The Miss America pageant has announced that it will no longer judge the contest by outward appearance but by what’s on the inside – shifting the focus from bodies to “what comes out of their mouth” and what’s in their “soul.”

Chairman of the Miss America organization board, 1989 Miss America Gretchen Carlson said on ABC’s Good Morning America,

“We are not going to judge you on your outward appearance. We’re interested in what makes you you.”

Later in the interview Carlson said future competitors for the Miss America title would be able to the, “show the world who you are from inside your soul.”

In 1 Samuel 16:7 the LORD said to Samuel,

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

How then will the Miss America pageant judges look where only God can see and on what basis will they judge transcendental beauty?

So by what measure will the contestants in the 2018 Miss America competition (it is no longer to be called a pageant) to be judged?  How exactly does a person judge another person’s soul and what would be considered the pinnacle of soul beauty for Miss America?  Those questions remain unanswered.

What then are we to say about these things? From a Christian worldview we celebrate that young America women will no longer be parading in the equivalent of their underwear and high heels on a catwalk in hopes of getting a scholarship to pay for college. From a Christian worldview we certainly celebrate the idea that women are to be valued for beauty which is more than skin deep – for the character qualities we find in Proverbs 31, for the ways in which they honor God and for the worthy living out of the calling to which they have been called.

But how would we go about measuring that and judging that?  We must here ask: what is beauty and how do we judge that which is truly beautiful?

Along with goodness and truth, beauty is one of the three transcendental virtues of God. Goodness, beauty and truth are character qualities of God reflected in creation and one cannot be present without the company of the others.  That which is objectively beautiful is only found where truth is honored and goodness expressed.  Maybe that’s what the Miss America competition is seeking to measure and reward. If so, let us be champions of the effort! But let us also not be so naive as to think that what began as a bathing suit pageant 97 years ago will suddenly become the pinnacle of purity and celebration of chaste godliness.  While is the step in the right direction it is yet a long way from righteousness.

Thomas Griffin on raising kids in a Christian home

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