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Miss Calif. Pageant Officials Blast Family Groups

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By Lillian Kwon, Christian Post Reporter
May 11, 2009|7:40 pm

Miss California pageant officials denounced conservative groups for placing Carrie Prejean in a position where she could lose her title.

"Shame, shame, shame," Keith Lewis, co-director of the Miss California USA pageant, said at a press conference Monday as he directed his message to organizations that took Prejean "into their fold."

"Shame for taking this young woman and exploiting her to further your own agenda; shame for not preparing her for the firestorm you knew you were creating; and most of all shame for doing it all the while knowing that you placed her in a position where she stood to possibly lose her crown not for her beliefs as you so screamed but for the breach of contract you so willingly encouraged," said a visibly upset Lewis.

Since 21-year-old Prejean made her famous stand for traditional marriage during the Miss USA competition last month, she has given several interviews, spoken at Christian events and appeared in a television ad for the National Organization for Marriage.

Shanna Moakler, co-director of the state pageant, stressed Monday that Prejean's contract forbids her from such activities without a written consent from pageant officials.

"No one knows the difference between the comments, endorsements, and activities of Carrie Prejean from those of the Miss California USA title," Moakler said, noting that Prejean has been "unavailable" to them because of her commitment to other organizations.

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Accepting the Miss California title "comes with the responsibility to represent everyone in her state, not just those who share her opinion," Moakler added.

Coincidentally, on the same day as the press conference, Focus on the Family aired an interview between Prejean and its founder, prominent pro-family conservative Dr. James Dobson.

In the interview, the beauty pageant queen told Dobson that she has no regrets over her response during the Miss USA competition despite the persecution and insults that followed and losing the national title.

"I want to encourage other people that when you're faced with an issue which you know in your heart you know what to say ... don't every compromise that just for pleasing them," Prejean said on the broadcast. "Your goal should be to please God, not please man."

While many Christians have applauded Prejean for her honesty and courage, some have questioned their fellow believers for giving the Southern California beauty queen such a large platform.

"I really don't get some of my fellow Christians trying to turn her into some sort of modern day Mother Teresa," said Randy Thomas, executive vice president of Exodus International, on his blog. "I am so proud of her for standing up for marriage. She deserves major props for that. However ... Did you see the bikini she wore that very same fateful night?”

Responses such as Thomas’ became more common after photos of Prejean in lingerie surfaced last week and were splashed across the internet. In the photos, taken when she was 17, a topless Prejean appears with her back toward the camera. The Southern California beauty queen, who turns 22 this week, said she had posed for them in hopes of landing a modeling job.

Aside from giving naysayers more ammunition to lash out with, the photos proved to be another breach of contract. When signing the pageant contract, participants are asked to state whether they have conducted themselves "in accordance with the highest ethical and moral standard" and disclose whether they have ever posed nude or semi-nude.

State pageant co-director Moakler said the issue is not the severity of nudity in the photo, but Prejean's failure to disclose such information upon entering the competition.

"She in fact entered the contest under false pretense," Moakler said.

On Monday, the pageant co-directors appointed Miss California runner-up Tami Farrell as the pageant's ambassador, largely to fulfill the appearances they claim Prejean has been unavailable to do. They stopped short of stripping Prejean of her title and said the decision will ultimately be made by Donald Trump, co-owner of the Miss Universe Origination. Trump is scheduled to announce his decision Tuesday.

 

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