President Pershing and others http://bit.ly/2exHM7L are rightfully calling for discussions and actions after the aggravated rape that occurred on campus, Monday Oct. 31.
In the subsequent dialoguing, we would do well to remember the essential teachings of the Christian and Mormon faiths:
That the perfect, omnipotent God could easily have stopped the victim from being raped—but overall didn’t want to. And that willfully letting the victim be raped at gunpoint was the right thing for Him to do.
Find that repulsive? That’s not my belief. Don’t blame me.
But this is indeed what essentially every Christian and every Mormon believe: Being omniscient, God knew the victim was being raped. Being omnipotent, He could have easily stopped it. And being omnibenevolent, His willfully allowing the rape instead was the perfect, correct course of action. Or, more correctly, non-action.
When we talk about rape culture, we must confront such unfortunate and harmful attitudes. No reasonable person would normally propose that willfully letting anyone be raped on campus—or anywhere—is the appropriate course of action for anyone.
Except when it comes to religion. Then letting the rape continue is the right thing for a perfect being to do. Nothing happens apart from the will of thy Father. He wanted it to happen, overall.
Fail. If anyone can readily and safely stop a sexual assault or can get help to stop it, they should. End stop. Period. We rightfully praise the two students who broke up the sexual assault by Brock Turner at Stanford. We would rightful condemn them if they could have helped or called for help, but didn’t.
But wait. It gets worse.
Doubling down, the faithful further offer a multitude of reasons for why willfully letting the victim be raped was the right thing for Heavenly Father to do.
>> He didn’t want to interfere with the rapist’s free will. Apparently, the rapist’s free will is more important than helping the victim and stopping the rape. Fortunately, University police operate under a different set of ethics.
>> Life’s hardships provide a learning experience for the victim, or for those who suffer with her. Rape is not a learning experience. It’s an egregious crime that can strike at the very core of a victim’s sense of self. http://bit.ly/2exHM7L As the victim of Brock Turner’s sexual assault on campus stated so poignantly, “You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice.” http://bit.ly/1PavUB9 The related notion that it’s good for anyone to allow another person to be raped so that you can learn from the experience is deeply and pathologically narcissistic. Fortunately, University police operate under a different set of ethics.
>> The victim will be made whole in the afterlife. In other words: Rape isn’t such a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Such toxic attitudes perpetuate rape culture. Fortunately, University police operate under a different set of ethics.
Let’s be clear. Rape is never OK. Willfully letting rape occur is never OK. Dismissing the trauma of rape on the grounds that the victim will be made whole later, or that it will be a learning experience, is never OK.
God doesn’t stop rape for the same reason Superman doesn’t stop crime. He’s imaginary.
It’s up to us. All of us. And only us.
And one of the first things we need to do is stop making excuses. Religious or otherwise.
Gregory A. Clark
Department of Bioengineering