Teen pregnancy rates in the United States while still very high compared to other industrialized nations is currently at the lowest rate since the data have been compiled for over 70 years. This small miracle is due in large part to the efforts of Christian right to life groups and a concerted effort of deriding the practice of teen pregnancy with limited aid, recognition of achievement and exclusion from many church functions. Some view these efforts as hypocritical and un-Christ like. These views are simultaneously correct and wrong.
A popular cable channel produces a show “Teenage Mother” that illustrates the day to day legal, social and financial issues of early baby making. Below is a preview of that show and the Christian principled seminar available in many Churches and communities that provides much needed human sexuality education not taught in schools. As part of the program, applicants are culled and evaluated before attendance is allowed. This sets the stage for the exclusion or shunning that takes place later.
Shun is American for Win
Shunning, or ‘natural behavioral selection’, is a practice borrowed from Darwin’s natural selection theory. While one cannot say Darwin without also saying win, some have rejected the idea of using shunning and try to include what they like to see as a more ‘Christian’ approach of aid. Unfortunately this liberal thinking is flawed. Outreach and aid only serve to fuel the issue and does nothing to serve the teen mom or the child.
Margaret Sanger, the founder of pro-abortion Planned Parenthood, is quoted in her 1922 tome in a chapter titled “The Cruelty of Charity” as laying down the law for the breeding impoverished. She recommends eliminating aid and eschewing the teen mom from communities and churches.
The practice of giving aid “encourages the healthier and more normal sections of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others, which brings with it … a dead weight of human waste.”
Application of the Golden Rule is problematic for the Christian community. Torn between what is best for the individual and the group, decisions must be made. When wisdom is thrown asunder and a child’s life is at stake, the dichotomy of the meaning of ‘good’ becomes clouded. By giving aid and removing social scorn are we hurting the spiritual growth and maturity of those we wish to help?
When a young woman ignores the warnings and wisdom of her elders, she becomes a willing target of judgment. This presents not only legal, financial and educational issues for the young mother, it also brings controversy and judgment to churches and communities. To support the scriptural sanctity of life must the community shun, deny financial aid or publicly scorn the mother and child resulting from loose moral character in order to fulfill scriptural teaching? Some see this disparagement as a positive.
Some Mother groups, like the 3,000 member Facebook group “Moms Who Drink and Swear” say “YES!” to judgment and scorn. The group has widely held that those that do not promote their value systems will be banned from the group, with one administrator proclaiming that deleting the “negative” only serves to embrace the message of love, faith and friendship of the group. This is a tact learned by the group’s many teen moms and carried out successfully in the promotion of acceptance and trust.
Judgment is a tool for change. Suspicion breeds confidence and trust within a community. We see this in any American airport. The safety of all is promoted with suspicion and a pat down or full orifice search. While it isn’t really feasible to do this in every community, banning and shunning provide low tech solutions.
A shun is a hug wrapped in rejection. Blind approval and acceptance is fool hardy and brash and has no scriptural basis. To accept others means one must accept and open oneself up to change and we really can’t have that. Change and acceptance is something for others to undertake, not for Christians to carry as a moral burden.