By Jim Bailey
For The Herald Bulletin
U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock was just beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel when his words got in the way.
The Indiana treasurer’s choice of words in discussing one of those hot-button issues during a debate just before the election proved unfortunate, whatever the intention. Even worse was the way the spinmeisters turned his words — or more accurately, part of them — into a fatal campaign issue.
I didn’t see the debate. But one account explains that he was asked whether abortion should be allowed in cases of incest and rape. His complete answer: “I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is a gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
One can almost see the spinmeisters’ eyes light up as they figure how to edit the comment to imply that Mourdock was saying rape was the will of God.
In one of the dirtiest campaigns Indiana has seen in many election cycles (it surprises me more people weren’t disgusted enough to cast their votes for the Libertarian guy), that was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. Of course, when it comes to slinging mud, Mourdock and his supporters started the whole mess with their primary attacks on now-lame duck Richard Lugar, arguably the smartest member of the U.S. Senate.
Reaction to Mourdock’s statement varies with one’s convictions, but certainly his choice of words was unfortunate. Few rational people would believe an act of rape is anything on the order of God-ordained. But however it happens, when Mr. Sperm meets Ms. Egg in the right environment, the original divine purpose of propagating the species is naturally fulfilled, and Mr. Sperm is never asked what he’s doing in the neighborhood.
Choosing words in the heat of a debate is never easy. But perhaps a different tack could have been taken, such as inspirational speaker and author Lee Ezell, who was reunited over a decade ago with the daughter she gave up for adoption after being brutally raped. She first told her story on a Gaither video, “Joy to the World.” Since then she has written a book, “The Missing Piece.”
“At that time I was grateful there was not available to me a free clinic where I could have gone and gotten this thing taken care of,” she said. “Eventually I would decide abortion would be much too permanent an answer for my temporary problem.”
Then she introduced her daughter, Julie Makimaa, who had grown up in a wonderful Christian home. “It is true I was conceived in rape,” said Makimaa. “But I’m so grateful I was not given the death penalty for the crime of my father. … What’s important to me is not how I began but what I’ve become.”
Not politically correct, perhaps. But thought-provoking.
Jim Bailey’s column appears on Wednesday. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.