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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Rape • Women

soundoff (4,449 Responses)
  1. donner

    What kind of woman could vote for this filth?

    October 29, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  2. MashaSobaka

    This is why religion needs to be kept on a very tight leash.

    October 29, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • What???

      I must admit that this guy is an idiot but I challenge you to put me and my beliefs on a chain!!! I have heard this before kind of stuff before and I would die before I let you or anybody put me back in chains!!!

      October 29, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • sam stone

      Put you back in chains? When were you in chains?

      October 30, 2012 at 6:50 am |
    • sam stone

      What???: When were you in chains?

      October 30, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • sam stone

      Apparently, What??? doesn't have the courage to answer a question

      November 1, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  3. mama k

    I think this shows just how dangerous and ignorant religion is and its only going to get worse if we let it

    October 29, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • MashaSobaka

      Give these people anarchy and guns and they'd morph into the Taliban overnight.

      October 29, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  4. Person of Interest

    “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.”

    Amen Rabbi.

    October 29, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  5. Nietodarwin

    Would these beliefs and proposed policies apply to the wives and daughters of Ryan, Akin, Mourdock, etc.???????

    October 29, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  6. Nietodarwin

    Religion is mental illness. Unfortunately, it is not fatal , like say Alzeimers. Do you think Jesus even knew that the Earth revolves around the sun.? Do you think Jesus had a basic understanding of biology, of (even Newtonian) physics? Will all you people who pray just crawl in a hole and pray away. YOU ARE DESTROYING HUMAN LIFE ON EARTH, (one of your favorite themes, but you say it's a "god" GET HELP

    October 29, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Athy

      That would make far too much sense for most religious people to even begin to grasp.

      October 29, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  7. Corey

    People have it wrong. Jesus didn't come into this world to change culture or laws, he came to change hearts! No matter if you're a christian or not God has given you free will. Getting an abortion is no different from stealing, or lying. We all fall short of God's Glory in our own ways. Once the politcal leaders in this country realize that and focus on the two commandments that Jesus gave: To Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself, this world would be a better place. No matter what someone does we are here to love them and walk with them.

    October 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      Darwin didn't come to the word to change culture or laws, he came to lay the entire foundation for biology as we know it, as Einstein did for physics years later. Get your religion out of my face, out of science, and out of government. You people already have the right to practice your lunacy, (and tax free at that) SHUT UP and let the world survive, all religion is poison and detrimental to the survival of our species.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      This world would be a better place????? You make me laugh. People like YOU are destroying the world. Take your religion to church, buy a chick fil A sandwich on the way home. Get OUT OF THE WAY if you can't lend a hand to "make the world a better place."

      October 29, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • sam stone

      corey: elected officials are not there to codify your religious beliefs

      October 29, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Ronald Regonzo

      They will be sam they will be. Romney / Ryan 2012

      October 29, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian. .

      October 29, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • jarhead333

      With religion or without, tell me what is wrong with Corey's statement. Loving others, treating our neighbor as ourself, doesn't sound illogical. Unfortunately the Biblical principles that Corey is speaking about are not practiced by all Christians. You seem pretty fussy and angry at Christians. Fact is most Christians do not try to condemn others.

      October 29, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Russell's Teapot

      Ronald: Good to know that all you seek in an elected official is one that will pander to all your petty needs. It is people such as yourself (those not given to compromise) that have bogged down the political process with partisan posturing/grandstanding

      October 29, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  8. Nietodarwin

    Today's GOP is delusional, brainwashed, and downright evil. This election shouldn't be close, and it's sad that it is, and a disaster if they win. If you vote GOP, you are voting for the ENEMIES of our DEMOCRACY. The Taliban are the enemies of the people of the United States, as are the Talibangelicals who run the GOP today.

    October 29, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  9. Cheryl

    Eric, What did God reply in answer to your question of why?

    October 29, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  10. donner

    The world is run by people that show up. You better tell your friends and any intelligent folks to get out and vote for Obama. Imagine a 7-2 Supreme Court with nut jobs like this on it. They will make laws I will not abide by. and there will be civil war. Literally. If the diaper wearing Mormon messiah is elected, America will decline immediately. And never recover.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • jarhead333

      That is some speculation that even CNN wouldn't make. How would the country decline and "never recover?" Seems to be declining as we speak with the current administration.

