As far as I can tell, he said that conception was a gift from God, not that rape was. Much of the commentary, including TNC’s, conflates the two, seemingly deliberately. To hang the latter around Mourdock’s neck seems to me to be blaming him for not having solved the problem of theodicy (reconciling an omnipotent and omnibenevolent God with the existence of evil). I’m all for having high standards for our elected representatives, but to demand that they solve a problem that has flummoxed theologians and philosophers throughout history seems to me excessive. A quick refresher on Mourdock’s words: I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen. It’s very important to be clear on this: Mourdockbelieves that life begins at conception. He also believes that whenever conception occurs, God intended it and it is a gift. He further believes that rape is one way in which conception sometimes occurs. Thus he believes that conception through rape is a gift from God and furthermore intended by God. The reader, andMourdock,share a belief system in which one can separate “conception” from “rape.” I also have a belief system. I believe cheap luxury goods to be a gift from God, even when limbs are mangled in the process. I believe that my McDonald’s is sanctioned by God, honest though I am sorry for the clipped chicken beaks.