Jenny Sanford, Catholic heroine?

LadiesoftheOT-746681As interesting as South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's bizarre and tormented press conference was -- the one where he announced he had something going on with an Argentinian woman, it was his wife's statement about the matter that I found the most intriguing. In her statement, she overtly references her Christian faith, even quoting scripture. However, the subtext of the letter is also Christian. Or, as Salon's editor-in-chief subtly says, she "sounded creepy Christian right themes." You know, creepy stuff such as the sanctity, dignity and importance of marriage. About the importance of reconciliation and forgiveness. Here's a sample:

I believe enduring love is primarily a commitment and an act of will, and for a marriage to be successful, that commitment must be reciprocal. I believe Mark has earned a chance to resurrect our marriage.

Psalm 127 states that sons are a gift from the Lord and children a reward from Him. I will continue to pour my energy into raising our sons to be honorable young men. I remain willing to forgive Mark completely for his indiscretions and to welcome him back, in time, if he continues to work toward reconciliation with a true spirit of humility and repentance.

I don't know Jenny Sanford from Eve, but it made me curious about her religious views. Her husband referenced some evangelical groups during his press conference, and Wikipedia lists his religious affiliation as Episcopal. Both of the spouses have some strong religious views as evidenced in their statements. I'd like to know more about them.

Unfortunately, the Washington Post piece that should answer those questions really fails. It's all about how South Carolina's First Lady has handled her addlepated husband's infidelity:

Friends said the written statement she issued was classic Jenny Sanford. She told the world that she loves her husband and would strive to repair their marriage, but that she asked him to leave because it was "important to look my sons in the eyes and maintain my dignity, self-respect and my basic sense of right and wrong."

"Did you read her statement?" asked Marjory Wentworth, a family friend and South Carolina's poet laureate. "Brilliant, gracious, effervescent."

Jennifer Sullivan Sanford was born into a wealthy Irish Catholic family in suburban Chicago and graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University with a degree in finance. She took a job handling mergers and acquisitions on Wall Street, rising to become a vice president at Lazard Freres & Co.

So she's Catholic? If so, that's interesting, considering her husband isn't. If she's not, what is she? Where does she go to church? What do we know about her religious views? It's such an obvious elephant in the room but no one is digging into them. The only description of her religious affiliation that we get is that she was born into a Catholic family. So bizarre.

Speaking of bizarre, here's the other religious reference in the piece:

Sanford, who still speaks with a hint of a Chicago accent, combines the grace and hospitality of a Southern belle with the street-smart toughness of a Northern businesswoman. Campaign staffers joked that she is "an Old Testament woman with a 170 IQ."

I've been a Christian my whole life and I honestly don't know what this "joke" means. Is it that Old Testament women are dumb? What's the joke? I've read the Old Testament and I recall there being, to put it mildly, more than one type of woman. Are Eve, Deborah, Jael and Sarah tough but Mary, Elizabeth and Mary Magdalene wusses? Or is it a reference to the notion that the God of the Old Testament is tough as opposed to the "nice" God of the New? Seriously, is there some Southern cultural reference I'm not getting? I'm all for colorful quotes, but it seems to me that you have to set it up a bit better than this.

The bottom line is that religion is oozing out all over this story but the reporters seem ill equipped to handle it. Of course, when you are so Biblically illiterate that you think Psalm 127 is about how male children are superior to female children, perhaps we're lucky that the reporters are missing the obvious.

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