More gay-marriage cheerleading

gaymarrIn the spring, I encouraged reporters to write about the California Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage from the viewpoint of religious traditionalists and not just religious liberals and seculars. So I was happy to come across a recent story in The Los Angeles Times with the headline of “California churches plan a big push against same-sex marriage.” Finally, I thought, on this issue reporters were getting traditional religion.

I was wrong.

Reporter Jessica Garrison quoted from religious leaders who have taken a public position on Proposition 8, the November ballot initiative that would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Of the seven sources quoted, three support the ballot measure, while four oppose it. And this was a story about religious supporters of the ban. Not only was the headline misleading, but the two sides were not presented fairly. As Mollie noted, the LAT did this back in May.

Religious traditionalists were quoted in the story defending their position. Well, one was anyway. Here was his quote:

“This is a rising up over a 5,000-year-old institution that is being hammered right now,” said Jim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Church, an evangelical congregation in La Mesa. Garlow said that, while he supported Proposition 22, he was not nearly as involved as this time around, when he has helped organize 3,400-person conference calls across denominations to coordinate campaign support for the proposed constitutional amendment.

“What binds us together is one common obsession: . . . marriage,” Garlow said.

He added that many people of faith, regardless of their religion, believe that “if Proposition 8 fails, there is an inevitable loss of religious freedom.”

Three sentences — that was the extent of Garrison’s account for why religious traditionalist leaders seek to ban homosexual marriage. And none of the sentences elaborated as to why Garrison believes the measure’s defeat would result in “an inevitable loss of religious freedom.” Now maybe leaders of the ballot measure can’t string a few sentences together. But given that its leaders include bishops and well-known pastors, I doubt it.

By contrast, Garrison quotes not one, not two, but three religious opponents of the ban. Their quotes are interesting and help explain their position. One was an Episcopal priest, another was a rabbi, and another was a liberal mainline church with a special outreach to homosexuals.

All I am asking is for reporters to give religious traditionalists a fair hearing. Yet except for a Modesto Bee story I quoted from in June, reporters have not given them one.

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Chicago Tribune: kids cause global warming

children in NamibiaOn Wednesday The Chicago Tribune turned its pages over to advocacy journalism representing the unfortunate attitude that the West knows best, and the “poorer parts of the world” must conform to the rules established by modern experts to keep the world from falling into a state of calamity. This article by the Tribune‘s London correspondent Laurie Goering proclaims that everyone should have fewer children (though it fails to provide the precise number) in order to prevent global warming and keep the planet from over-populating.

If you think about it, the new scientific consensus, at least according to a month-old editorial in a British medical journal, states the obvious:

LONDON — There are plenty of ways to cut your carbon footprint, whether it’s driving less or buying an energy-efficient refrigerator. But the British Medical Journal, in an editorial last month, urged a more controversial one: having fewer children.

With 60 million people already living in one of the most densely populated countries in the world, the journal said, British couples should aim to have no more than two children as part of their contribution to worldwide efforts to reduce carbon emissions, stem climate change and ease demands on the world’s resources.

Limiting family size is “the simplest and biggest contribution anyone can make to leaving a habitable planet for our grandchildren,” the editorial’s authors said.

Yes, if humans disappeared from the face of the planet, global warming would probably decrease. Maybe. Forget any room for counterpoint on this new alleged scientific consensus.

The article gets better. Not only would “no more than two children” prevent worldwide calamity, but having more than two children should be considered a “sin.” An evil act. An offense against the Creator. A violation of a moral rule. As a reader who kindly sent us this article said, this type of assertion, made without any sort of qualifications, makes one’s jaw drop.

One has to believe that there are a few church leaders that object to this viewpoint, but you would not know that from reading this article:

Family planning as a means to reduce climate change has been little talked about in international climate forums, largely because it is so politically sensitive. China’s leaders, however, regularly argue that their country should get emission reduction credits because of their one-child policy, and many environmentalists — and even a growing number of religious and ethics scholars — say the biblical command to “be fruitful and multiply” needs to be balanced against Scripture calling for stewardship of the Earth.

Europe’s rates diving

Increasingly, “a casual attitude toward global warming ought to be viewed as a sin,” argues James Nash, director of the Churches’ Center for Theology and Public Policy, a Washington-based research group that studies the relationship between Christian faith and public policy.

