Adam Graham
We are Miss California
By Adam Graham
April 25, 2009

The Miss USA contest was decided, not because of beauty or style points, but because of the political and religious views of one of the contestants. Miss California, Carrie Prejean, lost the Miss USA crown because she agreed with the majority of Californians, and the majority of Americans, that marriage should be between one man and one woman. A few years ago, that story would have been dismissed as a paranoid religious right fantasy.

Yet, it's no fantasy, and it isn't just Prejean who has been made to suffer for disagreeing with same sex marriage. No one begrudges gay rights groups opposing politicians who don't share their view on marriage, but in the wake of California's Proposition 8, theater and restaurant managers, and common citizens across the country have been harassed and seen their businesses attacked. Many have even been forced to resign. Campaign finance disclosure laws meant to protect the public from corruption have instead been turned into a tool of harassment.

Of course, the harassment didn't begin with the passage of Proposition 8. Two lesbians parked a van outside the home of an average Mormon family with, "Bigots live here" on the back of the van. And it's been several years since gay rights groups brought about the firing of Matt Barber from All State Insurance for columns against homosexuality written on Barber's own time.

While in no way representing all members of their community, the gay rights machine in this country is moving on an agenda that is anti-American because the goal is not merely to defeat the opposition at the ballot box. Rather, the goal is to destroy and ghettoize their political opponents.

Holding the Miss USA crown has nothing to do with same sex marriage. It has nothing to do with managing a theater or a restaurant, or working for All State, but this doesn't matter. The goal of the same sex marriage movement is not same sex marriage. The goal is to make disapproval of homosexuality culturally unacceptable.

The problem is that this will leave tens of millions of Evangelical Christians, Roman Catholics, Mormons, and Orthodox Jews with a choice. They can embrace what they believe to not only be incorrect public policy, but a violation of the very commands of Almighty God. They can be very quiet about their beliefs, stay out of the public spotlight and guard their lips very carefully, lest their words happen to slip, and they say something that may offend the gay rights groups. Or they can be ghettoized, unable to gain or maintain employment with many politically correct firms if they're found have done something as hateful as giving money to support traditional marriage causes, or having a bumper sticker on their car, or even having a conversation during which the topic comes up as happened in a recent case in Great Britain.

It is critical for religious traditionalist to engage this issue. Oftentimes, the question has been raised as to why same sex marriage is such a big issue. Leaving aside the actual arguments against same sex marriage on the merits, it is ultimately a threat to religious liberty itself and everything religious people want to do in the public sphere.

When people of faith are ghettoized on same sex marriage, it becomes harder not only for them to carry out other political activism on issues like abortion, but also areas of ministry and social service without compromising their faith. In recent years, Catholic Charities had to discontinue doing adoptions in Massachusetts over gay adoption. What services and ministries will be forced to disappear over the demands that will be placed on them over same sex unions?

If Christians hope to maintain any role in public, even the strictly non-political roles, now is time to become engaged and involved in the marriage issue. It threatens every ministry that chooses to take the Biblical view of marriage seriously. The movement for same sex marriage must be opposed as first priority. If a political leader is not serious in their opposition to same sex marriage, they should not receive our support.

For those of you who have trouble with what a not-serious position looks like, here's an example: "I'm against same sex marriage, and not only do I oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment, I also would like to see the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which is the only thing that allows states to choose not to recognize same sex unions."

It's also important that, when attacked, not to back down. Too often, the thought is that if we are being attacked, it's because we're not sufficiently nice, and that we ought to do the "nice" thing by trying to do our best to make sure they know we're nice people. The problem is that these people are political bullies with a lynch mob mentality who will see any efforts to be apologetic as a sign of weakness.

Also, this whole business of letting political activists come into the workplace and drive off managers and workers needs to stop. Doubtlessly, those who left their positions felt they were being unselfish. After all, they were saving their fellow employees and their employers the pain of continued harassment. In reality, what they were doing is emboldening bullies to go after other people in other workplaces. They're not stopping harassment, they're just setting up other people to face it by encouraging tyrannical behavior.

This is not to say that Christians should try to match the gay rights' movement's vitriol. However, there is a difference between being graceful and being gutless. Perhaps, the way Miss California handled herself is the most remarkable part of this story. Allahpundit, an avowed atheist, wrote regarding Miss California's interview with Matt Lauer, "Between her beauty, her stand on principle, and her serenity after such a crushing disappointment, even I'm ready to convert."

What Carrie Prejean has modeled this past week has been a firm, principled faith that models both love and truth. Her graceful clarity is far more helpful, and far more biblical, than the parsed Clintonian statement from one of America's prominent preachers in the previous week. Is it a sad commentary that the American Church is getting far better leadership by example from a beauty queen than we are from many pulpits. But these days, I'll take leadership where I can get it.

© Adam Graham


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Adam Graham

Adam Graham was Montana State Coordinator for the Alan Keyes campaign in 2000, and in 2004 was a candidate for the Republican nomination for the Idaho State House... (more)

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