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
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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.
Yeah, so government needs to get out of it, including the mandatory coverage of contraceptives and abortions. That personal decision needs to be paid for personally
You are a bloody retard!
You can't figure out this is included in the coverage you pay for? You got punked again.
I am against sending americans into war to kill others. Do I get to complain and protest the most costly of our budget or am I just supose to let you whine about a small small,small fraction of the amount spent on wars?
AND the government should stay out when the mother can't work due to the lack of affordable childcare? and the child gets sick and there is no money for a doctor/meds, and they are hungry but the govern. should not get involved by giving her food stamps and she knows she was not ready for this responsibility ON AND ON....
god = blah blah blah
This "God" of Murdock impregnated a young virgin named Mary, then disappeared from her life. "He" "allowed" her to give birth in an unsanitary barn and watch her son die. This "God" is worthy of worship? Now "He" wills that women impregnated by any thug on the street carry the baby? No thanks!
I pity you. I hope you enjoy hell.
Tell me what hell is like, since it is a figment of your imagination.
Don't worry about God. He is nothing more than a boogeyman used to scare the weak minded.
@ Sam – which cult's hell?
If some of us believe in the world of pre-ordained-ness, then so be it. But don't impose your screwed up ideals on others. If one believes that god meant this to happen then first that god does not deserve any respect for us to follow his decree and second why do we need rules and laws and government. Let we all live in a wild wild world and let the life takes it course in it's own way and blame it all on God's will. That is just pathetic!
@Sam. I pity you. Your wasting the only life and time you have believing in what amounts to as no more than a child's fairy tale. If everyone would dedicate themselves to "good," not "God," the world would be a much better place.
you know that people on BOTH sides can be moronic. this is just one of those times.
no one credits this type of dumb misunderstanding, when it come from a liberal, to obama saying it.. no wait..
as much as they put it to a conservative and make the unbelievable leap it is what romney also believes.
both damage the debate and hurt the victims first and formost.
Please tell m when President Obama, or any other member of his administration said this. Cite source.
@ Chance From the looks of your posts we think a bit alike on this topic.
God is all powerful and all seeing. We may not understand His ways, but he has a reason for everything He does. Even babies born from these circuumstances are still babies. Maybe we should be putting these ungrrateful mothers down for being so crruel. And just because you are ignorannt of God, does not mean you won't be judged for your words and actions once you pass. Keep that in mind.
I also had imaginary friends when I was a child, so I can completely relate to your beliefs.
"Maybe we should be putting these ungrrateful mothers down for being so crruel."
"ungrrateful" for being ra.ped?
Perhaps you're thinking, 'He had a reason for her being ra.ped. Perhaps, He'd like some snuff images too.'
Can you prove there is no God? Because I have just a bit of evidence that He does exist and that His son visited earth.
Judged where, by whom? How do you know? Because it says it in your book written by a group of rabbi's to curb thoughts and ideals. Your tunnel minded thoughts are very scary. you should take a step back at think about it.
What is your evidence that God exists, and that his son visited earth?
@Sam – can you share your evidence? Or are you sticking by man-made/written tales?
No, and I cannot prove there is no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny. I just don't agree with politicians making decisions that affect me based on fiction.
There is no judgement! You are all blasphemers and are my playthings for eternity hahahahaha, except for James T Kirk, I can't stand that guy!
You have all had it wrong all this time and when I make myself manifest again, then shall you know the wrath of Zeus!
It's called the word of God Himself dictated in the Bible, but I think you people are purposely pretending to be ignorant.
@Sam – No, I asked for something besides your man-made book. Ever read Dianetics? It's a book too!
Sam, you must know that we are mocking you mercilessly because you actually CAN'T prove your god exists, which it's your duty to do since you are making the extraordinary claim that it does. Once again, it's not up to anyone to prove god doesn't exist, I can look around and see that god does not exist. You make the claim, you back it up. Zeus is here, as well as Odin, so you need to take into account that there are other fables afoot. Using the bibble as proof doesn't work because it would be the same as me saying "The theory of evolution is true, because the book Darwin wrote SAYS it's true". We don't use the BOOK to prove evolution, we use repeatable experiments. So must you...
