April 29th, 2009
When Carrie Prejean, Miss California, bumblingly told the Miss USA audience that she chooses “opposite marriage” and believes that “a marriage should be between a man and a woman”, I mostly ignored the situation. We tend to pay less attention to the ignorance of the misinformed and focus more on the deliberate deceptions of anti-gay activists.
However, as the story lingered way beyond its freshness date I wrote a commentary noting that Prejean was startlingly ignorant on a number of issues surrounding sexual orientation. Yet still I thought the story was but momentary and not particularly relevant to our efforts.
But now it seems that Prejean may be taking steps to turn her moment of foolishness into a career of hostility and bigotry.
And that brings her into our spotlight.
What Carrie Prejean believes
To understand Prejean\’s motivations, we have to understand what she believes.
We know that she opposes marriage equality and believes that homosexuality is “a behavior that develops over time”. But her opinions have been developed in a stew of bigotry that goes far beyond misinformation about the bases of orientation.
Carrie Prejean attends a church that has strong opinions on the subject of sexuality and marriage. Miles McPherson, a football player turned pastor, was one of the driving forces behind the evangelical support for Proposition 8. In addition to anti-gay rallies at his church, McPherson was a proponent of the notoriously untruthful website for youth, iProtectMarriage.com.
Miles McPherson, one of Prop 8’s proponents and senior pastor of the Rock Church in San Diego, says the site aims to reach out to all young voters, especially those who support same-sex marriage for the wrong reasons.
“Right now they’re driven by the wrong information and a lot of emotion,” said McPherson, a former NFL player with the San Diego Chargers. “They’ll say, ‘I don’t want to be called a bigot. I don’t want to discriminate,'” said McPherson.
It seems that McPherson falls into the camp of Christians that believe that honesty and truth are optional and far subsidiary to “fighting the homosexual agenda”. In a message in February 2008, he said,
The homosexual agenda is being pushed upon this nation, to the point where it may become illegal for pastors to preach against homosexuality from the pulpit, that is where even such preaching is deemed a crime. In some countries this is already the case. Keep in mind this battle is not about gay people, rather it is a spiritual battle in which we are fighting the devil!
And it was in this imagery of spiritual battle against evil that Prejean formed her “biblical correctness”. And it is among his youthful warriors (the average attendant\’s age is under 30), that Carrie takes her place.
And McPherson is not hesitant to equip his warriors with the tools of political victory, with unvarnished lies a chief weapon. In addition to the blatant falsehoods on the Prop 8 website, McPherson\’s church, The Rock in San Diego, says the following about gays in a piece written by McPherson entitled Sodom and Gomorrah, A City Inflamed
Consequences of a Homosexual Lifestyle
God’s Word tells us differently and He provides us of the evidence that homosexuality is not natural or normal. There are physiological repercussions from homosexual behavior; male homosexuals are 430 times more likely to contract HIV than a heterosexual, while heterosexuals have a 1-in-750,000 chance of contracting the virus responsible for HIV, a male homosexual has a 1-in-165 chance of getting HIV. A 20 year old gay male has a 30% chance of either dying or contracting AIDS before the age of 30. They are also 23 times more likely to get other sexually transmitted diseases than a heterosexual.
There are also moral repercussions stemming from homosexual behavior as evidenced by the fact that one third of all sexual crimes against children are committed by homosexuals even though they are representative of only one percent of the population. Pedophilia has even been called central to the gay lifestyle. The agenda of the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) is to lower the age of consent so that sex with children will be legal.
I wrote to several pastors at the church earlier in the week to inform them that their claims about AIDS were mathematically impossible and in conflict with the literature and statistics provided by health organizations. I also corrected their false claims about child molestation and informed them that equating the gay community to NAMBLA is comparable to equating all of Christianity to the Phelps family.
I\’ve not received a reply.
The website is unchanged.
The Cultivation of a Victim Image
Since losing the crown on the 19th, Prejean has been seeking every opportunity to discuss her story in the media and to craft an image as a Christian victim of vile homosexual activists.
The essential premise of this image is that Carrie was the front-runner and that her dream of being Miss USA was stolen from her when she bravely stood up for her faith. Prejean set up that premise in an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC Today,
Ms. PREJEAN: … You know what, Matt, I was on that stage that night and I was so excited to be there. I was competing for Miss USA, and I was called into the top 10 and to the top five. And I was standing there and, you know, I was ready for my question. And when I heard it from him, I knew at that moment after I had answered the question, I knew that I was not going to win because of my answer.
LAUER: Because you had spoken from your heart.
Ms. PREJEAN: Because I had spoken from my heart, from my beliefs and for my God.
Prejean further fed that perception in an interview with FOXNews
FOXNews.com: Before “the question,” did you think you would win Miss USA?
Carrie Prejean: There was a lot of talk about me, people saying I was the frontrunner. During the whole two-week experience leading up to the pageant, I was very confident and relaxed. Not too nervous.
However, that premise does not appear to fit the facts. In viewing the final competition scores, it appears that Prejean was not the front-runner going into the question. In fact, unless Kristen Dalton, Miss North Carolina, flubbed badly and Prejean was brilliant there was no way that she could win.
