Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The alternative universe of some evangelicals

I understand and value the fact that believers are citizens of heaven but wonder sometimes if some of the brethren and sistren spend too much time and thought in an alternative universe where the bizarre is normal,  the outlandish is true, and facts need not apply.

The country has Todd Akin, Missouri Republican senatorial candidate, to thank for a glimpse into that alternative universe. His comments on "legitimate rape" and on how a "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole [conception] thing down" have made him a household name.

Oh my.

I have heard both of these things in conservative Baptist circles for decades, especially the latter. If one values life, all life, even that of a child conceived as a result of rape, then it is quite natural seek an approach to the idea that the state should require rape victims to carry the child and give birth.

Most of our fellow citizens are repelled by such laws. I do not foresee the political stars aligning, ever, on such laws ever being passed.

What's a pro-life purist to do?

See Todd Akin. He posits that (a) some rape is not legitimate, and (b) that there are very, very few conceptions as a result of legitimate rape so we should not be too concerned about that.

Could we have the data behind the "shutting down" thing, please? I've heard that for years offered as an ex cathedra statement. 

And, legitimate and illegitimate rapes? This would be the belief that  if the state attempted to prohibit abortion save for the exceptions of health of the mother and rape then numbers of women would lie and claim rape to end a pregnancy. How the state would sort through such things should be pondered. In Todd Akin's America would such a woman be put on trial or  investigated to see if she really was legitimately raped and allowed to have that abortion?

But, in an alternative universe, who needs data driven facts and who needs to worry about the details of public policy implementation?

But Todd Akin's problem moves, I hate to say it, from the foolish ("stupidity" as Charles Krauthammer and others put it) to the unethical. His explanation and apology which included the usual 'I misspoke' and 'used the wrong words' belie what he actually said. He didn't just foul up the syntax and vocabulary and his backtracking is simply not credible.

Aside from what abortion policy support we want from candidates, do the people of Missouri want a candidate who does not own up to his own words and who offers the usual attempt at political doubletalk?

Also dwelling in the alternative evangelical universe are David Barton, now in freefall, and some young earth creationists but unlike the rape comment these are secondary issues. If one selectively quotes Jefferson or believes that dinosaurs coexisted with humans, a la the Flintstones, no lives are lost, no freedoms are lost.

...all of which is why the idea of political salvation is foolish and futile and that Christians who are pursuing such with gusts are chasing a chimera.

We should have learned better after a generation and a half of the hyper-politicalization of religious conservatives, with precious few results.

In contrast, there are no flaws in the Gospel, no need to finesse the truth, and individual changed lives are the surest way to achieve a better citizenry. 

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness


Anonymous said...

In Todd Akin's America would such a woman be put on trial or investigated to see if she really was legitimately raped and allowed to have that abortion?

The problem that Democrats want to distract from is that a woman can go into an Abortion Mill cry rape and get a free aborion under Medicaid. Should the woman be investigated? Uhh no but my goodness a crime has been committed shouldn't we be concerned about getting all these rapists off the streets?

Akin's an idiot and should have withdrawn. He has now stated on GMA this morning that what he stated was medically wrong, but it's too little too late. Hopefully, Missouri can get a third party candidate.

Anonymous said...

Mr Thornton,
Although you mentioned it only as an aside, I was wondering which young earth creationists that you alluded to are dwelling in an alternative universe? As far as I know, most Y.earthers don't hold to the cave man/neanderthal representation of man as presented by evolutionists /old earthers, so the Flintstone analogy would not exactly be applicable. They would hold to the co-existence of man with dinosaurs, so you are still batting .500(pretty good for a retired pastor:-)) Any clarification would be appreciated, though I know this was a side issue to the post....Kevin

Anonymous said...

As much as some religious conservatives wish to distance themselves from the Akins of the GOP, it is a very difficult thing to do since there is a daily drumbeat of anti-science, anti-intellectual, and bigoted comments from GOP politicians. Apart from the Plodder, there are very few conservative evangelicals speaking out against this constant craziness. Statements such as these no longer represent the fringe of the GOP (and apparently are finding support among a good many religious conservatives); this is now by and large the GOP. One conservative, Joe Scarborough, lamented that he is "tired of the Republicans being the party of stupid."

William Thornton said...

I only mentioned dinos and man together, a necessity if one has only 10k years to do it all.

I'm thinking that there are not a few Neanderthals still among us...

Tom Parker said...


I'm sorry but Akin's nuttiness has nothing to do with Democrats.

Why bring them into his craziness?

Sounds to me like you are trying to indirectly blame the Democrats.

I hope I am misreading you.

Tom Parker said...

How many SB will still vote for Akin if he stays in the race?

His position on Abortion as well as the current position on Abortion by the Republican party is an extreme one!

Tom Parker said...


How many of the SBC leaders hold Akin's position on abortion?

Jonathan said...

Just to provide a level set here: Dems (and some mod GOPers) support keeping legal (and in many cases financially subsidizing the process) the killing of the unborn for any reason the host may choose. Akin makes a ridiculous comment possibly revealing his lack of scientific knowledge...and Akin is the extremist?

BTW, if I was a citizen of MO, my chief concern with Akin would be his lack of due diligence in checking out what he obviously heard somewhere.

The pro-abortion faction of the political universe has my begrudging admiration for one thing: they have been able to browbeat otherwise clear thinking folks to not think about the killing of an unborn child for what it actually is and convince them to swallow the worst kind of relativistic morality.

I am very close to some women who have been raped (by any definition). There are few categories to describe the damage that experience did to them. Somehow, in our modern desire to be seen as even handed or above the fray, it has become repugnant to utter something like the following:

"But if any of them had become pregnant as a result of that crime, is the child any less valuable in the sight of God?"

Anonymous said...

"But if any of them had become pregnant as a result of that crime, is the child any less valuable in the sight of God?"

And Mississippi said, "the child, yes, but when it is a child."