At first blush, I have no problem with a shelter for young Christian moms paying Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol $14,000 for a speech. Yes, that's a lot of money to hear from a young woman who has done precious little with her life other than have a baby out of wedlock. But Bristol has, most of the time, been disarmingly honest about the effect of unmarried, teen pregnancy on her life. She has said she chose to keep her child because she is prolife, but she has also been outspoken about what that decision has cost her. So in that sense, she is a good role model for teens. "Don't do as I did" is the general message one gets from Ms. Palin's interviews, not, “It's great and fun and you can still party."
Not all opinion writers agree.
"They want to parade Bristol out as an example of a woman who chose not to abort," TheStir.com columnist Jeanne Sager wrote. "She's costing them $14,000 for a fundraiser. At $125 a head, it will take 112 people to just break even on her fee. So who's helping the single moms here? Not Bristol."
No, she's not helping the women at the women's shelter, at least not directly. But while the shelter is paying a whopping up-front fee for Bristol's appearance, the obvious hope is that the shelter will raise many times that amount selling tickets to its fund-raiser. I'm no fan of Sarah Palin—she's way too far right for my tastes. I'm also not a fan of women's shelters that offer a healthy dose of proselytizing with their free housing and help. The obvious hope is to convert unwed mothers to Christianity. But if this shelter in particular has the marketing savvy to hire a controversial person such as Bristol Palin to help raise money, I guess other flaws can be temporarily forgotten.
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