Recently a self described conservative Christian mother of 5 came to scold me for criticizing the Christian Broadcasting Network’s endorsement of actress Janine Turner’s book praising single mothers:
I encountered your blog because I had found Janine Turner’s book in my church library and a Google search led me here. I am pretty disgusted with the condescension and misogyny that you express in so many of your articles. I am a very, very conservative Christian, married for 20 years with 5 kids to a wonderful man, and I can’t ever imagine Our Lord looking down on human beings with the contempt that you display in your writing. You do not have the heart of Jesus–he came to save, not to condemn…
It’s very sad to me that you can’t seem to recognize that there are many women out there who lived sinful lives, who now have sole care of a child from their past, and who have had a conversion BECAUSE of their struggles. One of God’s greatest talents is to bring good even from our sinfulness, as He did on the Cross. These single mothers are trying to work out their salvation with fear and trembling just like you and me, and all Janine Turner was doing with her book was trying to encourage women in that situation to hold fast to Jesus and not despair that God can’t do amazing things for their lives and their children because their circumstances don’t “look” wholesome and perfect…
As I’ve written before, as feminist thought has taken hold across our culture instead of becoming more vigilant to feminist rebellion Christians have become desensitized to it. No matter how blatant the expression of feminist rebellion, we just can’t see it. As a result, we no longer need radical feminists like Sanger and Friedan; ordinary Christians now reflexively toe the feminist line. In a world where unwed motherhood and kicking the father out of the home are celebrated feminist rights, objecting to Christians declaring these sins as godly is the new heresy. Objecting to declaring evil good is now hateful, misogyny.
Make no mistake; Miss Turner is quite open about what she intended to accomplish in writing her book. This is not as the commenter implied a book about repentance. In the forward to the book Miss Turner describes her own out of wedlock pregnancy and birth without a hint of repentance. She presents her out of wedlock birth not as a foreseeable result of sinful choices, but something which life did to her (emphasis mine):
I’ve often reflected, How did a Baptist girl from Texas end up as a single mother? My pregnancy, however, was the most miraculous event of my life. I would read to her in the womb, play Mozart, and pray with her. I even felt the joy when she kicked, literally, to the music of a Broadway show.
As my pregnancy progressed, however, it became increasingly evident that my journey as a mother was to be a singular event. One day I predicted that my daughter’s father would not be there when our baby was born. He responded by holding me tightly and saying that, yes, he would be there. I knew in my heart that he would not. Call it women’s intuition, but I knew. This is not how I envisioned the drama of my life, the joy of bringing a child into the world, but life presented itself to me in this way.
A bit further down she explains her mission in writing the book:
There’s one thing I believe fervently, and that is that 90 percent of single mothers never intended to be single mothers. Most young girls, as they daydream about the day when they will have children, rarely say, “When I grow up I want to have a child and raise the child without a father.” Or, “When I grow up I want to get a divorce and raise my children all by myself.” It rarely happens.
I wrote this book to inspire these women. I wrote it so that single mothers of today would not feel alone, troubled, burdened, shamed, or depressed.
To drive home the need for such a book, Miss Turner points out that we are experiencing an explosion of single mothers:
The U.S. Census Bureau data published in 2004 reports that approximately 43 percent of women raising children are single mothers; this number is likely higher today. 51 percent of women in America are not married. The wisdom that the women of this book impart to us is that we are not alone. Women have been doing it for centuries and through tragic circumstances in social environments that, for the most part, pale to any we could encounter today.
This is the message Miss Turner with the help of CBN, the married mother of 5, and her church (by placing this book in the church library) is selling to young women. There is no sin, only circumstances that life hands you. With a little girlpower and moxie you don’t need a husband, and your children don’t need a father. Hold your head high. You’ve come a long way baby.