Christian bloggers counter bigoted Miss America tweets

(Photo: REUTERS / Lucas Jackson)Miss America contestant, Miss New York Nina Davuluri performs a traditional Indian dance during the 2014 Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey, September 15, 2013. Davuluri won the 2014 Miss America pageant on Sunday, becoming the first Indian-American to wear the crown, which went to Miss New York for the second year in a row. Picture taken September 15, 2013.

Selecting a woman of Indian heritage as the new Miss America triggered controversy after hate-filled, racist messages accusing her of belonging to the wrong faith were posted in the Twitter sphere.

"The historic victory by Nina Davuluri, the first Indian-American to win the Miss America beauty contest, triggered an avalanche of bigoted and highly ignorant comments on social media," wrote the Indian newspaper International Business Times on September 21.

Davuluri entered as Miss New York won the Miss America 2014 pageant on September 15 in Atlantic City N.J.

"Some Americans really don't mind embarrassing themselves and displaying their ignorance at the drop of a hat. Case in point: the Miss America pageant that resulted in the first-ever win for an American woman of Indian heritage," wrote on September 19.

"If you're #MissAmerica you should have to be American," one tweet read.

Others labeled winner Davuluri a "dot head," "Arab," "Muslim extremist" and other insults there were inaccurate as well as demeaning implying that if she was not a white Christian she had no place in the contest.

Counters against the bigoted comments came quickly from a number of Christian websites which chose to celebrate the diversity signaled in the awarding of the new Miss America crown.

"I've never been a fan of beauty contests because (1) it's sexist to "rate" women based on their measurements; (2) average women don't feel comfortable parading in front of a TV audience wearing bikinis; and (3) I fail to see how a small panel of judges can determine true beauty for all of us," wrote Charisma News' J. Lee Grady.

"My bigger concern is that many Americans reacted in disgust when Nina Davuluri, the 24-year-old Indian-American contestant from New York, won the Miss America crown...She got a $50,000 scholarship, which she plans to use to go to medical school - following in the footsteps of her father, who moved to the U.S. in 1981 to become an obstetrician.

"It sounds like the American Dream. But racist comments were hurled in Davuluri's direction on Twitter and other social media sites after her win. Haters accused her of being an al-Qaida terrorist, a Muslim and an Arab. Some said she is 'not American enough.' One person tweeted, "Even Miss America has been outsourced to India.

"How pathetic....Our nation was formed by immigrants (mine came from Ireland), but we are still schizophrenic about whether to put the welcome mat in front of the door."

In a blog titled, "Christians should celebrate Miss American winner," Bianca Ontiveros of Azusa Pacific University citing the book of Galatians 3;28 in the Bible wrote, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male nor female, for WE are all one in Christ Jesus."

Ontiveros blogged, "The fact that an Indian-American woman was crowned isn't simply a secular victory over racism. As a Christian university, we should be celebrating that the Miss America pageant, which started nearly a century ago, is evolving to represent more and more what the Kingdom of God should look like."

Rev. Paul Raushenbush, HuffPost Senior Religion Editor, said on HuffPost live, "America is not based on religion. America is not based on race. It is based on an idea...She is not a Muslim; she is a Hindu.

"I am really hopeful she will talk about her religious practise, because we don't have a lot of people in the public eye who are practising Hindus."

Davuluri responded gracefully to the comments in an interview with "Fox & Friends."

"A lot of that stemmed from ignorance and that is why my platform is so timely right now. I am promoting the cause celebrating diversity through cultural competency, and it's so relevant and I'm so proud to have this amazing microphone to be able to speak about that," said the newly-crowned Miss America.

Copyright © 2013 Ecumenical News