Friday, September 22nd 2017

Palin’s daughter Bristol is pregnant, and religion and politics *mix*

Why it’s a wedge issue: Republicans believe that everyone ought to live a moral life — and Democrats believe that, in reality, many of us don’t

BY DAVID RICKEY — News that the unmarried, 17-year-old daughter of vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin is 5-months pregnant adds yet another dimension to her selection by Republican candidate John McCain. Immediately, we are reminded that even presidential candidates are, first and foremost, human beings facing the same life choices the rest of us face.We are told that Bristol will marry the father of the child, and that is intended to make it “all right.” And for the child’s sake, especially, we hope it does. The family announced:

“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.”

As a simple event, this is a common story — as is, for that matter, Vice President Dick Cheney’s lesbian daughter giving birth to a baby boy in May of 2007. These events happen to members of the human family. But it raises difficult questions, not about the people involved in these stories, but about the way we all respond to, and care for each other.

Not everyone who gets pregnant has the support of a loving family. Not everyone has the benefit of love and community support. Many Republicans are very uneasy about this revelation.


I believe it’s because of the fragility of the basic position of moral superiority that is expressed by conservative politicians and religious pundits.

It’s an easy target for the mainstream media, most eloquently channeled by Maureen Dowd in the The New York Times:

When confronted with their colossal carelessness around the globe and here at home, their mantra was, as Rummy put it, “Stuff happens.”

Now reality, in all its messy, crazy, funky glory, has flooded the party, in the comely, crackling form of Sarah Palin.

Unable to stop the onslaught of wild soap opera storylines erupting from the Palin family and the Alaska wilderness, McCain campaign adviser Steve Schmidt offered caterwauling reporters a new mantra: “Life happens.”

But our way of looking at the difference between Republicans and Democrats is about intention: At best, Republicans believe that everyone ought to live a moral and compassionate life — and Democrats believe that, in reality, many of us don’t. So Republicans legislate to protect their view of how things ought to be, and Democrats legislate to change the way things are.

On Soul’s Code we explore the deep process of spiritual evolution with the intention of waking up individuals to their deeper truths through teaching and practice. We see that the world is hurting. We are hurting. We believe that the remedy for that pain is deep spiritual growth, first on an individual level, then on a community and cultural level.

We can all count the many ways that certain human events fail to live up to what we think they ought to be.

But what matters is our learning to care for ourselves, and each other, so that our mistakes and bad choices don’t play out into ever-widening circles of pain and suffering. We are all in need of, and deserving of, forgiveness. But we also need to grow from our mistakes — and do better with them, and next time.

Everyone is truly a guru, as the motto of this site affirms. But not enough of us have done the work to truly know it, or to live it.

I hope that Bristol and the young man she will marry will grow deeply through the difficulties of raising a child and of loving and caring for each other. Hopefully, they will then work for the healing and well-being of others through their experience.

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11 Comments on “Palin’s daughter Bristol is pregnant, and religion and politics *mix*”

  1. Many Republicans are very uneasy about this revelation. Why?


    I think the Republicans are uneasy about this because Palin is a firm supporter of teaching abstinence but not sex education in schools and her daughter's pregnancy perhaps shows where that kind of thinking actually leads :)

  2. I agree.

    The "mind" can tell itself to *do* this, or *not* do that . . . But does it ever follow? :)

    No. The (unconscious) mind and body have a "mind" of their own. What does give ikt underlying guidance? Call it a sacred contract, call it karma, call it a "soul's code." Call it whatever you like. You can't legislate it, or social engineer it :)

  3. i always enjoy reading your comments and articles give a rich perspective... i hope to read more of your work in the coming months.

  4. I am hoping that the little soul that comes into Bristol Palin's life will teach her and love her... and that the world will rejoice in -- that.

    This statement caught my eye...

    "Everyone is truly a guru, as the motto of this site affirms. But not enough of us have done the work to truly know it, or to live it."

    Yet. I think people are turning more toward spiritual seeking, maybe more than we even realize. I've watched over the last 2 years as congregants from our church have died off and not been replaced by others -- there are people out there looking. They will have to because organized religion is changing. I just hope that they don't became the church of the Republicans or the church of the Democrats... or, for that matter, the church of the NDP. :) Extremism is just so easy.

    Thank you for your article, Father David. I'm looking forward to reading more!

  5. These are just my thoughts on this subject and I'm willing to be corrected or wrong, so here goes. It seems to me that it's not that simple to divide the "parties" so clearly. Both parties are made of people with a blend of both idealism and realism. For me, these parties are external markers for the polarities within the human psyche. I know that for me, I can find all the positions, or intentions stated above, the polarities, the dualities, I have them all. I can find the part of me that can speak about and believe firmly in idealistic values and another part that accepts that "stuff happens" and we do the best we can. For me, if I take a step back and watch this drama unfold on the political stage I can find those places within me that are attached to "outcome", attached to "winning" and/or attached to "being right" and through observation let those places soften. Again, for me, my intention, or my work is on my own projections. I have no inclination to be a "guru" I simply want to be honest.

  6. Karolyn. I agree. I am obviously very biased in this "political" split. And perhaps that's the problem, individuals have to choose one or the other (at least at this time of great elections) when neither side completely represents the "mind of the people". I admit to a great frustration here. Being honest all the way around, would probably help.

    And SueAnn Jackson, my own congregation is very much like you describe. I feel both blessed and challenged by them to be as inclusive and wide ranging in my spiritual quest and leadership. Fortunately they don't need a leader that much, and often I can follow them instead.


