God's metaphorical ears must be burning these days. On Tuesday night Richard Mourdock, a Republican Senate candidate from Indiana, did something that would have given pause to even the medieval scholastics who speculated about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
With less than two weeks left in a contentious and hotly contested election, Mr. Mourdock speculated about what God's will would be if a woman became pregnant as the result of rape.
"I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God," Mr. Mourdock said during the Indiana Senate debate. "And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen," he said, as if a debate stage was the most appropriate place to settle theological conundrums like omnipotence and free will.
The next day, the Tea Party favorite attempted to stop the rapid unraveling of his Senate bid by making it clear that he believed rape "is a brutal act" and that it was something that he abhorred. He was careful to leave any speculation about God's will out of his musings the second time around.
Still, the outrage surrounding Mr. Mourdock's original statement has become fodder for Democrats eager to exploit every advantage, no matter how opportunistic. Speculation about God's will in rape cases also raises a ticklish theological question -- what kind of god do candidates who don't allow for abortion under any circumstance, including the life of the mother, believe they're paying lip service to?
Over the years, we've heard about a deity who countenances the invasion of Muslim countries and the forced conversion of its leaders from the likes of "believers" like Ann Coulter. We've heard about the god who hates abortion but loves capital punishment. We hear that he even gives absolution to the killers of abortion doctors even though they're effectively murdering full-grown fetuses.
When this god isn't violating his own commandments, it is bestowing every true follower of the American Way with material goods while cursing the unfaithful foreigner with poverty. This god has proven itself small enough to fit into the back pocket of any political party willing to evoke its blessings.
If this god were to speak from its pyramid-shaped throne on the back of a dollar bill, it would say the following:
"I am the god of the 1 percent. You shall have no other gods before me. I help those who help themselves and visit poverty over many generations to those who would redistribute the wealth that I have freely given to those who luxuriate without guilt in my love. I reward the spirit of material excess because I hate poverty and the poor who have rejected my ways.
"I am a vulgar god who never tires of the misery perpetuated by those who exploit the resources of the planet for tax breaks and personal gain. The smoke of belching coal plants and runoff from hydraulic fracturing pleases me. Let those who refuse to rape the earth that I have made in six days be accursed.
"I am the god of 'In God We Trust.' You shall have no other gods before me. Give to the poor (if you must) out of your excess and at your discretion. Don't be compelled by guilt. The poor don't need a safety net as long as I, the god of the Koch brothers and Ayn Rand, lives in the heart of every patriotic American. It is money that I love, not mercy for its own sake. Mercy without conditions offends me.
"I am the god of the morally upright. I abhor homosexuals, Democrats, mimes and all who believe in global warming. Those who have AIDS can give all glory to me. It is by my hand that every dread disease except obesity and cancer is visited upon the earth. Do not be fooled: I loathe the followers of Lady Gaga. Women who refuse to submit to male authority are an abomination.
"Those who believe in me know evolution is a lie straight from hell. The dinosaurs drowned during Noah's day because the ark couldn't contain them. This is not a mystery if you believe science is evil with all your heart.
"I am the god of war. I love violence and the mindless proliferation of guns in every home. Horses and bayonets proclaim my glory over the whole earth. That is why America is my blood-stained footstool. Guns don't kill -- I do.
"I am the god of the Invisible Hand. I hate the 47 percent who siphon the productivity of my blessed Job Creators. On Election Day, I will pour out my wrath on those who receive the mark of the Kenyan Keynesian. Repent of your idolatrous liberalism, or else."