Akin’s Spiritual Mentor: Women Occasionally Invite Rape, Victims Are ‘Hysterical’

Written by Zack Beauchamp

Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) spiritual mentor Reverend D. James Kennedy harbored extreme and sometimes flatly misogynistic views about rape and abortion, according to a ThinkProgress review of Kennedy’s sermons on the topic. The Senate candidate, who set off a massive controversy by claiming this weekend that victims of “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant, has deep ties to Reverend Kennedy, having cited some of his sermons as key intellectual influences and having been named in Kennedy’s book How Would Jesus Vote? as one of the Reverend’s “favorite statesman.”

Kennedy, who the Anti-Defamation League has termed a “Christian supremacist,” repeatedly railed against legalized abortion, calling it the “American Holocaust” and suggesting that it would lead inevitably to genocide in the United States. But Kennedy’s discussions of rape and abortion in particular betray extraordinarily disturbing views about rape victims:

1. Kennedy believed that rape victims who chose abortion are “hysterical.” In “Abortion: Myths and Realities,” Kennedy labels victims of rape who chose unsafe abortions when safer procedures are illegal “hysterical,” saying “We are told by some of the radical feminists that the women will become hysterical, that they will abort themselves with coat hanger.” Abortion rates are, in fact, higher in nations where the procedure is criminalized, and men describing women whose choices they disapprove of as “hysterical” has a storied sexist history.

2. Kennedy suggests rape victims can be responsible for being raped. In “Life: An Inalienable Right,” Kennedy expresses concern that rape victims who chose to get an abortion are occasionally responsible for their own rape, saying that “Even if they want to say the woman had some part in it—which in most cases they probably don’t—surely the baby did nothing wrong, so the only innocent party is killed and the rapist often goes free.” He doesn’t elaborate on how this might be true, but another Kennedy sermon says “the immodest woman is contributing to the lust of other people” by wearing revealing clothing.

3. Kennedy held that the Bible should set our laws about rape and abortion. Kennedy is very explicit on this point, saying “In the Bible, the child of rape was allowed to live and the rapist was put to death. Today, we find that the penalties against rape have become more and more lenient, whereas the child is now the subject of capital punishment. Justice has been totally destroyed and perverted in that the guilty are practically allowed to go free and the innocent are killed.” This fits with Kennedy’s general view that we should “rebuild America based on the Bible.”

4. Kennedy thought husbands should determine if their wives can have abortions. Though not specifically addressing rape, Kennedy approvingly cited a Roman prohibition on abortion motivated by the husbands should have control over women’s reproductive choice, saying “That newly created life is as much the husband’s as it is the wife’s. Historically, it is interesting to note that when the Roman Empire did away with laws that allowed abortion, it was done not because of the woman or the harm that abortions were doing to women (and indeed they do vastly more harm than most people are aware of), but because the husband was being defrauded of his progeny.” Interestingly, Akin has worried that criminalizing marital rape provides women “a legal weapon to beat up on the husband.”

Given that Akin’s rhetoric and policy views bear clear marks of Kennedy’s influence, it’s perhaps no surprise that Akin co-sponsored (with Paul Ryan) a bill that could, by limiting federal funding of abortion to cases of “forcible rape,” make rape survivors give birth to their rapist’s child.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.


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Duane B.
.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Erica B.
Erica B.4 years ago

Hey Justin, these guys don't "BS their way in to the legislature," these misogynistic idiots BUY their way in! That's why they always vote for tax breaks in favor of the wealthy, and for legislation that favors big corporations...because these wealthy institutions and individuals PAID for them to get into office!

Justin Case
James Taylor4 years ago

It has always been my belief that women do and have had control over their bodies. I am just angry as heck that withered old out of touch white men who BS-ed their way into the legislature are trying to take it away.

Wendy Schroeder
Wendy Schroeder4 years ago

I think women should have control over their bodies. I am against abortion in the third trimester except to save the mother's life. Why? Because the fetus is then viable outside the mother's body. Also, I think men have no right to make women carry a baby to term for any reason! Even if he is married to her. I am my own person and I will stand by women even if it goes against my own beliefs because it's her body!!!

Tammy B.
Tammy B.4 years ago

I too am against abortion. I am female I went through an ectopic preagnancy and would of and could have died had it not died on it's own. Still I wouldn't call anyone names for choosing that rout. It is their choice. Between them and God and the father.By the way where is the father when women choose this rout? Are they willing to help feed cloth and properly raise their child so the woman will choose to keep it? If not I say don't blame her. Maybe she is just doing the best she can with whatever she has, and dosen't have. Know what I mean?

Jessica Lakis Mullan

Lee - I quite understand. I, too, feel outrage towards those spewing filthy hate and ignorance. But, in a way, it does somehow remind me of an argument I overheard once between a group of "Klingons" and "Storm-troopers" over whether Darth Vader in his Death Star could beat Captain Kirk in the Enterprise. It's all such nonsense! But, you are correct, it is dangerous nonsense. I dislike taking such nonsense seriously, but I suppose it was those who dismissed Nazi-ism as nonsense who tacitly allowed its empowerment. It is a dirty business, fighting such men. But a necessary one. Your strong yet tempered approach is an illuminating example of how it may be done well.

Lee Witton
4 years ago

Jessica - I believe that's what the majority here are doing is pushing back with science and 'reason'. That doesn't mean that we are not going to allow the filth of some to murk up the waters here at Care2 without letting them know the disgusting comments are never acceptable.

Jessica Lakis Mullan

To Lee: I understand you thoroughly. However, the discussion below me about the Devil possibly being responsible for rape, and the idea of rape and rape babies being part of "God's inscrutable Divine Plan" demonstrate the yogic contortions of the mind that an insistence on relying on a contradictory and ancient document for all answers to all questions engenders.

What seems clear in this particular issue is the need for some dispassionate, reasoned thought. What Atkins and Kennedy believe is simply a lie. Moreover, it is a lie that allows the seepage of hate into the argument: a disgruntled woman's disapproval of how another dresses, a lonely man's latent fear of the female in general, and now the hordes of "The Dark One" himself. Do you notice the slide here? One comment that is patently false by all modern understanding of human biology, taken emotionally, moves this entire debate into the realm of speculation and witch-hunt logic.

That is why I say we need to fight such thought on the grounds of science and reason and not dirty ourselves with the primeval ooze from which their ideas originate. I see the contortions that all liberal-thinking folks go to in order to reconcile themselves to the battle-ground of faith from which the Republicans fire off their nonsense, and it's a losing struggle. Let them argue how many angels fit on a pin-head. Eventually their fight will come to whose interpretation of the Bible they will follow. Then they can be at each others' thr

Erica B.
Erica B.4 years ago

Lee...AMEN sister! Pardon the pun;-)

Lee Witton
4 years ago

Erica - thank you and the star can't yet come your way either.

It's such a shame when the concept of Godly means a child or a teen or a woman must carry a pregnancy to term because it is a blessing or it was meant to be by God. Seriously? When I read some of the archaic, barbaric comments of those who try to perpetuate God as this loving, kind Creator, and that somehow these atrocities against children and women are 'meant to be', my blood run cold. I am grateful the more people are falling away from religion because if I can see anything as truly harmful in this country, it is the far right religious ideology which is so full of hate, prejudice and discrimination. Wow; what a way to 'love'!