October 25th, 2012
06:00 AM ET
When ‘God’s will,’ rape and pregnancy collide
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
About this blog
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.
God controls everything, whether you/I/we accept it or not. Sometimes speaking the truth is not popular.
So, there's no free will afterall. Gottcha.
Well in that case, it would behoove us to kill your god, for he is an awful sadist who controls rapists and causes genocide.
God "worketh all things after the counsel of His own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:11-12). Yes, God is in control.
Lol. I know – christards flip-flop on the free will thing almost as much as Romney flip-flops.
god controls nothing
Would it be God's will if I put my fist through your face for babbling such idiocy?
Now is time to put "Jesus We Trust" on the money.
To prove our faith and fealty, we must focus on the economy and defeat science.
It is the will of God, God willing, Insha' Allah, Yawheh approved.
If God tells you everything, then tell me.. why do we need to do good? Why is there a need for heaven and hell?
So why wouldn't he/she/it prevent the rape or any of the myriad of atrocities and injustices that occur on a daily basis?
The main reason religions are against birth control is to have a steady supply of sheep. Those religions are costly and they don't pay for themselves. I see very little emphasis on all the other causes of death: water safety, food security and safety, traffic safety, drug safety, gun safety, action on preventable disease, etc.
You clown, simple observation with a rational mind shows that there is no God.
and he or she isn't running anything.
But if there was a God and this was the world he created, what a dick.
I would trade up and get a worthwhile imaginary God, not your loser one.
Very thoughtful article. It is one I wish that everyone would read with an open heart.
Is there any religious doctrine that holds that a fertilized egg has a soul? If not, what's the big deal? Christians have no prohibitions against killing other life forms, so even if they believe "life begins at conception," they should still be okay with abortion as long as the thing that's killed doesn't have a soul.
And if a soul is there at conception, well, it goes straight to heaven if it's aborted; it won't have to struggle and suffer with all this messy life stuff, it just goes right on to eternal whatever. Right? What is there to complain about, I wonder?
The religious don't give a shit about life or protecting it. It's about dominating women they think should keep their legs together unless they are married, in which case they should be popping out dozens, no exceptions
Honestly who cares what the religious people with their child like belief system think.
I don't care what people think that believe in the tooth fairy either.
I am intelligent enough to use simple observation and see that there is NO loving God participating in our lives. You have to be stupid to believe that crap.
I've had numerous fundiot nutters tell me that the zygote, er, baby, is "infused" with a soul at the instant of conception. So I ask them what happens when several days after fertilization, the zygote, er, baby, splits into dizygotic twins. Does each twin get half a soul? Is there a bank of emergency backup souls that can be used? And what happens when one twin absorbs another twin in utero? Does the remaining twin absorb the soul too? And what about twins like Abby and Brittany Hensel. They share a body, but have 2 heads. Do they share a soul?
@cedar rapids You have just shown us all that you are not a father/mother or you would know that in any case that a child needs chastisement it's commonplace to give the child a chance to freely confess to his/her wrongdoing and then explain to the child why it's wrong Henceforth you have the father all knowing and forgiving walking around waiting for the Good he put in them to override the fear that evil has shown them. This is where we get Evil in a world made by the holiest of holy man was not stupid in them day's Adam and Eve knew they was not to eat of that tree but who told eve that it was not bad and that God didn't know what he was talking about and told her to go on you will not die see it was us people you them me all of us that made this happen could have been heaven on earth this whole time yes God has foreseen all things but just because God seen you fall down does not mean that you could have avoided falling down in the first place free will baby it's a get out of jail free card or a go to jail no 200 bucks card.
I have a possible solution to theologians' timeless question: How do you explain evil in a world where God is loving?
God is not loving.
I know that's not how it reads in the Bible, but is it possible that the Bible, which is really just a collection of human opinions, might possibly have got it all wrong?
