Trump Republicans: You’d Better Hope God Ain’t Real

Randolph Blake Farenthold, a Tea Party congressman from Texas who was elected in the we-hate-Obama election of 2010, was born in Corpus Christi, which in Latin means “body of Christ.” He attended a school in that city called Incarnate Word Academy. According to its website, one of the “core values” of the school is,

Belief in Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, and his message of love for the world.

Well, Mr. Farenthold, and those other Republicans selling their souls to Donald Trump, had better hope they never meet the world-loving Christ—in body or out. They’d better hope he isn’t real, that his life and death and resurrection is a fable, a figment of the collective imagination of his earnest followers. Because if they do meet the Incarnate Word, if he is who they claim he is, Trump Republicans will be greeted with a variation of these words, from Matthew 5:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

In light of the recent revelations that Donald Trump loves him some genital-grabbing assaults on women, do Trump Republicans think that committing those assaults, possibly including rape, fits into the “right hand” in this passage? The right hand that “causes you to stumble”? The right hand that Jesus suggests—no, demands—should be cut off and thrown away? That seems like an easy question, doesn’t it? But not for followers of the Cult of Trump. Congressman Farenthold is one of those cultists who, when it counted, found it hard to condemn the easily-condemnable. He appeared on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes on Tuesday night. Here is how CNN reported the hell-worthy exchange:

Farenthold was interviewed by MSNBC host Chris Hayes on the political fallout from a leaked video showing Trump, among other things, saying he could grab women by the genitals.

Asking the Republican congressman about the recent wave of party leaders, like Sen. John McCain and Rep. Paul Ryan, pulling their support from Trump, Hayes tried to size up Farenthold’s commitment.

“Until he does something so bad to make him worse than Hillary, I’m still in,” Farenthold said.

Hayes posed a hypothetical: “If someone off the record, in a locker room — this was not in a locker room, it was a workplace — said, ‘I really like raping women,’ would that be locker-room talk?”

Farenthold answered, “Again, it depends, you don’t know the entire context of all this.”

“But you would be fine with that?” Hayes interjected.

“I don’t like what he said,” Farenthold began to answer.

So Hayes repeated his hypothetical: “If a tape came out with Donald Trump saying that, saying ‘I really like to rape women,’ you would continue to endorse him?”

“Again … that would be bad. And I’d have to consider it, but again, we’re talking about what Donald Trump said 10 years ago as opposed to what Hillary Clinton has done in the past two or three years,” Farenthold said. “She’s been a failure.”

Hayes returned to the question and asked if there was a single, conceivable thing Trump could do to earn Farenthold’s opposition.

“Absolutely, but I think actions speak louder than words,” Farenthold said, dismissing the controversy over the leaked tape as a “kerfuffle.”

Here’s a clip of the conversation:

Farenthold, a short time later recognizing that Jesus may be fitting him for a rather large millstone that would assure he was “drowned in the depths of the sea” (thank you, Matthew 18:6), took to Facebook to seek relief from either Americans or the Almighty or both:

I apologize for my failure to immediately condemn anyone who would say something as outrageous as they like raping women. During an interview on MSNBC with Chris Hayes tonight, I was thrown off by the anchor’s use of a hypothetical question. I do not, and have not ever condoned rape or violence against women.

Does it take a moral or theological genius, “thrown off” or not, to “to immediately condemn anyone who would say something as outrageous as they like raping women”? Of course not. Any normal and decent person would pass that test. So, what is going on here?

I submit that it is way too easy to say Planet Trump poisons everything that wanders into its orbit, including a congressman from Corpus Christi. The harder truth is that people who are already poisoned with hate—for whatever reason—seek and fall under the nasty gravitational influence of a Trump. In other words, Donald Trump didn’t corrupt them. They were wounded, corrupt bodies chasing a Father Star. And, in Trump, they have found a home.

Sanity?

“I’m not a quitter. By the grace of God, we’ll win this race.”

