By the time a story like Miss California's has been covered on blogs and in tweets for three days, it seems like old news. On Tuesday, the editors at Her.meneutics discussed how to cover 21-year-old Carrie Prejean's answer to celebrity blogger Perez Hilton's question about same-sex marriage in the Miss USA pageant Sunday. At first the story seemed to offer too much hype and not enough meat. But of course, the mere fact that Prejean's answer - which more or less conveyed what many U.S. citizens still believe about marriage and family - got so much attention is the story.

When Hilton, who is gay, asked the politically charged question, "Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit? Why or not?" Prejean answered, "We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite [marriage]. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised."

After Hilton went on a slandering blogging and Twitter rant, and Prejean told several media sources that her answer had cost her the crown, many Christian media lionized Prejean for standing up for biblical convictions in the face of public scrutiny. The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins released a statement Wednesday saying, "Put simply, Miss Prejean is right: Marriage can only occur between one man and one woman. Mr. Hilton absurdly wants to translate his opposition to this truth into a standard for beauty pageants." Gary Bauer, president of American Values, apparently sent an e-mail blast Monday saying, "The backlash to Prejean's commonsense comments demonstrates the naked intolerance of the militant homosexual movement … And if it gets its way in Congress, comments like [hers] may someday be considered a ?hate crime.' " Even State Rep. Jay Love, R-Montgomery, a Christian, has drafted a resolution supporting Prejean. It states, "Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the Legislature of Alabama that Carrie Prejean … is honored for affirming her faith and standing true to her beliefs …".

What has surprised me about the Christian media's response is a seemingly inconsistent sexual ethic at play: Celebrating Prejean as the lone voice for biblical convictions in a public square where it's now bigoted to oppose same-sex marriage, while never questioning if a Christian woman like Prejean should be participating in the Miss USA pageant in the first place.

It doesn't take much time on the official Miss USA website to see how much the competition is shaped by prurient interests. Unlike the rival Miss America competition, Miss USA doesn't feature a talent category, where contestants play the piano, sing, or orate. No, the Donald Trump?owned Miss USA pageant only features evening gown, interview, and the ever-popular swimsuit category, in which contestants are judged on how "well-proportioned" their bodies are (i.e., bust and waist size) and how well they can strut in high heels on national television. Maybe some Christian women feel like the ministry opportunities that could come from winning far outweigh the troubling sexual implications of the swimsuit category. Maybe I'm na?ve - maybe some Christians don't see anything particularly troubling about a swimsuit competition. But I'm hard pressed to reconcile a swimsuit competition with Scripture's wisdom about real self-worth and female beauty (Prov. 31:10-31, 1 Sam. 16:7, 1 Pet. 3:3, to name a few).

Therein lies the troubling inconsistency: Conservative Christians are willing to speak up about biblical sexual ethics in the public square when the issue is same-sex marriage, but are neglectfully silent when the issue is objectifying women's bodies to spike TV ratings. Would Tony Perkins and Gary Bauer really have no problem with their daughter or granddaughter competing in the Miss USA pageant?

In an interview with the SBC-affiliated San Diego Christian College, where she attends, Prejean talks about the wonderful things she is already doing for Christ: serving women in the adult entertainment industry, volunteering at the local International Ministry Center to help refugees learn English, and working with a mentoring program to foster-care children. She says, "I especially have a heart for helping young girls with low self-esteem." At this point, I would encourage Prejean to skip the beauty pageants, which set up the very standards of beauty that lead many young girls to devalue themselves, and focus on the far more lasting work she is already doing in the kingdom.