And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Luke 2.34).
In Catholic theological tradition the “sign spoken against” described in Luke in the person of Jesus manifests, in Himself and elsewhere, as a “sign of contradiction,” that is, a Christian sign so powerfully linked with Christ Himself, and the manifest holiness of His life lived it in such stark contradiction to all that we misunderstand as valuable in this world, that the sign draws forth an immediate and ferocious attack on Christ or those united with Him. “From this attack,” explains Catholic teaching, “ensues a double-movement: (2) the downfall of those who reject Christ, and (3) the rise of those who accept him.”
This thought was strongly on my mind when I read this column by Mona Charen on Tuesday: “Is Trig at the Heart of Media's Reaction to Palin?” She manages to capture in only a very few words the essence of this recent story about Governor Palin (and not only Sarah Palin, but others, too, mishandled by the media, and hated irrationally by the Left). This is the story as I've sensed it myself, but haven't been able to express so well.
She writes, in part:
There were basically two things known about Sarah Palin when her name was announced on Aug. 29 and the mediasphere began to shudder and pulsate: She was a recently elected governor and the mother of five children including a handicapped infant. The scorn from the mainstream press and the left-leaning blog world was both intense and instantaneous. Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic immediately began circulating rumors that Trig was not the governor's baby -- that she had engaged in a huge charade to cover up her teen daughter's illegitimate child. The New York Times reported on the front page that Palin had been a member of the Alaska Independence Party. Eleanor Clift of Newsweek described the reaction of most newsrooms to Palin's elevation as "literally laughter." US Weekly rushed out a cover story picturing Palin holding her baby son with the headline "Babies, Lies, & Scandal."
. . . .
The example of people living their principles by embarking on the undeniably difficult path of raising a handicapped child is a hard one to dismiss. In fact, it's hard not to admire. Don't most of us, deep down, really think that the most humane and honorable thing is to treat all life as sacred? Even if you are not religious or have no belief in God -- doesn't it appeal to an enlightened humanism to give support and love to the handicapped? In fact, most pro-choice people probably treat the handicapped with terrific compassion and care. They doubtless support civil rights legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act, additional school spending, and generous Social Security benefits. They'd be the first to hold the door for someone in a wheelchair, and they'd be friendly toward anyone with obvious mental retardation.
But for themselves, they would abort. And there stands Sarah, Trig Palin in her arms, a beautiful ambassador for the path of humility, duty, honor, and grace. It's no wonder she was in their crosshairs from the get go.
She's in good company.