—Todd Akin to Mike Huckabee

et’s review what it was that Todd Akin said about rape:

If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

It is hard for folks not acquainted with evangelicalism—I used to be one, remember—to understand how a man living in the 21st century could not only say such a thing in public but actually think it in private.

Akin last year declared that,

at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God.

Akin’s ability to say such ridiculous and offensive things is really the product of his evangelical mind, a mind taught to analyze everything in the context of the evangelical conception of an all-knowing, all-powerful God.

Thus, it’s not really that hard to understand that deep within his evangelical psyche lurks an idea that somehow there is a mysterious, God-created mechanism in a woman’s body that would “shut that whole thing down“—if the woman were really raped, as opposed to her somehow secretly desiring or “asking for” or, dare I say it, “enjoying” the experience.

Before you object to that and call it a stretch, think about it. That has to be the subtext behind Akin’s comment or it doesn’t make any sense at all to utter it: “If it’s a legitimate rape…” Just what does it imply if a woman claims she was raped but her “female body” doesn’t “shut that whole thing down” and she gets pregnant? Huh?

A version of this idea existed in medieval times, as pointed out by The Guardian:

The idea that rape victims cannot get pregnant has long roots. The legal position that pregnancy disproved a claim of rape appears to have been instituted in the UK sometime in the 13th century. One of the earliest British legal texts, Fleta, has a clause in the first book of the second volume stating that:

“If, however, the woman should have conceived at the time alleged in the appeal, it abates, for without a woman’s consent she could not conceive.”

This was a long-lived legal argument. Samuel Farr’s Elements of Medical Jurisprudence contained the same idea as late as 1814:

“For without an excitation of lust, or the enjoyment of pleasure in the venereal act, no conception can probably take place. So that if an absolute rape were to be perpetrated, it is not likely she would become pregnant.”

This thinking horrifies most of us today, even if it may not sufficiently horrify those with Akin-like minds, those who see God as exercising a detailed control over nature and thus in control of who gets pregnant and when.

So it can be that an evangelical candidate for the U.S. Senate actually suggests that nature-God makes a woman’s body such that it would reject the sperm of a rapist if it were “legitimate rape”—presumably defined by whether the woman had “an excitation of lust or the enjoyment of pleasure in the venereal act.

Now, Todd Akin didn’t quite say all that, but think about what he did say and what he could possibly have meant by it and you can see he must have been thinking something very close to it.

Evangelicals of the sort Akin is believe in all kinds of strange ideas about human nature, including that homosexuality is an abomination, a sin, a curse, or that women are glorified servants of men. And these ideas come from a misplaced, often fanatical insistence that the Bible, read and understood and affirmed as the Word of God, is an authoritative guide to understanding the nature of man and the nature and meaning of existence.

But the Bible is an ancient book full of ancient ideas, many of which have been fully discredited by the only practical tool of genuine understanding we have: science.

And science has something to say on the matter of rape. A 1996 study found:

RESULTS:

The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0% per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45); among adult women an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. Among 34 cases of rape-related pregnancy, the majority occurred among adolescents and resulted from assault by a known, often related perpetrator. Only 11.7% of these victims received immediate medical attention after the assault, and 47.1% received no medical attention related to the rape. A total 32.4% of these victims did not discover they were pregnant until they had already entered the second trimester; 32.2% opted to keep the infant whereas 50% underwent abortion and 5.9% placed the infant for adoption; an additional 11.8% had spontaneous abortion.

CONCLUSIONS:

Rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency. It is a cause of many unwanted pregnancies and is closely linked with family and domestic violence. As we address the epidemic of unintended pregnancies in the United States, greater attention and effort should be aimed at preventing and identifying unwanted pregnancies that result from sexual victimization.

Up against that, we have the evangelical Todd Akin:

If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

National figures in the Republican Party are beginning to sound the death knell for Mr. Akin. He naturally is clinging to God and to the possibility of victory. He says Missourians need him to put “some sanity back” in Congress. I for one wish he would stay in the race because I think he does represent a large swath of the Republican Party today.

And we need to find out just how many of our fellow Missourians are willing to embrace such ignorance and superstition and call it “sanity.”

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