Richard Mourdock

“Conversation” with Richard Mourdock

JimCoffinBy James Coffin

I view myself as a calm, rational person. But on rare occasion, when something really pushes my buttons, the calm part disappears. It can happen when people slander my family or friends.

Since, figuratively, I think of God as both my heavenly “father” and “friend,” I didn’t take it well when you, Richard Mourdock, as a U.S. Senate candidate (R-Indiana), recently said God decides which women will get pregnant as a result of rape.

Mr. Mourdock, you said: “I don’t think God would ever want anyone harmed, sexually abused, or raped.” I agree wholeheartedly. But you didn’t say that until after being taken to task for saying: “Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.” And you’ve never disavowed that latter statement.

So let me get this straight: Your position is that a knife-wielding maniac who gets his jollies by physically carving up women and defiling them–scarring both body and mind for the rest of their life–is acting contrary to God’s will. Right?

But once the victim has been defiled by the vile excuse-for-humanity that attacked her, at that point, you believe, deity suddenly steps in to decide whether the woman should or should not be blessed with a precious “gift from God”–a living, breathing, flesh-and-blood monument to the worst experience of her life. Am I hearing you right?

Certainly, I agree that God would never want rape. But nor would God want any child to ever be conceived under such circumstances.

Think about it, Mr. Mourdock. You believe God knows the future, right? So God’s knows which women are going to opt for abortion, right? So wouldn’t it be easy for God to say: “If you’re going to destroy the precious gift I’m about to give you as a result of this rape, then I just won’t give it to you”?

Likewise, why would the God who so deeply values human life–even prenatal life–give the affirmative nod to millions of non-rape conceptions that he knows in advance are doomed–if he’s truly the decider, that is? Doesn’t that make him ultimately responsible for the abortion industry?

Quite frankly, your contentions don’t do much for God’s public image. And from my perspective as a clergyman, that’s not what’s needed in a nation where people are already abandoning God faster than they’re accepting him.

I believe our reproductive capabilities are God-given. Generically. But when it comes to who gets pregnant and who doesn’t–especially in cases of rape–I much prefer the explanation of the writer of Ecclesiastes: that “time and chance” happen to everyone.

James Coffin is executive director of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida.