I'm at the 2012 National Religious Freedom Conference in Washington, D.C. this morning. We'll be hearing from professors and theologians interested in the topic throughout the day. Robert P. George, Dr. Thomas Farr, Nathan Diament, William Galston, Richard Land, Donald Landry, Hannah Smith, Gerard Bradley, Meir Y. Soloveichik, and many others.
They represent Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, Jews and others concerned about rising threats to religious freedom. As we've discussed at Ricochet in recent days, this conference comes on the heels of a massive religious liberty lawsuit filed by 42 Catholic entities nationwide.
I recently compared the way the media covered the news when the Susan G. Komen Foundation decided to stop voluntarily giving a small amount of its budget to the even larger Planned Parenthood. It led the nightly news. What happened when the lawsuit was filed? Many of the same media outlets weren't able to find any time to cover the story at all. One reader over at GetReligion, where I wrote this up, commented:
But just think about it — this is the first time in American history where dioceses like Erie (home of a bishop who is mocked as Bishop Troutperson (real name Trautman) because of his support for gender-neutral language in the liturgy), or Jackson and Biloxi in Mississippi, have sued the federal government, never mind the archdioceses of NY or DC. Schools, charities, three health care systems, three universities (not counting ND), a major publisher, a nursing home, a center for the deaf — whoever heard of these groups suing the federal government before, never mind 43 of them filing 12 suits in different states on a single day by a single law firm that is doing all the work for free? This is completely unprecedented and it should be real news to the country.
So check out this headline from the Washington Post:
California Catholic bishop: Church getting co-opted by political right
Analysis: Catholic bishops divided in legal battle against Obama birth control mandate
The plural in the latter story is based on the same bishop highlighted in the Post story plus super secret anonymous ones. I'm not saying that the outlier bishop from California shouldn't be mentioned, but it's revealing what gets focused on.
We'll see how much media coverage comes out of today's event. At this point, it's all Catholic and Christian press. It's almost as if some folks in the media don't realize what a huge issue this is for many Americans.