Last week, President Bush nominated James W. Holsinger to become the next Surgeon General of the United States:
As America’s chief health educator, he will be charged with providing the best scientific information available on how Americans can make smart choices that improve their health and reduce their risk of illness and injury. … I am confident that Dr. Holsinger will help our Nation confront this challenge and many others to ensure that Americans live longer, better, and healthier lives.
But as BarbinMD points out, Holsinger’s nomination to be “America’s doctor” is troubling. He has a long history of prejudice toward gays and lesbians. Some examples:
— Holsinger founded Hope Springs Community Church, which “ministers to people who no longer wish to be gay or lesbian.” Holsinger said that he sees homosexuality as “an issue not of orientation but of lifestyle.” [Lexington Herald-Leader, 6/1/07]
— In serving on the United Methodist Judicial Council — the “court” that resolves “disputes involving church doctrine and policies in the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination” — Holsinger “opposed a decision to allow a practicing lesbian to be an associate pastor, and he supported a pastor who would not permit an openly gay man to join the church.” [Lexington Herald-Leader, 6/1/07]
— In the early 1990s, Holsinger resigned from the United Methodist Church’s Committee to Study Homosexuality “because he believed the committee ‘would follow liberal lines.'” He also warned “that acceptance of homosexuality would drive away millions of churchgoers.” [Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 5/26/07; Time, 6/24/91]
Despite this history, Holsinger-supporter Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) inexplicably insists, “Anyone who knows Jim Holsinger knows that he’s not an individual given to prejudice.” A date for Holsinger’s Senate hearings has not been set.
UPDATE: Bible Belt Blogger has more on Holsinger.