Saturday, August 8, 2009

Beauty Is A Beast

I haven't been great about moving my columns to this here site, but the recent shooting at a LGBT facility in Tel Aviv made me feel compelled to put this puppy up. It's a bit dated, but enjoy...

It’s been a month since Donald Trump let an ugly bigot parade around as a beauty queen, and I still haven’t been able to rid my mind of the grotesque sight.

Gay hatred scares the biblically correct nipples off of me. As an American. As a human. And, particularly, as a Jew.

The insidiousness of homophobia, the casual acceptance of it, reminds me so much of how some of the Muslim world (and larger and larger pockets of Europe) talks about Jews. We’re vilified and dehumanized. Told we should be wiped off the face of the Earth. No offense.

And so when Miss California, Carrie Prejean, garbled her way through an anti-marriage-rights stream-of-consciousness bit at a recent Miss USA pageant, it didn’t surprise me that hatred could look so lovely in an evening gown.

The denial of gays’ rights is so accepted in our culture that it’s only natural to hear mention of it nonchalantly tossed off after the swimsuit competition.

“Marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Sounds as reasonable as “America wouldn’t be involved in the Middle East if it weren’t for those powerful Jews.”

Both are said and said often. Usually in the same exasperated, what-can-you-do-about-it tone. And both chill my blood.

Even more frightening is how some of my Jewish friends have sided with Prejean and her ilk. One otherwise reasonable family member of mine even said, “Gays should have rights, but only up to a point.”

“Up to a point? So, like they should they be allowed to walk on the sidewalks but only if they’re wearing a yellow star on their clothes? That kind of point?”

Of course, Prejean has every right to believe what she believes and espouse what she believes, however ineloquently. But we all have a duty to call out that belief for what it is: hateful.

Miss California USA pageant officials sorta kinda tried to do just that, saying, “In the entire history of Miss U.S.A., no reigning title holder has so readily committed her face and voice to a more divisive or polarizing issue.”

(Prejean has become a spokesmodel for National Organization for Marriage, a group that justifies suppressing gay American’s civil rights by saying, “God said to.”)

Disappointingly, though, instead of taking a principled stand against Prejean’s anti-civil rights quotes, pageant officials tried to knock the queen off her throne over a few topless photos.

Donald Trump “reviewed the pictures carefully” (tough job that guy has), and decreed that Prejean gets to retain her crown. He cautiously avoided discussing his views on same-sex marriage, but defended Prejean’s comment, saying, “She gave an honorable answer. She gave an answer from her heart, and I think for that she has to be commended.”

I understand the argument that some religious leaders still consider homosexuality a sin – and that’s, no doubt, what Miss California meant when she said her sentiments were “what I was taught.”

But those same religious leaders would recognize that hatred is a sin. The denial of civil rights is a sin. Espousing views that insight violence and dehumanize a great swath of God's creation is a sin.

At least, that's what I was taught.


  1. Obama said the same thing as Prejean, in essence, during the campaign. As a Christian, he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman. Me thinks you're going after the wrong target.

  2. nice column, mayrav. i think people get so wrapped up in defining other people's "sins" that they forget about how hatred is the biggest one.

  3. Awesome post! please keep up the great work i would love to hear more like this.

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