Church, Padres Welcome Miss Cali Home

Miss USA runner-up Carrie Prejean -- who got in hot water after her comments about gay marriage -- is set to return to volunteer positions doing outreach to strippers and Petco Park visitors.

Prejean, the reigning Miss California, famously came in second after speaking out against same-sex marriage in the recent Miss USA pageant. Since she'll now be coming back to San Diego sooner than later, at least two institutions are looking forward to having her back -- the Rock Church and the San Diego Padres.

For the past year, Prejean has been a member of the Rock Church's JC's Girls (JC is short for "Jesus Christ"). It's an outreach group that ministers to women in the adult entertainment industry. About 40 ladies -- including some who used to work in the sex industry -- are on an active list of individuals who meet regularly and go out to adult-oriented clubs to counsel the strippers who work there.

JC's Girls San Diego chapter co-leader Theresa Scher confirms Prejean is a member and looks forward to having her back.

"I watched her in the pageant, and I agree with what she said," said Scher, who adds that gay marriage is not part of the outreach message of JC's Girls.

Prejean is also an active member of the Pad Squad, a coed 30-person group of "cheerleaders" who work at Padres home games. This is the third year she's been on this fan-relations team, which greets guests, escorts VIPs to seats and slingshots T-shirts into the stands during inning changes.

It's possible Prejean could be back in uniform at Petco Park this weekend, though Director of Business Public Relations George Stieren would neither confirm nor deny a personnel matter. He said that there would be no video presentation or public acknowledgment at Petco of Prejean's accomplishment at the Miss USA pageant.

Will her comments on gay marriage hurt her chances of being in the public eye at the park?

"She made those comments on her own behalf, not on behalf of the team," Stieren said. "I won't speculate on any reaction she might get, but at the park, we welcome all San Diegans in a friendly and apolitical way."

Ron Donoho, formerly executive editor of "San Diego Magazine," is a regular contributor to who covers local news, sports, culture and happy hours.

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