I know I'm supposed to be working on my sermon for Sunday.
And I am. I really am.
But part of the way I work is to weave together all the bits and pieces that have connected themselves to the texts appointed for the Sunday coming in my praying and reflecting and contemplating ... and this week one of those "bits" is Miss "No Offense" California.
Bless her heart.
It used to be we talked about preaching with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. But maybe now (with apologies to my newspaper journalist friends) we should add "with "YouTube" in the other."
So, in case you missed it, here's the transcript from the YouTube moment when Miss California was asked by Miss USA pageant judge Perez Hilton the following question:
“Vermont recently became the 4th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit. Why or why not?”
And Miss California gave the following answer:
“Well, I think it’s great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land where 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 out there, but that’s how I was raised and that’s how I think it should be between a man and a woman. Thank you very much.”
You're welcome, very much, Miss California. But before you go ... could I ask a couple of follow up questions? Great!
Did you miss the part where "Americans" actually don't get to "choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage" -- that is, unless they live in Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut or Iowa? (Or maybe Maine, New Hampshire and New York ... depending on how the next couple of months play out?)
Do you understand that because we do not get to "choose marriage" same-sex couples are denied 1138 federal rights that "opposite marriage couples" are automatically granted?
And did you forget the part about how in this land -- in your country -- we've got a thing called "separation of church and state" and "freedom of religion?"
That means (stay with me now!) that the response "For me it was being biblically correct" may get you some mileage on the conservative blogs but it (no offense to anybody out there) flies in the face of those core values of American democracy.
Those core values, Miss California, are intended to protect your right to believe whatever you want to about what the Bible says about marriage. They are also intended to protect the rights of those who read the Bible differently (or not at all!) from having you or anybody else inflict your theology on our democracy.
What they do not protect us from -- any of us -- is being offended by that which is offensive. And you, Miss California, offended millions of gay and lesbian couples, their friends, families, co-workers and neighbors with your ill-considered response to Mr. Hilton's question on Saturday night.
So I'm sorry your answer got boo'd. I really am. Booing is just plain bad manners (no offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised). But I'm not at all sorry -- in fact I'm encouraged -- that the judges recognized that discrmination and homophobia are not at all attractive -- on a beauty queen or on anybody else.
Maybe -- just maybe -- we're actually getting somewhere when even a beauty pageant draws the line at bigotry ... and when (no offense!) it's OK to be offended by what IS offensive. Thank you very much.