Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Miss California Sues For Religious Discrimination

Ms. California Carrie Prejean is suing for religious discrimination. She says pageant officials forced her to resign because of her religious beliefs. Prejean said she opposed gay marriage, and on the Today show said that she’d rather be “Biblically correct than politically correct.” Is it a legitimate lawsuit?

It seems that religious beliefs wouldn’t necessarily allow a pageant winner to espouse any belief. For example, if Prejean had defended slavery and Jim Crow and said that the Bible justified it, the pageant could have fired her, and no one would buy the argument of religious discrimination. But that’s also because everyone agrees that slavery and segregation are wrong. No such consensus exists on gay marriage, so more people might be inclined to buy her argument. In fact, if Proposition 8 was any indication, a majority of Californians agree with Prejean.

None of this answers the question of whether Prejean lost her job because of her faith. I think it’s more likely that she lost her job because the powers to be thought she was bringing the California pageant bad publicity. Given that, I’m pretty sure the organizers would have fired an atheist who said gays shouldn’t be married. The tough part comes if Prejean felt that she either had to lie, or betray her faith when asked her thoughts on gay marriage.

Short term, I’m sure some conservatives, and maybe even some moderates and the odd liberal will line up in support of Prejean. I don’t really expect her lawsuit to go anywhere. Do you think she was the victim of religious discrimination?

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