What happens when a judge asks a beauty pageant contestant in front of a live television audience her opinion about a political question? If you answered that the contestant risks her crown if she gives anything other than the liberal-approved answer, you would be right.
That is what is happening right now to Miss California USA 2009 Carrie Prejean after liberal internet gossip maven Perez Hilton asked her, during the Miss USA competition this past Sunday, whether she thought gay marriage should be made legal nationwide, and why. Hilton was obviously seeking to put Miss California on the spot for her state's November vote for Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution making gay marriage illegal. Hilton used the venue of the Miss USA pageant to sandbag the unsuspecting Prejean, who nevertheless courageously stated her belief that marriage should be between one man and one woman. The answer has launched a firestorm of controversy that has Miss California officials openly condemning Prejean for her beliefs, and hinting that she could lose her title because of them.
Prejean's answer to Hilton's question could not have been more apologetic. But it was not nearly enough for Hilton, and for Miss California officials, that she qualified her answer in terms of her own upbringing, expressed tolerance for other viewpoints, and essentially threw herself on the mercy of the court.
"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."
Clearly, Ms. Prejean was a bit flustered by the pressure of being asked such a sensitive question in front of a live audience and on live television. But she rebounded beautifully, and much more importantly, she spoke her convictions.
Hilton was not impressed. On his website that night, he called Prejean, " a dumb b----." He has since apologized, and retracted his apology. He says he was "floored" by Prejean's answer, and believes – no doubt happily – that it cost her the title of Miss USA.
"She lost it because of that question. She was definitely the front-runner before that," Hilton said, adding that he's "very happy with whom the judges chose," Miss North Carolina's Kristen Dalton.
For her part, Prejean appears to be taking the controversy in stride, just as she did having her hopes and dreams made a pawn of Hilton's political agenda on national television.
"I wouldn't have had it any other way. I said what I feel. I stated an opinion that was true to myself and that's all I can do. It is a very touchy subject and he [Perez] is a homosexual and I see where he was coming from and I see the audience would've wanted me to be more politically correct. But I was raised in a way that you can never compromise your beliefs and your opinions for anything."
Miss California organizers were aghast that they might have given the title to a woman of conviction, and threatened to dethrone her.
Keith Lewis, who runs the Miss California competition, released a statement to the media in response to Prejean's answer last night.
"As co-director of the Miss California USA, I am personally saddened and hurt that Miss California believes marriage rights belong only to a man and a woman," said Lewis in a statement. "I believe all religions should be able to ordain what unions they see fit. I do not believe our government should be able to discriminate against anyone and religious beliefs have no politics in the Miss California family."
Co-director Shanna Moakler, the 1995 Miss USA, told the media that she fully supported Lewis' statement.
Make no mistake, the liberals are coming for Miss California's crown. The Miss California USA directors are no doubt pouring over the rules right now looking for some obscure technicality on which to base their baseless attacks. Or else, they will be looking for the first opportunity, the most minor of controversies or misunderstandings to justify their political discrimination. All because a young woman was asked to deny herself to win an honor. She refused to bow to liberal and politically correct orthodoxy, and now they must make an example of her.
Why does any of this matter? Because with liberals in power and emboldened, scenes like this will be playing out with greater and greater frequency over the next four years. As the Department of Homeland Security's report on alleged "right-wing extremism" shows, there is a movement afoot to marginalize, if not outright criminalize, mainstream conservative beliefs. Wherever conservatives see a public figure bravely standing against the liberal onslaught, they must rally. Prejean, and the reckoning that is coming for her, provides just such an opportunity, and from the unlikliest of places.
Miss California Carrie Prejean's act of courage - in the face of tremendous pressure to spout the liberal line - serves as a fine example for young and more seasoned conservative politicians. First be true to your beliefs, and let the chips fall where they may. When they do, they should know that conservatives of like mind across the country will stand up for them.