As Brook Lee, a former Miss Universe who was at the event and spoke to the judges, put it, “for her to go in the press and say she lost the crown because of her answer is playing with the truth.”
She has also been pushing the story that the Miss California franchise tried to manipulate her into recanting her testimony.
Prejean said Sunday that her state sponsors urged her to apologize afterward but she rejected the advice and says officials from the Miss California USA pageant were worried that her comments would cost their contest financial backing and tried to prepare her for a string of post-pageant media interviews by discouraging her from discussing her religious beliefs.
“You need to apologize to the gay community. You need to not talk about your faith. This has everything to do with you representing California and saving the brand,'” Prejean recalled being told. “I was representing California. I was representing the majority of people in California.”
This accusation was soundly denounced by the Miss California pageant officials.
[P]ublic relations representative Roger Neal today called those claims lies. Neal says he was one of the people who attempted to advise the Prejean. According to him, Prejean was urged to reiterate she didn’t mean to offend anyone, and to use the national spotlight “to heal some wounds.”
Even Prejean\’s claim that her sister is “a gay rights activist” who “supports gay marriage” appears to be a fiction.
But perhaps we should not be surprised that truth has played so small a part in the establishment of her martyr myth. She is being coached and guided by her religious mentor, Mile McPherson.
The Rock\’s site claimed that the Rock\’s Senior Pastor Miles McPherson “spent time with Prejean in the critical hours following the pageant”. This coaching was further confirmed when Rex Wockner asked if she\’d be willing to have coffee with Perez Hilton, the gay blogger who asked her the question in the pageant.
Carrie: Um, I’m not sure if I would have coffee with him. If I did, I’d bring Miles with me.
And McPherson\’s influence may be directing Prejean in a new and troubling direction.
If anything, Prejean has solidified her stance in the last week. McPherson, who preaches against homosexuality, has been acting as her adviser and encouraging her to use her newfound fame to persuade other evangelical Christians to share their views, even if they are unpopular.
“I learned that God has a bigger crown than any man can give you,” she said.
Prejean Joins the Anti-Gay Activists
I\’m not sure why conservative Christians would be so anxious to align their movement with a young woman whose sole claim to fame is to walk her fake breasts down a runway hoping that her appeal to vanity and lust will result in adoration and personal gain. But the political operatives of that movement often leave me shaking my head in wonder.
Nevertheless, they have welcomed Prejean with open arms, and she has leapt at the opportunity to turn her beauty queen status into the face of anti-gay activism.
Prejean has been lauded by some mainstream conservative leaders for standing for her beliefs. She was commended by the Alabama state legislature and today she made a special appearance at Liberty University\’s convocation.
But it is troubling that Prejean has decided to align herself with the most extremist and demonizing of professional anti-gay activists. Later today she will be join Mat Staver and Matt Barber in a radio interview, both of whom are known for their virulent homophobic positions.
And Prejean is willing to go further than give interviews. Yesterday Maggie Gallagher, the head of National Organization for Marriage (of Gathering Storm fame) had breakfast with Miss California. Maggie had plans for the meeting.
And I would like to nominate Miss California as the new face of the marriage movement. Much better than mine! “Truth and love will prevail over lies and hate.”
But beauty never hurt.
And, indeed, Gallager\’s nomination was accepted. The National Organization for Marriage has announced that a new NOM ad will feature Prejean. And a source close to the group says the campaign includes ads that “will focus on how standing up for marriage elicits attacks from the left and homosexual rights activists.”
The Miss California pageant almost certainly will remove Carrie Prejean\’s title and take her crown. They cannot afford to have Miss California headlining political ads that seek to criticize “the left and homosexual activists”. Indeed, the negative publicity she\’s already generated – along with demonizing the organization – probably has the administration thinking ahead for the best time to let her go.
Surely this ad seals the deal.
And Prejean will get another round of playing the martyr when that happens.
However, her expected attempt to exploit the removal of her title will likely not elicit the same sympathy. While folks can feel badly for a girl who just “spoke her opinion”, they aren’t as inclined to think that running anti-gay advertising is in line with her duties as Miss California. In fact, any attempt to play the victim may well turn against her those who currently see her as such.
Which is ironic, because Carrie Prejean truly is a victim. She\’s the pawn of those who want to use her 15 minutes of fame to advance their own anti-gay agenda.
The whirl of controversy – coupled with anti-gay activism – has killed any sponsorship or modeling career she may have been seeking. No one will want their product associated with a woman who is reviled by half the population.
And, unlike Matt Barber who lost his job for tying his employer\’s name to his anti-gay screeds, Prejean does not appear to have the qualifications required to become a full time paid anti-gay activist. She\’s not articulate and she isn\’t passionate.
At most, she can for a brief while show up at anti-gay functions as a token of ‘homosexual intolerance’.
In the long run, Carrie Prejean\’s decision to join anti-gay ranks is not to her benefit.
McPherson will go on with his church and Maggie Gallagher will go on with her activism. But when Carrie\’s usefulness has run out, she\’ll find herself without a title, a crown, a career, or the respect of her peers.
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