Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Miss Universe 2011: Religion is always a sensitive topic

The Miss Universe crown has eluded the Philippines yet again. I didn't watch the pageant's telecast but a quick Googling told me that a lot of Filipinos were still proud of Ms Philippines Shamcey Supsup. On the other hand, there was a lot of hullabaloo surrounding her fourth place finish, that she should have either won the title or land 1st runner-up (especially since she was a favorite to win). They were all behind Ms Supsup in her answer to judge Vivica Fox's question in the final Q&A portion.

shamcey supsup01

Asked if she would change her religious beliefs to marry the person she loves, Ms Philippines said she would not because God is the first person she loves, that she has her faith, her principles and everything. She added that if the guy loves her, he should love her God too.

Coming from a predominantly Christian nation, Catholic mostly, I could understand Filipinos' admiration for her standing by her faith. Attagirl, Shamcey!

Taking a step back, however, I also understand why her answer may not have sat well enough with the judges. Religion can be a very divisive thing, having been the root cause of countless wars already. And that remains very true to this day. Being Miss Universe entails a whole new level of open-mindedness because that person no longer represents her country alone. She represents the world.

And this world is etched not only with a multitude of races and cultures but of a great variety of religious beliefs as well. The Miss Universe should not be bound to any one religion at all (at least in appearance); otherwise, how could she represent everybody else?

Of course the question mentions marriage, which is of course never attached to any reigning Miss Universe. But the question was asked during the Miss Universe pageant, so it becomes a totally different thing. Besides, Ms Supsup turned the tables around: it's the guy who's supposed to change his religious beliefs and not her. Now that's not very openminded at all for a Miss Universe, is it?

At any rate, I respect Ms Supsup's stand, and I am proud of her 3rd runner-up finish. I know it never is easy. More so, she still definitely has a bright future ahead of her. Congratulations again!

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