Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Spirit of Traditional Morality

This by Nathaniel Peters over at First Things on the reaction to the news that the presumptive Republican Vice-Presidential nominee's teen-aged daughter is with child:
Joseph Bottum wrote: “though surely it’s an odd moment when an out-of-wedlock pregnancy becomes a symbol of conservative cultural values, but chalk it all up as yet another way in which abortion has skewed the natural divisions of American politics.”

I beg to differ. The issue is not only that we applaud Bristol Palin for upholding the sanctity of life. The issue is how social conservatives deal with people when they don’t live up to our moral values. Do we stand up and roundly condemn them, or do we care for them while continuing to propose a more excellent way?

What we’ve seen is that, contrary to expectation, social conservatives have chosen not to condemn. The country has seen that “family values” not only means teaching your children not to have sex outside of marriage, but also supporting them responsibly should they fail to follow the teaching. In other words, it means teaching them what sin is and loving them if they sin.

That kind of standing in the truth with love should be a hallmark of those who believe in traditional morality. And it should be incomprehensible to those who do not understand the spirit behind that morality. In that light, it’s only natural that the way Sarah Palin has handled her daughter’s pregnancy should be seen as a symbol of conservative cultural values, and that those who do not share those values should be threatened by the truth lived in love.
For what it's worth, this pastor thinks Peters and Bottom are both correct. It is an odd moment skewed by the abortion debate. And it's, well, Christian people acting like Christians, something we (being sinners) don't always do well. And something those hostile to Christians don't get because it doesn't fit with their preconceptions about us.

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