As one would imagine, the editorial team that produces the newspaper that lands in my front yard in the liberal environs of greater Baltimore was celebrating a great victory yesterday. I am, of course, talking abou those U.S. Supreme Court decisions that were consistent with the newspaper's longstanding and clearly stated editorial stance on all matters linked to gay rights.
Thus, it would have been miraculous to have seen any degree of editorial balance in the large package of coverage published by The Baltimore Sun in the wake of this major victory for the moral, cultural and religious left. I mean, check out the strategic variation in the newspaper's "Light For All" slogan in the header graphics used with key elements of the NEWS package (as opposed to an opinion weblog) for the day.
Still I think it is fair to pay attention to the material included in the main story that represented the views of traditional Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and countless others who believe that the word "marriage" should not be redefined to include same-gender unions.
In particular, I was interested in how the Sun team would deal with the two primary realities in Maryland debates about sex, marriage and family.
The first is the majority of the state's African-American Christians who do not back same-sex marriage and, also, continue not to equate race and sexual orientation.
The second is that the city's archbishop serves as the chair of the U.S. Catholic bishops' ad hoc committee on religious liberty, a First Amendment issue that -- for leaders on one side of these public debates -- is directly linked to the future of U.S. laws and policies on marriage and family. In fact, would the story deal with the impact on religious believers and institutions at all?
So, what do we see in the main story (or in the whole package, for that matter)?
Trust me, this will not take a lot of your time.
Here is all of the material in this A1 story that is dedicated to the Maryland defenders of marriage as traditionally defined.
Critics of same-sex marriage, including some religious leaders, condemned the rulings.
Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori described them as "the latest in a troubling trend of decisions by lawmakers, judges and some voters" to change the notion of marriage in the country.
The "decisions will undoubtedly have far-reaching consequences, most especially for children, and are another serious blow to the institution of marriage," he said.
Wait a minute: "Notion"?
Yes, that's all of the material. Did I miss something elsewhere?
Once again let me stress that I was not expecting balance in this day's coverage. I had, of course, expected the obligatory sidebar dedicated to the views of those who lead major groups in Maryland that oppose same-sex marriage (as opposed to civil unions or similar strategies). I can't find the obligatory sidebar.
In this case, it's crucial to note that while Lori was quoted, his national role on religious-liberty issues was not even mentioned. Why would the Sun avoid that detail, when debates about same-sex marriage in Maryland have featured -- time and time again -- discussions of the impact on religious-liberty rights of individual believers and also religious institutions, both large and small?
Now, I realize that not every agrees that First Amendment and religious-liberty issues are central to this debate, even though President Barack Obama as repeatedly treated it as a key element of the discussions.
However, religious-liberty concerns are central to the views of leaders on one side of this national debate and, once again, the archbishop of Baltimore -- the premier see in American Catholicism -- is THE national voice for Catholicism on this matter.
Oh yes, and how did Lori end his public statement reacting to the Supreme Court decisions?
Today’s decisions will ... undoubtedly contribute to concerted efforts not just to redefine marriage but to dismantle it, efforts which represent a serious threat to religious liberty and conscience rights for countless people of faith. This threat to religious freedom is one of many, locally and nationally, that has prompted our current Fortnight for Freedom, which we hope will inspire people throughout the country to prayer, education, and action to preserve religious liberty.
Meanwhile, what about the views of those African-American believers and churches? Their voices have been central to Maryland debates on same-sex marriage.
Don't hold your breath, Sun readers.