Christianity Today Really Has Screwed Up Priorities

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 kind of sick human being goes to a rape survivor and tells them that Jesus still loves them? First of all, what did they do that would indicate that they shouldn’t be loved? Be raped? And who is being redeemed here? The rapist? Is Christianity Today suggesting that it would be cruel not to tell a rape victim that god still loves and is willing to forgive their rapist?
It’s conversations like this that create atheists. Even if there were a god, how can it be a loving god who allows rape and, according to some people, bestows its “gifts” occasionally in the process? Mourdock’s attempt to walk back his statements are even worse:

 “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)


2 thoughts on “Christianity Today Really Has Screwed Up Priorities

  1. Having never been raped*, I can’t say for sure what I’d do if I got pregnant due to rape. I’d like to think I would carry to term and even keep the child. I’d like to think I would make it a “tragic event from which love can emerge” – what a lovely phrase! What a lovely sentiment!

    But you can’t force love. It doesn’t work that way. Trying to do so both cheapens the concept of love and makes you a horrible, horrible person.

    From recent experience, I DO know this: pregnancy, for all its joy, is one of the most intimate invasions imaginable. Your most private and personal space, your own body, is no longer your own – there is someone or something NOT YOU in there, and it js indescribably freaky. It feels weird. It HURTS. It makes you nauseous, both physically and whenever you really let yourself think about it. It makes you feel incredibly exposed – not only does it open you up to unwanted attention, unwanted advice, unwanted touching, and even unwanted judging, it also ensures that a near-stranger is going to be wrist-deep in your nethers, not once but often. It makes it hard to move and sends your emotions spiraling wildly out of control.

    My pregnancy was wanted, and it still made me miserable pretty much all through it. If that invader in my womb hadn’t been explicitly invited – if it had, instead, been planted there with violence or coercion or deception, while I stared out the window and just tried to endure until it was over – I can easily see how it could feel like a 9-month continuation of that same rape.

    And at that point, I don’t really care if “God created” that life or not. If God says you’re not allowed to stop a painful, scary, intimately invasive thing being done to your body without your consent, then your God is a rapist, and we’re done talking.

    (I’d say I don’t associate w/ppl who worship rapists, but ehh, I have some friends who are big on the Greek pantheon, so not really a leg to stand on there…)

    If a woman does decide to bear her rapist’s child, if she can find the strength and peace of mind to turn pain into joy, that’s awesome and beautiful. But only if she freely chooses it. You cannot MAKE someone choose that, and if you’re a decent human being you shouldn’t try to shame and coerce those who’ve been hurt too badly to make that choice. A woman is not required to martyr herself to deal with the consequences of a man’s wrongdoing.

    *depending on how you define rape

  2. Pingback: The “Meaning” of Suffering is to Fix It | Reasonable Conversation

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