The contrast between how modern Christians treat good faithful fathers and unrepentant unwed mothers is truly astounding. For the latest installment of this, I offer you the CBN.com (Christian Broadcasting Network, 700 Club) article Janine Turner: Single Mothers Can Change History.
The article is an unabashed plug of Turner’s book Holding Her Head High: 12 Single Mothers Who Championed Their Children and Changed History. According to the article, the book tells us inspirational tales of abandoned mothers and widows. But while the story is about women who had no choice in becoming single mothers, the target audience is clearly today’s mass of baby mamas. There is therefore of course the standard sleight of hand regarding Janine’s own story:
“I was not a single mother by choice,” she says. “I think circumstances happen to people that are sometimes beyond their control in the relationships they’re in. I also learned that the definition of single mother is very broad; it means, widowed, divorced and abandoned.
The murky language of circumstances in relationships could of course indicate that Janine is a rare exception to excuse #6, or it could mean that she simply got knocked up out of wedlock by a man not interested in fatherhood or marriage. No doubt Focus On The Family’s Glenn Stanton would consider her a hero either way, but to some of us this still matters. According the stats on Famous Hookups.com her history of serial monogamy includes three “celebrity relationships” which averaged roughly 9.8 years each, and she has never married. I can’t confirm the information from the gossip site, but I can find no reference of her ever marrying in my own web search. By my calculation based on Wikipedia’s stated 1962 birthdate for her she was approximately 35 when she gave birth in 1997.
But Janine isn’t just your garden variety baby mama. She is a Christian baby mama. The article stresses that this book urging baby mamas to hold their heads high is entirely wholesome and Christian:
One of the prerequisites Janine pushed for was that the women she researched and included in her book had to be women of faith.
“There are a lot of women out there who did great things in their life, but they didn’t have faith, and to me, that’s pivotal,” she says. “I really believe children need a foundation of faith, morals, and guidance.”
We learn that her act of sexual immorality and profound disobedience has strengthened her walk with God:
“One of the things God would always say to me is, ‘I’ve given you a flame inside and don’t let anybody put that out. Not circumstances and not people.’ ” When Juliette was born in 1997, Janine’s walk with God deepened. “My faith immediately deepened to another level with God,” she says. “I’ve taken my daughter to church every Sunday since she was three months old.”
With her holy hamster commanding her to be true to herself, how could this not be the case?
I haven’t read her book, but I was curious about the Christian baby mama inspirationfest I was missing out on. I am only a married faithful father, so I can’t ever become one of Stanton’s heroes. However, perhaps I can bask in the glory of godly unwed mothers vicariously. Looking at the amazon.com preview page for her book I found the endorsements section. Pastor Gary Richmond loves this book because it dispels the myth that fathers are essential (emphasis mine):
I love this book because it dispels a horrible myth: As a single-parent mother, the best I have to hope for is survival for my mediocre emotionally damaged children. Janine’s excellent research proves what we now know to be true. Women who are willing to work hard and dare to dream can provide everything their children need not only to succeed, but to change their world for the better. She truly provides hope in hard times for the women who need it most.
Pastor to Single Parents, First Evangelical Free Church
Pastor Richmond has written his own book, Successful Single Parenting. I haven’t read Pastor Richmond’s book either, but I did skim through parts of it with Amazon.com’s preview. Lacking Pastor Richmond’s many years of in depth biblical study, I was unaware of the rich Christian tradition of unwed mothers. In chapter 3 he tells the story of the bible’s first single mother, Hagar. He opens the chapter with:
How well do you know bible history? Can you name the first single mother?
As he is telling that story, he explains:
God has promised that He will be a Husband to the husbandless and a Father to the fatherless.
You can preview the chapter via google books here for the whole empowering story.