Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Miss California Won a Bigger Crown: The Crown of Integrity

It's not often that the runner-up in the Miss USA pageant wins so much notoriety, but Miss California Carrie Prejean has certainly done so with her now-famous answer to the gay-rights question on marriage.

For some reason, it's now important to ask the contestants questions that are more issue-oriented than a presidential press conference. When asked by Perez Hilton whether the rest of the United States should follow Vermont's lead and legalize same-sex marriage, she answered in the only way she knew how. She stood tall and told him what she believed: That marriage was meant to be between a man and a woman.

In my country, and in my family, I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. ... I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.”

That has created a firestorm on the left. Prejean has been ridiculed by numerous left-wing bloggers and media pundits. Rachel Maddow for the way she phrased her answer:

Perez Hilton, for his part, has skunked to ultimate lows on his blog, not only with his vile name-calling, but also with this truly idiotic posting:
You can't alienate your audience, especially if you're competing for the title of MISS USA! You need to represent the people, not just YOUR beliefs.

Huh? I guess we don't want anyone who might have a mind of her own? I thought that was the point of asking a contestant a question. Represent the people? Perez needs a reality check. According to a recent CBS News Poll, although six in 10 Americans think some form of legal recognition is appropriate for same-sex couples, only a third of Americans think those couples should be allowed to marry. So, in reality, she was representing the people. Or maybe for Perez, the voice of the people means only the minority of Americans who agree with him.

But most importantly, Prejean may have lost the Miss USA title, but she won something far more valuable. She demonstrated to all the value of integrity. She stood up, and with her dream on the line, told the world what she believes, even though it may had shattered that dream. She didn't insult the people who thought differently, she didn't call anyone names; she just had the guts to stand on stage and voiced her beliefs in a respectful manner.

She has told Access Hollywood that she is standing by her answer. I wouldn't have had it any other way. I stated an opinion that was true to myself, and that’s all I can do. It did cost me my crown. 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.

Amen. She won the most important crown any of us can hope for. Her crown of integrity and honesty will last longer than a Miss USA crown, and it sure shines brighter than the garbage being thrown at her from people like Hilton.

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