Halloween is a few days away, but the scariest things to happen in the United States this year have already happened.A Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Indiana, a Mr. Mourdoch, said yesterday right out in public that “when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” Another Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Missouri, a Mr. Akins, recently said, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”It should be noted that Akins is already a representative in Congressand along with veep candidate, Paul Ryan, tried to introduce a bill in congress that distinguished between forcible and non-forcipble rape. No, I am not making this stuff up.In the Republican platform passed at the national convention, the plan that presumably will be the operative working document for any Republican elected this year, abortion would be prohibited even it occurred as a result of incest or (forcible) rape.I get the same shivers up my spine when I read and think about this stuff as I did when I first read about the Salem witch trials. For convenience sake, I went to Wikipedia for a short description of the events that occurred in Salem, Massachusetts between Feb. 1692 and May, 1693.
“After someone concluded that a loss, illness or death had been caused by witchcraft, the accuser entered a complaint against the alleged witch with the local magistrates.
"If the complaint was deemed credible, the magistrates had the person arrested and brought in for a public examination, essentially an interrogation, where the magistrates pressed the accused to confess.
"If the magistrates at this local level were satisfied that the complaint was well-founded, the prisoner was handed over to be dealt with by a superior court. In 1692, the magistrates opted to wait for the arrival of the new charter and governor, who would establish a Court of Oyer and Terminer to handle these cases.
"The next step, at the superior court level, was to summon witnesses before a grand jury.
"A person could be indicted on charges of afflicting with witchcraft, or for making an unlawful covenant with the Devil. Once indicted, the defendant went to trial, sometimes on the same day, as in the case of the first person indicted and tried on June 2, Bridget Bishop, who was executed on June 10, 1692.
Coming back to the present, how short of a leap is it between thinking that a pregnancy occurring because of rape is God’s will, that a pregnancy that does occur from a legitimate rape is because there is something inherently defective or evil in the woman being raped (i.e., the modern equivalent of being a witch), and that if abortion is illegal under all conditions, including rape, the woman must be charged and prosecuted?
This is scary stuff indeed. I am thinking that our founding forefathers must have clearly understood the need to separate religion from government when they drafted our Constitution.