Last time I checked, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has quite a few congregations in the state of California.
The same thing is true for the Southern Baptists, the Assemblies of God and the whole world of nondenominational evangelical Protestantism. Can you say Vineyards? Surely there are quite a few mosques, Orthodox Jewish synagogues and Hindu sanctuaries, as well.
Why do I make this rather obvious point?
Check out the top of this recent Associated Press report about the latest front in the political and moral wars over the whole right to die, death with dignity, physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia question. Spot anything strange?
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Legislation that would allow California physicians to help terminally ill patients end their lives has met strong opposition from lawmakers in Catholic districts and others. ...
Aid-in-dying advocates hoped the nationally publicized case of Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old California woman with brain cancer who moved to Oregon to legally end her life last fall, would prompt a wave of new state laws allowing doctors to prescribe life-ending
medications. But no state has passed right-to-die legislation this year, and efforts have been defeated or stalled in Colorado, Maine, New Jersey and elsewhere.
And there's more:
Maynard's family has been coming to Sacramento in support of California's bill, which faces opposition from the Catholic Church and other groups that say it amounts to assisted suicide and goes against the will of God.
This is a really strange almost religion-free story in many ways, primarily in its lack of actual quoted material from people of faith who are opposed to crossing this line. The story simply says that lots of people believe that the right-to-die bill "goes against the will of God," but there is no attempt to flesh that out.
Perhaps the main problem can be seen in these vague phrases -- "and others" and "and other groups." Perhaps the reporters simply didn't talk to many people, as in Baptists, Mormons, Muslims, Orthodox Jews, etc.?
It may be true that the Catholic Church is taking a strong leadership role in the political opposition of this bill. I do not doubt that.
But why make this a Catholic-centric story? Why single out that church? Is the AP really saying that leaders of the state's other major traditional religious groups (and, by the way, there remain progressive flocks that oppose these procedures) are sitting this battle out? Click here for a Pew Forum list of where religious groups stand.
If other traditional religious groups are silent, then that would be a huge, huge news story and it should be nailed down and published. At the same time, this story thin AP report also needed content from liberal groups that have shifted to the left in this debate and support the current bill.
In other words, if this is a battle over "God's will," then where are the traditional and liberal religious voices? Instead, we get:
The holdouts have included lawmakers from heavily Catholic districts in the Los Angeles area, where the archdiocese is actively opposing the bill. Similar legislation failed in 2007 amid religious opposition.
Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, was among the lawmakers still making up his mind, but he said Monday that he was more torn over the lack of patient safeguards in the measure than pressure from Catholic constituents.
Oh, and there we go again. There are Catholics and then there is "religious opposition." Very helpful.
Very, very strange. Come on, AP people. Make some telephone calls. At least click a mouse. Do some basic leg work on this one.