Archive for December 26th, 2007

Knocked Up With People

December 26, 2007

The worlds of presidential politics and teeny-bopper celebrity oddly crossed, recently, when a) the news came out that 16-yr.-old Jamie Lynn Spears, star of some show or other on Nickelodeon that apparently a lot of teen, tween, and pre-teen girls watch, got herself knocked up, and b) surging presidential populist, cheery optimist, former Baptist minister, and champion of religious conservatives Mike Huckabee decided to comment on the upcoming non-virgin birth.

I don’t really have anything to say about this. I just found it . . . odd, and oddly amusing. For the most part, I think it’s just that I doubt this is the kind of thing we need to hear position statements on from our presidential frontrunners. I mean, surely we have larger problems to solve than the fecundity rate of the Spears girls, alarming though it is.

OTOH, Huckabee may not have had much choice. This is exactly the kind of thing — the kind of symbolic issue (no pun intended) — his core supporters get most exercised about. To many of them, Miss Spears’ delicate condition must represent everything wrong with contemporary America: too much celebrity, too much money, too little parental guidance, Hollywood, sex, the “loss of girlhood,” the breakup of the family, etc. All the major “family values” are there. I suppose it can’t help, either, that it was just last year that Keisha Castle-Hughes played the Virgin Mary in The Nativity Story, then announced during its release that she, also sixteen, was pregnant with her boyfriend’s baby.

Probably adding salt to the wound is the fact that Spears met her boyfriend at church. As one conservative blogger observed, we live “in a world where meeting your boyfriend at church and having his baby out of wedlock aren’t mutually exclusive propositions.” They never were, as anyone who’s ever spent much time in the church world knows, but now that churches have raised their public/political profile, these things aren’t just spiritual missteps anymore; they’re major PR problems.

That being the case, I’m a bit curious to see how the faithful will react to Huckabee’s comments. He didn’t have a stern word to say. He didn’t connect it to any of the issues I mentioned above. He said he was glad she’d decided to have it and hoped she would raise it in a loving and stable home. I think that’s about right, if one feels the need to comment at all. But I’m not an Evangelical who’s all heated up over “family values” and culture wars and virginity vows and whatnot. I wonder how Huck’s comments will go down with those folks, who are, after all, the engine driving him into the lead in Iowa and elsewhere.

That’s about it. I just found the whole thing odd, and nobody had posted anything in over a week, so I thought I’d ramble a while.