Miss California Carrie Prejean appeared onstage Sunday at the San Diego megachurch where she is a member to share about the events of this past week.
Since the Miss USA competition on April 19, Prejean has gone from interview to interview discussing her highly publicized comments on same-sex marriage – comments that many agree likely cost her the crown.
During the pageant in Las Vegas, openly gay gossip blogger Perez Hilton had asked Prejean whether every state should follow Vermont's recent move to legalize same-sex marriage.
In her response, 21-year-old Prejean said she thinks "it's great that Americans are able to ... choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage."
"And you know what, in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman," she continued. "No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised and that's how I think it should be between a man and a woman."
Since then, Prejean has experienced a huge backlash from some liberal media outlets and some within the gay community, including Hilton, who fired back with a malicious video posting in his blog.
But more than criticism, Prejean has received a great deal of support, some of which has also come from members of the gay community, who told Prejean that people like Hilton are not a representation of who they are.
"I just want to thank everybody so much for your support, for the letters, e-mail, messages I've gotten," Prejean said Sunday in front of her home church, The Rock Church in San Diego. "[And] I want to thank the gay community for their support, for apologizing to me on behalf of this man (Hilton) that said this to me and the personal attacks that he has on me."
During her appearance Sunday, Prejean shared about her experiences from the time the politically charged question was asked to the several interviews that she went on to give, which included those on Fox News and NBC's Today Show, among others.
She spoke of the loneliness and fear she felt as she flew by herself for her first post-pageant interview, the hateful responses she's received, as well as her surprise over being instructed to "represent" the state of California by not talking about her faith and by apologizing to the gay community for the passing of California's Proposition 8, a measure that defined marriage in the state constitution as the union between a man and a woman.
"I was representing California," she said, seeing as how Prop. 8 passed 7 million votes to 6.4 million (52.2 percent to 47.8 percent).
"I was representing the majority of people in America," she added.
Also sharing about what happened behind the scenes was the church's senior pastor, Miles McPherson, who was there to support and coach her from the moment she arrived in New York for her first interview.
McPherson, who once played professional football for the San Diego Chargers, was one of the biggest advocates of Prop. 8 last year and happened to be heading for New York when the mediastorm broke out around Prejean.
On Sunday, he shared the stories behind the story and urged his congregation to stand up for their beliefs as Prejean had done.
"We are being punked by the culture," McPherson said. "The Christian Church is being punked."
"You have to stand up for what you believe," he added, while also instructing his flock not to be argumentative or confrontational.
Located in the Point Loma area of San Diego and established in 2000, The Rock is home to 12,000 church attendees and is San Diego's largest church.
According to Outreach Magazine, The Rock is the fifth fastest growing church in the nation.
On the Web:
Carrie Prejean with Pastor Miles McPherson at www.therocksandiego.org/stories/misscalifornia