4.10.09

Pop Christianity and Carrie Prejean

A particular area of Pop Christian influence really started bugging me when I heard some of my Christian friends talk about Miss California's (Carrie Prejean's) answer to a question at the "Miss USA" pageant. I have absolutely no interest in the pageant or in Prejean (and yes I know that this is old news), but I want to relate this incident to make some theological points:
Perez Hilton: "Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit, why or why not."

Carrie Prejean: "I think it's great Americans are able to choose one or the other.We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And you know what in my country, in my family I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody there, but that's how I was raised and that's how I think it should be, between a man and a woman."
I have trouble parsing her sentences; if she meant "in my country AND family", and didn't just decide against saying "country" and replace it with "family" at the last moment, her answer seems to be "no", and that is what is generally assumed, and has probably been confirmed in subsequent interviews with her, so I will assume that as well. This answer has apparently caused her to become a hero to many Christians (she received praise from my friends as well).

Later, Perez Hilton called it the "worst answer in pageant history"; I don't know about pageant history *chuckels*, but Prejean probably isn't against gay marriage for secular reasons; she probably gets her opposition from her Christian faith, a faith which I do not think condones such opposition.

Therefore I have to agree that it was a bad answer for the following theological reasons: First off, as a good Christian, Carrie Prejean must believe that there are many more things wrong than just gay marriage: sex before marriage, and lust being among them. In fact, there is no indication in the Bible that God looked on these sins any differently; Jesus put lust on the same level as adultery (Mathew 5:28), and we don't have a comparison of adultery to homosexuality in the new testament; the only thing we can use to compare them in the Bible is in the old testament where the laws God gave to Isreal treat them with the same punishment (death by stoning); those laws also mandated stoning for working on the sabbath as well as many other things.

So one might ask the question, why does Carrie Prejean take homosexuality so seriously, and not also want to punish people for having sex outside of marriage? Does she also want to punish guys for watching videos of scantily clad women... like a video of the miss USA beauty pageant? It is also well known that she posed for nude photos at the age of 20 (after the age of consent); does she want there to be a law that will punish her for aiding and abetting lust? (to be fair she does admit that those photos were a mistake)
Or to go even further, does she want people to be punished for working on saturday?

Second, Carrie Prejean, as a good Christian, must also remember that the Apostles never talked about how Christianity should influence governments to make laws against Un-Christian behavior, in fact Paul states in 1st Corinthians 5:12 that: "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?". In the Bible, the only time there were God-approved laws against gay marriage was under the theocracy of the nation of Isreal. During that time God gave laws directly to Isreal, but one thing that many people miss is that the laws given to the Isrealites were not given to other peoples, and it is recognized theologically that this was a special and temporary agreement (covenant) between God and Isreal. This is why Christians today generally don't argue that those laws should be applied here, America isn't Isreal and never will be. So where is Prejean even coming from?

This brings me to my next point. Third, Carrie Prejean, as a good Christian, most likely claims to be against theocracy (as most Christians do). And she must know that according to the "Declaration of Independence" among our unalienable rights are "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." And it goes on to say "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men." If this is the purpose of our government, why does Carrie Prejean think that we should use it to impose our personal standards of morality on others? If she wants there to be laws against gay marriage she needs an argument that gay marriage impinges on the liberty or rights of others, not that she personally thinks it is wrong.

One wonders how Pop Christians like her define "theocracy". If this is a democracy then all of us are responsible for making the laws of this nation; if we are looking to make laws that go beyond protecting our unalienable rights, and start to use our personal beliefs to restrict the non-malicious behavior of those with different belief systems, then our government is going to become an instrument for making laws in favor of whatever religion is the most popular. Imagine if a gay religion was the most popular; would straight people want this type of reasoning: "something goes against my religion therefore I have the right to make laws so that no-one else can do that something"?

Some Christians may argue that everything has an effect on everyone, and that it is impossible to separate religious morality from the protection of our unalienable rights. However, does this reasoning show up in the actions of Jesus? Did he report prostitutes to the authorities?.... the prostitutes that he frequently ate dinner with and talked with.

The responsibility is firmly set on Christians to control their own actions, as there will always be temptations whether or not laws exist to prevent them. And even if such laws do exist, one may ask whether they will encourage rather than discourage the behavior they have been leveled against by giving it the privileged title of "Taboo". One may also counter that when temptations abound would not God have knowledge of this and account for this in his judgment of the sinner?

The reason that many Christians see Carrie Prejean as a kind of hero is because the influence of Pop Christianity is pervasive and wrot with contradictions to its very core. It is no wonder that Pop Christianity chooses another self contradictory figure as a rallying point.

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