Mourdock’s Magical Thinking

— by Rabbi Goldie Milgram

Mourdock said ‘when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” That is magical thinking. If I (or anyone) put sperm and eggs together enough times in a test tube, a conception results, that was my will, not God’s. A matter of intention, and compatibility of pH and DNA, sperm motility and many other clearly identifiable factors. Mourdock’s infantile thinking (pardon the pun) demeans God, and as a woman I find his statement to be a form of religious terrorism.

More after the jump.
I once walked through an anti-abortion rally with a clip board respectfully asking for people to sign up to adopt the fetuses and raise them when they are born, or to at least fund orphanages for them to be raised in – 3 people signed up to adopt, fewer than $100 were raised from some 1200 in attendance. Most said something to the effect of: “Oh, I never thought about the consequences of finding money to raise, feed, clothe and educate them…oh dear…well, I’m sure the government will take care of them.” Gotta love “small government” hypocrisy, no?

Rape aside, those who want millions more births of children with no one to care for them had better be prepared to fund those lives to the tune of billions of dollars per year, and that’s only the first year. Even since the advent of birth control, according to UN statistics, 50 million legal induced abortions have been performed in the United States since 1973 and world wide, there have been over 1,260,000,000 abortions performed. Now imagine birth control freely available, lower costs and lots less suffering all the way around.

Now imagine that many unwanted children and finding funding to raise them. Plus, it has been recently demonstrated that the state of mind/spirit of a mother carrying a fetus can impact its ability to function in life, no less how destroyed the life of a mother forced to conceive an unwanted child tends to be. So add lots of mental health funds on top of normal costs of raising a child. Not to mention the ruined life of the mother. Could it be that we are given minds in order to discern when we are ready to become parents and with/by whom?

I just returned from teaching in Europe and there visited a number of magnificent cathedrals, some Templar sites. Notations indicate that those very knights, as instructed by church leaders followed “God’s will” to murder babies in towns being ransacked. They would stack the infants on skewers like human shish kabobs and then parade proudly through the streets bearing them aloft as “holy” conquerors, and then threw them to roast upon flames as “sacred” offerings to God. Was it God’s will for those fetuses conceived by loving parents, to be born and then murdered as infants by those claiming to “know God’s will?”

Mourdock is the only newest manifestation of such nightmare thinking, if anyone even wants to dignify him by even calling it thinking.  

Romney Batting 0 out of 2 In His Senate Endorsements

Romney caught a lot of flak for his first commercial endorsing a Republican Senate candidate. The recipient of Romney’s largess Richard Mourdock made controversial comments the following day about rape, conception and God’s will.

Now, Romney has repeated his performance by cutting a commercial for North Dakota Senate candidate Rick Berg. Rick Berg is famous for supporting “a bill that would have made getting an abortion a class AA felony” in North Dakota, with no exceptions. In other words, rape and incest victims getting an abortion would be liable to life in prison!

Romney has not recorded an advertisement for Todd Akin who claimed that women cannot get pregnant during a “legitimate rape”. However, the National Republican Senate Campaign Committee apparently has. While the NRSC earlier disavowed Akin, an anonymous group is financing Akin’s latest ad campaign, and the NRSC is refusing to comment on its involvement. Meanwhile, the conservative National Journal reported this weekend that:

Missouri Republican Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin was arrested at least eight times in the 1980s at anti-abortion protests, according to newly obtained records….

Akin was arrested on October 26, 1985, April 19, 1986 and February 28, 1987 for trespassing. A December, 27 1986 arrest was for “trespassing and peace disturbance.” The arrests reported by the Post-Dispatch came in the same period, between March 1985 and May 1987, but occurred at other clinics. Three were in St. Louis and one in Granite City, Illinois. The paper said protesters tried to block access to the clinics and refused to leave. In one case, Akin was carried out by police. The last known arrest came shortly before Akin’s 1988 election to the Missouri State House, where he served for 12 years before he joined the House.

What Mourdock’s Rape Comments Mean for Jews

— by Ann Lewis

“And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”— Richard Mourdock, U.S. Senate candidate from Indiana

For Jewish voters still thinking about their vote for President of the United States, these comments should sound a loud warning bell: Not because we disagree with Richard Mourdock’s views, or his right to express them — but because he wants to write his own theology into law, imposing his own opinion of God’s will over those who believe differently.

Disturbingly, Richard Murdock has company at the top of the Republican Party. Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan explained that he also wants to outlaw women’s ability to make their own decisions – even in such tragic cases as rape or incest. Ryan said,

“I’m very proud of my pro-life record. I’ve always adopted the idea that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.”

And presidential nominee Mitt Romney, while announcing that he disagrees with Richard Murdock, has also said that he would be “delighted” to sign legislation that would ban all abortions and strip women of their right to control their bodies.

More after the jump.
And yet Republican partisans, especially those who tell us that they disagree with these positions, claim that attention to women’s health is a diversion — not a real issue. They liken women’s health to a “side show” — as if it were a carnival attraction.

Women’s health and well being is not a “special interest” or a “side issue” or even a “social issue!” The trauma of rape is not easily overlooked by the women who are victims. Serious people cannot consider rape as just one “method of conception!”

The ability of women and their families to be able to choose their own personal options is an essential part of women’s ability to live fully human lives. That means protecting our right to make our health care decisions, according to our own faith, — and yes, our own opinions about what is God’s will!

Richard Mourdock didn’t just reveal his own confusion between his personal beliefs and the role of lawmakers in a democracy — he also reminded us of the importance of the 2012 election.

Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) wrote that the

“the next president likely will nominate one or more new Supreme Court justices… The next Senate will be tasked with confirming or rejecting the President’s Supreme Court nominees….”

The decisions that we make this year will determine our laws and how those laws are interpreted in the courts for years to come, impacting our children and our grandchildren in their own life choices.

For American Jews proud of our nation’s history of religious liberty, this approach to lawmaking is especially dangerous.

We have learned through experience to be wary of those who seek to legislate their own interpretations of religious authority.

Will we now allow one particular interpretation of “God’s will” to be written into law? Is this the legacy we want to leave for our children and grandchildren?  

Not if I can help it.

Ann Lewis was Communications Director for President Bill Clinton and a Senior Adviser to Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign. She is a member of the National Jewish Democratic Council’s Chairman’s Council. This editorial appeared in The Huffington Post.