Friday, April 24, 2009

Miss California

Probably anyone within the reach of my blog has heard about the now infamous Miss California Response to Perez Hilton's question at the recent Miss USA pageant.   In case you missed it, here it is:

Well, Perez got pissed.  He fired back.

After that it just became a barrage of media appearances by both of them.. Perez all over the entertainment news and Miss California on Fox news and stuff. Now of course we know California to be divided nearly in half about this issue, as the vote for prop 8 demonstrated, passing by a garnering 52.6% of votes -- barely a majority. Well a Former Miss California, Nicole Lamarche, is speaking out about Miss Prejean's response. She is amazing.

"As a pastor and a former Miss California, I am often asked to interpret what the Word of God has to say on a particular subject. I am quite confident that God prefers that we human beings stick to speaking for ourselves. And yet there are occasions when God’s Word is used as a weapon, and I feel compelled to speak.

In the past few days, much has been made of the words of Miss California USA, Carrie Prejean. She stated that marriage is between a man and a woman. I write not in response to her opinion, but rather about her comments that followed: that the Bible condones her words. She said, 'It's not about being politically correct, it's about being biblically correct.' While this sentiment is shared by many who seek to condemn gay people and gay marriage, citing pieces of the Bible to further one’s own prejudice fails to meet the Bible on its own terms.

Most people seeking to condemn gay people point to the Book of Leviticus, where we read that men lying with men is an abomination. However, we rarely hear of other verses found in the book of Leviticus that are equally challenging. For example, Leviticus also tells us that eating shrimp and lobster is an abomination. And that a person should not wear material woven of two kinds of material—an impossible mandate for a pageant contestant!

In Paul’s letter to the community in Corinth we read, ‘For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church….’ And yet these words have not prevented Christian denominations from ordaining women, such as myself. Sadly, the Bible has been used to further prejudice throughout history. We have used it to permit ourselves to enslave people; to conquer and kill; and to denigrate the earth.

The truth is that it is difficult to know for sure the intentions of the biblical authors, but we do know something about God. Those of us who know God through Jesus of Nazareth know that he went to great lengths to express God’s love to people who were labeled as outcasts. He spent time with children, prostitutes, and lepers, all of whom were labeled as outside of the grasp of the Holy. As we continue to seek God’s vision for us as a nation grounded in a love for justice, I pray that we might move closer to the cause of grace.”

I must say, this is the essentially the message that one of my favorite documentaries, For the Bible Tells Me So lays out: that the bible doesn't condemn homosexuality any more than it condemns eating shellfish, mixing clothing fabrics, or failing to keep a "kosher kitchen".  I think it is utterly ludicrous that there are still people out there touting bible opposition to homosexuality.  To me, as accepting as I strive to be of the viewpoints of others, I must admit that this particular viewpoint is one for which I don't have much respect.  

As much as these 2 people have again polarized this issue in the media, I think we have to continue to focus on the human rights question at hand.  Is it correct to deny full civil rights to a person who wishes to enter into a legal marriage with someone else?  No.  Its wrong to deny anyone a civil right based on race, creed, or sexuality? Certainly.  That's what is important to me.   I don't need my marriage to be sanctioned by catholics, mormons, or anyone else who has no wish to celebrate my happiness and my choice in partner.  I just want the same rights any other tax paying adult in this country has.  And to me, that's not asking too much of anyone.


DooDoots said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DooDoots said...

Is it correct to deny full civil rights to a person who wishes to enter into a legal marriage with someone else? No.Hi there. Allow me to play devil's advocate for a minute. Wouldn't it be wrong to deny polygamists too? Why is marriage exclusive to just two people? What about 3, 4 or even 10 people that love each other. And what if two brothers want to get married? Marital relationships can be monogamous. So if the rights to marriage are based on love in the relationship and fairness to express that love, who are you to stop multiple partners and relatives from being married? What if a man loves his dog? Seems outlandish? Maybe to you but under the new criteria, who are you to stop a man from marrying the dog he loves, just because it's not accepted in today's society? Maybe, as with the view of homosexuality over the years, we just need to "catch up" with the times? I have more, but will leave it at that.

Scott said...

Polygamy introduces complications in areas of inheritance, etc., but if those could be satisfactorily hammered out, why not let more than two people get married? I don't see anything wrong with that.

Two brothers? Why not? If they love each other and want to form a union with the legal rights that come from that union, why not let them?