The appeal to have fewer children sounds a bit odd in Europe, where one of the biggest worries these days is plunging birthrates. German women today bear an average of 1.3 children, fewer than women in China, where the one-child policy is fast weakening. Even British women are giving birth to just 1.9 children on average, a level below that needed to produce a stable population.

The “growing number of religious and ethics scholars” is a great journalistic trick. Perhaps there are a growing number, but I would like to see the evidence. Also, consider this balancing test of the “fruitful and multiple” clause (to use a legal phrase) with Scripture’s call “stewardship of the Earth.” Since we are using the Bible as our guide in determining social policy, where in the Good Book does it say to conduct this balancing test? Does it suggest anywhere that those two goals are inconsistent with each other?

Not once does the article propose practical policy solutions for accomplishing this goal. They sound fine as suggestions, but at what point do they become government policy as they have in other parts of the world? The United States Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court closely guards the right to procreate, but what about other areas of the world?

The general policy of “family planning” is thrown about in the article, but nowhere does the article actually explain what that means. All this is high-minded fluff that fails to address how to fix real concerns and problems in the world. And yes, an appeal to have fewer children in Europe is not just “a bit odd.” It is odd in the extreme. These ideas are presented as quite reasonable in this article hiding the reality that they are in fact quite extreme.

Photo of Children in Namibia used under a Wikimedia Commons license.

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How radical are British Muslims?

east london mosqueThe news of poll results showing that two thirds of all British Muslims students do not believe that it is OK to kill people in the name of Islam creates an interesting case study of poll coverage. Or something like that.

First, most news organizations did not report the results of the poll the way I just presented it. Here is the headline from The Times that is representative of most news coverage:

A third of Muslim students back killings

Of course, I do not know whether an exact two thirds of British Muslims students oppose killing people in the name of Islam. It does raise the question of whether or not it was appropriate to view the glass half-empty instead of half-full. Are there any trends with which this poll can be compared? For example, in 2006, a poll was conducted showing Muslims in Britain to be the most anti-Western in Europe. Has that statistic changed?

Headlines aside, one-third is a significant number regardless of how the poll was carried out. True to form, the news stories failed to include the specific questions asked that resulted in that number. This is a typical shortcoming in news coverage of polls. Appropriately, most news stories included criticism from Muslims groups for how the poll was conducted.

In fact, this Daily Mail article suggests that the question was whether the person could justify “killing in the name of religion if the religion was under attack.”

As for the substance of the poll’s news coverage, a stark contrast exists between The Times report and that of the Daily Mail. The Times emphasized the issue of tolerance, particularly in regards to matters pertaining to sex.

Here is a sample:

In addition to its poll of 1,400 Muslim and nonMuslim students, the centre visited more than 20 universities to interview students and listen to guest speakers. It found that extremist preachers regularly gave speeches that were inflammatory, homophobic or bordering on antisemitic.

The researchers highlighted Queen Mary college, part of London University, as a campus where radical views were widely held. Last December, a speaker named Abu Mujahid encouraged Muslim students to condemn gays because “Allah hates” homosexuality. In November, Azzam Tamimi, a British-based supporter of Hamas, described Israel as the most “inhumane project in the modern history of humanity”.

James Brandon, deputy director at CSC , said: “Our researchers found a ghettoised mentality among Muslim students at Queen Mary. Also, we found the segregation between Muslim men and women at events more visible at Queen Mary.”

The Daily Mail on the other hand doesn’t mention issues of sex except in a chart accompanying the on-line version of the article and a vague reference to “strongly socially conservative” Muslims. The article focused a lot on the political views drawn from the survey:

While 32 per cent justified killing in the name of religion if the religion was under attack, 60 per cent of students active in Islamic societies did so. Four per cent thought killing to promote religion was permissible.

More than half, 54 per cent, wanted an Islamic political party to stand up for Muslims at Westminster.

There was strong criticism of the British Government over Iraq — 66 per cent of Muslim students said they had lost respect for it.

As survey coverage goes, the coverage of this issue is not terrible. There is an inherent weakness whenever a news organization reports on a poll so the results should be taken with a grain of salt. From the reporting it seems that the survey may have some significant flaws, but that does not mean the news media should not report the results along with the alleged flaws. A more reliable source for information on actual acts or attempted acts of extremism — as opposed to mere opinions — would likely come from the law enforcement desk.

