Though the story about Miss California, Carrie Prejean, and her loss of the Miss USA title because of her honest, frank, and widely shared opinion in answer to Perez Hilton’s loaded question has been covered ad nauseam, I will venture an observation or two.
Because I am not part of the demographic making up the usual audience for beauty pageants or the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, I was spared the early wave of media-frenzy about the whole megilla. As I sat at a diner near our home last Monday morning, I tried to read the already-touched-by-a-hundred-hands copy of the only newspaper lying around – USA Today. In between bites of food, and while dodging objects thrown by my grandson, I came across an interesting opinion piece by Jonathan Merritt.
It was entitled, “An Evangelical’s Plea: ‘Love the Sinner.’” Merritt is a 26-year-old graduate of Liberty University, the school founded by the late Jerry Falwell. His essay was thoughtful and thought provoking.
A short while after reading Jonathan’s missive, I saw a news report about what had happened the night before in Las Vegas – that city’s slogan apparently being incorrect. Watching a replay of Hilton’s question and Prejean’s answer, I experienced mixed emotions. I was very moved and proud of Miss California’s poise and presence of mind as she shared her personal conviction on the issue of marriage being something between (such a radical!) a man and a woman. You could almost see in her eyes that she grasped the significance of that moment and sensed her hopes for the coveted crown slipping away.
Another emotion moved me as well, but not with warm and fuzzy feelings of pride and sympathy. I got angry. Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr., a.k.a. “Perez Hilton,” turned my stomach. His behavior was rude and his epithets offensive.
I thought again about what Jonathan Merritt had written. The gist of his article was that too often those of us who stand for traditional values express ourselves as angry and mean. I confess that this has sadly and too often been the case, with zeal for “righteousness” occasionally and unfortunately trumping the greatest commandments.