William James

William James
We must get by on what truth we have today, and be willing to call it error tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Is Rape Worse Than Murder?

I have heard it argued that "rape is worse than murder." In response, I have tried to explain my position that, although rape is terrible, there are varying degrees and varieties of it, some of which are far worse than others, as illustrated by the following hypotheticals:

1. A, an adult, forcibly rapes a 9-year old.
2. A, an adult, is partying hard with her adult boyfriend, decides she wants to have sex with him, and, knowing he would otherwise never consent because he believes in holding off on sex before marriage, slips something into his drink to overcome his inhibitions.
3. A, a teenager, is making out with his teenage girlfriend, and after the two of them get carried away in the moment, she suddenly says she'd rather not have sex but he continues on and overpowers her will.
4. A, an adult, is seduced by a seventeen year old girl who pretends she is 18, but it turns out it is technically statutory rape.
5. A, an adult, seduces her sixteen-year-old high school student who, because of his age, is deemed unable to consent to the act although he feels no coercion whatsoever.
6. A, an adult, kidnaps a stranger, tortures and mutilates his victim, and then rapes her.
7. A, an adult, tells a woman he meets in a bar that he has just won 5 million dollars, and based upon that lie, she agrees to sleep with him because she is after his money.
8. A, an adult, tells his female subordinate at work that he will fire her unless she sleeps with him, and she does so, feeling no attraction and feeling coerced.
9. A, an adult, has sex with his fiance while she is in a coma after a car accident. She awakes having no memory of what happened, nor any lasting physical effects.

Clearly, these examples are not all on the same level, and although all of them are serious, some are, in my opinion, a far cry from being comparable with murder.

Claims About Thomas S. Monson's Character

The question was put:

"There is this person in Provo who claims to have a perfect IQ. He has multiple websites and a radio program of some sort. He has posted on his web site what I consider to be vile accusations against President Monson. Further more, he is advertising for others to “come forth” with more of these accusations, which he is posting anonymously.

Is this common for people to demonize our current Prophet? I guess I have come to expect these comments about Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and tend to ignore it. For some reason, I am very offended that someone would say these things about President Monson. Do any of you feel indignation when this happens?"

To which I responded:

1. I don't know exactly what you mean by "demonize". But I think it is fair to say you can always find a few wackos with all kinds of conspiracy theories about public figures. Some people are delusional or willing to outright lie about being witnesses to fictional events in order to get attention or to fight something they feel is wrong. Others are willing to mischaracterize facts to create an illusion of reality. I have seen that kind of thing in anti-mormon (generally evangelical-based) literature (the Tanners come to mind).

2. All of that said, we should evaluate everything on its merits. We should not cast aside serious accusations against church officials merely because those accusations conflict with the public persona we have come to embrace. If this commentator has something seriously negative to share about President Monson's character, then it seems he should come forward with the evidence and let us evaluate it for ourselves as objectively as possible. I, for one, would love to hear what he/she has to say.

3. My opinion of President Monson, based upon my very limited personal knowledge gathered in generally non-private settings, is that he is a man of God with a huge heart full of love. Though I believe there is serious error in some of his beliefs (which I have discussed at length in hundreds of previous posts), it seems it would be difficult to impeach his character and good intention.