Photo of the East London mosque in Whitechape used under a Wikimedia Commons license.

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No prayer for Denver archbishop (updated)

chaputA day or two ago, I ended a post about the announcement that Sen. Joe Biden would be Sen. Barack Obama’s running mate with the following question:

… (Does) does anyone know if Denver’s Catholic archbishop was invited to offer an invocation during the upcoming Democratic National Convention?

Several readers quickly let me know that Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput would, in fact, not be doing an invocation or benediction during the convention. With generations of ties between Catholics and the Democratic Party, this is strange indeed.

However, at this point I really need to make a comment about the technological day in which we live. When I posted that Chaput note, I was sitting in the Phoenix airport, headed home from a week-long working vacation. Thus, when I started digging through the dead-tree-pulp newspapers stacked in our living room, I discovered that this Chaput news was very old news indeed. Veteran religion writer Julia Duin had the facts early that previous week. So here’s the basic facts from the God-gap front lines:

Democrats have invited more than two dozen religious leaders to pray or speak at their upcoming conventioin with a notable exception: Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, a policy wonk and the leader of Colorado’s largest religious denomination.

Several Catholics, including former Colorado state Sen. Polly Baca, “Dead Man Walking” author Sister Helen Prejean, social justice lobbyist Sister Catherine Pinkerton and Pepperdine University professor Douglas W. Kmiec, are on the program. Organizers are also flying in Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios from New York to give the opening prayer Wednesday.

But Archbishop Chaput’s only contact with the convention has been a meeting with Leah Daughtry, chief executive officer of the convention and a Pentecostal pastor, and an invitation to attend the event as an observer.

Chaput said that he wasn’t offended and that, when it comes to prayer, the Democrats get to make their own choices. There also is some question about whether he was or was not too busy to attend. Duin’s report added this interesting detail:

Instead of following Monday night’s opening ceremonies on TV, the archbishop will join Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, in a prayer vigil against abortion near a Planned Parenthood clinic in Stapleton, a Denver suburb.

This is another example of the fact that reading newspapers online is not the same thing as reading the real newspapers. There is no way to look at the Washington Times website and know that this Chaput story was located somewhere deep inside. I bumped into it as a worked my way through ordinary pages. That’s the reality. I also have not been able, using standard search engines, to find out if either of the Denver newspapers have covered the Chaput story.

Meanwhile, GetReligion readers have sent in some good links for those seeking more info on Biden and his Catholic faith. This Boston Globe online source is especially interesting and I had already set it aside to include in an update.

For more info on the Chaput situation, readers can also — of course — turn to the justifiably famous Whispers in the Loggia weblog, which ads this insight:

“The Democratic convention begins tomorrow in Denver and as the new (book) release from the city’s top prelate racks up the high-watt airtime, Archbishop Charles Chaput said earlier today that given his “seriously wrong” abortion stance, Biden should refrain from the Communion line:

Biden “has admirable qualities to his public service,” Chaput said in his statement. “But his record of support for so-called abortion ‘rights,’ while mixed at times, is seriously wrong. I certainly presume his good will and integrity — and I presume that his integrity will lead him to refrain from presenting himself for Communion, if he supports a false ‘right’ to abortion.”

Chaput added that he looks forward to speaking with Biden privately.

RenderUntoCaesarAlso, Associated Press reporter Eric Gorski has, of course, jumped in quickly with a newsy story on the pros and cons of the Biden selection, from the perspective of various types of Catholic voters. Here’s the top of the story. Note the kicker at the end of this passage.

When Joe Biden underwent brain surgery for a life-threatening aneurysm in 1988, he asked doctors whether he could tuck his rosary beads under his pillow. The six-term Democratic senator from Delaware also has offered to shove his rosary down the throat of the next Republican who tells him he isn’t religious.

Barack Obama’s running mate is the son of working-class Irish Catholics, a career politician educated at a Catholic prep school who briefly considered the priesthood. He has turned to his faith to weather personal tragedy — including the deaths of his wife and young daughter in a 1972 traffic accident — and shape his political worldview. Biden attends Mass weekly and didn’t miss it on Sunday, either, attending services and taking Communion at St. Joseph on the Brandywine near his home in Greenville, Del.

