An ugly ugly thing has come to my attention.
During a debate on the passage of a restrictive abortion law, a state senator in Oklahoma said, while trying to advance his agenda (of course), that RAPE is God’s will. And incest as well.
Here is the article – and it contains the YouTube video:
These statements were actually made in 2017 – and this man is no longer in office – but I have just seen them.
I am posting them now – and writing about them – in light of all of the debates we are seeing around women’s rights and religious arguments being made – and due to the fact that Senator Faught’s callous remarks are being circulated again for all to hear.
They are too damaging to just let go.
They are a slap in the face, not only to victims of sexual violence, but to women everywhere.
To my heart and conscience, it seems that Christians ought to also be mightily offended by this line of thinking – and we should be standing up and saying something.
This is not appropriate.
This is not okay.
This is not TRUE.
I am just sickened.
The Heart of Jesus and the Father
First, let’s simply remember Matthew 1:23 – The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel (which means “God with us”). Jesus’ presence in the world alone points to a good good Father who wants to redeem and have relationship with His children – and, therefore, is not “willing” evil for them.
And then, when we look at the Red Letter words of Jesus, we find:
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. – Luke 6:36
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for He has anointed me to announce good news to the destitute. He has sent me to proclaim that prisoners will be released, the blind will see, the oppressed will be freed, and to proclaim the time of the Lord’s favor. – Luke 4:18-19
If you who are evil know how to give good things to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask Him. – Matthew 7:11
The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. I’ve come to bring you life, life full to overflowing. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for His sheep. – John 10:10-11
Don’t you think that God will make sure His chosen people receive justice, those who cry out to Him day night? Do you think he will make them wait? No, I tell you, will give them justice quickly. – Luke 18:7-8
For God loved the world so much that He gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in Him shall not perish but shall have eternal life. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. – John 3:16-17
Clearly, these spoken words of Jesus paint a picture of both Son and Father as loving, compassionate, merciful, and willing only the best for humanity.
A Father Who Hates Violence
Additionally, speaking directly on the problem of evil and violence elsewhere in scripture:
The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, He hates with a passion. – Psalm 11:5
He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in His sight. – Psalm 72:14
Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.” – Genesis 6:11-13 (Here, we see not only does God not will violence, His Holiness cannot tolerate it.)
But this word of the Lord came to me: “You have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for My Name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight. But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from his enemies on every side.” – 1 Chronicles 22:8-9 (Here, God is so averse to violence that He will not allow David, the “man after God’s own heart” to build the Temple due to his history of blood shed.)
And, finally, there is:
Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23
Simply put, God the Father HATES violence – and loves His children – and, though evil is in this world, it is no part of His will.
Misogyny & Political Agendas At Play
So, what is going on here?
The big problem of misogyny – blamed on God but certainly not of God – reared its ugly head in this man’s nasty, callous comments, as did his political agendas.
He expressed these thoughts during a debate over a restrictive abortion law in Oklahoma, which would have disallowed abortion, even in cases of incest and rape.
I am not interested in engaging a discussion about abortion rights in this post. Rather, my concern is about the overarching misogyny showing up in this branch of the church – that he would hold such an unfathomable position – as well as his willingness to express this – and likely alienate MANY people from the church – to advance this political position in his state senate.
Misogyny, The Senator, And His Bringing Jesus Into It
Unfortunately, this conservative anti-woman sort of sentiment that we are seeing in the political realm seems to have also taken hold in some evangelical churches as well. That is likely why the senator was so comfortable saying what he did. He certainly would never have said such a thing about a male victim of sexual abuse.
However, as Sarah Bessey writes in her wonderful book, Jesus Feminist, Jesus purposefully elevated women to a position of equality throughout his ministry:
- He protected the woman caught in adultery and sent her away unharmed.
- He healed the woman with the issue of blood and praised her faith.
- He healed the woman who was bent over in the synagogue and called her “daughter of Abraham.” This was significant as, prior to this, only men were referred to as “sons of Abraham.”
- Mary of Bethany was encouraged to sit at his feet and learn. Only pupils did so at that time – and women were not taught. Not only did he teach her, he praised her for staying to learn.
- His treatment of the Samaritan woman. She would have been an outcast for many reasons and Jesus spoke publicly with her anyway. It was actually his longest recorded personal conversation in the Bible. He taught her, valued her, and she was the first person to whom he actually said, “I am the Messiah.”
- He revealed himself to Mary Magdalene first upon his resurrection.
No matter what these shifting tides may suggest, Jesus himself valued everyone equally – and broke with societal and religious norms to demonstrate it.
And the senator saying such an evil thing as this?
It is NOT of God.
What Can We Do
The question now is: What do we, followers of Jesus, who KNOW this is so wrong, do?
Well, I believe it’s so important that we speak out against these types of lies when they are spoken – and other similar events that are occurring – and don’t just let it go because so much seems to be going awry right now.
Email our senators and representatives often.
For yourselves, your mothers, your daughters, your friends, your wives, your sisters.
Just don’t be silent.
Our silence is how these awful things keep growing and growing.
But we can’t just come from a place of anger – though this sort of thing is infuriating.
Rather, the solution is in loving like Jesus – and seeking equality and social justice for all as a result.
We have to continue to shine a light and speak the truth and trust that the darkness and ugliness will not win.
It’s been more than sixteen years since I sat in that chapel service, having my heart truly broken for the first time. Since then, it’s been broken repeatedly for God’s daughters in our world, and it keeps being mended by the miracle of everyday people of God doing the hard work of choosing love over fear, working out what God has already worked into them – moving mountains one stone at a time.
That’s the thing when we say yes to God – it’s not about that one yes. Our one yes keeps resounding and spreading, like ripples in a pond after a pebble is thrown into it, until the yes of God and the yes of our hearts and the yes of Jesus’ love and the yes of us all sweep over the world. – Sarah Bessey
I believe that love and grace are much bigger than this present darkness.
Be well, everybody.
Grace and Blessings.