One of the most distasteful statements ever to emerge during an election campaign emanated this week from the mouth of U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin.
In one of the most bizarre and chauvinistic assertions ever to be spoken by a political candidate, Akin declared that a woman's body has a natural defense against pregnancy from "legitimate rape." The assertion is not only an insult to rape victims, but also an assault on the intelligence of the American public.
I hesitate to even waste words on this issue. Indeed, there is no such thing as “legitimate rape.” Subjecting a human being by force to withstand an invasive act is a violation of human rights and personal dignity beyond description.
And to somehow tie this to the issue of abortion and by some rough extension, to God’s natural law, is at minimum an obscenity. Indeed, candidate Akin possesses no divine insight into either of these issues.
Yet this week’s comments by the aspiring US Senator point to a disturbing trend during the current election campaign.
Increasingly, we are witnessing ads emanating from supposedly “God fearing” politicians, who are attempting to link issues such as welfare, abortion and even contraception within an implication that they are speaking from God’s “high moral ground.”
More accurately, the Torah speaks of the importance of feeding all, and to create conditions of dignity to help those in travail to improve their condition.
The Torah, Judaism, and therefore the combined Judeo-Christian tradition make no distinction when it comes to rape. It is above all criminal.
It is not my role to take sides within American political debate. It is however the role of clergy to clarify and declare outrage in particular when the word of God, either directly, or by implication is used to lower any human being.
For we are all sparks of God.
Let the issues of this campaign be fought on human dignity rather than on disrespect. And before candidates and their supporters attempt to claim God’s high ground, let them remain true to the texts, and towards Biblical concepts.
God respects human life. God believes in the equality of all.
We owe it to God to advocate political positions in the manner in which God would want us to.
Indeed, there is no division when it comes to rape. An assault on body and soul is just that.
And God cries alongside the victim, without any distinction.
Shabbat shalom, v’kol tuv (with all goodness)
Rabbi Irwin Huberman