      October 29, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Russell's Teapot

      Jarhead: This country was in serious decline BEFORE Obama took office, since he has been in office the country has experienced a rebound of sorts. Are we where we were before the recession hit? No, however before the recession hit, America was riding on an artificial high, a high that was created thru unstable bubbles (housing, financial). But even if we disregard all that, just how much did you expect Obama to accomplish when House Republicans publicly vowed to do all they could to ensure a one term presidency?

      October 29, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • jarhead333

      I agree Russell, the country was not in the best shape when Obama took office. But what did he do when he first took office? He shoved a terrible healthcare bill, ridden with other legislation that was slipped in there. The government approval rating is at an all time low, yet people want the government in charge of their healthcare? While anyone probably would need more than 4 years to repair this country, it is my opinion that he did not do enough. Clamping down on big business (that employs 50% of Americas population) is not going to promote growth.

      October 30, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • donner

      Why would America never recover? This is a christian country. If we elect a non Christian cult member, Jesus Christ will turn his back on us. Any other stupid questions?

      October 30, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    October 28, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Jonathan Delafield

      Ahh ... our favorite drunk, mumbling in the corner, is back

      October 28, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Blarg

      Pics or it didn't happen.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • another repentant sinner

      Prayer changed my life. Churches are filled with living pictures of Salvation, I AM one.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "cristopher hitchens" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"
      This troll is not a christian.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  12. Hmmmmm

    So if these right wing republicans want to ban invitro fertilization and force women who have been r a p e d to have the child with their person-hood amendment, maybe we should just hook up the apparently virile r a p i s t s with the women who are trying to get pregnant, right republicans? Just legalize dark rooms you can send your Christian wives who are trying to get pregnant to go loiter and if they happen to get r a p e d and pregnant then it's all good with their God...but letting a doctor put an egg and sp.erm together and it's time to call the cops...

    October 28, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • macsuirtain

      I agree. Who are these uncaring greater than thou types. The victim must make a choice in this . Why does some disconnected zealot get the air time?

      October 29, 2012 at 12:14 am |
  13. Mike P

    "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...."

    I continue to be bemused by so-called rabbis who reject the teachings of their own scriptures to support things God never condoned.

    "Someone getting pregnant through [force] simply means biology continues to function," Reese said. "That doesn’t mean God wills it."

    As if God is powerless to prevent biology from functioning if He so chose.

    October 28, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Russell's Teapot

      And I continue to be bemused by christians who pick and choose which scripture they would like to follow and quote as if the bible were just another cafeteria menu. Plenty of them cannot help but to reference Leviticus when condemning others for living in sin, yet gloss over the other text that pertains to their own sinful lives. And was it not mentioned in Romans that chrisitians are to abide by the rules of whatever government they find themselves living under?

      October 29, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  14. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    October 28, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  15. splassher6

    'SPECIAL REPORT' INVESTIGATES BENGHAZI — NEW REVELATIONS. Watch Sunday @ 3 and 10pm ET on FOX news, the number one news network in the USA. Sorry CNN, even you cannot stop the truth from coming out. Try real news for a change. Perhaps your viewers will appreciate it.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If Fox is so great, why do they need some schmuck like to you to troll for viewers over here?

      October 28, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • tallulah13

      It's amazing how "new revelations" are so often just the same incendiary exaggerations, repackaged for those that already believe.

      How's this for a "revelation": Fox news and the republican party are trying to profit from the death of US citizens. I suspect they are thrilled that Americans died in Libya, because it gives them a weapon. What a shameless lot. Where was this "righteous" indignation when former President Bush blatantly lied his way into the war against Iraq, causing the deaths of thousands of Americans?

      October 28, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • mama k

      Of course everyone knows that Fox News is a horribly unreliable news source. So slanted it's almost vertical.

      October 28, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Fact

      I do not watch Fox for news, I watch it for a few laughs and occasional indigestion as it shows how mentally challenged such a large portion of the electorate are. It would be funnier if it just weren't so sad. It feels sometimes like watching the special Olympics of news, no offense to the amazing athletes at the real special Olympics who are not claiming to be any faster or stronger than they really are, unlike Fox that often toots it's own horn as being "Fair and Balanced" or "Number 1 News" which is like the fastest of the special Olympics swimmers, as fast as they really are, claiming they are faster than Michael Phelps... it would diminish the achievements of the swimmer by adding liar or at best "dreamer" to his resume...

