I’m sure many of you have heard of Richard Mourdock and his debate answer that the children conceived in rape are “gifts from God.” I’ve heard this from a number of different angles (including, “that’s impossible, because rape is a sin, so god wouldn’t do that” said unironically), but I think that Christianity Today, the increasingly senile (or sock puppeted, more likely) Billy Graham’s creation, has what is likely the most horrendous and callous response yet.
Though a prime example of gotcha-politics, this incident raises other issues, issues weighted with glory even. It almost goes without saying that for Christians, while rape is a terrible thing, in the providence of God, this too can be redeemed, a tragic event from which love can emerge. And yet we live in a society in which many find this view intolerable, outside the bounds—anathema. This is a delicate conversation we’re a part of in America, one that requires us to eschew the cheap advice or platitudes of Job’s counselors, to be sure. Then again, it may be even more “disrespectful to the survivors of rape” to fail to tell them about the wondrous redeeming power of God, even in the most horrible circumstances.
“What I said was, in answering the question form my position of faith, I said I believe that God creates life. I believe that as wholly and as fully as I can believe it. That God creates life. Are you trying to suggest that somehow I think that God pre-ordained rape? No, I don’t think that. That’s sick. Twisted. That’s not even close to what I said. What I said is that God creates life.”
So god isn’t all powerful and rape just happens? If god didn’t pre-ordain the rape, then how did it know to “create life” in the process of one?
Mourdock is right, it is sick and twisted. But not even close to how sick and twisted it is to suggest that a rape victim is prey for predatory evangelism, the sort that seeks out the weak and battered and offers them seemingly limitless bliss for no money down (and a lifetime of payment in tithes and guilt). Moreover, Mark Galli at CT probably has absolutely no problems forgiving rapists, seeing as how he will likely never be raped, but this type of Christianism that places emotional and physical obligations on people is usually most supported by people who will never be subject to those obligations.
Mourdock is in a theological bind because either god is all powerful and allows rape to happen or god is limited/non-existent and therefore not the god he espouses. However Christianity Today is in a moral bind: they’re commanded to spread their message far and wide, but it’s cruel to suggest that a person suffering is doing so because god wants them to suffer. This should be easy to respond to, but somehow they’ve managed to screw it up.
(h/t Friendly Atheist)