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Michigan pastor apologizes over breastfeeding incident

Posted: 10:06 AM, Aug 14, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-14 14:06:34Z

A Michigan pastor apologized to a woman who said she was shamed for breastfeeding inside a church in a Detroit suburb.

Amy Marchant, 29, said a church leader privately messaged her on Facebook after she nursed her child at The Naz Church in Brighton two months ago. Marchant was accused of immodesty and inspiring "lustfulness," she said.

"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 told the  Livingston Daily Press & Argus  .

The church leader told Marchant to cover when breastfeeding or to use a private room.

"Even if I wanted to go somewhere private, that's not reasonable when I have to watch my 4-year-old twins, and legally speaking, it's not something she is allowed to ask," Marchant said.

Lead Pastor Ben Walls Sr. apologized publicly to Marchant, saying the church supports and encourages breastfeeding.

"We're very sorry for the embarrassment and hurt caused when she was asked to cover or use one of those rooms," Walls said. "That wasn't the intention."

Marchant said she was shocked to experience shaming in a place she's "supposed to feel safe."

Marchant met with church leaders to discuss the issue and the Breastfeeding Anti-Discrimination Act, which was approved by Gov. Rick Snyder four years ago. The law prohibits women from being denied public goods, services, facilities and accommodations because of breastfeeding.

Church staff seemed more focused on continuing to describe the incident as "immodest" and questioning whether she planned to sue than addressing the issue, she said.

"A lot of people have stopped nursing because of stuff like that, and I want to say something because a lot of people wouldn't," Marchant said.

Marchant said she doesn't plan to return to the church.