One of the sorrier sagas that has unfolded before us is the matter of Carrie Prejean’s loss of the Miss USA crown because she didn’t give a “correct” answer to Perez Hilton’s question about gay marriage. Losing the crown wasn’t enough, evidently; the abuse she’s endured since then has been ferocious. Unfortunately she’s compounded the problem by having photos not really worthy of a good Christian released. Fortunately Donald Trump, observing that her position on the subject of “gay marriage” is no different that Barack Obama’s, can keep her Miss California crown.
Although nothing in this country seems ever to be “final” (perhaps the end of the Republic will be, but don’t count on it) there are some lessons to be learned by everyone.
To start with, readers of this blog well know that I would have counselled her to answer Hilton’s question in this way: “Civil marriage needs to be abolished.” Period. No one seems to be able to focus on the simple fact that “gay marriage” is not the issue: “same-sex civil marriage” is. Christian and homosexual activist alike equate marriage with marriage sanctioned by the state. The homosexuals’ confusion on this issue is understandable; the Christians’ (and Mormons and all the other religious groups as well) is not. Answering the question in this way would have put Perez Hilton in a tight place for sure, but he probably knew that she wouldn’t do that going in.
Turning to Miss Prejean’s own problems with the photographs, there are many of us old enough (or products of cultures modest enough) to remember a time when serious Christians wouldn’t pose in this way. Some of us remember that many churches counselled their young women against entering beauty contests as being too revealing. It’s easy to gripe about this now, but the sad truth is that Christian churches–and Evangelical ones as well–have been pushing (consciously or not) their young women into this kind of activity.
The best place to start this is to consider that, in the 1960’s, the most prominent gripers about beauty pagents were the feminists, who thought they were sexist, demeaning to women, etc. That objection, our culture being what it is, gave some people the idea that, if the radicals don’t like it, it must be OK. Further fuelling the push is the deeply engrained attitude in Evangelicals that we must be a part of the culture in order to engage it (to win it for Christ) and to move up in it (another part of American Evangelical Christianity.) That tendency has, over the last quarter century or so, stripped Evangelicalism of much of the isolationism that dominated it from the 1920’s (wake of Scopes trial) to the 1970’s (wake of 1960’s.)
Today Christian women are well entrenched in the beauty pagent process, and the positive examples continue. The 700 Club has had two beauty queens as hostesses: in the past the former Miss California Lisa Ryan and currently the 1973 Miss America, Terry Meeuwsen. Given the oversexualised nature of the culture, there are significant risks for Christian women who enter therein, and Carrie Prejean has just about run the table on those.
But she and the rest of us have been reminded of one harsh truth: no matter how attractive we try to make ourselves to the world, there remains a core of people–and that core is presently in the driver’s seat in this country–who hate our guts and will continue to do so. And while they criminalise others’ hatred (the bill is now in the Senate,) theirs goes scot-free. It’s not fair and it’s certainly not nice, but it’s the country we’re in.
Christians and their churches are going to have to learn to protect themselves in this hostile environment until this patently unworkable scheme the left is jury-rigging collapses of its own weight. That may mean some withdrawal and having to give up some of what this world has to offer (which also will decrease with this unworkable scheme.) But the dynamics of Christianity under persecution are different than in a open society, and the sooner we face this reality, the better.