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.
I didn't drive into the tree, I elected not to turn the steering wheel when the road curved. Huuuuuge difference. God created the rapist, gave him free choice, knew the rap3 would happen (god knows the future right?), had the power to stop it, and did not. It's not that it was gods will. Huuuuuuge difference.
The problem is that fairy tale belivers have brainwashed everyone to talk about life like it's a black and white issue. They think that a fertilized human egg is a "person" simply because it has a string of amino acids making up a DNA molecule. At that point in the process of pregnancy and life, it's not any different from an ant. As the zygote develops, it becomes increasingly more valuable to the mother, family, and society, and this value is what should determine any decision to terminate, not some religious fanatics masquerading as politicians.
To reduce the meaning of a person to such a meaningless bunch of molecules is a slap in the face to every real person, child, adult, valedictorian, president, and anyone who can realize that to be human means a lot more than just having some amino acids strung together.
1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.
Our bodies being but "buildings" in God's eyes should make it simple when considering an abortion then? Women are aborting God's buildings are they not? To God and God's Godly, it doesn't matter much if a building is built or destroyed.
How do you explain evil in a world where God is loving? Evil exists and God doesn't.
That or God is not loving.
Re-incarnate life is God's will since death has entered into the biological mainframes. Damn cellular servers! darn genetic notebooks! Bio-Physical Computers are so corruptable!.
religion + drugs = this guy
When an earthquake killed over 200,000 people in Haiti and an outbreak of disease killed even more was that God's will ?
Could one of the believers participating on this forum explain why God would will such suffering among his people, many of whom were devout believers or innocent children ?
Simple: Everyone dies eventually. Death is part of "life".
That still doesn't justify the WILLFUL MURDER of life.
A naturally occurring death is fundamentally different than a willful killing in EVERY moral and ethical philosophy, not just Christianity.
"A naturally occurring death is fundamentally different than a willful killing in EVERY moral and ethical philosophy, not just Christianity."
not if you claim its god's will or that he has reason for doing things it isnt.
It's only "naturally occurring" because God supposedly made it that way. How does God justify instilling such suffering in the world?
and that's why Monotheism is a lie
ME II: You are being deliberately obtuse. Every moral and ethical philosophy recognizes a clear difference between accidents or natural occurrences and willful acts of killing.
If you don't believe in God, that is your choice. But murder is still different than a death from an earthquake.
Celestial Life outgrew the Kingdoms of God. We, us, our bodies are celled-in structures much like prisons to be containments of and for the Godly who did not see reason to outgrow the boundaries of God's Kingdoms. We who have found one's ways thru prenatal biogenesis and became the spirit embodied increments of atomic structure have left the Kingdom of Godliness to be their godly form/building. WE are the bodies and the Kingdoms of the Godly who left nothing to chance when our spiritual plights from the atomic cosmos sent us to places within the atomic cosmos to become stuck-in-the-mud' eye-placements.
Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.
Eat & drink your fill for your body's/buildings' sakes and the buildings' residents' sakes!
"But murder is still different than a death from an earthquake."
again, not if you claim its part of god's plan it isnt. If you want to claim everything happens for a reason, and that god controls everything then no, there is no difference.
If you believe natural is natural and god had nothing to do with it then sure there is a difference.
The problem is that fairy tale belivers have brainwashed everyone to talk about life like it's a black and white issue. They think that a fertilized human egg is a "person" simply because it has a string of amino acids making up a DNA molecule. To reduce the meaning of a person to such a meaningless bunch of molecules is a slap in the face to every real person, child, adult, valedictorian, president, and anyone who can realize that to be human means a lot more than just having some amino acids strung together.
For us mere mortal, true.
But for someone who supposedly designed the whole thing the distinction is mute. The system causes suffering. In philosophy I think this is called Theodicy.
(can't believe I did that)
don't you wish there was an edit button?
I sure do.
I keep praying for one, but....
Mourdock probably wishes he had an edit button too. Not because he mispoke, but because he spoke of his true self – not the talking points he was supposed to memorize.
Just like his buddy on the science committee???, Todd Akin.
Larry, you're ignoring the fact that god created the mechanism for these natural disasters. Not only that, but he knew that they'd occur and that they'd kill people, yet he allowed that to happen. If I constructed a building that I knew was prone to failure and then it collapsed and people died, that would be a moral failing on my part. If I constructed a building that I knew would collapse at 10:45am next May 22nd and kill 537 people in the process, I'd be called a murderer. Yet god gets excused for doing exactly this, despite the fact that it is clearly wrong. I'd suggest that either god is not all-knowing, or he's not all-powerful, or that he is not moral, or that he just doesn't exist.
What's even worse is many religious folks' belief in hell. After god kills those people he then decides to torture most of them for eternity, because, uh, they didn't believe in Jesus? If you believe in hell then you worship a deranged, evil god.
well you know ... prayer changes things
Here was me thinking that it was transfiguration charms that 'change' things.