      October 28, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • donner

      The only people that think Fox Fake News is legit still have an outhouse in the backyard. When Fox News is destroyed and the people that work there disgraced, only then will it be morning in America,

      October 28, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • jarhead333

      You have no idea what was going on in the middle east during the Bush administration. As a member of the military I deployed to Iraq. The news did not report on the lives that were saved, and continue to be saved to this day by being liberated from an EVIL dictator. Do I like the pretenses we went in under, no. It had to be done though. The media is a group of extremists that manipulated Americans with footage in order to fit their agenda. If you think this country is so aweful, move to Ramadi, Falluja, or Haditha. I'm sure they would love to have you.

      October 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Russell's Teapot

      If CNN is so awful, then why, pray tell, are you on their website, posting on their boards, shilling for another network?

      October 29, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Russell's Teapot

      Jarhead: Things are better now in Iraq now that Saddamn is gone? Could have fooled me. What with the constant sectarian violence, the whole nearly descending into civil war, and the death squads that are financed by the now disgraced fugitive vice president. I commend you for your service, but don't kid yourself, the war in Iraq was not a necessity or even a growing urgency. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Thousands of our soldiers died as a result of this fabrication not to mention hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's. It is not America's job to police the world, though if it were, one would at least expect some consistency

      October 29, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Russell's Teapot

      Why is it that when someone has the 'audacity' to question or criticize an action by the US government, the first response by a conservative is "If you don't like it here, then you can move" I'm fairly certain that what makes this country great, is that the people have the power to elect whomever they choose. If we don't like the current policies, the impetus is not on the the disillusioned to pack up and leave, but rather to send the wayward official his pink slip.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
  16. Terri Baker

    I personally refuse to vote for any dictator who thinks they have the right to make health care decisions for women or anyone else. Women are people too. We have the right to make reproductive decisions. We are not subhuman if we make decisions that may not be popular with the catholic church or some man who just wants to bully and oppress us.There is a clear separation of church and state in this country for very good reasons. If women let some of these looney far righters have their way, they'd want to take away our right to vote too. We've already won the right to vote, so if women value their worth as human beings who deserve to be treated as equals to a man, they'd vote for Obama.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • jarhead333

      "A dictator that makes your health care decisions?" Do you even see the irony in that? The president wants government health care. Do you honestly believe that when government rules health care that you are going to have the final say in health care decisions. If you only mean abortion, then that is fine, but you are painting with a broad ironic brush. It's laughable that the government has its lowest approval rating, yet people want them in charge of their health care. Rediculous.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Athy

      Very well written and very true, Terri Baker. Jarhead, the word is "ridiculous", not "rediculous".

      October 29, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • jarhead333

      All you have is to point out a spelling error? I will assume that you feel the rest of my statement is correct.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Russell's Teapot

      Jarhead: If gov. run health care were truly so terrible, then I would expect to find most European countries ranked below the US across the board as it relates to the overall health of a nation. But as fate would have it, the US is lagging behind in nearly every major category save for obesity and childhood diabetes. Socialized medicine is not the devil you make it out to be. And given your arguments against, I am forced to conclude that you are woefully misinformed

      October 29, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Athy

      I second the motion.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      'Gen 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.'

      October 29, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • jarhead333

      You think lack of healthcare is the reason for childhood diabetes and obesity? Laughable. It's about stupid parents. Also, the United States is unique, and can't really be compared to European countries. People complain about the government all the time, hence the lowest approval rating in history. It's hypocritical to turn around and want to give them control of healthcare. Most Democrats say they want more freedom, yet they want a floundering government to have the final say in their healthcare? I know many Canadians who hate their form of government healthcare.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • sam stone

      jarhead: many republicans say they want smaller government, but they want a say in who can marry who or what drugs people can put in their own bodies. hypocrisy is not solely the province of democrats

      November 1, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  17. Timothy Rea

    Ref. the media morons trying to embarrass Richard Mourdock:

    God foreknows and foresees all things. He is omniscient. He is always right and never wrong about anything. He is infallible. I am fallible.
    If my definition of right and wrong is at odds with His then I am simply wrong.
    In Genesis 50:20, Joseph tells his brothers; "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good".

    October 28, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Charles

      Assuming that there is one, all that we supposedly know about God's opinion about anything comes from a book, the Bible, that was written by fallible men, so your argument crumbles entirely. God may be infallible, but everything we know about him comes filtered through people, so we have no way knowing what actually comes from him, or not.

