Republican Todd Akin has gotten himself in a lot of trouble for comments he has made concerning what he calls “legitimate rape.” Once people became outraged at him for his comments, he claimed that he “misspoke.” Well, if his belief in a literal interpretation of the Bible is to be taken seriously, then he did indeed misspeak.
While many Christians will no doubt claim that the Bible doesn’t support rape, those Christians are wrong. Now, they can try to pretend that the Bible says something other than what it does about the subject or they can wish it away by calling it a metaphor but the fact is that the Bible is supportive of rape. If Akin gets his morality from the Bible, which he no doubt would claim, then he definitely misspoke.
One Christian tried to point out to me that the Bible opposes rape by citing Deuteronomy 22: 25-27 which states:
But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; [there is] in the damsel no sin [worthy] of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so [is] this matter: For he found her in the field, [and] the betrothed damsel cried, and [there was] none to save her. (Deut 22:25-27)
I really shouldn’t have to say this, but if you are trying to show that the Bible is moral, Deuteronomy probably shouldn’t be your “go to” book. Sure, this verse certainly does seem to say that the rapist should be put to death. So that must mean that rape is morally wrong according to the Bible, right? Well, not so fast. Let’s look at the very next verse:
If a man find a damsel [that is] a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty [shekels] of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days. (Deut 22:28-29)
In other words, rape is just a property dispute. The key issue in the first verse wasn’t rape at all, it was the fact that the woman was “betrothed.” She belonged to someone else. But in the latter verses the woman was a virgin and as such she still belonged to her father. The rapist had damaged the goods as it were and so was then legally obligated to purchase the damaged goods (i.e. the woman).
Not only does this group of verses not state that rape is morally wrong, it actually shows that women are property. So Todd Akin did misspeak. What he meant to say was that there is no such thing as “legitimate rape” because there is no such thing as rape at all. In fact, this actually seems like the view of most of the Republican Party.
The Republicans do of course love to brag about how literally they take the Bible and that probably explains a lot with regard to this issue and many others. It certainly explains their war on women.
Secular society rightfully considers rape to be one of the most immoral acts someone can do and yet it isn’t even in God’s top ten list of things not to do. According to the Ten Commandments, it is more immoral to work on Saturday than it is to rape someone.
Todd Akin’s mistake wasn’t that he misspoke, it was that he spoke. He told the world what most Republicans really believe and that is why they want to kick him out. In a way, Todd Akin unknowingly is a whistleblower. The problem is that it isn’t just Republicans that Akin has exposed, but every Christian who values the Bible as a source of morality.