Anyone who says that *anything* is "God's will" is indistinguishable from the philosophy of occasionalism that is very common in Islam.
12th century Muslim theologian Al-Ghazali embraced a form of theological occasionalism, or the belief that all causal events and interactions are not the product of material conjunctions but rather the immediate and present Will of God.
It is written ...
Some, like Neil De Grasse Tyson argue Al-Ghazali's philosphy caused the 12th century decline in Muslim science. This same thinking in Christian fundamentalism could do the same to western science.
200,000 devout believers and innocent children that are now in the loving arms of my father I am happy for any true Faith Brother or Sister of any age that has past because I know that even atm of death they knew right where they was going and that any fear was swapped away and Love filled their hearts to the max More than they have ever known Man I so can not wait .
Note that while "compassionate" Christians won't say "it was gods will", they do believe god knew it would happen, had the power to stop it, and did nothing. To the same extent you can see a practical difference, god is not responsible.
Once again: we have free will. So even if God "knows" about an evil act that is a MAN'S WILL, He may allow it to occur.
"Once again: we have free will. So even if God "knows" about an evil act that is a MAN'S WILL, He may allow it to occur"
what about the free will of the victim not to be a victim? it seems to be that the only person who has free will is the criminal and not the victims. Why didnt god allow the attempt but save the victim? isnt the mere attempt of the act enough to be counted as a sin to god?
if a "god" knows what is going to happen that means you have no free will to choose.
Larry. If there were a god and he knew, then that makes it god's will (as he/she/it chose to allow it).
Yeah I know that God knew right when and where the evil act will take place. you non Faith Brothers and Sisters need to realize that just because he knows does not mean he can do anything about it you must see it from an authority point of view has the Victim been in line with the word of God if not then God yes might allow something to happen if the victim has walked a life of Christian Faith and Love then yes God might allow the Perpetrator to get deathly ill and need to be hospitalized or let them even get hit by a car the day before and in doing so stopped the perpetrator from being able to be there and commit the crime or violation against the victim and yes I know this article is about some fast talkin know nothin ape man and his statement about abortion In the case of the 12 year old girl It does pain me a little to think that something of this magnitude should ever be allowed to happen and yes I can see the point of non Faith people saying if God was here watching over us then why allow a little child to go through this. Well he is God an all powerful all seeing all knowing divine Creator he has seen much and been around for much time uncountable years and can look away without the feeling of guilt look at what he let happen to his chosen people the Israelites much pain has befallen Israel but look now they are back in power of their homeland yes I know that we helped and made much happen for them but at the same time if God had not set it upon man's heart to build boats and sail the ocean in search of new land and opportunity of freedom of choice of Religion and freedom from taxation without representation this fine USA would not be here...well in it's present status to have helped Israel get back in it's rightful land. Oh and yes it is the land of the Israelites it was thousands of years ago and it will be for ever what makes occupation of one's land ok in the first place I mean they was cast out from their land not by their own weakness but because that of God's will was not being done in the nation as a whole which brings me to this statement if not for God this fine land of the USA might be in the hands of another dictator look back to what has happen in this Country since it's conception we have had or been in this many wars French and Indian War (1754-1763) colonial militias
American Revolution (1775-1783)
War of 1812 (1812-1814)
Mexican-American War (1846-1848)
US Civil War (1861-1865)
Spanish-American War (1898)
World War 1 (1914-1918) entered 1917
World War 2 (1939-1945) entered 1941
Korean War (1950-1953*) (*not over, but fighting ceased)
Vietnam War (1964-1975) advisers sent beginning 1955
Gulf War (1991)
War in Afghanistan (2001-present) supported tribal war against Taliban
Iraq War (2003-present) Iraqi regime overthrown 2003. so lets think about the dispensation of time here other world countries hmm thousands of years and have had land taken from them and have taken it back over and over Israel is no exception and if they would have had the power to take the land of Israel back without help they would have and what is so wrong with that the Palestinians had stole it from them anyway I say let Israel be Israel and let the Arab Palestinians go Assimilate back into the Arab lands I mean this is what it's all about right Israel gets Bombed and they retaliate and oh no them durn Israelites should not be attacking their attackers oh no can't have that.
It's time for the progressive atheists to pay up for the imaginary Beastie god they have created instead of forcing and bullyin' their neighbors into payin'. The mob got that wrong on their version of 'loving thy neighbor'. Remember the military draft that they fouled up?
What the hell are you talking about....
For those not in the know, Beasts are gubmints. Sorry, don't want you to feel left out.
wow...somebody...I won't say who...is loaded/stoned or something!
Why is it that when there is are totally incomprehensible posts, ones that are not only grammatical disasters but also truly make not a lick of sense, why are those always from religious people?
"progressive atheists to pay up for the imaginary Beastie god they have created"
Wait! So now the US (and its "gubmint") was founded by progressive atheists? Who woulda thunk it?
