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I’m somewhat reluctant to weigh in on the adoration being directed at Carrie Prejean, Miss California, due to her courageous stand for marriage during the Miss USA Pageant. Her “controversial” response to a question that defended traditional marriage certainly exposed the reprobate panelist whose diatribe has even offended some of the mainstream media.

However, as usual, I’m not religiously correct.

A pastor’s response dares question – very appropriately in my opinion – just how much we should be elevating this beautiful and talented young lady to hero status? Pastor Larry DeBruyn of Franklin Road Baptist Church in Indianapolis wrote a letter that included the following warning:

The irony of this whole business is that here was a scantily clad woman – this of course can provoke lust in men (Matthew 5:27-29) – who was asked about marriage by a judge who supposedly isn’t even attracted to women. She gives the politically incorrect answer and in doing so alienated the politically correct judges and forfeited possible victory in the beauty pageant. By giving a correct answer to a loaded question about marriage, and by doing so without hardly any clothes on, Miss Prejean has now become the cause célèbre amongst conservatives and evangelicals for her affirmation of biblically correct marriage.

We are blessed with three beautiful daughters and we have done our best to instill in them a standard of modesty which first of all glorifies the God we serve, also shows the respect they have for themselves, avoids defrauding the men of all ages around them and protects them from lustful predators. I am very proud of them because they have adopted that standard in their daily attire as well as their bathing attire.

Why is that important? As always, we should first turn to the standard our Creator has given us: “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness” (1 Timothy 2:10).

Let me pause and clarify that I do not believe that this standard requires woman to be completely covered from chin to toe with formless sacks, nor that makeup is prohibited, nor that tasteful jewelry and hairstyles are inappropriate. There is little more truly beautiful than a woman who takes what God gave her and with dignity and class prepares herself with appropriate style – including a proper amount of the above “improvements” – without going to extremes in either direction.

However, most parents and pastors will agree that there is a serious breakdown of modest dress in both young men and young women. Just go to any mall – or unfortunately to many church youth group meetings – and you will see more skin than a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader tryout. We hesitate to take our sons to beaches and public pools because they will certainly be exposed to breasts and behinds of women young and old who for a variety of reasons should “cover it up.”

The beauty pageant process and culture have many other foundational flaws as well, not the least of which is telling our daughters that if she doesn’t look like Miss America she is somehow flawed, imperfect and not physically attractive. Men, how many times have we heard our lovely wives and daughters put themselves down because their figure didn’t match some ridiculous standard of perfection? It is another example of worshiping the creation rather than the Creator.

By the way, the defense that they also have talent, knowledge and communication standards as part of the pageant package doesn’t fly. At the end of the day, young ladies without some form of the Perfect Pageant Physical Package don’t win.

Who is the problem? You guessed it. I’m going to pick on men and the church again.

If we had churches full of husbands and fathers who led a standard of godliness, virtue and modesty in our homes and were training up our children that flaunting our bodies degrades the true beauty of who they are in spirit, mind, soul – and body – this culture of lust would dramatically decrease.

If we had more pastors who would teach and preach the word of God, which demands modesty in character, behavior and attire, we would have a support system that pushes back against the tide of cultural and moral decay that breeds sexual immorality.

If we had churches full of women who would hold their standards high and refuse to let themselves or their daughters be displayed to satisfy the lust of men, young men would be forced to grow up, seek and win a wife and enjoy her as God intended – in the privacy of their bedroom.

I respect Miss Prejean for her stand and her willingness to testify of her faith. However, I much more highly admire, respect and esteem my wife, my daughters and all the girls and women who have chosen the higher road. They are determined to show that their worth is not in how they look in a bathing suit but that they are wonderful creations of a loving God who designed them with meticulous detail as they are.

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