The Theological Roots of Akin’s “Legitimate Rape” Comment

The Theological Roots of Akin’s “Legitimate Rape” Comment

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Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), his party’s candidate in the Missouri Senate race to unseat Democrat Claire McCaskill, has quickly attempted to retract his comment that in cases of “legitimate rape,” women have biological defenses against pregnancy. “I misspoke,” he claimed in a carefully crafted statement. After all, cleaning up the mess after the candidate not misspoke, but spoke his mind on television, is what campaigns do to pretend that the candidate is not a loon.

Akin is proud of how his religion, and in particular, the Presbyterian Church in America, the deeply conservative Calvinist denomination founded in 1973, influences his political views. Akin has a Masters in Divinity from the denomination’s flagship Covenant Theological Seminary. Akin’s comments reveal a religious culture fundamentally opposed to women’s equality. On the rape exception question in particular, he’s not forging new ground, but rather echoing tropes long in circulation

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