If god did exist, he would be one self-centered, vindictive, cruel, evil creature and if what the invisible sky daddy guide book says were true, I would rather tell him to kiss my back side than to EVER bow down to him. If he is real and allows all of this to happen for his own entertainment, >F HIM<
Go read the Book of Job. God tortured Job over a bar-room bet with the Devil. God bet the Devil that God could torture Job and Job would still love God.
That's what we are, God's entertainment to be tortured and killed and bet over. Will we still mew for God like children calling for their Mommy as we lie dying by God's hand. It's sick, sick evil. And I will not abide it. No, God does not love us, and the Book of Job proves it.
I agree that, at least as Biblical legend tells us, God was quite the rowdy, belligerent, vindictive, violent jerk back during the days of the Old Testament. But presumably by the first century, he mellowed out and became a loving, peace-sign waving hippie.
His only remaining flaw is that he tends to barbeque people for eternity if they don't worship him.
So, other than some lingering anger issues, he seems to be improving.
I thought Satan asked to test Job and God allowed it. God believed Job would make it through, and in the end he did.
"God believed Job would make it through, and in the end he did."
he still had to live through the events however, and that is just sick and twisted torture to allow that to happen.
Though it is a great example of the religious followers mindset........you allowed my 10 children to be killed? you are so great god....you allowed me to lose all my posessions, all my livestock, etc.......nope, still good god, despite all the bad stuff you are allowing to happen to me.
How could you read through that book and not look at the guy saying it is the word of God and think what a pathetic person. You have to be simply stupid to believe or have faith as they like to say.
God = MYTH
Humans need to GROW THE F UP and move past this nonsense. Religion holds us all back, even if only a third of us practice this voodoo garbage.
Why do modern civilized humans allow the insane mythology of some people to dominate the lives of others?
Because for some the fear of death is too great and they require consolation
ATHEIST FOREVER, it takes just as much faith to believe in the big bang theory than it does to believe in God (or as you so lovingly name Him, "invisible sky daddy"). Your ranting only hurts your view more than it helps.
"it takes just as much faith to believe in the big bang theory than it does to believe in God"
no, it really doesnt. one suggests a scientific event (first put forward by a catholic priest no less) the other suggests a magical all powerful, all knowing being decided one day to create a universe for some unknown reason (maybe he was bored), then put in place a bizarre ruled filled system, whereby people would need to live their lives, whilst being constantly watched by this being, to determine where they go when they die, whereupon they will spend an eternity hanging around for another as yet to be determined reason.
dont tell me it takes more faith to believe in the big bang because that argument is nonsense.
cedar rapids, the big bang theory (Please note the word theory. It has not been proven either.) absolutely takes just as much faith as creationism does. You have decided to rest your mind on the theory that nothing exploded and made something and that something somehow made life. Creationism rest itself on a Creator who somehow intelligently designed life. It's okay to believe what you believe, but don't tell me that my argument is nonsense because no one has proven either theory. They both take faith. We can agree to disagree without cutting down each others opinion. Thank you and have a great day!
cedar rapids, the big bang theory (Please note the word theory. It has not been proven either.) absolutely takes just as much faith as creationism does."
sorry criss but one involves scientific processes, the other involves magic. There is no getting around that.
As for just a theory.....well there have been experiments that involve predictions of what evidcence should be around if there was a big bang, such as background radiation noise, that has indeed been found to exist.
Still is scientifically a theory. It has not been proven. The scientist that you're getting your information from are only trying to make sense of it all based on what they know. They were not there to see the beginning of time. You can keep in this argument, but I'm out because you can't prove anything. You can only guess based on your internet research or textbooks. Once again, I wish... Wait! Genuinely praying you a great day!
wow, he is not helping his cause, fmitt needs to tell him and all of these republicans to shut up until the election is over
as soon as "god's will" is invoked, that means that the invoker thinks he magically knows the will of some divine force, that evidently can't make itself coherently known in the universe. If one says "it's god's will" that's a great way to shirk responsiblity, because, golly if it's "god's will" no one could stop it or *should* stop it. That's what makes claims of prayer changing outcomes so ridiculous. If everything is "god's will" what right have some puny human to think that they can change the mind of this god?
