My brother (JTR) and I both have some favorite political writers. One of mine happens to be an editorial writer for my city’s local conservative daily paper, The News-Sentinel. Kevin Leininger makes no bones about where he stands on a variety of issues. A conservative Lutheran, he weighs in on a number of Church-State topics, as well as human interest and property rights stories, among others. He writes longer news articles as well as his opinion pieces, and I enjoy his style regardless of the genre.
Tonight he wrote a piece on the now infamous remarks made by the Republican candidate for Senate from our own state, Indiana: Richard Mourdock. I’m going to assume that most of you have heard at least the fallout from that remark, made toward the end of a debate with his Democratic opponent recently. In a nutshell, Mourdock–when asked about exceptions to anti-abortion legislation for victims of rape–said that he had wrestled with the issue, and he believed that even this form of conception must be considered “something God intended.”
Shock. Outrage. Accusations of misogyny and hypocrisy. Here is an excerpt from Leininger’s take (added emphasis is mine):
“…apart from presuming to speak for God (which is something politicians should avoid, even though Scripture does indeed say God forms life in the womb), why did Mourdock’s words cause so many Democrats to attack him and so many Republicans to shun him?
…It’s understandable that someone could genuinely believe Mourdock implied that something good could result from what he described as a “horrible” act. But his position – like it or not – is far more morally, medically and intellectually consistent and honest than that of many of his supposedly more enlightened critics.
Politically, it would have been safer for Mourdock to make an exception for rape in his pro-life stance – a circumstance that represents less than 1 percent of all abortions. But during the waning minutes of the debate Tuesday in New Albany, he essentially said this: If you believe human life begins at conception and is in fact ultimately God’s creation, children created as the result of rape should not face the death penalty for something their father did, however evil.
Again, it’s understandable that someone pregnant with a rapist’s child might see things differently. But that hardly makes what Mourdock said “demeaning to women.” Polls regularly show that the majority of Americans are pro-life, with 20 percent (according to a Gallup Poll) – including some women, presumably – wanting to outlaw abortion in all cases.
Mourdock’s problem is not really his beliefs, but the fact that he is a moral absolutist in an increasingly relativistic world.
If you’d like to read the entire article, you can find it here.
I confess that my initial reaction to Mourdock’s statement was that it was clumsy and bound to be misinterpreted. I did NOT go to the extreme Ann Coulter did and insist that every conservative, pro-life candidate is obligated to make the disclaimer, “..except in the cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother.” Obviously, Mourdock does not believe that. It may not have been politically wise for him to say so in the way he did. But it was honest. He wasn’t playing politics at that moment, and he wasn’t being hateful. He was being consistent.
He believes, as I and millions of others do, that life begins at conception, and that to deliberately take that life is murder, regardless of when or for what reason. In the case of rape, why should an innocent third party suffer death? That is the ultimate example of trying to force two wrongs to equal a right. Those who say that to carry that baby to term is a “life sentence” for the mother are forgetting one of her most obvious options: She can give that baby up for adoption to one of the countless couples who are on waiting lists because there are not enough babies to fill all their empty arms.
As for the notion that Mourdock implied something good could come from a horrible act…of course it could! That’s a completely Biblical idea: Joseph, speaking to his brothers, who had sold him into slavery and lied to his father about his death, said, “You meant it for evil, but God intended it for good.” (See Genesis 50:19-21)
Is there any more horrific way to kill someone than crucifixion? Especially an innocent person? And yet the death by crucifixion of Jesus Christ, so many years ago, has brought forgiveness, freedom, healing, hope and eternal life to millions of people.
Would we wish that act to be undone? God forbid.