September 2, 2008
The backlash against Sarah Palin was to be expected. From the Left, that is.
What has been surprising is the condemnation by conservative Christians who see her VP nomination as a Trojan horse to capture our votes even as our values are compromised. This from the patriarchal and separatist crowds, as well as believers scattered here and there who cannot reconcile the fact that Palin serves as Governor of Alaska while continuing to have children. Her latest, a son with Down syndrome named Trig, was born last April.
"How could she possibly give that child or any of her children what they need?" "This is the result of feminism." "What about serving her husband?" was the first response of the Sisterhood of the Given-Up-Pants.
The attacks from the left were far worse, of course, keeping believers eager to support a pro-life ticket on a spiritual roller coaster over the holiday weekend. From the savage lies of the Daily Kos that 4-month-old Trig was not Palin's son, but her daughter's to the revelation that proved these charges false because 17-year-old Bristol Palin is actually five months pregnant now.
The statement from Todd and Sarah Palin reads:
"We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us,"
"Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support."
"Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family. We ask the media, respect our daughter and Levi's privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates."
Interestingly, a Time reporter has found that everyone in the Palins' hometown already knew of the pregnancy. So did John McCain when he offered the Sarah Palin to run with him -- a fact that only makes his choice look more gutsy and real. A fact that makes me like him more.
How will this new development be spun? My guess is that the savagery will continue. As Newt Gingrich opined Monday: "Palin represents the worst threat to the Left since Ronald Reagan." Rush Limbaugh said she is all about "babies, guns and Jesus" a constellation that doesn't sit well with the Left.
But what of negative spin on the Right? What of those who will point to the revelation of an unwed teen pregnancy as proof that Palin isn't meant to be in politics at all?
As a mother convinced that Sarah Palin is where she is, like Esther, "for such a time as this," I say look to the Bible for example after example of God-appointed leaders who lived real lives - full of flaws - as well as children who brought judgment to their parents.
I've met enough Christian parents who steered right only to see their children veer wrong that I would caution all of us to avoid judgment in this case. As the assistant principal of Wasilla High said, "Just like children should not pay for the sins of the parents, the parents should not pay for the transgressions of the children."
While it seems to make sense when your children are young that if you put in all the right ingredients, they will turn out perfectly, those of us on the other side of parenthood know this is just not always the case.
God gave us free will. And believing that we can control the outcome of our children's lives preventing them from ever making mistakes is a form of spiritual pride. Even the perfect parent Our Heavenly Father saw his children who enjoyed perfect daily communion with Him disobey His commands.
I've heard from the pulpit that the abortion rate among evangelicals is as high as among the general population. That's because evangelicals would rather face God's judgment than the judgment of their peers. Hallelujah that the Palins mother and daughter both chose life when it would have been more convenient and less embarrassing to choose death.
They stand in sharp contrast to Candidate Obama who justifies abortion with the hypothetical that if one his daughters made a mistake, he "wouldn't want her punished with a baby."
Could God have drawn the battle lines more clearly? Can we trust Him with the choice of leaders? Is it right to demand that our leaders fit our particular mold? That they be perfect?
God sends trials to leaders to test them. But I am convinced He means to test us as well.
God bless Sarah Palin and her family. It's not her daughter's transgression so much as the obviously loving and Christlike manner in which they are handling it that shows their true values. And in the spotlight as they are, they have been a breath of fresh air, an authentic witness, the face of the modern pro-life family.
And finally, after hearing us recite that we are sinners saved by grace, the world will have a chance to see us live out that promise.
Barbara Curtis has 12 children - including three adopted sons with Down syndrome - and 10 grandchildren so far. She is also an award-winning author with nine books, including Reaching the Left from the Right: Talking About Social Issues with People Who Don't Think Like You, and 800+ articles in print publications including Focus on the Family, Guideposts, Christian Parenting Today, and The Washington Times. Online you can find her at MommyLife and Mommy, Teach Me!.