Is cancer god's will, so we shouldn't stop it? Was the Holocaust this "god's will"? Was the terrorist attack on 9/11? It's all up to the delusion of the claimant, one regular ol' human, just like the rest of us. No god needed.
Why doesn't the god creature stop these things? Because if he did exist, he would be a complete priick who willingly allows horrid things to happen to his own "precious sheep".
Indeed. the argument that some god controlls the world and allows horrible things to happen is ridiculous. It makes this god complict in evil and it makes this god incompetent. As for those who would claim that this god "uses" these horrible things to "teach" his humans, trust me, I am quite happy to not learn from this god and be damned if necessary than have someone else harmed for me. That concept is simply sadistic.
Religion is a pathetic refuge for the weak minded, and for those who seek to control / oppress others. It has no place in a modern civil society.
And to think, millions of people will vote for these right wing morons. God lord, people are stupid.
Half of the country prays to invisible sky spirits to save them from the invisible demons that live in the invisible fire pit. Why does any of this surprise you?
Left-wing socialism isn't a whole lot better. Are we trying to be Greece or Spain...?? That worked out well....
At least you got the "Good Lord" part right. The rest you got pretty wrong.
Greece and Spain would be a lot better off if the investor class parasites weren't bleeding them dry. Same goes here. Romney didn't earn his money, he stole it from worker pension funds. That's what happened to Greece and Spain. They were robbed by the rich.
I guess this chucksert would say it was god's will for 911 and just plain live with it!!!
The guy believes that the earth was created in a week.....what do you expect from someone who prays to invisible sky fairies?
I was aborted and I am fine.
Better than having been a hand job I suppose?
If you'd been a miscarriage instead, would you know the difference?
Why doesn't God fix the 50% miscarriage rate in our "perfect bodies built in his image". Maybe it's because God doesn't have a uterus and didn't really pay that much attention?
Jeebus has the most pimped out uterus ever!
A true Womb With A View!
Oh great invisible sky daddy, I pray to you in your invisible sky city, please save me from myself, and from the red horned devil thing that lives in the invisible fire pit below. Praise jeebus.
Mourdock sounds like someone Republican leadership would like to see on the science committee
Your post would be funny if it weren't true.
God sends rapists to brutally assault and terrorize women so that they can have babies that Republican lawmakers will refuse to support. Mitt Romney approves.
Science PROVES that life begins at inception! Who are we as a society to create law that determines the life or death of an innocent human being?
Bible says it starts with the first breathe: Genesis 2-7.
If it is good enough for God is should be good enough for Man.
The ones vacuuming the remnants out of women...that's who. There are too many people already.
Actually Science says it started a couple of billion years ago and it is just an on going chemical process.
Ever kill a mosquito? Eat meat?
joe – define life. is a fertilized egg a human life?
i don't think so.
joe – every time you put food in your pie hole you are responsible for the death of a living organism. An embryo just after conception is not the same as a viable human being and does not have the same rights.
@ Arthur P
I love how you people like to quote Old Testament scriptures when it's convenient. Yet you likely follow many of the other Old Testement rules....
Typical lib ... uses the bible when it's convenient and totally disregards it when it's not! The bible also says that wasting your seed is a sin ... should we do away with contraception all together?
it starts the moment a man pulls out a rib
Joe, first you wrote "inception" which is funny....but I digress. I have an educational video for you I hope you will find enlightening....
Typical lib ... uses the bible when it's convenient and totally disregards it when it's not!"
typical lib? you are getting libs and repubs mixed up. repubs are the ones that use leviticus to condemn but then claim its no longer valid when you point out other leviticus no-nos.
