philosophy, the most sublime & benevolent, but most perverted system that ever shone on man, endeavored to crush your well earnt, & well deserved fame.” – Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Priestley March 21, 1801
Actually the original tea party was not in the dark ages it was around 1776. The year America was founded by Christians for Christians !---– uhhh, actually, John Adams said the only way for the nation to survive is to have many religions. Read his letters. To have one would be monarchy, like the church of england, exaclty what they were fighting to extract themselves from. to have two would mean constant war, as Europe had been embroiled in for over 500 years, no, he wrote to Jefferson, who agreed but was actually an atheist who thought no religion at all, that a national based on laws, not men, nor a church would be best, the only way for this nation to survive was if there are multiple religions and NONE of them had any place in law. This, according to the founders, was to be a nations of LAWS, not men, not religion. And the Tea Party, a la Boston Tea Party was a protest of taxation without representation. it was about fighting for a representative to Parlament. It was NOT about religion or even taxes, it was about the right to vote and have representation.
Thank you for the reference. I will look into that.
Even so, that quote would be only relevant in Pennsylvania – where there was more representation of different sects than many other colonies. It was my understanding that there was no established church in the Pennsylvania colony.
"The Province of Pennsylvania was founded by Quakers, but the colony never had an established church."/i>
The revolution really began in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. There they did not seem to be unhappy with their established Congregational church. They did have a historical issue with the English crown, going back to the Puritans and Cromwell in the 17th century.
Galloway's comment that the "Revolution was, to a considerable extent, a religious quarrel, caused by Presbyterians and Congregationalists whose "principles of religion and polity [were] equally averse to those of the established Church and Government." reads like an indictment of the Massachusetts revolutionaries and perhaps their sympathizers in Pennsylvania.
Hmm, I was led to believe that America was founded by people who wanted to keep their tax dollars local. And get rich. But that's another story, for another time.
Oh look I just bought Manhattan Island for a song, or was it beads. I better find out before my tax return is due.
" And the Tea Party, a la Boston Tea Party was a protest of taxation without representation. it was about fighting for a representative to Parlament. It was NOT about religion or even taxes, it was about the right to vote and have representation."
Indeed – it was NOT about religion.
It certainly was about taxes.
It is my opinion that by 1773 it was no longer about any desire for representation. It was a deliberate attempt by radicals to foment royal repression which would increase resentment an umbrage in the colonial population. Which is what happened.
"In fact, Jefferson edited the bible for his own use"
can you imagine the uproar from the repubs if you replaced Jefferson with Obama in that sentence?
no, it was about taxation WITHOUT representation. That was what the entire war was about. There were periods where truces were discussed and it always fell apart with how much representation and freedom to, for instance, have production here, rather than simply ship out goods, the colonies were allowed to do. After the Tea Party Franklin went before Parlament and what did he talk about? Lower taxes? no. He talked about taxing WITHOUT representation! the colonies were buff with money. Their trade was fabulous. Their natural resources were overflowing. They had no hardship from taxes, and the French and Indian war had just ended and mainland England, not the colonies were hurting for money. Franklin went to say " thanks but no thanks your 'help' during the F&I war was useless. we basically fougth that war ourselves, while we WOULD be ok with taxes for a reason, the stamp act, to pay for the F&I war is not reasonable and you never allowed us to argue that since we have no seat in Parlament, the reasonable thing to do is to allow us a seat so for any future taxes we can be part of the discussion. " Parlament disagreed, so after that point, Franklin came home with the conclusion we must break from England.
For people like Franklin and Galloway (thanks to @dumb etc for the reminder) representation was an important goal as an olive branch to use with the Boston revolutionaries. I simply don't think that creating parliamentary seats for the colonists would have made a difference in Boston by 1773.
I am well familiar with the 'no taxation without representation' narrative starting with taxes in 1733.
1733 – Molasses Act
1751 – Currency Act
1754 – Start of French and Indian War
Franklin proposed the 'Albany Plan of Union' in 1754 at the onset of the French and Indian War. (It was rejected by the colonists – not the crown.)
1757 – Franklin goes to England as the agent of the anti-proprietary party.
1763 – Franklin returns to Pennsylvania
1763 – End of the Seven Years War (French and Indian War)
1763 – Royal Proclamation Line declared.
After the war the Virginians objected to the 1763 proclamation line. It eliminated their financial interests in expanding into the Ohio Territory.
1764 – Franklin again goes to England on behalf of the anti-proprietary party.
1764 – Sugar Act (renewal of the 1733 Molasses Act)
1764 – Currency Act
1765 – Quartering Act
1765 – Stamp Act, repealed in 1766, largely by Franklin's advocacy
1766 – Declaratory Act (American Colonies Act)
1767 – Townshend Acts (Revenue Act, Indemnity Act, Commissioners of Customs Act, the Vice Admiralty Court Act, and the New York Restraining Act)
People like John Hanc0ck simply didn't want to pay taxes – he was a smuggler! Boston was more outraged by the Vice Admiralty Court Act than most of the others. Transferring smuggling cases to the Admiralty courts (where there was a judge but no jury) meant they couldn't impanel a jury of their buddies who would find them not guilty.
