Christian Living

Bristol Palin: Confused and Confusederer

That’s where I’m at after reading CNN’s article on Bristol Palin, teen daughter of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, who gave “her first interview since giving birth.” Chances are that the media and the professional bloggers will be all over this soon, if not already. But I just have to get it out there since most of my local readers won’t see it on CNN.

Why am I confused? Here’s a teenage girl who wishes she’d waited ten years to have a child. Hear it from her:

“It’s just, like, I’m not living for myself anymore. It’s, like, for another person, so it’s different,” Bristol Palin told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “And just you’re up all night. And it’s not glamorous at all,” she said. “Like, your whole priorities change after having a baby.”

And the light bulb goes off. Didn’t anyone tell her it was going to be like this? Was everyone too busy standing beside the girl to bother letting her know what life in the real world is like?

But that’s not the part that gets me most. The title of the article says, “Bristol Palin: Abstinence for all teens ‘not realistic'”. The writer of the article conveniently tosses the purpose of the interview in a small paragraph near the end of the article. “The teen said she wanted to tell her story so that other young people might think twice about having sex.”

So what is the real purpose here? CNN is posting to the world that abstinence is unrealistic, that we can’t possibly teach it or expect our teens (or anyone else for that matter) to actually follow through on it. It’s on the CNN Headline News ticker line on television (that’s how I found out about it). It’s in the first line of the article. There’s a link in the text version to watch her say it in the interview.

CNN took the good intentions of a teenager – getting teens to seriously think before they get into bed with someone – and turned it into an anti-abstinence job. At best, they’ve used her words to say, “Think really hard about it, and if you’re okay with what might happen, go for it.” I hope Focus on the Family and everyone else with a voice out there jumps all over this and exposes it for what it is.

For those of you checking up on me, the interview was actually made through Fox News (click to see it). They also have a link to the actual transcript of the interview.

During the interview, Greta Van Susteren tries to talk about abstinence, but seems scared to do so. She makes it sound that by talking about abstinence it would be unthinkable to talk about removing from the picture this baby that brings the family so much joy.

I just have to say that, yes, babies have a way of doing that. But you know what? My 8 and 4 year old daughters find joy in their toy babies. That’s something we cannot avoid. But I wouldn’t encourage them to go out and start having them at 16, or 14, or 12, just because the baby would bring them happiness.

When you start using that line of thinking, what remains sacred? What is untouchable or untarnishable, free from the consequences, so long as it brings you joy? To paraphrase Yoda, This line of thinking leads us to a dark and dangerous place.

My Point

Abstinence is realistic. IT IS POSSIBLE! Is it hard? Absolutely, but its doable. My wife and I did it. Many of the people I grew up with did it. It’s a matter of the will. You have to choose to do it and to not get caught up to do otherwise.

Getting up for school is hard, but teenagers do it. They may not be happy about it or see the point of it. The key is to look forward to the day when they stand on the podium, shaking hands with the principal or district superintendent, and receive a small piece of paper that celebrates their accomplishment. And when they go looking for a job they’ll be glad they’ve got a diploma on their resume.

Abstinence often takes that daily effort, too. But the key is to to look forward to that day when you celebrate what you’ve waited for. On that day, would you like to receive that “diploma” from your spouse, something special just for you? Do you want to be the one caught empty-handed?

Oh, there’s a big can of worms being opened here, but I don’t want to run away this. Don’t let Bristol Palin’s pseudo-celebrity status fool you. Don’t allow the pointed questions asked to get the responses the producer was looking for get the best of you.

I don’t think Miss Palin even knew what she really wanted to say; or if she did, couldn’t communicate it very well. Look at what does come out from the interview and the articles: Where she is now is very difficult. She wishes she’d waited. She wants others to see this and learn from it. That’s the point. And when you weigh it like that, it’s a good point.