      Of course, there very idea that there is a God, and that he is infallible could very well be just another human invention, right?

      October 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Mourdock embaras.sed himself. Just as you are doing. Until such time as you can prove the existence of your god (or any god) and confirm that the bible is indeed his word, it is not for you to speak for god. In the United States, abortion is legal, and I think that one of the best reasons for keeping it so is so that any woman (or child) who finds herself pregnant after a se.xual as.sault can abort the unwanted result of that crime.

      It is shameful that politicians and creeps such as yourself wish to continue the victimization of a victim. Your smug false piety does not take precedence of the well being of the person who is actually affected by this sort of event.

      October 28, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Southpaw

      Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
      Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
      Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
      Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

      A rather well known quote. Though I will bring this up as well. If god is all foreknowing and forseeing, which would mean he knows of everything that is to come and everything that will happen, then does that truthfully mean we have free will? If we do not have free will, does that not mean we are incapable of committing evil acts, since they actions have already been predetermined for us?

      October 29, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • sam stone

      timmy: god is punishing people for doing what he knew they would be doing? sounds like a petty, vindictive pri!ck to me. is that what appeals to you?

      October 29, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Russell's Teapot

      Its just too bad that the god of the OT is cruel, vindictive, petty, jealous, murderous, take your pick of any negative adjective. Were a man to do today what god condoned or commanded his followers to do in the OT, the man would be apprehended and executed for war crimes. As far as the whole foresees and knows all before it happens nonsense, this would mean that god created man, knowing full well that the vast majority of humanity would spend an eternity in torment solely due to the misfortune of being born to an area that either hasn't heard the 'good word' or never got the chance to convert. Some infinite love that is

      October 29, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • jarhead333

      You amaze us with your wealth of biblical knowledge. I'm not sure you even understand biblical principals.

      October 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  18. mama k

    Chad paraphrased something I wrote – his version of what I wrote is this: " . . so, let me get this straight. . . .Our founding fathers allowed, encouraged, and led prayers in public meetings such as graduations and congressional meetings, they included appeals to God in their official doc uments, BUT, they knew it was unconsti tutional, which reflected their desires for the country.
    so, they knowingly behaved in unconst itutional behaviour, but knew they could get away with it because the country was predominately Christian at the time???"

    Almost, Chad. And I will admit that my last post was not as clear as it should have been. But first, you have to remember two important things that you did not include here that is from my original post that must be considered to understand these complex individuals and how it influenced the key documents that we live by today.

    1. The key framers like Madison and Jefferson were furious with the fighting and persecution that was going on in their home state between different Christian sects. Madison was furious, mostly with his own kind, the Episcopalians who were persecuting Baptists in Virginia. They were not the only ones having this problem.

    2. Deism heavily influenced these key framers.

    Now, in light of #1 and #2, I believe I can clarify both what I wrote and your version of it:

    You mentioned prayer performed by the founding fathers at graduations, etc. Occasional participation in religious activities and traditional/ceremonial reference to religion in speeches and prayers most likely had little to do with the key goals of the key framers of the Constitution.

    More importantly, it has been widely accepted that both Jefferson and Madison were fervent supporters of the separation of church and state and worked tirelessly in support of it. This is evident in the many writings on the subject by Jefferson and Madison (some of which I have referenced far above this reply).

    Because the key framers were primarily Christian and because they operated in government with mutual civility, and because they were just forming the Constitution, it is unlikely, that initially there would have been any thought to changing how they did business, how they behaved in government with respect to religious references that might indicate a preference of one over the other or applying one's religion in federal law. Their attention and immediate concern was with was their constituencies, where many people were being persecuted over religious issues. To give you an example of something outside of Virginia, Quakers were being hung in Massachusetts over religious issues.

    From Madison's initial efforts for religious freedom, through his role as chief architect of the Const</bitution, and on until the end of his life, he only became more and more a fervent support of maximum separation of church and state. During his presidency, he vetoed two bills that he believed would violate the separation of church and state. You can find documents available at the Library of Congress web site indicating that James Madison came to oppose the long-established practice of employing chaplains at public expense in the House of Representatives and Senate on the grounds that it violated the separation of church and state and the principles of religious freedom. So as time went on, we do in fact see that he is thinking about further adherence to the then-ratified Amendment.

    None of this means he wasn't a religious man, or that he didn't believe in God, but he had very strong views on religious influence on the U.S. government and what religious freedoms people should be afforded.

