In this week’s podcast Issues Etc. host Todd Wilkin and I discussed two recent GetReligion stories: Gay marriages in Denmark and the Lindy Chamberlain affair in Australia. Press ignorance quickly became the theme of the show. Todd opened the show asking how I could say the Daily Telegraph had done a good job on reporting the story, yet made a rookie's mistake by blowing its lede. The article claimed that all churches in Denmark would now be compelled to perform gay marriages, when the new laws apply only to the state Lutheran church.
I could not say what caused the mistake, but suggested ignorance might play its part. I did applaud the even-handed way in which the Telegraph reported on this issue -- giving supporters and opponents equal opportunity to speak.
However, our conversation quickly turned to the implications for the rest of Europe and America about this issue. This is a live issue in Britain as the government has vowed to introduce gay marriage. The Church of England has voiced its strong opposition over this innovation -- and it has dismissed government assurances that its ministers will be compelled to perform gay marriages. A promise today is not binding on the government of tomorrow, the church fears, while one never knows what the European Court of Human Rights may do next.
Ignorance was the central theme of our second topic, the Lindy Chamberlain story from Australia. Made famous in the U.S. by the Meryl Streep movie A Cry in the Dark, Lindy Chamberlain was jailed for murdering her baby after a jury rejected her claim that a dingo carried the child away. Behind the conviction -- and a source of endless and unprofessional speculation in the press -- was the role the Chamberlain's Seventh-day Adventist faith played.
Did Seventh-day Adventists practice ritual sacrifice? What strange things were the Chamberlains, devotees of a strange faith, up to in the desert?
To this day the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia maintains a website page countering the more outlandish claims and stories arising from the Lindy Chamberlain case.
Tune in friends to Issues, Etc. for all the fun.