It’s hard to watch this clip of all 51 Miss USA contestants answering the question of whether or not evolution should be taught in schools and not cringe or get angry as an American.
Forewarned, be thee, say we.
Only two out of the 51 participants “unequivocally support” the teaching of evolution. Most of the contestants hedge their bets, and even some of the contestants favor the teaching of creationism or Christianity over that of evolution.
For those that support science, or believe that teaching evolution isn’t necessarily at odds with religion, or that teaching science and religion are equally important, this video is pretty difficult to stomach.
It’s hard to say if Alyssa Campanella, aka Miss California, who ultimately took home the title did so because the self-proclaimed science and history geek so thoroughly advocated for the teaching of evolution. Then again, so did Miss Massachusetts and look where that got her.
Kentucky’s Kia Ben-et Hampton, however, did her state’s Creation Museum proud by firmly rejecting evolution in schools. Believing that “scientists have their different theories,” she said, “I don’t believe it’s a good topic for school subjects. At all.” While Alaska’s Jessica Chuckran, Mississippi’s Keeley Patterson and West Virginia’s Whitney Veach at least thought evolution should be taught as “a theory” alongside religion, Alabama’s Madeline Mitchell simply declared, “I do not believe in evolution, I do not believe it should be taught in schools, and I would not encourage it.”
On a certain level this would feel somehow much worse or more agonizing, or even a bit of a stain on the American empire, until we remember that these are beauty pageant contestants we’re talking about. It would be one thing if this was the state governor’s pageant or the Miss US Senate or somehow involved cultural and government leaders of import.
Still, one wonders how this country hasn’t advanced past the Scopes Monkey Trial.