    So, no, Chad – I don't believe the framers didn't [Chad:]"knowingly behaved in unconst itutional behaviour". They just wrote the darn thing. They were just barely starting to learn about how it might be applied. And since, we've learned a few more key things. (Like prayer in schools where we now have a larger percentage of non-Christians in attendance.)

    Chad also wrote: "Fortunately, your nonsense is easily refuted simply be reading the opinions of the founding fathers, looking at their legislation."

    No Chad – if you look at opinions by the key framers specifically pertaining to the Constitution and the 1st Amendment, you will see a consistent adherence to the concept of separation of church and state.

    October 28, 2012 at 3:58 am |
    • mama k

      Sorry – this is a reply that belongs on page 64 – I will copy it there and clean up some emboldening. -mk

      October 28, 2012 at 4:00 am |
  19. Urafkntool

    R-a–p-e and i-n–c-es-t are the only two reasons for a-bor-ti-on to be allowed. There is no other reason. There is birth control, there is a-b-s-tin–e-nce. There's nothing anyone can say that will be able to prove anything else.

    October 27, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No one has to say a word, dumbfvck. The SCOTUS already said what matters. You're useless, superfluous, and a blight on humanity.

      October 27, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I really have to wonder about idiots like you. Do you think a woman who is carrying a fetus that's been diagnosed with microcephaly should be forced to carry the pregnancy to full term, you moron?

      I swear, if your mother knew what a fvckin' chucklehead you'd turn out to be, she'd be a pro-choice advocate all the way.

      October 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Yep

      If your mother had known how stupid you'd turn out to be, Ura, she'd have been justified in aborting you.

      October 27, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Urafkntool

      You people are so incredibly stupid. When you decide to have relations, you decide to take responsibility for your actions. If the child is going to have any disorder, you HANDLE it like an ADULT. This isn't playtime, nobody has a right to decide who lives and who dies. If they did, I'd have decided on both of you a long time ago, and laughed while you were executed

      October 27, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What a boob. You have no say in the matter, dear. You're all of 14.

      October 27, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Yep

      You don't know what microcephaly is, do you?

      I'm not surprised. Those affected are often unaware.

      October 27, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      There are plenty of reasons to have an abortion. I live in a country where abortion is legal and sometimes recommended in certain cases.

      Here's a reason you don't think is justifiable: The mother's life is in danger. Imagine being a child and your mother died giving birth to a younger sibling because getting an abortion was illegal. How could you feel righteous depriving a child of his mother. If you support this kind of law, you're just as guilty of killing the mother in my eyes.

      Here's another reason that may not fit in with your "black and white" view of the world: Some of us cannot in good conscious bring a child with deformities into this world. I understand that some people are faced with this choice and decide to do that and love that child all the same. I don't judge these people. They no doubt did what they feel is right. My wife and I have made our personal choice as well. To us, it's not fair to the child to be surrounded by healthy children who get to run around and play while they might be confined to a wheelchair for life. Like I said, I hold no judgement or animosity toward people who find it acceptable to force a child into that kind of existence. That is between them and their conscience.

      October 27, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Godfree, I empathize with you and your wife.

      It's small comfort, I know, but I'll wager Urafkntool has never faced a decision of more import than which pair of blue jeans to wear.

      October 27, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Urafkntool

      Whatever Dumb, Dumb. Yes, I'm well aware of "microcephaly." It's what liberals suffer because their heads are shoved so far up their a-s-s-e-s that they can't see reality when it slaps them in the face.

      October 27, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Damocles


      Funny you should mention reality when you understand so little of it.

      October 27, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Stupid as-s hole christian

      Urafkntool If the child is going to have any disorder, you HANDLE it like an ADULT.

      I hope in your next life you come back as one of the disordered that was not aborted. You spend all your life learning to compensate for your disorder before you start condemning parents for having mercy on their fetus and aborting it. How dare you talk the talk before you have walked the walk!

      October 28, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Urafkntool

      Actually, I'm a voice of knowledge and experience on this issue. One of my uncles was born with severe physical handicaps, including both feet being clubbed, his legs twisted, and his hips deformed. Instead of having him aborted, my grandmother took her responsibility seriously and raised him. He's had more surgeries than any of you will ever have. Still managed to do most of what he wanted to do with life, including saving mine at one point.

      One of my cousins was born with a half functioning heart and one lung with 10% capacity. He's had tons of surgeries, but his father still took responsibility and is raising him even to this day.