Boring fundie trolls are out in spades today, apparently.
No Sam, we are pitying you on your ignorance, stupidity and blind belief on bible (or rather politician's interpretation of it). Go get a life or take your own and do this world a great favor!
@Sam – if by fundie, you mean fundamental then right back atcha pal...I try to put the fun in fundamental – sounds like folks like you and Mourdock want to put the mental in fundamental.
"Maybe we should be putting these ungrrateful mothers down for being so crruel." Ignoring typing errors, What can one say to a statement such as this. It boggles the mind.
You, are a horror story waiting to happen.
"God is all powerful and all seeing. We may not understand His ways, but he has a reason for everything He does"
sounds more like you are trying to convince yourself that there must be a reason. afraid to face the possibility that there is no purpose to life? we just are? this is all there is?
If the bible is evidence for God then the Koran is evidence for Allah.
Sam; God's very own Troll.
So YOUR God made YOU for a reason? Damn! If that's not a scary thought!
Why do people find this controversial? Christians say everything is 'Gods will'...from traffic accidents, to burnt toast that resembles jesus, to being late for work.
Seems like feigned/manufactured outrage to me.
Rabbi Kushner summed it up: "“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.”
@Reasonably I wasn't really commenting on the topic of abortion nor was I aligning my views on the topic with his.
I was simply pointing out that those words are a fairly common part of a christian's vocabulary; and that I felt people were reading too much into them.
@Diraphe – your primary concern is Mourdock is in a position of power and since he doesn't think or act based on rational thought and has the powers to make laws as such this should scare you at least a little bit.
It's quite simple really...just assume there is no god and everything makes sense. No grappling with the issue of why a kind, loving god would allow so much evil and suffering in the world. No rationalizing or trying to find a higher meaning to anything. I would much rather believe that terrible things happen simply because of bad luck, than that it's god's will, or god could have stopped it but didn't.
That just makes too much sense for the religious folks to believe.
No need to "assume there is no god" because there is no God. I wish the far right would get this.
To God, we are giants. we are God's Kingdoms wherein our bodies do the Gods and the Godly take residence in all their built Life be it a single cell or multi-cellular or even trees. 1Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building. Luke 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Our being but buildings for the Godly to inhabit is a no-brainer when one believes scripture.
ndeed – it was NOT about religion.
It certainly was about taxes.-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. Read "The First AMerican" by Brant. Learn your own history.
Mourdock you are the taliban...
Even scarier, he's not alone.
Well that was very educational, thanks Me 2. Better to be accurate than comfortable if the information goes that way. I operated under the same misperception as the ACLU etc. Still, the FF's were against the influence of religion on govt and there can be no doubt about that, whatever the details. Reading their private writings makes that clear...
How anyone could vote for this piece of trash is beyond me. What if someone did this to his wife and kids and they committed suicide as a result. Would he still say god intended it? The intelligence or I should say, glaring lack of, never ceases to make me shake my head. Get these people out of where they can do harm to others. Have your view, fine, but keep it to yourself and live out your life without infecting the rest of the population with your degenerative bacteria of the brain.
Guess you better stop typing before your infection spreads too!
There is no GOD, so what does that have to do with anything? Gods will? Kidding? Who's God? This is all about the white haires and their votes. This will not be an issue in 10 years.
The true irony here is, a decision about abortion is one between the woman, the significant other, the woman's doctor, and her God. Government does not belong in the equation. Furthermore, by government attempting to assert themselves into the situation, they become busy-bodies who, like the gossipers that were spoken out against in the Bible, commit sin.
Every significant decision in someone's life does not require a government referee in order to be made properly.
Blasphemy! Government imposed will, is, by Mourdock's view, the will of his god. Submit!
I was watching one of the judge shows the other day and the defendent was refusing to pay child support because "God created abortion and she had a choice and she chose to keep the baby." Contrary to the norm right? My point is that people are always using god to get their own way. I agree with you. If someone believes something is a sin, don't do it but not everyone shares your belief.
