But the catch lies in another hypothetical that revealed to me how clever Miss Scanlan really is.  I pondered for a moment – if Thomas Paine or Thomas Jefferson were running against Barack Obama, which candidate would I vote for?  Obama professes to be a Christian, while some evidence suggests that Paine and Jefferson were barely deists.  But I would certainly choose the classical liberal candidates over the socialist “liberal” candidates any day.

Seventeen-year-old Teresa Scanlan made headlines this year as the first homeschooler – and first Miss Nebraska – and first seventeen-year-old to win the Miss America crown. Miss America 2011 is one of seven children, a professed Christian and a future Patrick Henry College student.

Mere minutes after Scanlan’s victory, everyone was all a-Twitter about the fact that the homeschooled conservative Christian had managed to find enough favor in the sight of the judges when among them was the shrill, liberal agnostic Joy Behar. The newly-crowned Miss America was certainly not shy about her faith in Christ at the subsequent press conference. Is it possible that her Christianity was ever questioned in the competition?

The next day Miss America appeared on Fox News with Gretchen Carlson, who was Miss America 1989. Carlson asked Scanlan about the testy interview part of the competition:

CARLSON: In fact one of the questions that you got from one of the judges during your all-important interview – one of the judges, Joy Behar – who may not agree with you politically – she asked you whether or not you could vote for an atheist. And you said…

SCANLAN: I said absolutely. I would definitely base who I vote for based on political policies, not on religion, because if that doesn’t affect their political policies, it’s not going to be something I look at.

Walter Hudson at NewsRealBlog.com speculated that Behar’s question was intended to trip Scanlan much like Perez Hilton’s question did to Miss California USA 2009 Carrie Prejean. Having seen that recent statistics indicate a growing interest in atheistic leaders, Hudson concluded that he himself is in the supposed minority that would not vote for an atheist – with the rare hypothetical exception of the professed Christian being a socialist and the atheist being a Tea Party supporter…

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