The President's nominee for Surgeon General, Dr. James Holsinger, seems to have run into some difficulty on this way to appointment as the "America's doctor." It seems Holsinger, who is professor of preventive medicine at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, has kept a scandalous secret these many years, one which could torpedo his nomination altogether.
The secret involves homosexuality.
Isn't it strange? You think you know someone one moment, and the next you find that he's a completely different person from the one you thought you knew. Holsinger, who holds the Wethington Chair in Health Sciences at UK, had all the appearance of a morally upright, model citizen. He was active in his church, and he seemed for all intents and purposes to be just like you and me.
Then, the awful truth finally came out: Holsinger, whose career includes several stints as chief of staff for several VA hospitals, thinks that homosexuality has bad health consequences.
Yes, it sounds preposterous, but there it is. A religious believer who thinks that there's something wrong with men having sex with other men. A doctor who thinks that anal sex isn't healthy.
Just what turnip truck did this guy fall off of anyway? Where has he been the last few years? Studying AIDS data or something? Reading his Bible? Okay, I know people used to take medicine seriously, and that once upon a time all you needed to have to say something negative about a certain behavior was actual evidence. But aren't we past all that? Haven't we come to the realization that there are certain things more important than medical facts?
Things like the political agenda of gay rights groups?
And since when were people like Holsinger, former Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, allowed to take their religious beliefs seriously and use them as some kind of basis for what they think--or how they act? You would think religious fanatics like Holsinger, who was chancellor of the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center for nine years, would have at least a passing familiarity with the Constitution, where it talks about a "Wall of Separation" between church and state.
It's right there in the First Amendment. Well, okay, it's not really there, but it ought to be, and what it means is you can't be religious and be in government. Or something like that.
We could lay all this at the feet of Holsinger himself, who earned his MD as well as a doctorate in anatomy and physiology at Duke University, but there is a larger question that needs to be answered: Where have the Tolerance Police been all this time? Why weren't groups like the Fairness Alliance warning us all along that this guy was on the loose? What if his beliefs had never been discovered? Would Holsinger, who holds a master’s degree in hospital financial management from the University of South Carolina, still be walking the streets?
Yes, Holsinger has tried to cover his tracks by going out of his way to personally give medical attention to gays and lesbians with diseases which no one knows how they got, but all this shows is just how cunning this man is.
And who are we supposed to believe about the health effects of homosexuality anyway: some guy with a list of medical credentials a mile long? Or the medical geniuses over at places like the Fairness Alliance, Soulforce, and the Human Rights Campaign?
Holsinger's scandalous background was only made public when religious blogger Frank Lockwood ("Bible Belt Blogger") began publishing past statements Holsinger, one of the nation's most respected physicians, had made about homosexuality. Lockwood's impeccable religious credentials include the fact that he was the religion reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Lockwood, who underscores his objectivity (which he undoubtedly learned at the Herald-Leader) by always prefacing Holsinger's name with the term "anti-gay," uncovered the fact that Holsinger wrote a report for the Committee to Study Homosexuality of The United Methodist Church in 1991. The discovery has caused an uproar--among people who get in an uproar when other people disagree with them--for its bizarre conclusions.
Check this out: the report claims that scientific disciplines like anatomy and physiology have some bearing on the health of sexual behavior. Right. He probably believes that eating right and getting exercise can reduce heart disease too.
And if that doesn't make you wonder what planet this guy beamed down from, listen to this: the human digestive system, he says, shouldn't be used like the human reproductive system!
Sheez. Some people really know how to spoil a party.
And then there's the statement in the report that men having sex with men isn't a good idea from a health standpoint. The reason? Because it leads naturally to "gonorrhea, infections with chlamydia trachomatis, syphilis, herpes simplex infections, genital warts, pubic lice, scabies); enteric diseases (infections with hig gel la species, Campylobacter jejuni, Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia lamblia, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis non-A, non-B, and cytomegalovirus); trauma (fecal incontinence, hemorrhoids, anal fissure, foreign bodies, rectosigmoid tears, allergic proctitis, penile edema, chemical sinusitis, inhaled nitrite burns, and ... AIDS."
I mean, does the guy really have to be such a killjoy? Chill out with the medical jargon, dude. Can't people have a little fun without doctors throwing medical statistics in their face?
And after all, isn't that the worst aspect of this whole episode? Here we have a nominee to be United States State Surgeon General who takes this medical stuff just a little too seriously.
What's the world coming to?