If women don't want to get pregnant, then why do they dress like $2 whhores? Why should the government pay for their abortions when they are the ones putting themselves at risk? 90% of r_pe is date r_pe. That means these women are actually willing going out with these men. How can you even call that r_pe?
Your tinfoil hat is skewing your statistics.
Are you a poe or just that fucking stupid?
Bob. You are really a misogynist.
You'll have to look it up.
You MUST be a troll – nobody could be that stupid.
That stupid. Bob is.
You have expensive taste in "dates".
Dumb obvious poe
How very muslim of you to blame the victim! Perfect reasoning, "I saw her ankle, so I knew she wanted it, she's to blame for showing that nasty ankle. Will of allah, you know...." But of course christo sharia ites would advance that argument.
Pregnancies are either wanted or shunned and still people will ever want pregnancy's Act to do the pleasurable thang.
Well ain't s3x special?
If a nun is violated will the Church stand with her and raise her child?
You are a digusting human being
You are either a depraved moron, or trolling. I hope it is the latter.
Let me guess. Bob is voting for Romney and Sarah Palin is his hero.
Bob only knows what a '$2 whore' looks like because that's all he can afford. Plus, well. His mom.
Odin laughs at your puny gods!
Size and sizes of Life are Godly temptations not to be outdone by celestial giants that are us. We are cast out of Godly Kingdoms. 1Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.
The God of one's own body is not the God of the celestial cosmos and yet their lineages are linked.
Odin is still laughing.
VERILY, THE ALLFATHER LAUGHS AT SUCH TRIPE, I HAVE SEEN IT WITH MINE OWN EYES
I f. art my lightning bolt in your general directions puny ones! You still have not disproven my existence and you will suffer for your 2000 years of blasphemy!
If the Government forces women to give birth then the Government must pay women a salary and all costs associated with rising the child, including housing, education, health care, food etc...
Valid, but I don't want to pay for this...bad enough I have to pay for the rapist to be in jail.
Ok. Let's take that to the next level. The government says that you can't sell a Kidney on the market. Should they also be forced to pay you for the economic loss that Kidney could have provided?
The answer is no, by the way. The concept is just about as foolish as your idea.
THOU ART AN IGNORAMOUS
ONE CANNOT BE IMPREGNATED WITH A KIDNEY, NOT EVEN ON MIDGARD
Seriously I brought that point up in an earlier post, they just can't think past their noses...what a piece of crap that moudock is...and the whole party is lined up right behind him. They do not have a clue, we don't need the taliban running this country.
I think I know what these politicians are saying...out of a horrific act can come something beautiful, but, the way they keep on saying these things, it sounds terrible in an of itself. wish they would wise up to the state of the country as far as peoples views of their ideology.
If it comes from a horrible act, it is NOT a beautiful thing!
You wouldn't have the HUGE responsibility of raising that beautiful thing!
If it is a life, then it can be beautiful. Especially for my fellow Christians, how do you think you could become Christian? Christ was sinless, yes. But the lineage that God brought Christ through is full of adulterers, liars, murderers, thieves, etc. Out of the darkness of our existence, came Christ. Likewise you and I
"Christ was sinless, yes"
Depends what sin you are on about because boy did he lose his temper with the money lenders and become violent. Heck in today's society he would have most likely gotten jail time.
Mechanized' biologic cellular clemencies is Godly and our being but buildings created by God and God's kinds, for we will ever be cast and died wherever and whenever Life's living gives raise and rises to such challenges in enduring the fates of Life. To believe or not to believe are our challenges.
If you think your 'god' wants a woman to keep the child of her rapist, screw YOU AND your 'god'!!
No doubt, were that unborn child to have an audible voice, he or she would like the same chance at life you got.
The god of these nutters demands that if a young girl is ràped, she must marry her rapist and never get divorced.
The god of these nutters demands that if an engaged girl is ràped, and she doesn't yell loud enough, she must be stoned to death.
I wonder why these nutters don't obey their god?