Politician Encounters Difficulty in Explaining Mystery of Suffering

“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.”



  1. The tea party does a lousy vetting job. If you are running for the senate, raising money and asking for volunteers you have an obligation to your supporters not to be a shithead.

  2. Actually, BJB, this is another case akin to Akin where you can’t give what you ain’t got – the scientific and/or theological distinctions escape the MSM, but that doesn’t mean the politicos with the right instincts have any corner on the market. He ain’t a shithead, per se, but a man who read little philosophy and less theology, to paraphrase Benny Johnson.


  3. You’re right. My apologies to Mr. Mourdock. Let us pray he wins.

  4. Of course, a lot rides on the second “it” in Mourdoch’s statement – the secularists can’t separate the dancer from the dance – or the rapist from the product of rape, and so for them it’s a slam dunk. For those who actually think the human ensoulment process still holds some sort of currency, not so much….


  5. notrelatedtoted says

    This whole “rape” issue makes me want to claw my eyeballs out.

    First of all, Mourdock did not say that God intends rape to happen. But that’s how it’s being portrayed, of course.

    Second, it’s a trap – if you say abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape, you’re an extremist/zealot who hates women. If you say “except in cases of rape, etc.” you’ve undermined your own position – life is sacred from the moment of conception. Clearly, one must tread carefully. It seems so ridiculously obvious, that I have a hard time believing that these politicians keep muffing their answers.

    Thirdly, why can’t these guys ever make an argument from science and/or public policy (NOT YOU, AKIN)? Why do they always immediately go to the religious argument? YOU ARE PLAYING RIGHT INTO THEIR HANDS.

    Granted, all of this may just be MSM spin, and they edit out all more rational stuff. But I doubt it. I really do think that some of these guys ain’t too bright, and worse, they’re not even good politicians.

    Maybe in the next presidential election we’ll be treated to a lively debate on creationism vs. evolution. GROAN.


  6. Understand that you have the worst case scenario, the scenario where it’s torture a child or let the terrorist blow up a building. Understand that justice does not mean a happy ending, and say so. If you want, turn the tables by asking if it would be ok to kill the infant of rape who was causing her mother severe post partum depression (this is certainly equally likely to be the case.)

    But having stuck by your principles and acknowledged the impossibility of the situation, do not try to sugarcoat it with talk about “God’s will,” or the mythical powers of the female uterus, or any other attempt to make the thought experiment less horrible. You will sound like a patronizing asshole.

    Between Akin, Rivard, all the other clowns talking about forcible rape and marital rape and “making lemonade out of a lemon situation,” and now Mourdock, I have so little sympathy for the politicians who feel like waxing eloquent on rape.

    • Matthew Lickona says

      Is the mention of God’s will an attempt to sugar coat? I read it more as an attempt to say, “This is why I cannot possibly bring myself to budge on this issue, however painful it may be.”

      Not defending the quote, but I didn’t read it as sugarcoating. And in this case, I don’t think the politician was feeling like waxing eloquent on rape. I think he was trying to explain his position in the face of outrage.

      But I could be wrong.

  7. If he actually think that it’s God’s indicative will that some lady got pregnant by her rapist, then he’s actually crazy and not just poorly spoken. God allows the natural causes of the world He created their effects, and the natural cause of that pregnancy is an unwanted and violent penis in a woman’s vagina.

    To say that it is somehow God’s will that the woman became pregnant is like saying it is somehow God’s will that a bullet lodged in my brain caused death.

    We would attempt to save the victim of a gunshot wound, and we would attempt to end the pregnancy of the rape victim were it for the fact that we would have to kill an innocent victim to do so.

    To kind of wave his hands and say “it’s all in God’s hands so we can’t mess with it” is to sidestep his own responsibility to enact justice in a fallen world, and to make difficult decisions based on that responsibility. It’s every bit as bad as Obama’s “it’s above my pay grade” nonsense.

    There’s also the question of, talk about God’s will in reference to your own effing tragedies, not mine.

    • notrelatedtoted says

      If God is all-knowing and all-powerful, and yet these things happen, isn’t it true to say that they happen according to God’s will? Can you really sidestep that by saying that he only wills the natural causes and effects?

      I think the answer is actually quite complicated, and at its root, a mystery. We can’t truly understand the will of God, which is why it falls flat as a political argument.

      • notrelatedtoted says

        I should probably add that I was arguing the contrary position, and don’t actually believe that God wills evil.

  8. The Church has long made a distinction between God’s permissive and indicative wills, I think precisely to avoid this kind of silliness.

    You’re right that that doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of the theological nuances, and it is fundamentally a terrible mystery–but not a totally inscrutable one.

    But yes, it’s certainly a poor (and, I think, given the context, insulting) political argument.

    And now I go to drink deep of the river Lethe, by which I mean Belgian beer.

    • notrelatedtoted says

      I think it’s possible to give Mourdock’s comments a more charitable read – maybe all he was trying to say was that it is God’s will that the human person exists from the moment of conception, regardless of circumstance. As JOB said, it’s all about that second “it.”

      It fascinates me that these off-the-cuff remarks are given so much scrutiny. If I were the sort to engage in conspiracy theories….

      • Well, we are out of beer, so I’m back.

        If people want to make off the cuff remarks about other people’s traumas, they had better be prepared for the offense they will probably cause. I don’t think it’s a conspiracy every time Republican get called on speaking carelessly and callously. I think they could learn something from the outrage if they wanted to.

        • I agree. It is Mourdock’s (and Akin’s) responsibility as professional talkers, as repositories of the time/treasure of the prolife movement, as mass breathers of public oxygen, to think about the way they say things. A good hearts and good intentions are worthless when you enter military or political battlefields. This isn’t a question of forgiveness, it’s a matter of truth and accountability.

    • Matthew Lickona says

      The river Lethe…does that flow anywhere near Zion?

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