Tuesday, September 02, 2008


“Been talking to people about the Bristol Palin story. How will McCain's newly-enthusiastic evangelical supporters react to is? My feeling is that they are simply not going to be judgmental. The whole tone of contemporary evangelicism seems to involve a lot of non-judgmentalism, at least in matters like this. My guess is that the only people who will partake in fire-and-brimstone rhetoric will be the left-wing blogosphere.”


I think Byron York is probably right about this, and it merits a comment or two.

The church is (or ought to be) a place for judgmentalism. The modern evangelical church is too nonjudgmental, too permissive.

To take one example, I read a Lutheran pastor (a conservative, not a liberal) who says that everyone is forgiven. Believers and unbelievers alike. Penitent or impenitent. Alive and kicking or burning in hell. Automatic forgiveness for anyone and everyone.

But according to NT ethics, fornication (e.g. premarital sex) is a potentially damnable sin. And forgiveness isn’t automatic. It’s contingent on repentance.

That said, this story has no business making it’s way into a presidential campaign. This is a matter for Bristol’s family and her church to deal with.

Bristol Palin isn’t running for high office. Sarah Palin is.

The misconduct of a child only reflects on a parent if the parent is, in some way, complicit on the misconduct. If, say, Sarah Palin and her husband had liberal views of premarital sex, then they would be complicit in their daughter’s misconduct. To my knowledge, the opposite is the case.

This is a just a smear campaign. An attempt to attack the mother through the daughter. I suspect it will backfire, and deservedly so.

Parents don’t have total control over the behavior of a 17 year old. Indeed, liberals typically attack “fundamentalists” because “fundamentalists” are said to be too controlling.

Of course, for liberals, hypocrisy is the only sin. If you’re a hypocritical serial killer, then that’s a bad thing—but if you’re upfront about your homicidal hobby, then that’s okay.


  1. This is a just a smear campaign."

    Yes, but they'll deny it. Or they'll justify it with some false reason that denigrates conservatives or Christians.

    Of course, for liberals, hypocrisy is the only sin.

    Except when the liberals do it. Then it's nuanced and justifiable.

  2. This is a just a smear campaign.

    Are you suggesting that someone got this girl pregnant to smear her mother?

  3. Evan provides yet more evidence that I'm not stupid enough to be an atheist.

  4. Loftus and Evan are talking in the Debunking Christianity HQ...
    Loftus: What state is Sarah Palin the governor of?
    Evan: Alaska
    Loftus: No need to do that, anyway she's probably busy. I just wondered if you knew the state she governed.
    Evan: Alaska
    Loftus: I just said there's no need.
    Evan: Alaska
    Loftus: Stop it Evan!
    Evan: Alaska
    Loftus: Shut up, Evan! Get back to work! I thought I told you to post comments on that evil Christian blog. What's it called again?
    Evan: Triablogue
    Loftus: I've already tried one.
    Evan: I've posted a comment calling them out for claiming that someone impregnated Sarah Palin's daughter to smear her.
    Loftus(in surprise): Why would they claim that? That's utterly nonsensical!
    Evan: No, really boss, they say it right here.
    Loftus: Good work Evan. We've got the Christians cornered now!
    Evan: TOTAL PWNAGE!!!!!!!!!!!11111111111
    Loftus: I love the smell of napalm in the morning!
    Evan: Ima go pop a cap in yo ass!
    Loftus: Your boys took one helluva beating!
    Evan: Your bases are belong to us now retards!
    Evan: Who's the daddy now, Calvinist scum?
    Loftus: EVERY .... SINGLE.... ONE . Your bases are MINE!
    Evan: We're bringing Sexy Back - to prudish Christians, who don't even want it!
    Loftus: Our bodies are too bootylicious for you!
    Evan: Democracy! Whiskey! Dawkins!
    Loftus: OK, I'm a cheerleader now! For atheism, that is!
    Evan: HA HA You tell 'em Loftus.

  5. First off, Steve, great post and right on.

    However, I must add something, and I have a feeling I'm going to get roasted for this one, but...

    Do you think things might have turned out differently for the family if Todd had used the courtship model with Bristol? Assuming it was done correctly, I mean? I kinda think maybe yes.

  6. The problem with your statement is the "Assuming it was done correctly" portion. That implies if it didn't succeed then it wasn't done correctly....thus making it unverifiable anyway.

    As to the details, it's impossible for us to know. The courtship model works really well when you're in ANE culture or an Israeli theocracy though.

    Just my $0.02. :-)


    “Do you think things might have turned out differently for the family if Todd had used the courtship model with Bristol? Assuming it was done correctly, I mean? I kinda think maybe yes.”

    But he wouldn’t use the courtship model. At best, it would be the difference between one sexual partner and many. A young man or woman who are sexually active in dating will be sexually active in courtship. Lack of sexual restraint will carry over to any model. Courtship doesn’t prevent premarital sex. Rather, it presupposes that the couple is responsible. But if they’re responsible, that would apply to dating as well as courtship.

  8. Peter,

    You assume a premise that I did not state: that being, that courtship done correctly is always successful. I made no such claim.

    What I said was, courtship done correctly might have reduced the chances of the teen pregnancy. Things might have turned out differently. But they wouldn't necessarily have. In that sense I agree with Steve, that if the two kids were intent on having sex, they would have found a way.

    The point that you and Steve (who seem to be dating advocates, for whatever reason) miss is this: My position is that, on balance, chaperoned courtship will reduce the chances of pre-marital sex. For this to happen, however, two factors need to be in place:

    1) the parents have to understand how to properly manage it without being too controlling and causing backlash from kids who are almost adults; and

    2) the parenting in the home up to the point of courtship has been effective in not producing the character flaws which result in pre-marital sex.

    It doesn't work in all cases. But it reduces temptation and better prepares the participants for marriage. Dating does two things that can compromise the couple's responsibility: 1) it encourages flippancy about romantic relationships, and 2) it creates temptation where there might not otherwise be any.

    Flippancy in dating has the potential to increase flippancy in marriage. The purpose of getting to know a member of the opposite sex in a romantic sense is to find a spouse. You should never date someone that you would not want to marry. Otherwise you're just placing yourself in a bad position from both an emotional and spiritual point of view. The teen "soap opera" that surrounds dating is very destructive.

    Teen couples have widely varying levels of responsibility, on a sliding scale. Some are very responsible, some not at all, and some are to an extent, but if placed in a position of temptation, might succumb. It is this last group which courtship is designed to protect. But, because we can't know which teens fall into which group (at least not conclusively), then courtship remains the best model.