Our guest blogger is Sally Steenland, Director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (R-IN) outraged millions of American women and men when he said in a debate last night that rape pregnancies are “a gift from God” and that women who become pregnant from rape should be denied abortion care.
Mourdock’s views are harsh and extremist — and they represent an attempt to impose his unforgiving theological views on millions of Americans who hold very different beliefs. Religious leaders, including clergy and faith experts at CAP’s Faith and Reproductive Justice Institute, are weighing in to condemn his views:
“Rape is an act of overt personal violence and an egregious abuse of power that the God I believe in does not sanction. A woman who is faced with a pregnancy from such a traumatic attack on her body and soul must have all options available to her when deciding whether or not to terminate a pregnancy, including the right granted to her by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 to a safe and legal abortion.” — Rev. Elizabeth Barnum, United Church of Christ minister serving in Rhode Island
“As a Christian pastor, I am deeply offended by Indiana Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock’s claim that the God of compassion and justice would re-victimize a survivor of sexual violence. To believe that God would choose to impose a pregnancy on someone whose most basic bodily agency has been violated is to completely misunderstand God’s agency for those most in need. Scripture commands us: Do not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, and the idea that God would “gift” a survivor of rape with a pregnancy is exactly that. It’s blasphemy.” — Rev. Matthew Westfox, Associate Pastor of All Souls Bethlehem Church in Brooklyn, NY, and Director of Interfaith Outreach for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
“As a pastor who has counseled hundreds of women regarding unintended pregnancies, including women who have suffered awful violence in their lives, I was both saddened and horrified hearing the callousness of Richard Mourdock’s words. How could his heart be so hard? God compels us towards acts of profound justice, compassion, and peace. God calls us to be in caring relationships with those who have suffered the most in this world. We are to bear witness and listen, mindful to not let our arrogance and hubris lead us astray.” — Rev. Darcy Baxter, Director of Family Ministries, Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church, Hayward, CA