Sen. John McCain electrified the Republican base and millions of people of every political persuasion last Friday when he selected Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate. Why?
First, because she is a reform-minded, no-nonsense, pro-life, pistol-packing hockey mom with five children. And her pro-life convictions have been illustrated vividly by her decision to carry to term and keep her fifth child, a son with Down syndrome. It is one thing to espouse a pro-life position. It is quite another to live your values and affirm life in this way.
Now, it has been revealed that her 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant. I have been inundated by reporters and pundits from the media’s chattering classes wanting to know if this revelation will cause traditional family values voters to withdraw their support. It has been clear they expect my answer to be “yes” because they are surprised and astonished when I tell them that this will make traditional values, pro-life voters more likely to support her.
The fact that the secular media are so astonished by my answer shows the extent to which they just “don’t get it” when it comes to pro-life Protestants and Catholics. Why would the Palin family’s decision to support their daughter in having this baby and marrying this baby’s father resonate so positively with pro-life voters? Because the Palin family made the “pro-life” decision in deciding to welcome the baby their daughter and their future son-in-law conceived. The Palin family’s statement says it all:
“We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us. Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. We’re proud of Bristol’s decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support.
“Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family. We ask the media to respect our daughter and Levi’s privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates.”
Clearly, they don’t approve of her behavior, but they are not going to compound the mistake by destroying their grandchild. That’s living your values.
Contrast Gov. Palin and her husband’s reaction to Sen.Obama’s. During the campaign, Sen. Obama said that if one of his girls made a mistake and was pregnant out of wedlock, he wouldn’t want her to be “punished” with a child. Pro-lifers don’t see a child as punishment, but as a blessing.
Gov. Sarah Palin and her family haven’t just affirmed the pro-life position. They live their values.
This column originally posted at Casting Stones, a blog hosted by Beliefnet.com.
Dr. Richard Land is president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention's official entity assigned to address social, moral, and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families and their faith.