Miss California and Queen Esther


Perhaps only the estimable Dave Gibson, Beliefnet and (ahem) Commonweal blogger, and author of The Rule of Benedict, could see--and make--the connections between: Carrie Prejean, the controversial Miss California; Queen Esther, the biblical heroine; Katharine Harris; and Sarah Palin.  Gibson's latest piece is on Politics Daily, and it's terrific.  A little bit here:

Above all, the story of Esther allows conservatives to mediate-or accommodate-conflicting feelings about sex and purity, women and power. "I think in many ways she is a dubious role model," says Anne Lapidus Lerner, director of the Program in Jewish Women's Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. "But she does offer beauty and power together-and subservience. So it's a good mix, it would seem to me, for people who are interested in seeing women as subservient but not totally powerless, and to see their beauty as something that carries them to whatever modicum of power they achieve."

It's also a good fit for a Bible Belt culture that has eschewed dancing and drinking yet glories in female beauty, as long as it stays within bounds. Now those boundaries seem to be expanding: Carrie Prejean's pre-pageant breast enhancements smack of fiddling with God's handiwork, for example, and the racy photos that emerged after her gay marriage comments aren't exactly your usual Sunday School Bible lesson.

That's a direct quote, except I deleted the link to "racy photos" in the original.

Read the rest here.

James Martin, SJ

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
8 years 9 months ago
Whether Carrie Prejean is a Queen Esther or not is not the issue.  We can all agree that she is being persecuted for her beleifs.  The racy photos are nothing more than a red herring.  Who among us have not made mistakes.  Just because she made a mistake does not disqualify her from having an opinion on the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.  If this standard is used, someone like Bill Clinton would also not be allowed to have opinions on moral matters.
8 years 8 months ago
No one is persecuting poor Carrie for her beliefs. It's amazing how such a poweful majority never stops pretending to be a persecuted minority. Carrie Prejean seems to be fundamentally unable to live up to her commitments and has, as such, just been [url=http://movies.yahoo.com/news/movies.eonline.com/carrie-prejean-gets-firedagain-20090615]fired from yet another job[/url].
8 years 8 months ago
Ignatus born somewhere, no matter where- Train'd up in school, and taught to say his pray'r- Tir'd with his task at Academy, he Jump'd o'er all to University- The books he read, read them, laid them down : But little wiser when his work was done. But College pedantry bare such a sway, That soon he gain'd a soaring diploma.Daub'd like a Knight, on the commencement day, Gladly he quit his task, and went his way.


Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Father Ireneusz Ekiert, administrator of Mary Help of Christians Church in Parkland, Fla., leads parishioners during an outdoor Stations of the Cross service on Feb. 16 dedicated to the victims and survivors of the deadly mass shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. (CNS photo/Tom Tracy)
In the midst of the unimaginable, Father Ekiert is telling his parishioners to show and live love daily—not just in a time of grief and horror.
Kate SteinFebruary 20, 2018
When I played hockey, other players of color were few and far between.
Antonio De Loera-BrustFebruary 20, 2018
Five years later, looking back on a momentous day in the life of the church
James Martin, SJFebruary 18, 2018