The election is over at last (thank Darwin!) and my inbox is considerably less cluttered than before. Among the post-mortems concerning why the Republicans did so much worse than expected, along with them being on the wrong side of democracy, having a less-than-inspiring candidate, supporting policies that blatantly favored the rich over everyone else, having caused two unnecessary wars plus the Great Recession and now asking to be returned to office because the Democrats haven't been quick enough in cleaning up the messes - aren't these enough? - we're told that some of their Tea Party-affiliated senatorial candidates were verbally inept.
Inept? Certainly. But not just verbally. How about intellectually and factually? I'm referring to Missouri Senate wannabe Todd Aikin, who invented his own fact-free biology when he announced that women's bodies can "shut the whole thing down" when it comes to pregnancy resulting from "legitimate rape." He had something there: Women's body-politic did a pretty good job of shutting down Mr. Aikin's senatorial aspirations.
Even more interesting, it seems to me, was the claim by the Republican's Indiana senatorial hopeful, Rchard Mourdock, that when pregnancy results from rape, "it is something that God intended to happen," and hence, abortions should be ruled out. Mr. Mourdock was roundly and appropriately criticized for this comment, which may well have cost him - and his party - an otherwise likely senatorial seat. But the problem isn't simply that Mr. Mourdock (along with Mr. Aikin and a remarkably large number of their associates) are members of the knuckle-dragging Neanderthal crowd. The real problem, I submit, isn't that he said something that is beyond the pale, politiclly, but that he gave voice to something that is ENTIRELY CONSISTENT with much of mainline religious belief: the impossibility of reconciling faith in an omnipotent, omnibenevolent God with the fact that really bad things happen. LIke rape, war, murder, devastating disease, and much, much more.