      My own daughter was born with a hole in her heart and a severely narrowed aortic arch. Instead of having her aborted, I've done what a decent person and a loving parent would do and taken care of my child, my responsibility.

      To the guy who faced the possibility of losing the mother while gaining the child... yes, that would be a VERY hard choice to make, but my wife made it for me. She said if she gets pregnant and her life is at risk, the child must be born, period. I respect her wishes even though it would put me in tremendous pain to live without her.

      Again, it all comes down to the unwillingness to accept responsibility for choices.

      October 28, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • tallulah13


      Your family sounds like a genetic mine-field. I'm not trying to be cruel, but perhaps your relatives should find a reputable geneticist and test for any obvious problems before starting families. Or if you all live in the same area, you should see if there is any toxic waste sites nearby.

      October 28, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Jen

      None of those disabilities you describe come close to the severity of microcephaly, which has no available treatments. Parents just get to watch their children suffer until their early death. Not the case with the ailments you describe; which are all very treatable. One of my daughters has a disability as well, but I think it is disgusting to imply that all disabilities are somehow equal. I would never have aborted my child for her disability, but I would not give birth to a child where there is no treatment and the only thing the child has to look forward to is suffering and death.

      Your wife has every right to decide to continue to carry a blastocyst/embryo/fetus if her life is on danger. I am 39 weeks pregnant and would never have carried this baby if it meant my life (I've been hospitalized several times but have never been in a direct life or death situation). I would never leave my two other very young children motherless. That to me is the most selfish thing possible. They need me more than anyone else in the world. To pick an embryo over a one year old is beyond selfish.

      October 28, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Urafkntool

      @tallulah: You're not saying anything that I haven't already said. My family is weird for genetic maladies. I do know that the individuals named all were born in different locations, so who knows what the issue is.

      Thing is, no matter what the "disability" may be, my family also takes responsibility for our children, and I'd think most would actually be like that. From the looks of the CNN Blog though, most people support an absolute lack of personal accountability, and would just as soon flame people who are responsible as be responsible themselves.

      October 28, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Urafkntool


      On day 22 a baby's heart starts beating. Who has a right to demand that it stops? Nobody.

      October 28, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Jen

      Not to mention that there were no ultrasound screenings when your grandma was pregnant or probably even your cousin, so of course they wouldn't abort when they had NO IDEA about the disabilities until birth.

      October 28, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Tool, you really do live up to your own name, dear. None of the disabilities you have mentioned are both untreatable and life-threatening, you idiot. As Jen pointed out, your example isn't valid because none of the disabilities you mentioned would have been detected when your GRANDMOTHER was pregnant, you bozo. Furthermore, SHE didn't have a choice, as abortion was illegal then, you dishonest little weasel.

      If a woman chooses to terminate a pregnancy when the fetus has no chance of living a life with quality, you don't have a word to say about it, unless you step up and volunteer to care for the resulting child and pay for its medical care.

      Your examples are proof that you don't have the first idea what you're talking about. You have no business judging others who make decisions you don't have the mental capacity or life experience to grasp.

      October 28, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Tool, you are not only an idiot, but you're a complete hypocrite. You can't even show consistency in your pronouncements. You claim that a fetus has a beating heart and that "no one has a right" to terminate its life. Yet in your opening vomitous post, you say that ra pe and incest are valid reasons for abortion. Why? If the fetus has a "right" to life, according to you, why should those be valid reasons? Is the fetus less alive? Less worthy?

      Moron, there's nothing "irresponsible" about the decision to end a pregnancy, particularly in a case in which the pregnancy was very much wanted and anticipated. When something goes horribly wrong, like Trisomy 18 or other such disorders, the decision is already one of terrible anguish for parents. Your inane insistence that YOU are capable of judging what is "responsible" and what isn't is simply unbelievable arrogant and ignorant. You aren't qualified. You aren't in charge. You don't get a say. You don't count in such a decision. Your opinion is not important to anyone but you.

      My word, but you look like more of a loser every time you post.

      October 28, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Toolie blurts: "Again, it all comes down to the unwillingness to accept responsibility for choices."

      No, it comes down to a personal decision and the ability to make a choice that is right for all concerned, which would not include someone who isn't part of the family, like you, Toolie.

      October 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Fact

      @Tool – Just because your mother decided to go ahead and give birth to a mentally challenged child doesn't mean you now get to make that choice for everyone else. I applaud you for learning how to read and write, just a few more classes and you might even learn how to reason for yourself. Keep at it Buddy!! We all still love and support you, you can do it!!

