Most people are disturbed when they see Tea Party and other far-right Republicans speak against the abortion rights of a rape victim by using the argument, "A life created by rape is still a gift from God." There has been much debate about when life begins, and there are strong feelings on both sides about abortion. But there's another aspect of this argument that disturbs me nearly as much as the thought of some withered fundamentalist trying to tell a twelve-year-old girl that she must carry to term the pregnancy forced upon her by her drunk uncle. If you claim that a rape-induced pregnancy is God's will, you deny that the rapist has exercised free will. This is not a minor issue. Rape is a violent, heinous, hideous crime. We, as a society, condemn the act and punish the perpetrator. If God made it happen, the rapist bears no responsibility for his act. The rapist had no choice. He was a puppet. He wasn't tempted, like Eve, into making a bad choice. He was forced to carry out God's will. Free will is a slippery concept to contemplate, and doesn't lend itself to simple discussions. (To give just one example, there are philosophers who feel that the illusion of free will is equivalent to free will itself. In their view, we can be trapped in a deterministic universe, and yet still be free because our acts appear to happen by choice.) It's worth repeating: If you claim any act is God's will, you strip the actor of all responsibility. In a larger sense, we've become a society where people can fling dogma at issues without giving serious thought to the implications and logical consequences of their statements. A rape induced pregnancy is not a gift from God. Logic is a gift from God. Compassion is a gift from God. An open mind is a gift from God. I wish more people would open their presents.