And here is the basic statement of the thesis, the Catholic reality of this “wafer watch” age:

“Having Biden on the ticket covers the Catholic base,” said David Gibson, a Catholic journalist and author. “But anytime you pick a Catholic, it’s also courting controversy.” …

Biden has said that while he is “prepared to accept” Catholic church teaching that life begins at conception, the Roe v. Wade court decision legalizing abortion “is as close to we’re going to be able to get as a society” to respecting different religious views on the issue. Biden has said he strongly supports Roe v. Wade but also voted in favor of a bill to ban late-term abortions, prompting abortion rights groups to downgrade him on their report cards.

“My views are totally consistent with Catholic social doctrine,” Biden said in a 2007 interview with the Christian Science Monitor. “There are elements within the church who say that if you are at odds with any of the teachings of the church, you are at odds with the church. I think the church is bigger than that.”

There’s much more to digest in this meaty report.

However, note this fact. Putting a Catholic on the ticket is no longer all that controversial with non-Catholics. That’s progress. The problem is that putting an American Catholic on the ticket is controversial with Roman Catholics (or something like that).

UPDATE: Interesting post from Rod “friend of this blog” Dreher on the Catch-22 facing religious leaders who elect to pray at political gathering. Worth some meditation, this one.

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Biden’s old abortion equation

340xWhile the religion angle was soft in first-day coverage, expect plenty of references to Sen. Joe Biden and his rosary beads in the days ahead.

The New York Times offered a very straight-forward reference to Biden’s very public Catholic faith and, of course, linked that to the obvious issue linked to Sen. Barack Obama’s efforts to reach out to pro-life liberals in Catholic and Protestant pews:

Mr. Biden is Roman Catholic, giving him appeal to that important voting bloc, though he favors abortion rights. He was born in a working-class family in Scranton, Pa., a swing state where he remains well-known. Mr. Biden is up for re-election to the Senate this year and he would presumably run simultaneously for both seats. …

Mr. Biden has run twice for the presidency himself, in 1988 and again in 2008, dropping out early in both cases. He was also the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during two of the most contentious Supreme Court nomination battles of the past 50 years: the confirmation proceedings for Robert H. Bork, who was defeated, and Clarence Thomas, who was confirmed after an explosive hearing in which Anita Hill had accused Mr. Thomas of sexual harassment. Mr. Biden led the opposition to both nominations, although he came under criticism from some feminists for not immediately disclosing what were at first Ms. Hill’s closed-door accusations against Mr. Thomas.

While pro-life conservatives are sure to note Biden’s strong support for abortion rights — his most recent National Right to Life rating was 0 percent — his past is a bit more complex. Like many Democrats who once ran as moderates — think Sen. Al Gore — Biden has moved left as he tried to “go national.”

However, the God-o-Meter over at Beliefnet.com offers information about Biden’s Catholic identity that suggests that this was almost certainly a key factor in his selection by Obama. The key question: Was Biden’s mixed record on abortion in the past — viewed from the perspective of the strictly pro-abortion-rights camp — complex enough that many Catholic bishops will say that he has never completely supported the nation’s current abortion-on-demand regime. Biden voted, for example, for legislation against Partial-Birth Abortion.

As Beliefnet.com czar Steve Waldman noted:

But choosing a pro-choice Catholic could backfire because the Bishops and others will attack him or her for being a bad Catholic. Choosing a full-blown pro-life Catholic would alienate pro-choice, independent women and Hillary voters. Biden is pro-choice but got a low rating from abortion rights groups (60% in 2007, 39% in 2003). In other words, he’s Catholic enough to appeal to Catholics, pro-life enough to avoid Bishop attacks, and pro-choice enough to satisfy Hillary voters.

So, all together now, let’s say the Biden quote that Catholic supporters of Obama-Biden will be noting frequently in the days ahead.

“I get comfort from carrying my rosary, going to mass every Sunday. It’s my time alone.”

As you would expect, traditional Catholics are going to roll their eyes, big time. As the conservative Catholic Culture weblog quickly noted:

In an odd way, the Obama-Biden ticket might be helpful to the pro-life movement, insofar as both Democratic candidates have been willing to discuss the question of whether or not human life begins at conception. (Biden has acknowledged that it does.) Any public discussion of that issue can only help the pro-life cause, because the scientific facts are hard to deny.

