Recently we have seen the intersection of two different phenomena of American society: beauty pageants and the issue of gay marriage.
During the recent Miss USA pageant, Miss California, Carrie Prejean, was asked regarding her views on gay marriage. She responded by indicating that she believed that marriage ought to remain only between a man and a woman.
Her answer provoked immediate response. She quickly became a hero to many within the conservative religious groups who advocate against gay marriage while becoming a target for many other groups. It did not take long for photos of her to surface which were against the rules of the Miss USA pageant.
Nevertheless, she has gained newfound status among conservative Evangelical Christians. She was recently interviewed by Dr. James Dobson of “Focus on the Family,” and she said the following:
But I just knew at that moment that God was just telling me, “Carrie, how bad do you want this? Are you willing to compromise your beliefs for a one year crown of Miss USA?” And I just knew right there . . . And I said you know what and the switch went off. And I said, “A marriage should be between a man and a woman and that’s how it should be” (http://www.usnews.com/blogs/god-and-country/2009/5/11/miss-california-to-james-dobson-satan-was-trying-to-tempt-me.html).
We cannot know if God was really talking with Carrie Prejean or not. It is also not our intention here to make any political comment regarding gay marriage. But we do wonder: what does it say when people who claim Christ are willing to embrace a contestant of a beauty pageant as a representative of their faith? How is it that we have reached the point where there seems to be no blushing or shame regarding her conduct?
God is quite clear in the New Testament regarding the values of a godly woman:
In like manner, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety; not with braided hair, and gold or pearls or costly raiment; but (which becometh women professing godliness) through good works (1 Timothy 2:9-10).
Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price (1 Peter 3:3-4).
The Miss USA beauty pageant, like most adult female pageants, involve women presenting provocative photos and film of themselves in various dresses and “swimwear.” The emphasis is by no means placed upon the “hidden man of the heart,” or the “meek and quiet spirit,” but instead on the superficial external beauty of the contestant. The pictures and clothing are not designed to instill an appreciation for the virtue of the contestants, but instead are designed to be “alluring” and “sensual.” God has a word for such things: lasciviousness, condemned as a work of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21.
Indeed, there is precious little in beauty pageants that emphasizes godliness. Beauty pageants are quite worldly affairs, glorifying and emphasizing what is pleasing to the eye and flesh and therefore is part of the lust of the eyes, part of the world that John says is passing away (1 John 2:15-17). In order to compete in such affairs one must dress immodestly and, in so doing, promote lasciviousness, contrary to God’s will in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 and Galatians 5:19-21.
If beauty pageants therefore represent worldly affairs, glorifying what God will humiliate and not representing what God will glorify, how can a person involved in such things be seen as a good representative of Christianity?
Have we become so deadened to worldliness that we have forgotten how to blush or be ashamed at rampant immodesty and lasciviousness? If a worldly person seeks to participate in a worldly beauty pageant, and just so happen to speak out against gay marriage in the process, they may certainly do so. But how can we, as Christians, stand for God’s truth in regards to the proper conduct of women and claim Carrie Prejean as a representative of Christ?
The irony should not be lost upon us: a person who has participated and continues to participate in immodest and lascivious practices presumes to speak a word in the name of Christ against people who practice homosexuality. What would the reaction be if someone who participated and continues to participate in homosexual practices presumed to speak a word in the name of Christ against people who practice immodesty and lasciviousness? What conservative Evangelical group would claim such a person and believe that God truly spoke to them? Would it possibly stand for such a person to claim that it would compromise their belief to not speak out against lascivious behavior while clearly not believing that their homosexual practices compromise God’s values?
As far as we can tell from the pages of the New Testament, there is no real hierarchy of sin. Paul says that those who practice homosexuality will not inherit the Kingdom of God in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Paul also says that those who practice lasciviousness will not inherit the Kingdom of God in Galatians 5:19-21. Therefore, how is a beauty pageant any better or worse than gay marriage?
Let none be deceived: we are not attempting to justify homosexuality. God has clearly deemed it to be sinful (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Nevertheless, God has also declared immodest and lascivious conduct sinful also, and beauty pageants represent great worldliness (1 John 2:15-17). One does not read the pages of the New Testament and come away with the idea that beauty pageants would be the best way to demonstrate the real beauty and virtue of women. Instead, beauty pageants are part of the way that society and the world work against God’s values for women. There are plenty of women out there whom God recognizes as far more beautiful than any Miss USA because their souls and conduct are pure, chaste, and modest. Nevertheless, they are constantly being told by society that they are not good enough because they do not “measure up” to the world’s standard of godliness.
In the end, this is not about Carrie Prejean per se or about gay marriage. Instead, this is a call for Christians to stand up for God’s standards of what is right in all issues, not just a select few. Christ’s ambassadors should not be found in any willful sin (James 2:9-11). Everyone recognizes that any who presume to speak in the name of Christ while engaging in sinful conduct are hypocrites, and they give the Gentiles reason to blaspheme the name of Christ (cf. 2 Samuel 12:14, 1 Peter 2:11-12)!
God stands against homosexuality. God stands against immodesty and lasciviousness. God stands for holiness, purity, and modesty. Let us embrace all of God’s values, and represent faithful representatives of Christ!