Friday, February 24, 2012

The voices that the media choose to ignore.

So far, I've chosen not to comment on President Obama's decision to require religious employers such as Catholic hospitals and schools to provide coverage for contraceptive services in their employee health plans. For the record, I agree with the U.S. Catholic Bishops and many others who see the President's decision as an unconscionable attack on religious liberty. This isn't simply a 'Catholic' issue - it's an issue that should concern all Americans who value freedom of conscience, and I hope and pray that the White House mandate will be rescinded before it ever takes effect.

I don't plan to write more on this issue, partly because many others have already offered articulate and clear-sighted commentary on the situation. Rather than comment further on the President's decision, I'd like to focus attention on the way that the mainstream media have treated the ongoing controversy regarding that decision. In particular, I'd like to call your attention to what Mollie Z. Hemingway wrote about these matters earlier today at the indispensable GetReligion weblog:
. . . you wouldn’t know it from media coverage but the Obama Administration has issued a strict mandate that deeply concerns many religious liberty observers. Because that mandate requires everyone to pay for abortifacients, sterilization and contraception for their employees — even if they have religious objections to it — the media have decided to adopt the framework that this is a battle over "women" and a battle over "belief" in "birth control."

That’s not even close to an accurate description of what concerns the religious liberty activists, but it doesn’t matter. And it’s a sexist dismissal of all the women, such as myself, who care deeply and passionately about religious liberty. But it doesn’t matter. It’s the way many in the media have decided to frame the issue and they don’t care how many Jews, Lutherans, Baptists, Catholics and Zoroastrians (female or male!) say otherwise, it’s going to be about birth control. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

Take a look at this picture of Dr. Allison Dabbs Garrett, the senior vice-president for academic affairs at Oklahoma Christian University [posted above]. According to the mainstream media, she doesn’t exist. Neither does Dr. Laura Champion, medical director of Calvin College Health Services. See, they testified at a hearing on religious liberty. But since the talking points used by the media are, quite literally, "Where were the women at the religious liberty hearing?", they can’t acknowledge that they exist. And they can’t acknowledged that Dabbs Garrett said things such as: "While our views differ from those of our Catholic friends regarding what our plans should cover, our views are exactly the same on whether the government should be able to require individuals or institutions to violate their religious beliefs."
To read the rest of an excellent post, click here. If you want to better understand why Ms. Hemingway and many other women (and men) are so concerned about all of this, take a look at what Mary Ann Glendon has to say in a recently-penned article for America. AMDG.


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