Brangelina’s an ugly role model

KATHARINE DEBRECHT is an author of conservative children's books. Her first book was "Help! Mom! There are Liberals Under My Bed!"

DOES ANYONE else see the irony in Angelina and Brad going to Africa, a continent that is plagued with AIDS, famine and out-of-wedlock pregnancy, to demonstrate by example that is it perfectly acceptable and even glamorous to have a baby outside the context of marriage? Is anyone out there getting this?

Contrary to the message that the two mega-movie-stars are inadvertently or overtly portraying to young Africans, the fact is that abstinence and monogamy work, and Uganda is a perfect example. According to the Family Research Council, a pro-family conservative group, the government of Uganda responded to its HIV epidemic in the early 1980s with an all-out “ABC” plan: Abstinence, Be Faithful and Condoms.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, cases of HIV there decreased dramatically, and from 1991 to 2000, they decreased from about 20% of the adult population to 6%. What’s more, a 2004 study by two Cambridge University scholars reported in Science magazine found that it was abstinence and monogamy -- not condom use -- that contributed to the decline.


What’s more, nearly two decades ago a Penn State University researcher reported that “high rates of premarital sexual activity have caused notable changes in the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies in much of the developing world. In Africa, local policymakers are beginning to perceive the medical implications of these changes as the youth component of illicit abortion, maternal mortality and sexually transmitted disease becomes more visible.”

So what is the message that Angelina Jolie brings when she comments: “I need more sex, OK? Before I die I wanna taste everyone in the world.” Nothing helpful, that’s for sure.

Let’s take this out of Africa and to the U.S. According to another report by the Family Research Council, unwed fathers and mothers are more likely to suffer from depression and to live in poverty than people who are married and who have children. And other reputable studies have shown that children born to teenage mothers are more likely to have lower grades, to drop out of high school, to be abused or neglected -- and to have a child of their own in their teens -- than are other children.

Teen childbearing costs U.S. taxpayers an estimated $7 billion each year for increased welfare, food stamps, medical care, incarceration and foster care costs, as well as lost tax revenue because of government dependency, according to an Urban Institute study.

What do celebrities have to say about it all? “The new hot accessory is no longer a Chihuahua. It’s a baby,” gushes Us Weekly editor Katrina Szish. “It’s not about Tinkerbell [Paris Hilton’s former dog], it’s about Apple,” Gwyneth Paltrow’s first child. And if actresses cannot sport a “bump” for physical or career reasons, they are adopting babies with no stable father in the picture.

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy, if “the current trend continues, 50% of all births by the year 2015 will be out of wedlock.” The consequences of this tragedy are not only to the children but to society as well.

Let’s review. Brad Pitt commits adultery, but that’s OK because he’s a celebrity. Angelina and Brad lie about their affair, but that’s OK too. They consummate an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. She announces to the world that she has no plans to wed Pitt. Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt is unapologetically born and celebrated as the wonderful product of this celebrity union.

When Jolie was appointed as a goodwill ambassador by the United Nations in August 2001, at the same time her movie “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” was released, Kris Janowski, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said Jolie “can naturally bring in our message to youth.” But what type of message is that to send?

Brangelina and other celebrities have made a mockery of marriage and family. Where is the outrage with the latest antics of Pitt and Jolie? Do these A-list, beautiful people once again get a free pass on immoral behavior?