Hypocritical Christians Who Support The Palins

The Anchoress writes today about the charge that those who hold that the Christian ideal of virginity and also support Bristol Palin reveal themselves to be hypocrites:

Listen: chastity is the ideal; of course it is the ideal, and it is an achievable one, but only if it is understood as valuable, to start with. If you believe – as I do – that a hymen is more than a meaningless membrane, but part of a plan, one that reflects the blood-covenant made between God and the Jews, and between Christ and the whole world, then you see value there, and you try to raise your children to understand it, and to strive for the ideal.

But an ideal is an ideal. It the “best” way; that doesn’t mean that anyone who fails the ideal is a bad person. It means they’re human and in need of mercy – like everyone else.

So, the ideal is to be chaste until marriage, marry for love, be faithful, have children, stay married until death parts the couple. That’s the ideal. It is also ideal to abstain from murder, thieving, coveting, arrogance, hate, lust and all the other sins of spirit and deed. A better world would be ours if all people held to these ideals.

The world is not perfect. The people who make this world are fallen. They are human. Lost.

Lost people like lost sheep call for a savior and a shepherd who can guide them back to safety. Christianity is about recognizing that all are lost, but all have hope because all can be found. They just need to admit that Christ is the shepherd and follow.

Inherent in Christian theology is the acknowledgment of human fallibility. While each church has its amen pew and church ladies and self-righteous cohort, my experience with Christians generally is that they’re a sensible bunch and rather practical-minded for all the talking and preaching of struggling for an ideal.

Unfortunately, Christianity has been identified with fringers. Of course, that’s convenient for the incurious and secular who wish to lump religion generally into a group of unthinking, dangerous extremists. So, without irony, a writer can say Christianist making the moral equivalence with an Islamist when it’s patently absurd.

The Anchoress says:

You have never really known us. And that is partly our fault; we have not always been comprehensible or appealing communicators of our ideals and our mercies.

Mercy is not difficult. It is the great leveler, actually. When a heart at least partially attuned to mercy, even slightly open to it, then the more generous impulses are allowed out. You can see it, occasionally, even in the hot-blooded political blogosphere, a desire to be just, to have mercy and write the fair, thoughtful line. Mercy and Justice sort of go hand-in-hand.

Justice, mercy and faith go hand in hand. In order to have mercy, you have to first know the law and the just reward for the law. Most people deserve condemnation for something if one looks closely enough. As anyone sitting in jail will tell you, the law is a harsh master. Mercy demonstrates an understanding of justice. Mercy is the space between what is deserved and what is forgiven in humility.

And then there’s faith. The self-inflicted and other-inflicted sorrow in this world seems unfair and unjust. Some wrongs seem so undeserving of mercy and yet no justice happens. This is where faith enters. Ultimately, a Christian trusts that God will make things right.

A humanist will see this as an out, but really, it’s a peace. The humanist is no more capable of righting every wrong than the Christian, though both can try. Only the Christian has the contentment that the One who sees all and knows all has a plan and a purpose and will ultimately make things right on His time table.

Far from being hypocritical, Christians demonstrate an innate tolerance. It’s difficult to be a Christian and ignore the words “he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

So, if the press and the left expect harsh, judgmental Christian evangelicals to stone the Palin family, they’ll be disappointed. A Christian imagines his own sins being displayed, dissected, written about and shown non-stop on national television and shudders. It’s called humility.

True Christians hold the ideal, preach it, and work very hard at getting the mote out of their own eyes to attempt to live the ideal knowing full well they will fall short.

Cross-posted at MelissaClouthier.com

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