A brother and a sister? This one's a little trickier... Do we have the necessary medical technology to ensure that their children will not have genetic issues (issues with inbreeding)? Then go ahead! If not, then there's some justification in forbidding it, because there's another human life at stake, although allowing the union with the caveat that they cannot have children might be an option (it's not forced sterilization if they do it willingly so that they can marry, right?).

A man and his dog? The civil marriage we're talking about isn't just about the right to marry the person (creature) you love, but also the legal rights that are granted when that union is formed. Those legal rights cannot be applied to animals, so marriage to an animal makes no sense.

My two cents.

Wyatt said...


Why would allowing polygamists to get married be a bad thing? Wouldn't that be better for the escalating costs of the welfare system that they are propagating? Also, I'm questioning the validity of your statements and at the same time don't really get why you would compare a person to a dog... ?That's just silly and not a valid argument. But I guess for the sake of your argument... who cares? Why would your marriage or someone else's marriage be cheapened because of someone else's relationship? It's not a big deal. In fact there are far greater things we should be worrying about.

Can we talk about issues that really matter like poverty and education, world peace and global warming please!?

Znae said...

DooDoots I realize you're playing the devil's advocate but congratulations on your amazing slippery slope analogy, it's the best! Feel free to marry your dog when you can teach it to read, understand and sign a marriage contract. I will admit, however, that morality isn't a black and white social phenomena. That being said the public perception of a polygamous or incestual relationship could fall into a more acceptable light. It's hard to say what might happen to cause those relationship types to become more practical but currently they are not supported by the general population or the law.

Perez Hilton and Miss California are both obnoxious and stupid. What a fun combination! The answer that Perez offers Miss California could have used is pretty weak and dances around the subject while the answer Miss California did give was direct and opinionated, which is fairly respectable, but unfortunately it pretty much outed her as a bigot and a non-expert in the English language.

That Nicole Lamarche certainly is a charming proprietor of textbook doublethink. The Bible is an extremely dated piece of literature that should never be used as an indication of the highest attainable morality. I can't decide what's more annoying: staunch belief in the infallibility of the Bible or the pick-and-choose attitude of relevant Biblical morals and the plausibility and historical accuracy of Biblical stories. It's much easier to determine who has a cognitive disorder with the former group of people. Some of the Bible certainly is entertaining however, and an English speaker would be missing out on a decent slice of culture if they didn't have at least a passing familiarity with Bible stories. At least the pick-and-choose attitude is an indication that the Bible has lost a good amount of credibility and may eventually fade from existence in the realm of morality.


Well DooDoots I am really happy about your comment because it sprouted a lot of conversation! So thank you for that. I honestly agree with what everyone below said, and I don't think there is much that I can add that would be original. I honestly don't have any problem whatsoever with polygamy or incest as long as all parties involved in the legal contract are actually entering it of their own free will, and no ones agency is being compromised. And I think Zane put it best with the animal one.. good luck getting them to sign a legal document.. BRILLIANT as always Zane.

To be honest this whole "whats next? polygamy???!?!?!" argument is just not scary at all to me. So what? If 2 women want to marry one man who am I to say that it is a bad idea for them. Sexuality it fluid-- people have all kinds of complicated relationships. Who am I to say they should not be legal? I guess the logic that usually drives this sort of dialogue is that you have to draw the line somewhere. But do you? As long as people are entering consentually and freely I don't see a problem. I would only draw the line at marrying children because I think the agency of the child would be compromised. I am just glad that there are 4 states that allow gay marriage, more that allow civil unions regardless of gender, and the state that I live in is one that recognizes gay marriages from other states. I might not want to ever get married, but its nice to know that if I want to engage in a legal contract with a guy then I can. For me its as simple as that. I hope all people get to engage in a legal contract that protects and benefits them if they so choose.

Jen said...

I think Perez Hilton (on his blog) was SO wrong. Why call someone a "bitch" for standing up for what they believe in? I do not agree with what Miss California said. However, there really wasn't a good way to answer that question. She would have alienated both sides of people. If she would have answered it like Perez wanted her to, she would have come off as wishy-washy. There was no good way for her to answer that question. We all have opinions, beliefs and values. Yours are much like mine when it comes to this issue. But, is it fair to base a beauty pageant (which I think are so dumb anyway) on a question?

Keri Bo Beari said...

Thanks for posting this, Clark, and not for the beauty pageant or Perez, but for the pastor's words. If people have an opinion about something, fine, but own your opinion! Don't hide behind the Bible. Her point should give them plenty to think about.