When Miss California’s assets were revealed to be fakies, I immediately thought of a line from Roland Bainton’s excellent and concise history The Medieval Church:  “The real point,” he wrote, “was . . . ”  Well, first, the story.

Way back on April 19, during the Miss USA pageant, California’s Carrie Prejean was flying high.  She’d made it through the evening-gown competition and breezed through the string-bikini contest.  By several accounts, she was a favorite to win.

A flamer stood in her way, one Perez Hilton—a “man” who makes his living drawing naughty parts on celebrity pictures and posting them on his blog.  Miss Prejean’s lot was to have this sodomite judge ask her a question of his own devising.  Naturally—or rather, predictably—he sought her opinion on “gay marriage.”  Her engine sputtered at first.  “I think it’s great that Americans are able to choose one or the other.”  (We are?)  “We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage.”  (We do?)  But then, she jettisoned political correctness, confessing, “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.”

Prejean lost the tiara, and a minor scuffle between supporters and detractors ensued backstage.  But the storm really hit later that night, when a tittering, twittering Judge Hilton posted a video on his website, declaring Prejean to be a “dumb bitch.”  Immediately, every news show wanted to ask Prejean the obvious question: Do you think your opinion on “gay marriage” lost you the title?

Like mushrooms in a pile of organic compost, her interviews began to multiply.  Red State America was outraged, and FOX News unbosomed itself, providing maximum coverage of the affair.  Meanwhile, Judge Hilton apologized for using the “b-word”; then he took it back, reasoning that yes, she is a b-word, and “hey, I was really thinking the c-word.”

A-list celebrities lined up behind Judge Hilton.  B-list celebrities and celebrity Christians of all denominations became boosters of Miss California.  A Village Voice columnist declared Prejean to be a Nazi.  James Dobson featured an audio interview of this “courageous young lady” over two days of Focus on the Family.

In betwixt the airing of Parts 1 and 2 of the interview, celebrity gossip websites struck gold when their crack researchers unearthed nudie pictures of Miss Prejean, which they promptly published to sully her image.  Dr. Dobson thus prefaced Part 2 with the caveat that he didn’t necessarily condone everything Miss Prejean has done.  But he was still behind her.  “God,” she told Dobson, “was in my head and in my heart saying, ‘Do not compromise this.  You need to stand up for Me . . . you need to witness to them.’”

“As a former unwed mother,” wrote Maggie Gallagher, a conservative columnist known for her opposition to pornography, “I want to say to Americans: you don’t have to be a perfect person to have the right to stand up for marriage.”  Gallagher is president of the National Organization for [Opposite] Marriage, which at the time was featuring Prejean in television ads.

Miss Prejean is a member of a nondenominational outfit in San Diego known as The Rock Church (the “fifth-fastest-growing church in America,” according to Outreach).  Clad in tight-fittin’ jeans, she took to the stage for interviews with the pastor over the course of several worship services.  They chatted about the way Providence had brought her to this point in which she was being put to the test.  God has given her natural beauty for such a time as this.  Like the biblical heroine Esther, who—I bet y’all didn’t know this—won a beauty contest.  Asked by the pastor what she would say to Hilton if he were sharing their stage, Prejean exclaimed, “You need JESUS!”

One of Prejean’s most vociferous detractors is Shanna Moakler.  This former Playboy Playmate was codirector of Miss California USA when the controversy began, whereupon she was morally outraged by Prejean’s bigotry.  When Donald Trump, owner of Miss USA, refused to say “You’re fired” to Prejean (and pointed out that her statement agrees with Barack Obama’s official position), Miss January 2001 revealed to the media that just before the controversial pageant, Carrie Prejean obtained breast implants.

“The real point,” wrote Bainton, “was that the barbarian king admired the culture of the conquered.”  The historian was describing the conversion of pagan kings to Christianity.  Interestingly, their pious wives played a great part in this.  For example, the beautiful Burgundian princess (Saint) Clotilde, having watched the pagan Frank, Clovis, conquer her people, and having been given to him in marriage, persisted in prayer, faithfulness, and holiness until her husband converted.  He then, according to Gregory of Tours, pleaded with his people that they forsake their idols.  “These examples display the process whereby the invader became accommodated to the invaded.”

Now, there’s no denying that FOX News and fake boobs are attractive, but I wonder whether, for such a time as this, the old prayer, faithfulness, and holiness approach might be worth a try.  Converting the barbarians might even save opposite marriage.