1773 – Tea Act
1774 – Franklin is humiliated in front of the Privy Council after admitting to leaking Governor Hutchinson letters to Boston.
It is only after this that he decides to break with England.
1774 – Quebec Act
1774 – 'Intolerable' Acts (1. Massachusetts Government Act, 2. Administration of Justice Act, 3. Boston Port Act, 4. Quartering Acts)
Galloway proposed his 'Galloway's Plan of Union' in 1774 (it was rejected by the First Continental Congress – not the crown).
1775 – Franklin returns from England.
While people like Franklin and Galloway were strong advocates of representation, the colonists never really embraced their concepts. There is no doubt that the unrepresented taxation by the crown offended the sensibilities of the colonists as contravening their rights as Englishmen. There were deeper causes.
1. Massachusetts from the beginning never wanted to be subordinate to the crown – starting with their Puritan background and the English Civil war. Yes there was resentment that grew with the taxes, but the essence of this resentment was there before the taxes started.
2. Despite their established Congregational Church, the Massachusetts colonists were deeply susp;cious that the crown would establish the Church of England in Massachusetts, and specifically a Bishop of North America
3. Virginians were denied the ability to land-grab in the Ohio territory with the 1763 Proclamation line.
"No taxation without representation" had currency in Boston in 1765. By 1773 the Boston radicals were clearly determined to revolt. Casting the revolution as primarily caused by a yeoman desire for enfranchisement is revisionist history. It was a pretext for revolution.
Prayer changes things .
Please don't feed the troll
Yes it does. It leads people to embrace ignorance.
troll alert is wrong, the post represents two very admirable Truths and Truth is never trolling.
I've seen you spamming in every CNN forum, but I must say, I get a kick out of the " . . . and other living things." Those poor atheist plants damned to hellfire.
Prayer to which god? There's so many to choose from...
I'm eating an apple right now. And trust me, it is an athiest.
And yes you are right. The apple is almost dead. Maybe if it had prayed to God, I wouldn't have bitten in to it.
"Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things" can you say something stupider next time ?
Plane crashes are God's will. Abolish the NTSB. Crime is God's will. Abolish all law enforcement. Whatever happens is God's will, so we don't really need any government do we. Let's just follow God's prophet around in the desert and keep God in a little box in a tent. It would certainly be a lot cheaper than the government we're paying for now. Oh, and forget Obama care. Nehustan will take care of us for free while manna will replace food stamps.
Whenever something bad happens and people wonder why, the religious always answer with something like "it's part of God's plan, though we may not be capable of understanding it". This guy is saying basically the same thing, though clearly not very eloquently. Why are the religious bashing him?
Right???? That's what i"m sayin...
You have a very superficial understanding of Christian theology. Christians (for the most part) do not believe that everything that happens is God's will. Most believe that God revealed his law through the Bible and his prophets. He tells us if we want a close walk with Him and the blessings he would like to bestow on us we need to follow his laws. We are human, with free will, that rebel against rules bringing sin and corruption into our lives. This evil affects us and everyone around us. Therefore, bad things happen to good people. Ultimately God tells us that good will prevail over evil, but a lot of bad will happen first. THIS is God's will (the overcoming of evil), not the evil that is brought on by our rebelliousness and sin.
The bible clearly states on numerous occasions, where God got angry, and rather than using his "omnipotent" power to punish the guilty, he chose to punish a lot of innocents as well.
So, all the bad things that happen in the world or in the Universe are "God's Will"?
The attack isn't his will, but the pregnancy is. Apparently God looks down and says "That poor girl has just been the victim of a violent attack. I think I'm going to give her a child that she doesn't want and can't care for."
Apparently anything good that happens is God's will and anything bad that happens is the product of man or the devil. I'm curious what people who think this way think of the folks in North Korea.
"I'm curious what people who think this way think of the folks in North Korea."
They don't. That would take time away from thinking about themselves and how cozy they think they are with their creator.
"The attack isn't his will, but the pregnancy is."
But if the pregnancy is "God's will" and r@pe is causal to the pregnancy, then logically it follows the r@pe was "God's will" too, right?
PMD, actually, evil in the world is 2 fold. Satan's evil spirit deceives the entire world and those of weak character love doing evil. It's called, free will of man.
"evil in the world is 2 fold."
Wow, you religious zealots think you can justify and explain anything with double-talk religio-speak, don't you?
The deceived is sitting behind YOUR keyboard. Satan had nothing to do with it. You are a victim of the global conspiracy know as RELIGION.
He created over 4 billion galaxies with over 4 billion stars in each of them.
And he created the human race. So yeah, tell him to man up and show some responsibility for what he's done.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.