Why I said that Christian conservatives approve of out-of-wedlock pregnancy, so long as it’s not followed by abortion

John D. writes:

You wrote:

“All that the evangelical and Catholic conservatives care about is opposition to abortion. All that’s required for them to be happy is an illegitimate or defective pregnancy, followed by birth. They have no vision of social order, no vision of an overarching good, but have reduced all goods to the good of avoiding abortion. Which means that they embrace every kind of disorder, so long as rejection of abortion is thrown into the mix.”

I think you’re vastly overreaching here. You can’t possibly believe what you’ve written in this statement, can you? In fact, I know you don’t….

I am deeply distressed over this statement. I have been a faithful daily reader of yours for almost five years now. I’d loathe to think that I’ve spent countless hours, days, weeks of even months of my time only to have misinterpreted your philosophies and thoughts.

This statement is just plain wrong in my opinion. You have included billions of people of great faith in it, including myself. If you stand by it, please express your justification of it.

LA replies:

Please don’t be so troubled. I have many times criticized pro-lifers for reducing all moral issues to the issue of abortion. Surely you have seen me make this argument before.

Apparently the statement was upsetting to you because you felt that I was speaking of all Catholic conservatives and all evangelicals.

Does my statement include all Catholic and evangelical conservatives? Of course not. But it does characterize a very common view among these groups. It does characterize millions of such people.

And the evidence for my statement is in the warm embracing response of Christian conservatives to the Bristol announcement. Read the thread at Lucianne that I linked in the original entry, and have now copied in its entirety into its own entry at VFR. Over and over, there’s no disapproval at all of Bristol’s pregnancy. To the contrary, there is congratulations! Since when do conservatives issue congratulations on an unwed teen pregnancy! Since when is it good news that a 17 year old high school student will be caring for her new born baby while attending high school? Since when is it good news that she must marry her 18 year old boy friend, two children wholly unprepared for marriage and parenthood? And since when is it good news that the 17 girl who is being forced to get married is already the prime care giver to her five month old special-needs baby brother because their mother is too busy running the state of Alaska and now running for vice president?

Just take that in. Bristol is already the primary caregiver for five-month old Downs’ syndrome baby Trig. Defenders of Sarah Palin at VFR have even boasted that this is a good thing, it shows the hearty frontier spirit of the Palin family. Sarah is too busy to care for Trig. She never seems to hold Trig. Bristol holds Trig in all the photos, holds him very tight. And now Bristol, a 17 year old high school pupil whom Sarah relies on to take care of Trig, is herself pregnant and has to take care of her own pregnancy and upcoming child as well as her upcoming marriage to an 18 year old boy. And all this is great! All this shows what great, life-affirming, genuine American-stock folk the Palins are.

It’s all good. Why? Because Bristol’s baby is not being aborted. The non-abortion turns the unmarried pregnancy and the upcoming teen-age marriage into a blessed event!

This is now the majority Christian-conservative response to the news that the unmarried 17 year old daughter of the GOP vice presidential candidate is pregnant.

This is the way these Christian conservatives are responding—because of the moral reductionism that effectively eliminates all moral evils except for the evil of abortion.

So I’m describing a real phenomenon here, John.

Again, though I spoke of “the evangelical and Catholic conservatives,” that of course does not encompass all evangelicals or all Catholics. It does mean the people who are automatically defending Palin and saying, over and over and over again, that we should not judge. It is evidently a very common view today. Which is why saying “the” is ok. Of course, in any brief statement, every possible qualification is not included. Other evangelicals, such as M. Mason who has written a comment yet to be posted, disagree with the predominant liberal drift of evangelicals. But Mr. Mason in his comment does not take offense at my characterization of the majority evangelical view. He agrees with it.

- end of initial entry -

Gintas writes:

You wrote: “All that the evangelical and Catholic conservatives care about is opposition to abortion.”

Here’s a specific example, if you need a name: Francis Beckwith, the evangelical-turned-Catholic (I guess that’s double trouble) who posts at What’s Wrong with the World. This is a long note, but only because I’m trying to document the details.

He has been particularly excited about Palin’s selection, comparing her often with Obama (but what about McCain?). I kept waiting for a post entitled “The Obama-Palin Basketball Cage Match” (Obama likes to play basketball, and Palin won a state championship in high school). However, when it comes to babies and abortion, he is never silly. Here is a post entitled, “Bristol Palin is pregnant, just like Obama’s mom” (my bolding):

As is well-know by now, Bristol Palin, Governor Palin’s 17 year-old daughter, is pregnant. The McCain-Palin campaign released this information because of the completely inane speculations of the Far Left blogosphere about Governor Palin’s pregnancy. Bristol, who needs our prayers and respect, has chosen life, and will marry the baby’s father.

There is a certain irony in all this: Ann Dunham (b. Nov. 29, 1942) was 18 when she gave birth to Barack Obama II on August 4, 1961. Thus, it is likely that Ann was pregnant at 17 with a child sired by a 24 year-old Kenyan exchange student.

Life presents us with certain hardships, some of which are the consequences of our actions. These are the times at which the exercise of virtue becomes the most difficult as well as the most rewarding. Thankfully, there are still many Ann Dunhams and Bristol Palins residing in our communities. We have much to learn from them.

One commenter quipped, in response to “We have much to learn from them”:

Such as “keep your pants on” and “don’t get knocked up before marriage?”

whereupon Beckwith answered:

It’s time now for Jesus to write your name in the sand. It will appear next to mine.

How do you live with such anger?

John D. writes:

Thank you for getting back to me. You’ve given me a lot to think about with your reply. This touches on one of the most important issues that face the church in America today since the permeation of modern liberalism. Is it possible that the only commonality that remains among the different churches is the abortion issue? And even that issue seems to be getting kicked to the curb by some denominations.

Also, I must apologize for the obdurate tone in which I addressed this situation. As you know, I’m normally a great deal more civil than I’ve shown myself to be in this instance.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 02, 2008 07:15 AM | Send

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