Sperm is alive and human. Should it too be protected? The bible has a thing against spilling it upon the floor.
Point is that life is not all it takes to be a person. A developing set of cells is not a person.
Fact is that it is a biological process that has been happening for millions upon millions of years irregardless of human definitions and semantics. It is up to us to decide how society treats each other and what actions and circ.umstances are acceptable. Some people use their religion to guide their decisions, others use logic and reason and some try to combine both. But at the end of the day simply declaring something to be true or not does not make it so.
At some point the fetus becomes a person and that point IS up to debate and that point will change with more and more knowledge. Just because some people want a simple definable time, like conception, which happens to support their full agenda does not make it reasonable or acceptable to the rest of humanity.
really? You're all gonna argue that eating beef rebuts my argument ... HA HA HA ... that is hilarious if nothing else. Or you're going to try to compare "a" human life to "life" in general ... HA HA HA ... such a joke! Look this article is just a result of the liberal media doing ANYTHING they can to bolster their candidates election chances!
For you to pretend that an advanced society should NOT have a debate regarding this subject is what is ludicrous and is the exact mentality that will keep society in the DARK AGES! To attack a candidate because of his personal religious beliefs ... DARK AGES mentality! To deny science when it's convenient for you ... DARK AGES! You so called "progressives" aren't progressive AT ALL ... your mostly morons who can't accept facts for for what they are ... you want to twist the facts to meet you desires DARK AGES!
Are you suggesting that the sperm cell and the egg are not alive before conception?
I'm 44 years old and the biological process that you are referring to is STILL happening to me today! FACT! Scientifically a human beings life begins at CONception ... sorry for typing INception before ... that is funny! If you want to convince yourself of soemthing else ... AGAIN ... it's only because of YOUR desire to do so!
I see it clearly now, why have any accountability for my actions or events that happen in my life when I could simply invoke it was God's will; makes everything much easier and simplistic to explain the reasoning for such?....
Taliban Republicans like Mourdock and Akin are a disgrace to Christianity and to the Republican party.
Gayle – Christianity is a disgrace and is responsible for millions of deaths. Richard Mourdock is only repeating the Republican platform. You need to wake up.
Someone should slap that guy upside his face, because if that happened, then it surely is the Will of God. Because God is responsible for everything, and no body gets to complain...
@Truth Believer... You need not to quote scripture make a fast simple point Truth what they have not done is read the Bible to any extent that would give them any Faith to believe in a creator, Simply tell them to read Gen 3- 3:13 "The temptation of Eve" starts with "The implied doubt of the benevolence of God" and ends with "The seeking God. His sabbath rest broken His new work begun" And to drive the nail a little deeper move onto Gen 3:14-19 that it was man who failed God by taking part in the one and only thing God told Adam and Eve they could not and was not to do in turn forcing God to unbind the knowledge of the "CHOICE" to do both good and evil so that they both would know about their abilities to do great and many wondrous Good things and all the wrong that we now do. Simply put talking to anyone who is not an erudite person in biblical teachings and understandings of these teachings is like telling a scientist that all the physical matter in the universe did not just pop into existence out of nowhere from nothing (Singularity). I could believe that a spiritual creator God made it piece by piece adam by adam with his own spoken word. and I know what some will ask well where then did God come from well friends I can't tell you because I don't know I just take it on Faith. 🙂
PS. the above scribblings are that of my own thoughts and beliefs (CHOICE) merely a matter of forum topic.
more biblical babble.
Stop posting lines from your invisible sky daddy guide book, nobody cares moron.
gary – the bible is simply a collection of occasionally noble myths.
adam and eve never existed.
Of course Gullible's Travels, Part 1 is the most rehashed part of the whole unfounded fable.
ah yes, gen 3:3-13, the bit where god lies to them about what would happen if they eat the fruit, and then for some reason has to ask them where they are hiding and has to ask them if they ate the fruit that he told them not too.
so much for all-knowing.