  7. That bias we feel can be very strong pull and holding the "tension of the opposites" isn't easy, that's for sure. Thank you, for this conversation. It's wonderful to be able to exchange thoughts and ideas such as these.

  8. David,

    I am just seeing your comment this morning after a night of feebly trying to put together an agenda for a council meeting that is a "knock heads together" trying to get them agree that a congregation that can only afford a 1/3 time minister (and who is currently minister-less and using pulpit supply for the last year) is needing to join with another church to breath life back into our mission statement... and allow us to actually "be." I'm hoping that the United Church in Canada continues to amalgamate the smallest congregations so that we have a larger perspective -- a larger group to draw that teaching from. Your humility in walking with your congregation is exactly what I would love to do. I'm really having difficulty with the leadership, I want to say, "Lead, follow, or get out of my way..." to the politics and need for control.


  9. I am with Father David Rickey in his perspective on the Palin story. His comments are slightly biased, but I truly agree with what he said in regard to the double standards of those who inflict their moral beliefs on others implying that their moral beliefs are right and the others are wrong.

  10. Watching the day to day politics of both parties, and reading "A New Earth", I think it should be a requirement for political candidates to study Eckhart Tolle. The whole political structure is so ego-driven, both from the candidates and from the electorate, that it is both frightening and sad to watch it play out. Maybe it should be a requirement for being able to vote as well.


  11. Maureen Dowd is a genius:

    WASILLA, Alaska

    Maureen Dowd

    The rain in Spain stays mainly in the Arctic plain ...

    I hope John McCain doesn’t throw his slippers at Sarah Palin’s head or get as acerbic as Henry Higgins did with Eliza Doolittle when she did not learn quickly enough. McCain’s Pygmalion has to be careful, because his Galatea might be armed with more than a sharp tongue.

    For the first time in American history, we have a “My Fair Lady” moment, as teams of experts bustle around the most famous woman in politics, intensely coaching her for her big moment at the ball — her first unscripted interview here this week with ABC News’s Charlie Gibson.

    Eliza, by George, got it and brought off the coup of passing herself off as a Hungarian princess rather than a Covent Garden flower seller. Sarah’s challenge is far tougher, and that’s why she’s pulling the political equivalent of an all-nighter. She doesn’t have to pass herself off as a different class or change her voice or be more highfalutin. The McCain campaign is reveling in its anti-intellectual tenor.

    Sarah, who is now so renowned that she is known merely by one name and has a name ID of 90 percent, has to be a Kmart mom who appeals to Kmart moms and dads. She’s already shown that she can shoot the pig, put lipstick on it, bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. Now all she has to do is also prove that she can be the leader of the free world on a moment’s notice, and field dress Putin as adeptly as she can a moose.

    After devilishly mocking Obama — and successfully getting into his head — with ads about how he was just a frothy celebrity, like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, it turns out all the McCain camp wanted was an Obama of its own. Now that they have the electric Palin, they’ve stopped arguing that celebrity is bad. All they do is worship at her cult of celebrity. As Rick Davis, a top McCain adviser, said: “This election is not about issues. This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.”

    Wasilla will be crawling with four groups — ABC staffers, frantically getting ready for the big showdown; McCain staffers, frantically tutoring Palin for the big showdown; McCain vetters, who are belatedly doing their job checking to see if Palin is a qualified White House contender and doing their best to shut down Troopergate and assembling a “truth squad” posse of Palinistas to rebut any criticism and push back any prying reporters; and journalists — from Sydney to Washington — who are here to draw back the curtain on the shiny reformer image that the McCain camp has conjured for their political ingénue and see what’s behind it.

    Gibson has his work cut out for him. His problem isn’t coming up with a list of questions, but finding time to drill deeply enough into all the unknown territory of her life. It’s a task that dwarfs the drilling job the oil companies are doing on Alaska’s North Slope.

    In the end, none of it may matter, since Palin has rocketed in the polls, drawing women and men with her vapid — if vivacious and visceral — scripted cheerleading. But if you’re reading this, Charlie, we want to know everything, including:

    What kind of budget-cutter makes a show of getting rid of the state plane, then turns around and bills taxpayers for the travel of her husband and kids between Juneau and Wasilla and sticks the state with a per-diem tab to stay in her own home?

    Why was Sarah for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against the Bridge to Nowhere, and why was she for earmarks before she was against them? And doesn’t all this make her just as big a flip-flopper as John Kerry?

    What kind of fiscal conservative raises taxes and increases budgets in both her jobs — as mayor and as governor?

    When the phone rings at 3 a.m., will she call the Wasilla Assembly of God congregation and ask them to pray on a response, as she asked them to pray for a natural gas pipeline?

    Does she really think Adam, Eve, Satan and the dinosaurs mingled on the earth 5,000 years ago?

    Why put out a press release about her teenage daughter’s pregnancy and then spend the next few days attacking the press for covering that press release?

    As Troopergate unfolds here — an inquiry into whether Palin inappropriately fired the commissioner of public safety for refusing to fire her ex-brother-in-law — it raises this question: Who else is on her enemies list and what might she do with the F.B.I.?

    Does she want a federal ban on trans fat in restaurants and a ban on abortion and Harry Potter? And which books exactly would have landed on the literature bonfire if she had had her way with that Wasilla librarian?

    Just how is it that Fannie and Freddie have cost taxpayers money (since they haven’t yet)?

    Does she talk in tongues or just eat caribou tongues?

    What does she have against polar bears?

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