Legitimate Rape, Illegitimate Rape, and Why This Is Not About Abortion
Welcome to the clash of civilizations—Missouri edition.
Last year I wrote a post saying that UUs needed to know the vocabulary in order to be a part of the Rob Bell/universalist debate. It was assumed that I meant that UUs needed to know the academic vocabulary of Christian theology. I didn’t mean that then and I don’t mean it now. Yet I am going to say it again; if UUs want to get into the whole Todd Akin-legitimate rape-illegitimate rape conversation, you need to know the vocabulary. And that vocabulary is the Bible. Because, dear friends, Todd Akin’s remarks about rape stem from a worldview that is based in a particular interpretation of the Bible.
Todd Akin’s beliefs about legitimate and illegitimate rape and abortion are NOT about rape and abortion. They are about theology; as Todd Akin’s beliefs on these subjects are a direct descendant of Dominionist theology. And lest you think that Todd Akin is alone in this, think again; the re-affirmed plank of the Republican party parrots Todd Akin’s belief (not about rape, at least not publicly)—there should be a constitutional amendment against abortion and that amendment cannot have exceptions. I am not bashing Republicans, I am just pointing that out.
Anyway…in order to counter Dominionist theology, one must have an intimate knowledge of Genesis and Deuteronomy. Now I know many UU churches showed the Bill Moyers program on Genesis, but when was the last time UU churches touched Deuteronomy?
As I said at the beginning of this post, this is a clash of civilizations. But, unlike Sam Huntington’s thoughts on this, this clash is not West v. the Rest. This clash is Modernity v. Anti-Modernity. For Dominionist theology is anti-modernity, anti-enlightenment, anti-intellectual and anti-science. Therefore you cannot fight Dominionist theology with modernity and her sisters. You must fight theology with theology; in this case fight the Bible with the Bible.
When Todd Akin says that pregnancy does not happen in cases of real/legitimate rape (he’s walked back the words, but work with me), that’s when you bring up to him that David raped Bathsheba and she ended up pregnant (not with Solomon, the pregnancy before that). That is when you bring up to him that Abram [he doesn't become Abraham until later] raped Hagar and she got pregnant. That is when you bring up that in the conquering of the Promised Land, it was expected that Israelite men would take possession of the women of the conquered land. That is when you bring up that Deuteronomy states that if a man rapes a woman and she becomes pregnant, he must marry her and can never put her aside. Then again, you might not want to mention that, it might give the Dominionists ideas; but Deuteronomy does say it.
This is not about abortion. It’s not about the definition of rape. This is a clash of civilizations. And in order to be heard, you have to use the language that will be heard.