When Carrie Prejean's Christianity Today interview went up earlier this week, the quote that seemingly got the most attention was her statement about the Bible's stance on breast implants. But the truly fascinating part of the article was the comments.
Prejean's interview is filled with the type of rage-inducing quotes we've come to expect from the fallen beauty queen ("I've never said that I hated gays. I have friends who are gay. I have hairdressers who are gay"), but perhaps the most interesting aspect of the article is how Prejean's notion of Christianity matches up with the comments left by readers who feel she isn't properly representing the religion. "We're all in process," Prejean says about her Christianity, "No one's perfect; Christians are especially not perfect. It's funny-there are people who think Christians are perfect or are holy people who go around judging everybody, but [it's] actually the complete opposite. We love one another, we don't always love the sin but we love the sinner."
The comments that follow the piece, however, show a markedly split opinion of Ms. Prejean, with many commenters attacking her for not being a "real" Christian while others claim she deserves the forgiveness and guidance. In a way, it's a pretty fascinating look at the struggle for identity in the Evangelical Christian community, as the notion of what a "real Christian" is seems to be debatable.
Some commenters are quick to dismiss Prejean, stating that she's not a true representative of the religion:
Becky Posted: November 13, 2009 4:34 PM
PLEASE do not give this "Christian" anymore air time or face time. Radar online today has unearthed eight more sex tapes and 30 nude pictures of miss Prejean. THIS WOMAN DOES NOT REPRESENT CHRISTIANITY IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM PERIOD.
Jonathan Posted: November 13, 2009 9:27 AM
I do not see any way in which the name of Christ has been glorified by Ms. Prejean's actions. Because of her and those who take advantage of her, people that vanity, self-centeredness, immaturity, sexual hypocrisy, a judgmental attitude and ignorance are marks of a Christian. And that doesn't even touch on the fact that it appears she may be lying about many aspects of the things that have happened behind closed doors. Perez Hilton looked like a food through all of this, but at least people don't think he is representing Christ. Ms. Prejean does far more damage.
Others defend her, noting that attacking Prejean isn't exactly an example of true Christian values, either:
Christian Student Posted: November 13, 2009 8:57 AM
The Evil One is really having his way with us. I read this article a few days ago, come back today, and what do I read? More hateful, judgemental, and, honestly, un-Christian posts. I see people calling Prejean hateful names, each other hateful names, throwing Bible passages at each other, not in order to spread the Truth of the Word, but to justify more hateful thoughts and comments towards Prejean and towards each other. Yes, Prejean has and continues to make many mistakes, like all of us have and still do, but instead of calling her names, pointing out her flaws, criticizing the magazine for interviewing her, etc., we could be offering up our prayers and concerns for her, as she's clearly going through a tough time in her life. Whether or not she's lying or creating a bad example is irrelevant. She's still in need of our love, kindness, and prayers, just like any other human being on this planet. Let's watch our comments; they clearly aren't creating a good Christian example either.
This comment brings up a pretty great question: are Christians going to step back from instantly standing behind the Carrie Prejeans of the world based only on one social issue?
Kurt Posted: November 12, 2009 4:55 PM
Really? As a Christian, I am embarrassed that we made this person a "poster child" for Christianity and conservatism. And why did we do that? Simply because we perceived her as speaking out against gay people. Is that all it takes? Hey, you're part of a system that objectifies women. Your weren't happy with the body God gave you so you had your breasts made bigger JUST to improve your sex appeal and win a beauty pageant. You posed topless in sexually provocative photos. And now you have a solo sex tape of you masturbating. But your'e opposed to gay marriage!! Yay! You qualify to be our spokesperson. the issue is not whether God can forgive her for past mistakes. He can and does. The issue is if we, as Christians, really should be holding her up as a model of what it means to be a conservative and Christian. She certainly does not have the moral character of those I would want representing my point of view. But she doesn't like gay people, so I guess that makes it okay.
"It is no wonder the World calls Christians hypocrites," this commenter writes, seemingly unaware that her comment is actually a pretty good example of why the world calls Christians hypocrites.
Adrienne Posted: November 12, 2009 4:15 PM
I cannot believe that this was posted at a Christian web site. MY Bible tells me that women are to be modest at all times. MY Bible tells me that we are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. I am proud to say that I don't have any gay friends and if one of my friends 'came out' as gay, they would stop being my friend (Unless they were repentant and did not want to be gay). I believe in the Lord and I put my faith in Him and in no other. It's true, no one is perfect except for Him but if you sin you should fall on your knees in forgiveness. You should not go parading around trying to make yourself out to be a faithful woman when you cannot even see your own sin! It is no wonder that the World calls Christians hypocrites when we are getting boob jobs, making sex tapes, posing nude and hanging around with homosexuals!
Whether or not the Christian community will ultimately reject Prejean as a spokesperson is yet to be seen, though it is hard not to wonder what it feels like for someone who claims to take such pride in one's faith to be called a hypocrite not only by those who don't share her belief system, but by those she counts as spiritual allies. She may eventually be able to obtain the forgiveness and understanding she seeks, on a personal level, but it will be interesting to see if the leaders in the Christian community move a bit slower in the future before creating a poster child for Christian values, only to tear her down months later.
Q+A: Carrie Prejean [Christianity Today]