G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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President Obama trotted out “rape is rape” on Jay Leno. Unfortunately, it was a complete non sequitur to the Richard Mourdock statement to which he was responding. The evangelical Mourdock uttered a typically “God’s Will be done” argument that rape, like every other occurrence on this planet, is part of God’s plan.
This ventures into the realm of theodicy where philosophers have for ages attempted to reconcile God with the existence of earthy evil. Is evil part of God’s plan, or does evil exist to spite it? This discussion transcends the current “War on Women” gotcha game being played by feminists and liberals. To reduce this argument to the non-spiritual, a good plan would acknowledge contingencies, and that can be done without altering the rules and principles that guide the original plan.
After being led into the discussion by Leno who characterized Mourdock’s statement as being similar to that made by Todd Akin, Obama responded:
Rape is rape. It is a crime. And so, these various distinctions about rape and, you know — don’t make too much sense to me. Don’t make any sense to me. The second thing this underscores, though, this is exactly why you don’t want a bunch of politicians — mostly male — making decisions about women’s health care decisions.
Rape is a crime; nobody said it wasn’t. Katrina Trinko points out the error here. Mourdock didn’t say a word about different types of rape though if Obama was pressed on it his handlers would probably argue that he was mostly talking about Akin’s “legitimate rape” distinction.
At least one liberal writer seems to understand Mourdock’s point. She’s actually been around evangelicals and understands what drives their philosophy. Amy Sullivan writes:
Despite the assertions of many liberal writers I read and otherwise admire, I don’t think that politicians like Mourdock oppose rape exceptions because they hate women or want to control women. I think they’re totally oblivious and insensitive and can’t for a moment place themselves in the shoes of a woman who becomes pregnant from a rape. I think most don’t particularly care that their policy decisions can impact what control a woman does or doesn’t have over her own body. But if Mourdock believes that God creates all life and that to end a life created by God is murder, then all abortion is murder, regardless of the circumstances in which a pregnancy came about.
This satisfies me. I would consider myself agnostic on abortion, but the pro-abortion argument against a pro-life strawman argument has always bothered me to the point that I advocate for pro-lifers.