30 maio 2010

Beauty queen: 'I'm Miss USA, not Miss Religion USA'

Rima Fakih, the Lebanese-American, 'liberal Muslim' Miss USA from Michigan, has a fascinating interview at the religion site Patheos revealing that she is -- surprise surprise -- pretty much like most 24-year-olds on the spiritual front.
She's a mash-up and she's proud of it: "I'm Miss USA, not Miss Religion USA."David Charles of Patheos notes in the intro to his Q & A with Fakih that the young queen has taken some hits on the religion and role model front:
Professional controversialists immediately wondered whether she was a spy for the radical Islamist group Hezbollah, or whether her victory was due to affirmative action being played out in a beauty pageant.
Fakih's answer to this is she and her family respect all religions but are not defined by them.
Yes, we're a Muslim family, but we're also very cultured and we have a mixture of different religions. For example, my brother-in-law is Catholic, and my sister converted and my nephews are baptized. I have an uncle who just graduated and currently he's a priest. He's going to be transferred from Ohio to New York shortly, so I can't wait to see him and my cousins... I even have two cousins here in New York City who are Jewish. As you can see, my family is just an amazing melting pot of wonderful religions and faiths.

By Kathy Willens, AP
A graduate of a Catholic high school, she says, they celebrate Christmas, Easter and Ramadan at home.She may not be Miss Religion, but she and her family certainly cover the cultural/spiritual sense of "religion" exemplified by many Americans today: Inter-married and unconcerned with doctrinal divides.
I would hold off, however, on equating this with being "cultured" as if that had to be set apart from being Muslim.
Are her remarks a put-down of people who do find their faith to be central to their identity? Is that OK for inescapably Christian Tim Tebow or for retired baseball great Sandy Koufax, who once refuse to play ball on a Jewish holy day, but not OK for a Muslim?
Is your family, like hers, all over the faith map? Do you think that being defined by one faith means you are less "cultured" than someone who roams the religion landscape?


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