Yes, Bristol Palin Is a Disappointment and Yes, We Can Talk About It

As everybody knows by now, Bristol Palin is pregnant. Again. I’m rather late to the party, because I didn’t plan to go. It’s her life, she can do as she wants. Of course it’ll hurt her reputation, but that too is her decision, and it’s none of my business.

Sadly, everything changed when I read this article by one Jonny Scaramanga at the Patheos website. John writes:

My Patheos colleague (if I can call her that), Bristol Palin, is pregnant again, and I don’t like any of the reactions I’m seeing. I loathe the choruses of schadenfreude from my fellow atheists and ex-Christians, jeering her hypocritical advocacy for abstinence, for which she reportedly earned close to $1 million. I hate the rush to judgement from those who think she’s a sinful slut, and I hate the head-in-the-sand willful stupidity of those purity culture advocates who will not see that this is a symptom of a problem in their ideology.

He goes on to say that he can only “think about all the good Christian girls I’ve known who fell pregnant. I can only hear the hushed tones in which Christians spread their judgmental gossip.” In other words, Bristol isn’t the problem, religious Christians are. Oh yes, they’re Dark Age barbarians who are simply too locked up in their thinking to realize that having values and trying to live by them is backwards and outdated.

Of course John is wrong — on different levels. First, the problem with Bristol Palin isn’t that she got pregnant, but that she got pregnant while pretending she was firmly against having sex before marriage. She even went so far as to tell other girls that they should abstain for sex entirely until they’re in wedlock. This is called hypocrisy — and it’s logical that people react to it.

Second, there’s another problem with Bristol getting pregnant for the second time: she isn’t married and, most likely, will not get married anytime soon. It may come as a surprise to John and some others, but children benefit from having a mother and a father. If we’re going to have a debate about single moms, let’s be honest about it: single mothers can do a great job raising their kids, but they can never compensate for the absence of a father figure in the children’s lives. In fact, this is essentially why marriage was created: to provide a safe haven for children, so they could be raised by a mother and a father who’d teach them a bit about both genders and their roles. This not only gives children confidence, but it also enables them to have loving, caring relationships themselves when they grow up.

None of that means that Bristol should be called all kinds of names — she obviously shouldn’t — but it does mean that there’s no problem whatsoever with explaining why it would’ve been much better if she had been married. Bristol is a disappointment — at least insofar as a) she didn’t live up to her own moral values and b) she denies their kids their right to have a father at their side each and every single day.

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