Let’s be fair, here. I’m sure that Richard Mourdock did not in any way mean to defend rape when he said that he thinks that God intends for babies to be born who are conceived through rape. I would hope that no one could believe in a God who intends for women to be raped. But I’m sure there are brave women who have borne their rapist’s baby, whether that rapist is a husband, boyfriend or stranger, and who regard their child as something precious that managed to grow from a terrible beginning. Such is the amazing resilience that can come to the human heart, and wouldn’t God be present in that beautiful redemption?
But let’s get real here for a moment. One could certainly imagine a God who could redeem even something as terrible as rape through the love of an innocent child. But when did it become the government’s job to determine on God’s behalf that this is the necessary outcome? For every woman who has chosen to keep and love a child conceived through rape there are probably many more who choose a morning after pill or abortion to end a pregnancy that they never wanted, and which would be an intolerable life-long symbol of a great violation. Why would you assume that God is not in that decision as well? Why wouldn’t God be there at the side of a woman as she struggles to reclaim her life and her strength and her ability to move forward in the world? Is God not in that woman’s choice to restore her own integrity and wholeness as she understands it?
I won’t presume to speak for God, but I will tell you what I think. When a woman is raped, God’s body is torn as her body is torn. When a fetus is aborted, some piece of God’s potential is lost. But God’s potential is infinite, and a woman reclaiming her life is no less a part of God’s potential. Indeed, every moment when every person chooses life, whatever that might mean to that person at the time, is a part of the potential of God unfolding.
It isn’t the job of politicians to decide which bits of potential God finds most precious. It is the job of each us, day by day and minute by minute, to decide what will constitute life more abundant for ourselves and the world we inhabit, and to act as the body of God in living out that choice. The role of the government is to support those decisions or get out of the way.