Richard Mourdock delivers the will of god.

The latest politicians to commit what would be political suicide in a world untouched by faith-driven insanity is Richard Mourdock.  Mourdock is the treasurer of Indiana and is running for the senate against Joe Donnelly, who Mourdock was debating last Tuesday when he said

“I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God,” Mourdock said. “And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

And the kicker?  Look who thinks Mourdock’s the right guy to look out for all the denizens of Indiana (with all the outcome-oriented talking points you’d expect).

It doesn’t matter what your religious beliefs say about rape victims.  We don’t make laws based on religion.  Period.  And we especially don’t punish the victim of a rapist by forcing her to carry a child to term that she doesn’t want and that will contort the rest of her life against her will.  You might as well demand that she marry her rapist because that’s what god intends…oh, wait.

Even if people like Mourdock knew god’s will (though they clearly don’t), if following god’s will requires you to jettison compassion, and you actually do it, then you’re a bad person.  When god commands injustice, you should not follow.  The person willing to kill their child is a bad person, and Abraham does not get an exemption because god commanded it.  Ditto for the person demanding that a woman allow a zygote to grow into a rapist’s child because god, not the mother, wants that baby.

What’s more, how do we tell that god is really speaking to Richard Mourdock and not to the legion of others claiming to know god’s will?

Nor did god speak to Andrea Yates, the Christian woman who drowned her children because god told her to.  God spoke to Abraham and commanded him to murder his son, but not to Andrea.  And what Christian believes Daphne Spurlock, the deeply Christian woman who slit her son’s throat at the behest of god’s voice?  So while god truly spoke to Jephthah, binding him to immolate his daughter, Daphne was just hearing voices.  God also didn’t speak to the Neumanns, who watched their daughter die of a treatable illness rather than test god’s benevolence by taking her to the doctor.  Truly, like literally every other follower of every other religions, even Christians can make the mistake of thinking they’re really hearing god’s voice.

Even if god really is handing his capricious will to one of them, we cannot tell which one.

What we can say is that whether it’s Andrea Yates, Abraham, Daphne Spurlock, Jephthah, the Neumanns, Richard Mourdock, or literally every other human being who has ever walked this planet, if god tells you to do something cruel, the response should be “fuck you, I’m not a bad person.”  When people like Mourdock endorse injustice under god’s will, they reveal their own lack of moral fiber.  No good man accepts a wicked master.

Mourdock would later try to backpedal.

“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,” he told reporters, according to the Evansville Courier & Press.

But he reaffirmed his view that conception is determined by a higher power.

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

If god determined that someone should be pregnant, and it happened when she was raped, how did god not ordain the rape?  Couldn’t god have just had the condom break with her boyfriend?  Couldn’t god have made pregnancy voluntary?  Was Satan stalking the victim, all while god watched the rapist and did nothing to stop it, and god just slipped in a bit at the end to impregnate her because, fuck it, the rape wasn’t going to traumatize her enough?

It doesn’t matter if inhuman messages, like Richard Mourdock’s offering on Tuesday night, are couched in concern; that only makes them like a poison baked into a cake.  If I’m punching you in the face repeatedly while telling you I’m concerned for your well being, you’re much wiser to listen to my actions than to my words.  When people behave in a fashion that announces their lack of concern for the suffering of their fellow human beings, then they are either lying about their compassion or are so far gone that they can confuse love with causing pain.  Richard Mourdock does not care about the victims of rape.  His actions have proclaimed that with all of the resonance that the laws of physics allow.

And yet, the race in Indiana is a dead heat, because there are followers of Christianity out there, lots of them who, just like Richard Mourdock, have supplanted empathy with god’s will and called it morality.  Any time someone urges you to accept that religion makes people more moral, they should first look to Richard Mourdock and ask themselves if such an odious human being would have a prayer to be elected without the influence of Christianity.

That should tell you how good faith is for society.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Dan

    If “I was just following orders” isn’t an adequate excuse for soldiers, why does it become a reasonable excuse for christians? They like to talk about how good and holy god is, but seem unable to offer anything that counters the more malevolent acts and commands attributed to their god in scripture. The “kill your son, Abraham. LOL JK don’t do it!” and “marry your rapist” edicts in the bible are just a few of MANY examples of god’s lack of moral character.

    Words have meaning, and the christian god does not meet the criteria for any definition of loving or just. It’s laughable to think that these same people think that this god is the basis for all morality, when their own holy book highlights his total lack of moral fiber. I guess you can’t be TOO surprised at their lack of certainty about these issues, since the bible doesn’t exactly provide a cohesive message and thinking for yourself can be so very difficult.

  • John Eberhard

    Must be a pretty impotent and evil God that is reduced to using rape as a tool to achieve his ends.

    • Bruce McGlory

      Tru that Mr. E. not to mention that he must be a pretty impotent and incompetent god, if the mere existence of atheists – whom theists will say are created by this omipotent, omniscient god – hurts his fee fees.
      if we’re so offensive to him, WHY create us?
      Apart from the fact he doesn’t exist, that is.

  • Timid Athiest

    I really despise this kind of thinking. They hedge around saying the woman deserved to be raped by saying she was put in that position so she could conceive. As if rape were the only means to conceive. As if we need to make rape an okay thing by making it result in a pregnancy. And to put the cherry on top they then want to force the woman to do something to her body she doesn’t want to do one more time by not allowing her to have an abortion after a rape. It’s her choice and if she doesn’t want to carry her rapist’s baby then she damn well shouldn’t have to.

  • baal

    “if following god’s will requires you to jettison compassion, and you actually do it, then you’re a bad person”
    This, over and over again. (I recently posted the same idea to a Catholic blog here at Patheos)

    I fault the religious for not keeping this idea in the forefront of their argumentation. fwiw, I also fault philosophers for being soft on the idea that there is an objective reality and fault activists for their lack of proportionality (though these examples are not equally bad).

  • Peter N

    Let’s not overlook the fact that God apparently also intends that at least half of pregnancies end in spontaneous abortion.

  • Art Vandelay

    How different though is this from people saying that everything happens for a reason, which I seemingly hear 12 times a day? How different is this from that asshole Patheos blogger that thinks Christianity exists as a way to justify human suffering? Don’t all religious people think there’s some sort of higher purpose to suffering? Isn’t this one just being more blunt?

  • Randomfactor

    That’s a sick, twisted

    …and entirely compatible with Christian teaching, which says that the answer to everything is “goddidit.” But maybe he’s just incompetent at the job.

  • Felicia

    I feel a little dirty for being a Hoosier today, but I will happily vote against him:)

  • Patricia Pier

    I cannot help but wonder if some of the men who think women should give birth to their rapist’s baby may have raped themselves. There is a lot of spousal rape which is not reported, i.e. Non consensual sex-forced on wives who have said no to evangelical fundamentalist males who believe women must be submissive.

  • Stogoe

    If getting raped was God’s will, if getting pregnant from that rape was God’s will, then literally everything that happens is God’s will. Pigeon flaps its wings? God’s will. Car runs the yellow light? God’s will. Getting an abortion after getting raped? God’s will.

  • Stephen Savage

    The real problem is their theology. A literal interpretation of the Bible shows that God is totally down with “forcible” rape as a means of getting a wife:

    “If a man find a damsel [that is] a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty [shekels] of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.” — Deuteronomy 22:28-29 [AV]