A PRIEST'S VIEW OF THE PALINS
By Father Jonathan Morris
FOX News Religion Contributor
September 4th, 2008
In the best of worlds, I would leave most discussion of a politician's family matters to the privacy of the home. But over the last few days I have witnessed such meanness, such venomous politicking, such childish gossip -- all, of course, in the name of news reporting -- that I have felt a growing obligation to say why Governor Sarah Palin and her family have won my utmost respect.
It's mostly about comparison. As a priest, families often ask me to help them through personal situations like Bristol's teenage pregnancy. So when I think of Bristol's case, I immediately think too of Molly, Jenny, Amy, Christy, and so on... how they and their families responded to the same life-altering reality. As you read along, consider this: how a family fares in such a challenge is mostly about good instinct and character. A family that thinks as family and has lived as family will almost always come out of the test being more family for it. More love. More trust. More loyalty. More "us" and less "me."
From my perspective, here are a few things that show the Palin's are a very special family: - A young woman will find the courage to talk to her parents to the degree there is trust in unconditional love. If Bristol found the courage to talk to "my mom, the Governor", then the trust level between the two must be exceptional. -
In their public statements, and by example, the Palin's have clearly distinguished their beliefs about pre-marital sex (Gov. Palin has been a big proponent of abstinence education) from the pregnancy itself. The Palin's are right: there is no such thing as the sin of getting pregnant. A baby is never a curse for wrongdoing. It takes special people to see new life, in these circumstances, as an underserved blessing. - There exists a temptation for any family, but particularly a family in the public's eye, to hide an unexpected pregnancy. In the past, when abortion was rare, unwed mothers were sent away for seven months. They usually returned empty handed and nobody said a word. We know Bristol's pregnancy, on the other hand, was a well known fact in her little town. Her parents bucked both local shame, and other easy ways out, and kept her close when she needed them most. -
I would never suggest marriage as a universal solution to an unwed pregnancy (one mistake doesn't demand another). But, when a young father decides to act like the dad he is, something very good is happening. I wouldn?t be so quick to assume, as I?ve heard on the news, that Bristol's and Levi's wedding must be politics-driven. Silly wisdom says they are obviously too young to make a life-long commitment. Let me say, in my line of work, I've seen a lot of old men act like little boys, and their life experience doesn't translate into commitment. If these two now have the courage to grow-up together, all I can say is "Good for you, Levi. Good for you, Bristol. And good for you Mr. and Mrs. Palin, for allowing two kids to become adults."
What does the Palin family instinct and character have to do with where we are now in the election process?I do not know if Gov. Sarah Palin will make a good Vice-President. I do know she is being an exceptional mom, also in moments of crisis. Some have said, in many, many ways, "Big deal!" But most of these are men. I ask if any of us guys could be a mom of five, with a handicapped child, achieve an 83% approval rating as state governor, and smile all the way through a prime time speech, after the week this woman has just had. My read is this: with that kind of woman on the ballot, it's certainly not, "all over," whatever that did or did not mean. And I take Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan at her word.
God bless,Father Jonathan
Father Jonathan Morris is author of the new book, "The Promise: God's Purpose and Plan for when Life Hurts". For information go to www.fatherjonathan.com http://foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com/2008/09/04/frj_0904/#more-837