READ PART 1 FIRST to put this in context.
We return to the Miss USA contest for this last post. Because of the topless photos mentioned in Part 3, Carrie’s status as Miss California was called into question. The accusation was that she violated their modesty contract (I hadn’t realized they cared about such things).
Miss Prejean’s contract with Miss California USA prohibited nudity, stating on page five: “Appearing in public or permitting myself to be photographed in a state of partial or total nudity or in a lewd, compromising or sexually suggestive manner constitutes a violation of this provision.” She signed it, stating that she has not done so.
Now personally I don’t know how any Miss Anywhere contestant in the bikini competition could sign that statment about never appearing in a sexually suggestive manner, but that’s my bias coming out and that’s beside the point. The real issue is did Carrie violate the “partial or total nudity” part.
Into the picture steps Donald Trump (who basically owns the contest) to decide the matter. Here is his statement.
“We’ve reviewed the pictures very carefully [i’m sure he did] … we are in the 21st century and I talked about relevance and the pageants have been updated tremendously. And Carrie is a model, she’s a very successful model, we have determined – and we have the absolute right under the contract – we have determined that the pictures taken are fine,” Trump said at Tuesday’s press conference. “So, we’ve made a determination that everything we’ve seen to this date that she’s done, some were risque, but again, we’re in the 21st century, so we’ve made a determination that the pictures taken were acceptable they were fine in many cases. They were lovely pictures and in some cases they were modeling pictures, so I think that’s very important to understand.”
Some would say Carrie has been vindicated–she can retain her Miss California title. Finally a victory for conservative Christianity!
I say the opposite. Because of this incident, now Donald Trump has redefined “partial nudity” in the 21st Century to not include bare breasts. The contest has been “updated” in his words. I say the morality bar has been lowered another notch. So from now on, any contestant is free to pose topless and it’s not going to be considered “nudity” at all. Let’s all go change our dictionaries.
As far as Carrie goes, since she signed the contract it tells me either one of three things: 1. she was not honest about having those photos taken or 2. she agrees with The Donald and also doesn’t define bare breasts as “partial nudity” or 3. She thought she could squeeze through a loophole that since the photographs she allowed to be taken were unapproved they didn’t count.
Carrie is a fine person, has a wonderful Christian testimony, and has done a lot of good with her life. I like her as a person and have a lot of reason to root for her. She’s on our side.
But looking at this isolated photo issue objectively, it seems clear to me that she should have been disqualified. Even better, she could have admitted having those photos taken 5 years ago was wrong and she could have humbly resigned. Imagine the impact of that!
We all majorly mess up, so I’m not pointing fingers that don’t point back at me. But when our sin is exposed, part of Christian maturity is to take responsibility for it, decry it, confess it, aplogize for harm done, and to humbly submit to the authorities rather than look for loopholes. To me this is virtuousity. Too many times prominent Christians caught in sin have tried to cover it up, deny it, make excuses for it, or try to justify their behavior, but to the watching world it simply reinforces the negative stereotype of Christians as hypocrites.
In this situation, Carrie got off the hook because Donald trump liked her and changed the rules downward. But I agree with Shanna Moakler, the co-Executive Director for the Miss California contest, who resigned over Mr. Trump’s decision, saying:
“I can not with a clear conscious move forward supporting and promoting the Miss Universe Organization when I no longer believe in it, or the contracts I signed committing myself as a youth,” Shanna’s statement continued. “I want to be a role model for young woman (sic) with high hopes of pageantry, but now feel it more important to be a role model for my children…”
So I ask, who showed the highest moral integrity in this isolated story about the photos? I think it’s Shanna, who quit her job over it. She acted with a clear conscious. Was she vindicated?
By the way, i’d love to hear your thoughts. I turned off comments because i’ve been getting spam comments and the sensual nature of these 4 posts would quickly attract spammers. Email me your thoughts please!