Biden’s presence on the ticket also ensures a fresh debate on whether or not pro-abortion Catholic politicians should receive Communion. On that issue, too, the discussion can only be helpful.

Help us watch for mainstream-press coverage of the Catholic debates in the days ahead.

Speaking of which, does anyone know if Denver’s Catholic archbishop was invited to offer an invocation during the upcoming Democratic National Convention?

Photo: Getty Images.

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An American Catholic tragedy

chicagoHave you read Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy? The book is a favorite of mine. Its greatness lies not only in the story, but also its accumulation of detail. In reading the book I felt as if I knew all about Clyde Griffiths– his shame at his poor Christian parents, his envy of the wealthy guests at the Kansas City hotel where he worked, his cold-blooded plan to murder his working-class pregnant girlfriend.

I had a roughly similar feeling while reading The Chicago Tribune‘s expose of the Chicago archdiocese’s mishandling and cover-up of its sex-abuse scandal.

Granted, reporters Margaret Ramirez and Manya A. Brachear were fortunate to hit the journalist’s equivalent of a jackpot: the release of Cardinal Francis George‘s deposition. Yet give the reporters credit for describing and quoting from the deposition’s testimony in detail. Consider the passage below about how the Rev. Edward Grace, the archdiocese’s vicar for priests, coached accused abuser Father Joseph Bennett:

In 2002, a male victim voluntarily underwent a lie-detector test that showed he was telling the truth. The cardinal says he never received that information. In 2003, a female victim tells archdiocese officials specific details about freckles on Bennett’s scrotum and a round birthmark on his back that led an archdiocese review board to conclude that sexual abuse “did happen.”

Grace advised Bennett on how to handle the victim’s knowledge of his private parts, according to a memo. According to the testimony, Grace told Bennett in November 2005 to get a note from a dermatologist questioning whether the scrotum marks might be “aging marks” and may not have been present at the time of the allegation.

The victims’ attorney, Anderson, asks the cardinal about the freckles matter, saying: “Grace is–looks like he’s trying to explain it away. Do you read it that way?”

George responds: “It could be read that way.”

Those details are essential. The passage exposes Chicago archdiocesan officials, including the Cardinal himself, as nothing more than dissemblers and enablers. It is hard to get out of one’s mind the image of the freckles on the priest’s scrotum and to forget that Grace sought to explain away those marks. The unstated theme from the passage is obvious: archdiocesan officials cared far more about protecting predator priests than victims.

Even without the benefit of the deposition, the two reporters used quotes and detail to devastating effect. Take this brief passage, which Rod “Friend of this blog” Dreher cited:

Therese Albrecht, one of Bennett’s accusers, said she felt ignored when she came forward in 2004.

“I feel indescribable anger and pain. What price can you put on an 8-year-old’s virginity?” she said. “He didn’t call me up. I never got an apology.”

That said, the story was not perfect.

I think that reporters Ramirez and Brachear should have attempted to portray Cardinal George’s subjective view of reality. Part of the greatness of An American Tragedy was that Dreiser took you inside the head of Clyde Griffith and others, making you feel the pressures and lusts and dreams that made him to want to murder his working-class girlfriend. Ramirez and Brachear did not do the same. In consequence, their story reads more like a detailed and novelistic indictment of the archdiocese than a detailed and novelistic story.

Of course, asking two reporters to imitate one of the 100 best novels in 20th-century literature is a great compliment.

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Sermon after the soundbites

bibleIn news lingo, there is this thing called a “follow” story and it is something that modern, shrinking, distressed newsrooms rarely have the time or resources to do.

Here’s the basic idea: So you have this gigantic news event that attracts waves of coverage. It’s all over the wires, on A1 in the newspapers, gets live coverage on the cable networks and the big event gets mentioned for more than 60 seconds on the major newscasts. If it’s really important, the late-night comics weigh in and offer their insights.

Then what happens? The herd moves on to the next event.

The follow story assumes that the people most involved in the event carry on with what they were doing before and, in fact, there may even be content in the events that happen right after the media event. Who knows, there may even be content in these next, non-media-events that adds insights to the very event that journalists had decided was important.

