Web Letters | The Nation

Valenti on rape as a gift from God

An occasional reader of The Nation, I noted Jessica Valenti’s recent commentary about rape, in which she wrote, “We live in a country where politicians call rape a ‘gift from God’ ”.

She linked “gift from God” to its source, a CBS interview with Ohio GOP Senate candidate Robert Murdock headlined “GOP Senate Candidate: Pregnancy from rape a gift from God.” According to the video, Murdoch, said: “I believe life begins at conception. The only exception I have for to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother. I struggled with myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen.”

Miss Valenti said that Murdoch called rape a “gift from God”. Murdoch said he saw life, meaning the baby, as a gift from God. True, Murdoch holds a traditional religious belief that life begins at conception. Also true, some may misconstrue, perhaps even on purpose, Murdoch’s phrasing of “something that God intended to happen”, which clearly relates to conception, not rape. From the actual text, however, it seems that Valenti attributed to Murdoch something he did not say.

Will The Nation issue a clarification of this? To let stand the falsehood that “we live in a country where politicians call rape ‘a gift from God’ ” would invite suggestions that Valenti lied and that The Nation either misedited or acquiesced. With her false assertion Valenti slandered politicians in general, “GOP” politicians in particular and especially Murdock, to whose quote she linked her assertion.

Most politicians, even GOP politicians are fathers, many of whom have daughters. Many GOP politicians are also women who are also mothers of daughters. No politicians believe that rape is a gift from God. For Valenti to say so in a journal as fine as The Nation is outrageous. A conceived child, as an innocent third party who had nothing to do with whatever transpired before the conception, still constitutes a human life. Without diminishing the heinous act of rape in any way, most thinking people are are able to differentiate a rape of a woman from the conception of a child—and to agree that a human life sparked by a conception is indeed a gift from God.

Tom Pyle

Princeton, NJ

Feb 6 2014 - 10:33am