A woman got a pastor's apology for criticism she received after breastfeeding in an open area of a church building, reports the Livingston Daily — a Gannett newspaper in Michigan.
All in all, the paper offers a fair, well-rounded account of what happened on a Sunday in June.
I don't have many complaints about the coverage, which I came across via the Pew Research Center's daily religion headlines.
But I do have a few questions — one of them the same as I asked about a Virginia breastfeeding story last year. I'll elaborate in a moment.
First, though, let's review the basic facts out of Michigan:
A Brighton pastor has apologized to a woman who said she was shamed for breastfeeding inside a church while waiting for her other children to finish Sunday school.
Amy Marchant, 29, said she asked for a public apology after she was accused of immodesty and potentially inspiring “lustfulness” in men for nursing her child at The Naz Church in Brighton in mid-June.
“Of all the places, it is most hurtful when it comes from your own church, that you are going to cause guys to lust after you,” Marchant said Thursday.
Ben Walls, Sr., lead pastor, said the church supports and encourages breastfeeding, and the Father’s Day incident “had to do with breastfeeding, but didn’t.”
He said three different spaces are set aside for “those who want a private space” – a lounge outside of the restroom specifically created for nursing mothers a decade ago and two other rooms in a children’s area “designated for ladies who want privacy.”
“That is what we want to say – we have nothing against breastfeeding and we are in favor,” Walls said. “It’s very hard because we understand that she was very hurt and we apologize to her. We’re very sorry for the embarrassment and hurt caused when she was asked to cover or use one of those rooms. We apologize for her hurt and embarrassment; that wasn’t the intention.”
Keep reading, and a key issue seems to be that the mother had exposed both her breasts while feeding the baby in a public area. You can read the full story for all the specific details both from the perspective of the mother and that of the church.
My questions relate more to other important context: For one, the mother twice in the story calls the congregation — which she has since left — her "own church." Does that mean she is or was a member? How long had she attended the church?