So let me cut to the chase. If the Saddleback forum took place on a Saturday and it was led by a pastor, then it is safe to ask this question: Is this minister — the Rev. Rick Warren, in this case — going to preach on Sunday? Might his words from the pulpit have something to add to the words offered in the media event a few hours before that?

So what did he say on Sunday? The Los Angeles Times is to be commended for going over to Saddleback Church and finding out. Who knows, the sermon might even be as important as what happens on Larry King Live.

What happened on Sunday morning? Here’s the top of the story:

The morning after Pastor Rick Warren interviewed both major presidential candidates at his evangelical church in Orange County, he delivered a Sunday sermon urging his congregation to judge Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain on how their characters would affect their decisions as leaders.

“Don’t just look at issues, look at character,” Warren said to a crowd of nearly 3,000 during one of two morning sermons at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest. “Look at the candidate and say, ‘Does he live with integrity, service with humility, share with generosity, or not?’ ”

Dressed in his usual bluejeans, Warren delivered the sermon titled “The Kind of Leadership America Needs” using Bible passages about faith and compassion. He did not speak of the differing views expressed by Obama and McCain when they appeared on the same stage Saturday, saying simply that “they were very different in personality, in philosophy, in direction, in goals and in vision, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

And guess what happened then? The Times story completely ignored the actual content of the sermon.

Now, I have heard Warren preach once or twice and he is, despite his reputation as a megachurch preacher, a very conventional man in terms of his use of sermon texts. I would be shocked if the biblical texts that he used didn’t offer direct insights into what he was thinking.

The story tells us that he used “Bible passages about faith and compassion.” Well what, pray tell, were these passages? Were they, perhaps, passages that Obama often uses? Were they texts that pointed toward any particular concerns?

In other words, this is a news story about a sermon. What did the minister say in the sermon? Might that be a significant part of the report, in addition to all of the political background? In a story about a sermon, the basic facts include the biblical texts and some quotes from the sermon. Can we agree on that?

I have even heard ministers send somewhat coded messages to their flocks, using religious images and language that flies over the heads of the reporters. I wonder. Did that happen here? The people in the church probably got the sermon. Did the reporter?

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LA Times disses religious liberty (Updated)

religion 01You may have read read that the California State Supreme Court ruled that religious doctors cannot refuse to inseminate lesbian women artificially on religious grounds. The decision came down yesterday and has generated quite a bit of buzz.

I wrote about the consideration of the case two months ago. My criticism of a Washington Post story on the topic was that it failed to elaborate on the competing claims: the defendants’ lawyer argued that in terms of medical care, freedom of religion is invoked most clearly in the creation and termination of life, while the plaintiffs’ lawyer contended that the freedom of religious clause does not allow doctors to refuse treatment to certain classes of people.

Surely The Los Angeles Times, the state’s paper of record, would add to our understanding of this topic or, even better, adjudicated the justices’ claims. Alas, it did not. Reporter Maura Dolan gave readers this explanation:

The state high court said the doctors’ constitutional rights to freedom of religion did not trump the state antidiscrimination law because the state has a compelling interest in ensuring full and equal access to medical care.

That is an all to brief explanation. On what grounds did the justices accept the plaintiffs’ claims rather than those of the defendants’? Did the justices equate homosexuals with women, as a majority of them did in their gay-marriage ruling?

On this issue, readers need to be given more than a one-sentence assertion. They need an explanation of the rationale.

UPDATE: The Washington Post‘s story on the same topic was everything — well, almost everything — the LAT’s was not: It explained on what grounds the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. Consider the passage below from reporter Ashley Surdin:

The court ruled that physicians’ constitutional right to the free exercise of religion does not exempt businesses that serve the public from following state law that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

That holds true, Justice Joyce L. Kennard wrote in the 18-page decision, “even if compliance poses an incidental conflict with the defendants’ religious beliefs.”

If a doctor wants to refuse a service because of religious beliefs, the court found, he or she must refuse all patients, or provide a doctor who can provide the service to everyone.

That makes sense. If a doctor refuses to perform artificial insemination on religious grounds, he or she cannot single out lesbian women. This does not address the defendant’s chief claim in Surdin’s story from two months ago — religious freedom applies usually to termination and creation of life. But hey, it is an explanation.

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