Indiana’s Republican Senate Candidate: Your Rape Was a Part of God’s Plan

Republican candidates should have this figured out by now: When someone asks them about rape, even if they’re pro-life, they should say “Rape bad. Jobs good.”

No one told Richard Mourdock the strategy. Instead, Todd Akin must have slipped him a page from his own playbook.

The Indiana Republican is in a tight race where he’s the slight favorite, but he may have just thrown the lead away thanks to a comment he made in tonight’s debate against Democrat Joe Donnelly (who is also pro-life):

“You know, this is that issue that every candidate for federal, or even state office, faces. And I, too, certainly stand for life. I know there are some who disagree, and I respect their point of view. But I believe that life begins at conception. The only exception I have, to have an abortion, is in that case of the life of the mother. I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And… even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.

I’m sure rape victims everywhere are smiling about God’s gift to them.

Church/state separation isn’t just good policy. It’s good strategy. No one gives a shit what your religious beliefs are when they’re experiencing tragedy.

For Mourdock to think anyone would feel better about his radical position on rape because he cushioned it with the word “God” is astonishing. He’s not just out of touch with his electorate. He’s out of touch with women.

How can we trust a Senator to create and support policies that will help rape victims when he considers it a part of God’s plan?

We can’t.

Donnelly, the Democrat, is pro-life. Still, he would support abortions in the cases of rape, incest, and to save a mother’s life. It’s too narrow of a position and it would warrant far more scrutiny… if only his opponent’s position wasn’t so much worse.

Mourdock thinks that God’s blueprint for our lives includes rape and incest. In a rational world, the fact that he thinks God has a blueprint for us at all would disqualify him in the minds of voters. Even in America, though, his complete lack of compassion and understanding for people who go through those events — suggesting that they should bear their rapists’ babies — ought to do the same.

***Update***: Mourdock is already trying to backtrack:

“Are you trying to suggest that somehow I think God ordained or pre-ordained rape? No, I don’t think that anyone could suggest that. That’s a sick, twisted — no, that’s not even close to what I said,” Mourdock said.

“It is a fundamental part of my faith that God gives us life. God determines when life begins,” he said. “I believe in an almighty God who makes those calls…There are some things in life that are above my pay grade.”

It is sick and twisted… and it’s precisely what Mourdock said. He still says it! “God determines when life begins” suggests that it doesn’t matter if you got pregnant on purpose or against your will.

Mourdock didn’t disavow his comments at all. He’s just angry that people are shining a spotlight on them.

Donnelly, on the other hand, gave a far better response:

“Rape is a horrible crisis, an unspeakable crime, and I can’t believe that my God, or any God, would intend it to happen,” he said afterward. “What Mr. Mourdock said is shocking, and it is stunning that he would be so disrespectful to survivors of rape.”

May the polls swing in the other direction now…

***Update***: This is several months old, but it’s also worth paying attention to if, like me, this race has been off your radar. After Mourdock won the primary, he went on TV and talked about the need for more partisanship. Not bipartisanship. He has no desire to work with members from the Democratic Party. (via @Spa_yediMonster)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.