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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Miss California and first runner-up in Sunday's Miss USA contest, Carrie Prejean, a 21 year old junior at San Diego Christian College is studying to become a special education teacher for children in elementary school. Reportedly, Carrie lives life to the fullest, and is reminded every day by the verse Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Now the center of controversy, Ms. Prejean answered a question regarding same-sex marriage in Sunday's contest. She said, "I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage and, you know what, in my country and my family I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anyone out there but that's how I was raised and that's how I think it should be between a man and a woman."
The crowd actually booed as a result, while blogger and pageant judge Perez Hilton, a self-described gossip queen who posed the question, frowned. Perez later called Prejean a "dumb bitch," but eventually apologized for the remark. A "burn-her-at-the-stake" parade is now being led by media opportunist Perez Hilton, who ripped Ms. Prejean on his blog after the show, using crude obscenities as he continued to attack her at every turn on his media blitz.
Keith Lewis, co-director of the Miss California competition, told that he was "saddened" by Prejean's statement. And Go-director Shanna Moakler, best know as Travis Barker's wife in the MTV reality show "Meet the Barkers," said that she fully supported Lewis' condemnation of Prejean's views while she supported Prejean's convictions.
Prejean believes the comment did cost her the crown. She continued. "It is a very touchy subject and [Hilton] is a homosexual, and I see where he was coming from and I see the audience would've wanted me to be more politically correct. But I was raised in a way that you can never compromise your beliefs and your opinions for anything."
"I feel like I won," Ms. Prejean said. "I feel like I'm the winner. I really do."
To me, the incredible part of this story seems to be the lack of common respect for Carrie Prejean's opposing views and the ridiculous expectations of pageant officials that Carrie should lie about her beliefs in order to appease the public and attain a beauty title. After all, why was she asked an opinionated question in the first place? Was she supposed to issue a canned response or succinctly state and defend her views?
In her answer, Prejean politely acknowledged the opposition, gave concession for others who defend a different stand, and supported her own position with adequate argument. In my book, that is sound argumentation. Coming from her Christian background, the answer was both sincere and full of self-conviction.
What if Carrie Prejean had just declined to answer such a personal question? Would the same attacks on her character have been made, or would she have been applauded? Everyone, including Prejean, knows that pageant questions are frequently loaded to elicit appeasing, mainstream answers. I applaud her courage to let her own truths prevail. It certainly seems strange that Judge Hilton was chosen to ask this question in the first place, putting his well-known beliefs to the test of a Miss USA contestant. This kind of public goading is ridiculous.
Lastly, why did such a question and answer raise controversy in, of all things, a beauty pageant?
Does Carrie Prejean have the obligation to conform her personal views on morality to win the pageant title? If so, what does the title mean? I thought deception and susceptibility to mind control were negative aspects of character. Evidently, others would prefer lockstep adherence to some sort of political correctness. Perhaps, the Miss USA committee should screen state-level participants to find such so-called "correct" mentality. But perhaps, Miss USA should wake up to reality and drop such inane questioning from its program.
Congratulations to Carrie Prejean. I hope people respect you more now as an honest individual even if they refused to accept you as Miss USA. No doubt your convictions to your religion have been tested in the national forum.
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