Blammo, as ye sow, so shall ye reap.
The progressives had to 'fix things' with their amendments. That's an old mob saying, 'The fix is in!'
Keep abortion safe and legal. If you don't like abortion, don't get one. Don't judge those who do.
By analogy: Keep murder and theft safe and legal. If you don't want to murder and steal, don't do it. But don't "impose your morality" upon murderers and thieves.
@larry.. as opposed to saying "I come up with my own definitions and moralities – like people getting out of their car on the right side are sinners – and I MUST force it on everyone around me! Make my delusion a law or I will play the persecution card"
"By analogy: Keep murder and theft safe and legal. If you don't want to murder and steal, don't do it. But don't "impose your morality" upon murderers and thieves."
if the argument used against murder and theft was religious ones then actually that would be a good analogy, but it isnt so no, not really.
Larry: By all legal definitions (the bible does not get included here) abortion is legal and therefore not murder! If life begins at conception, as most christians believe, then your god is the biggest murderer out there given the number of miscarriages that occur every day.
The Bible actually has legal codes that make clear that killing a fetus is not equivalent to killing a human. Specifically, it says that if a man strikes a woman and she miscarries, the man must pay a fine determined between the woman's husband and a judge. But if a man strikes a woman and she dies, then the man must be executed.
That's from Exodus, which is over 2500 years old. It's crazy that people back then had a better understanding of these things than a large percentage of the population today. It's also crazy that the people who claim to believe the Bible as literal truth will ignore passages like these because they don't coincide with their preconceived (non-Biblical) beliefs.
Oh, shut up. No one cares what women think, so stop deluding yourselves.
obvious troll is obvious
You simpletons need to understand that there is a difference between atheists, muslims, and the true teachings of the One true God. You can rationalize it all you want, but I know that the Bible and the words of Jesus are the correct message passed onto Him from God Himself.
The simpletons are the people who believe in fairy tales.
Sam your posts are all basically "Herpa derp derp, lololol hell lololol fundie fundie fundie". I hope you can get some help before it's too late
Whatever gets you to sleep at night, Sam
You want to worship a mass murdering terrorist go right ahead. It is a free country.
"And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead." (Exodus 12:29-30)
(terrorism – killing those with no political power to force political change by those with political power)
Simpleton Sam found his Lamb and only now learns it was the result of God the rapist.
are you wrong
well, you are the simpleton if you do not recognize that your same argument is used by every religious person concerning their own religion. They know with certainty that their version is the only one true version.. how did you miss that?
Oh....dear God...and I don't even mean YOUR true God
we are being tortured!!!
A gift from a violent rapist is not a gift from God!
well, technically, that's how Jesus was conceived................
Yeah, god pretty much snuck one in on Mary, that was not nice at all
There apparently are exceptions. Pope Benedict isn't always right, even though he is God's messenger!
This country will not move forward if we cannot put our differences on fairy tales, myths, and ignorance is behind us.
i like my fairy tales; fairies happen to be my ancestors and myths the just over exaggerated
but the ignorance can go
God doesn't like violence and r@p3? we are not reading the same bible. God loves violence and r@p3 actually he commands it.
What ever happened to the separation of church and state? Politicians should not be religious. In fact, why do we continue to put our trust in politicians anyways? All politicians are good for is lying to get elected. They don't know how to fix the economy, what a good foreign policy is, etc. All they know how to do is fill the wallet's of private interest groups as well as their own. We should be electing experts, people who actually know what they are doing.
And when was the last time one of these experts ran for election?
Not in the past 52 years that I've been eligible to vote.
Do these ignorant insensitives EVER listen to the garbage that falls out of their mouths???
Only when they're claiming they were misquoted or "misunderstood".
only when the public react negatively to their words..
Why is this the top article on CNN's political section? Wee bit biased for Obama.
It is the will of God that none should perish, but that all should have everlasting life. Man confuses his will with God's will. Bad things are not God's will, but he does allow them to happen, just as he gives us the choice of following him or rejecting him.
If god is omniscient and omnipotent then everything that happens is his will. If god willed something different to happen it would.
Re-incarnate is God's will since death has entered into the mainframe. Damn servers! darn notebook! Computers are so corruptable.
god is the answer for those who do not think
Nice Horseman14 you said what I have been trying to remember for hours now St. John 3:15-16
To think that this doofus Mourdock could potentially be our next senator here in Indiana. I am so ashamed of being a Hoosier right now.
Don't be! Enough intelligent people in your state need to vote him out! I can't believe what theses people are saying in this day and age...first Akin, now Mourdock...what is wrong with them...
2Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING the word of truth.
if you believe in the Bible you should know that a person recieves a soul when it is born and has its first breath of air.
God's will? What is he a Muslim? Where is his dang birth certificate???
Apparently god is a republican since he only seems to speak to them.
Of course a number of serial murders also claimed that god spoke to them.
Could it be that these folks are confusing god with the devil?