In a debate among Indiana candidates for Senate on Tuesday, GOP candidate Richard Mourdock declared that he opposes aborting pregnancies conceived as a result of a rape because "it is something God intended to happen."
No. God. Didn't.
First of all, to extend that logic one step back is to say that God intended the rape in the first place. If all things are "meant" to happen, then the assault upon a woman was "meant" to happen so that a child might result.
No God didn't. There are some things that God doesn't intend. At some point, sane religious people must insist that not everything was meant to happen, including rape -- and including conception as the result of a rape.
The question of when life begins is contested and ultimately is a matter of belief. It is fine for Mr. Mourdock to believe that life begins at conception. Some people do, and those people generally will chose not to have an abortion ever, even in the case of a rape.
However, the idea that a potential senator like Mourdock or Missouri candidate Todd Akin would inflict his (and they all seem to be men) belief on a woman who has just suffered the most traumatizing event possible should make him ineligible for public office.
Abortion is always a deeply personal decision that a woman comes to only after serious reflection. To take that decision away from a woman and to force a woman to carry to term a pregnancy -- especially when it is the result of a rape is the most gruesome form of religious oppression.
I am a Baptist and historically Baptists believe that each person is capable, and is called, to use their own conscience in matters of faith and morality. It is the reason that Baptists insisted on the separation of church and state. Mr. Mourdock is proposing that he and others who agree with him can provide the conscience for all women in regards to abortion and if they are elected they will use their power to make their belief become the law of the land.
Many of those who oppose abortion today do not have the memory or have not heard the experiences of the time when women, especially poor women, were forced to turn to illegal back-alley abortionists when they decided they could not carry a child to term. This included pregnancies that were the result of rape. Women died as the result of these botched abortions. And no, God didn't intend that to happen either. We cannot go back to those days where women died because of laws created by men.
Mr. Mourdock has shown himself to be a dangerous man who uses God language to inflict his belief on others. We have to reject this kind of politics, and reject this kind of religion.