At Christmas, Catholics especially pay homage to an unmarried pregnant teenager. We applaud as our children act out the Nativity and even display little clay Nativity scenes. Historians believe that Mary was as young as 13 or 14 years old when she became pregnant while engaged to Joseph. The foetus concieved was not even Joseph’s child, but a being conceived during sexual intercourse with the Holy Spirit. Whether most people believe this is true or not is irrelevant – we still behave, to a certain extent, as if we believe it was true.
So, demonising “teen mums” seems quite ironic at this time of year – especially since this is a time of year when the family is glorified. Shouldn’t ‘the family’ include ALL families? Shouldn’t celebrating the birth of an unmarried mother’s illegitimate child be taken as the ultimate statement of respect for single or unmarried parents?
It seems ironic that those who claim to be religious and pay the most attention to Mary’s pregnancy often seem to be those who most stigmatise modrn-day young parents – especially female young parents. This is even more obvious across the pond, where people such as Rush Limbaugh, Rick Santorum and various GOP members achieved unwanted notoriety for slut shaming, victim-blaming and anti-contraception comments all rooted in their disgust for single mothers (and possibly all female nonvirgins).