      October 28, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Marvin

      microcephaly = 2% of the population
      98% population doesn't have it, since your singling out this specific issue, the argument is that because 2 % of the population can have this, abortion is ok.

      Just want to make sure the facts are straight.

      October 29, 2012 at 2:00 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, you simpleton, that ISN'T the point. Too bad you are unable to grasp the nature of the discussion. Better luck with that next time around.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • jarhead333

      That was the example that was presented. You used a rare defect to support abortion for all. Truth is, abortion is primarily used to extinguish life due to the poor judgement of two people. The instances you throw out there are not the majority. It's a difficult topic because there are so many scenarios.
      @Godfree "you hold no judgement" yet you followed with "force your child into that kind of existance. At least the child has an existance.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Russell's Teapot

      No exceptions when the life of the mother is at stake? How thoughtful of you, truly a man after Rep. Walsh's own cold heart

      October 29, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Russell's Teapot

      Jarhead: A painful, traumatic existence in which they know of only pain. An existence in which they cannot go out and play with other children their age because they are too sick or too weak to muster up the energy. An existence in which they know they won't live to grow old, to fall in love, have children of their own one day. Who'd want to miss out on that!

      October 29, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • jarhead333

      Again, you are referring to the exception. Using a rare disorder to support the slaughter of thousands of innocent children. That makes sense! We all know that the majority of abortions occur because two people made a bad decision, and are not willing to live up to their responsibility. Like I said, I agree that there is a grey area, but don’t hide behind obscure diseases.

      October 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Oh please. Christianity is all about avoiding responsibility. Abortion is legal, end of story. It doesn't matter what your religion says about it, because you have no right to legislate your religion onto others. Don't all service members take an oath/affirmation to uphold the constitution? You might want to get on that.

      October 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  20. Evangelical

    If you want to end the abomination of abortion, get out and vote Romney/Ryan on November 6th.

    October 27, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Evangelical

      Talk is useless. You must take action!

      October 27, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No doubt. I'm voting for Obama.

      October 27, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's place while outerspace is for the human race. 1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.


      Question,, "How many 'buildings' does it take to make a city?

      If, 1Cr 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building."

      Question, "How many God-made-buildings called human beings does it take to become a Godly KIngdom City of mankind?"

      Luk 17:21 "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

      Understanding without doubt that our bodies are merely buildings inhabited by Godly Beings is crucial lest one remains ignorant and is deceived by sociological doldrums' weightiness. It might be I'm the only one who believes such a rather simple explanation yet still, I can but hope others will someday understand this concept regarding our bodies being but God built buildings and the Gods and the Godly take refuge from the burning and deadly rays/photons from the sun.

      Lettuce Love

      October 27, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      The number of abortions in the USA would decrease by 70+% if believers just stopped having them. No need to elect delusional politicians or to change any laws.

      October 28, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Stupid as-s hole christian!

      Bush didn't do anything to end abortion and neither will Romney. If you really hate abortion even half as much as you say, why aren't you throwing all your time and energy into supporting birth control? 1 pack of condoms can prevent a dozen abortions

      October 28, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • rick

      romney will not end abortion. get back on your knees, b1tch

      October 28, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Charles

      Hasn't every Republican candidate for president promised to get rid of a woman's choice since abortion was legalized? Have you ever wondered why they don't do it? It's far too valuable as a motivation to get you people to vote for them for them to ever actually settle the issue in your favor. It's the carrot that they dangle in front of you.

      October 28, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And Charles has it right: wave the abortion banana and the fundie monkeys will scream. They do it without fail every election.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • The Truth

      "The number of abortions in the USA would decrease by 70+% if believers just stopped having them. No need to elect delusional politicians or to change any laws." But, but, don't you understand, they wouldn't be getting them if they were just illegal, their faith would be much stronger if only the secular government would pass a law... every person of mediocre to weak faith knows that, it's all a matter of getting the evilness banned because back before it was legal it never ever happened, no one ever dared go against our God and get an abortion...never...ever...ever... But I digress, where was I, oh yes, persons of little to no faith must unite to fight the tyranny that is abortion law in America that is apparently forcing 70% of them to have abortions...

      October 28, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      The Truth, thanks for the giggle...

      October 29, 2012 at 4:32 am |
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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.