Imagine you’re flipping channels one night and come across
the Miss. Universe contest. What do you do? Well, if you’re
like me, you tell yourself that it’s demeaning to women and
objectifies them unfairly and that you shouldn’t watch a
minute of it, not a single minute, beyond the swimsuit
round. I mean, principles are principles.

Well, imagine also that the judges are being introduced and
you recognize one of them: the priest of your church.
(Depending on your religion, this could be your minister,
rabbi, swami, mullah, etc.) Just last week he preached about
the importance of avoiding worldly pleasures, speaking so
forcefully that he almost caused you to look up from your
cell phone.

And here he is now, sweeping his eyes over a bevy of
beauties, smiling so broadly that you’re fairly certain what
the next sermon will be about: the importance of
appreciating God’s creations.

If this seems farfetched, that’s probably because you don’t
live in Norway, where a Lutheran vicar named Einar Gelius
had recently agreed to serve as a judge for a national
beauty pageant, with the winner representing Norway at the
Miss. Universe contest. He apparently believed he could do
whatever he wanted in his spare time, even judge women in
bikinis. But you can forgive him: He’s a Gelius, not a

As reported by Reuters, the Church of Norway promptly asked
Gelius to resign from the panel of judges, saying that as a
representative of the church he should not be judging
others, bikinis or no bikinis. “The Church should preach
that we are all equal and this competition’s view of women
is particularly disturbing,” Arne Groeningsaeter, head of
the Oslo diocese council, told Reuters. Indeed, I’m always
disturbed when I watch the Miss. Universe contest, because I
realize that the women are not just equally beautiful, but
also equally likely to end up dating Donald Trump. I know he
owns the contest, but does he have to own the contestants

If Gelius had quit immediately, perhaps this wouldn’t have
made any headlines. But despite objections from church
members, he didn’t resign for an entire week, not until he
heard from the Bishop of Oslo, also known as the big honcho.

Bishop: “What’s this I hear, Einar? You’re going to be
judging a beauty contest?”

Gelius: “Oh, it’s nothing, Bishop. Just something I’m doing
in my free time. It’s a good way to reach out to young
women — and also do some scoring.”

Bishop: “Are you going to reach out with God’s message or
just with your eyes?”

Gelius: “My eyes, mostly. But they won’t be judgmental eyes.
They’ll be loving eyes, watching the women with
sensitivity, empathy and a pair of binoculars.”

Bishop: “Isn’t there something else you could do in your
free time? Why not take up beekeeping, like some other

Gelius: “Well, they’re interested in honey, Bishop. I’m
interested in honeys.”

Bishop: “Your words disturb me, Einar. All women are equal
in the eyes of God. He made them all.”

Gelius: “Yes, Bishop, I know they’re equal. That’s why,
while serving as judge, I plan to gaze at them equally. I
will give them equal attention and, of course, equal

Bishop: “No, Einar, I can’t permit you to do this. You are a
representative of the church and …”

Gelius: “I will represent the church well, Bishop. I will
maintain honor and dignity and, of course, a broad smile.”
(c) Copyright 2006 Melvin Durai. . All Rights Reserved.