Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
Going into last night's Indiana Senate debate, Republican Richard Mourdock and his Democratic challenger Rep. Joe Donnelly were locked in a statistical dead heat.
It's in God's rapey hands now.
Near the end of the debate, he was asked whether abortion should be allowed in cases of incest or rape, and Mourdock answered, "I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that 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."
Unlike Missouri Republican Senate hopeful Todd Akin's infamously moronic claim that “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut [pregnancy] down,” Mourdock actually has a point—if you're into that ridiculous God stuff—and it's refreshing to hear one of these wannabe theocrats finally acknowledge the sweet, sweet divinity of rape.
While both are poorly written, God's first novel is so replete with sadistic, rape-positive messages, and a prescribed submissiveness of women that it makes 50 Shades of Gray read like Hop on Pop. One of many examples, Deuteronomy 21:10-14 (King James Version):
When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your hand, and you take them captive, and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and desire her and would take her for your wife, then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. She shall put off the clothes of her captivity, remain in your house, and mourn her father and her mother a full month; after that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. And it shall be, if you have no delight in her, then you shall set her free, but you certainly shall not sell her for money; you shall not treat her brutally, because you have humbled her.
God loves, and frequently condones, rape and genocide, racism, slavery, and infanticide to name a just a few modern immoralities. For a spicy incest-rape combo, look no further than Genesis 19:32-35 (Peter Gabriel Version):
Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.
This passage proves that God, the Old Testament's metaphysical Ben Roethlisberger, can be an equal opportunity psychopath when he needs to. Since he smote Sodom and Gomorrah, ostensibly for their immorality (because buttsecks is way worse than going all magical-Fat-Man-and-Little-Boy on tens of thousands of people), Lot's daughters couldn't find any eligible bachelor-bone, so, naturally, they got their dad blackout drunk, and date-raped him.
Meanwhile on the planet Kolob, Mitt Romney's ad endorsing Mourdock dropped yesternight in Indiana, too, but in light of the Hoosier “gaffe,” a campaign spokesperson told the AP that Mourdock's statement does not reflect Romney's views. He's not yet called for Mourdock to leave the race, as he did Akin, which is likely because Akin did reflect his views. The idiot source of Akin's “pro-life” idiocy, Dr. Jack C. Willke, was a prominent Romney surrogate during his '08 presidential run.
Immediately after the Indiana debate, Mourdock attempted to delete his candid take on the patriarchal American religious psyche. God does not preordain rape, he said, and “[a]nyone who would suggest that is just sick and twisted. No, that's not even close to what I said.”
So, basically, if you can read, you're sick and twisted. That's exactly what he said.
It's, frankly, unfortunate that Mourdock's trying to “walk back” his statement—which is reporter-speak for “lying about”—because, unlike Akin's, it was at least logically consistent. I mean, if this God fella is responsible for everything, why not give him credit for all his disturbing glory?
Religious beliefs not only foster anti-scientific thinking, they can also encourage the most depraved aspects of our culture. Of course, it's all biblical cherry-picking. Religion's not the disease, it's a symptom of our pervasive human stupidity. One can find justification for nearly any attitude in the bible, and just as easily ignore the bits we don't personally endorse—like genocide and rape.
Most modern religious types merely believe in belief, not in the religious dogma itself. So, in a lot of ways, we need wacko fundamentalists like Mourdoch to remind us that the God in which so many purportedly believe is a giant space-asshole who plots rapes, kills infants, and generally abuses his supposed creations like so many insignificant toys.
A god that preordains rape is a sincere religious thought. To discount this heartless creep of a god, from a religious perspective, is to engage in utter hypocrisy. And to maintain one's religiosity in denial of this rape-ordaining divinity is to pretend -- and provide cover to honest lunatics.
If it's so easy for us to ethically denounce rape, maybe it's time we stop pretending that God's a good thing, too. Because that guy is one rapey dude.