The wages of sin: up to $30,000 per speech

The Thinker by Rodin

The wages of sin used to be death. Now it can pay $15,000 to $30,000 per speaking engagement. At least that’s the news from Single Source Speakers, when a couple weeks ago it confirmed the news that it had lined up former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol for the speakers’ circuit. Single Source Speakers won’t confirm how much Bristol will be paid per speech, but according to Palin family attorney Thomas Van Flein, it will be between $15,000 to $30,000.

In case you have been living in a cave somewhere, Bristol was Palin’s seventeen year old daughter when during her mother’s campaign she was shown to be inconveniently pregnant and unmarried. Bristol gave birth to Tripp about a month after her mother lost the election and quickly became estranged from Tripp’s father, Levi Johnston.

Most teenage mothers with out of wedlock babies are lucky if Mom and Dad give them shelter and help with their basic expenses. The good news for both Bristol and Tripp is that if she can make a success of herself on the lecture circuit, she won’t need to go on welfare or food stamps to support Tripp. With her mother commanding much larger speakers fees, it also looks like should the need arise little Tripp can also depend on his grandmother for financial support.

Most religions would declare that getting pregnant out of wedlock (or just having sex out of wedlock) is a sin. Sarah Palin belongs to a non-denominational Christian church that seems to have a fundamentalist bent. It is unclear what church Bristol belongs to now, if any, or if she is even a Christian. Based on her public regrets about getting pregnant out of wedlock, it sure sounds like she knows that she has sinned. This raises the question: why would some speaker’s bureau become an accomplice to her sin?

The answer, of course, is money. Sin is just between you and your conscience. Money you can take to the bank or use it to buy life’s many necessities (or perhaps in this case indulgences). Still, Bristol is an exception. The only reason she is newsworthy at all is that the media is enamored with her mother. Because it is, anything tangentially related to the Palin family is of great interest to the press, including Levi Johnston’s soon to be published buff shots in Playgirl Magazine, the proceeds of which will hopefully go to support little Tripp. Even a writer working on a book about Sarah Palin commands media attention when he manages to rent a house near her home in Wasilla, Alaska.

It’s hard to know exactly who will want to pay Bristol these speaking fees. I would think that any organization trying to promote abstinence and chastity before marriage would have a hard time giving her any money to speak, lest they be seen as tacitly endorsing her sin. According to the family’s attorney, Bristol may be hired to give her thoughts about parenting and her outlook on life.

I too am available to give my thoughts on parenting and my outlook on life, particularly if I can be get her speaker’s fee. Alas, my mother was no Barbie and my father no Ken, and neither even bothered to run for PTA president, let alone governor or vice president. However, they did raise eight of us rug rats. Amazingly, not one of us managed to become pregnant or impregnate anyone before marriage.

To recognize my virtuousness officially, I am hoping Bristol will rebate at least some of her speaking fees to me. If she did, then maybe people would realize that living a virtuous life, in addition leaving you full of virtue, actually pays. I was dissuaded from impregnating women not just because of my high moral standards but also because of the extremely costly financial consequences of knocking up a woman. It appears that Levi Johnston and Bristol did not have that conversation before Bristol opened her thighs for Levi.

Bristol’s tacit message seems to be that it’s okay to get knocked up out of wedlock, provided you have famous parents who are always in the glare of the media and have no problem selling your soul for some quick cash. Bristol is discovering her good fortune for mistakes made within a celebrity family. In her case, she helps vindicate those of us who believe Sarah Palin’s sterling parenting skills to be largely for show. It is unclear had John McCain gotten his first choice of a running mate (reputedly Joe Lieberman) and her family never gotten attention in the national media, whether her family would be as supportive of her unwed mother status. Given the rugged individualism the Palins claim to believe in, had fortune not smiled on Bristol’s mother, Bristol might now be on food stamps and getting TANF assistance.

Bristol must be doing the right thing though, because in the Republican Party, one thing triumphs both religion and ideology, and that’s hauling in cash. It’s their real religion: unfettered, glorious capitalism. Bristol may be an adult, but she is smart enough to watch her mother command six figure speaking fees and conclude, “I deserve some of that dough too.”

Let’s hope that despite her tender years Bristol is smart enough to use the money wisely. If I were living in another den of sin, Las Vegas, I wouldn’t put odds on it.

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