Thursday, June 07, 2007

Democrats have to draw the line & turn down Bush's bigoted surgeon general

By Diane Silver

[updated 11:36 a.m.]

I'll admit that my headline might not be fair. It could be that our not-so-beloved president's nominee for surgeon general, James W. Holsinger Jr., is not bigoted. It could be that he is merely incompetent -- that is totally and completely incompetent.

Either way, it's time for Democratic senators to stand up to ole' George W. and to refuse to confirm Holsinger as the nation's chief health officer. Confirming him would put a man in office who, apparently, has no wish to serve all of the people of this nation.

At issue today is a paper Holsinger wrote in 1991 for the Methodist Church. In the paper, Holsinger claims to review research on the topic of homosexuality, which he claims is inherently diseased.

As one of the folks he inaccurately claims is inherently wrong, I do not take comfort in the idea that this man might soon be overseeing my health. Oh wait! The paper only deals with male homosexuality.


As a lesbian, I guess that means that I either (a) don't exist (b) don't matter (c) perhaps am one of God's chosen people and, thus, should not be considered under any discussion of "bad people." I'm not certain I take comfort in any of those possibilities.

Medical experts call Holsinger's paper unmitigated hogwash.
Professor Eli Coleman, Director of the Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota Medical School said that the paper seems to have a pre-1970s view of human sexuality. "I can't imagine that any scientific journal would be able to publish this material because of its very narrow views of homosexuality," he said.

In fact, if one of his students handed the paper in, Coleman would give it a failing grade, he said. "I find it rather outdated in terms of its scientific knowledge and also narrow in its view of homosexuality," Coleman said. "It concerns me because I think our public policy really should be based upon best available science."

"It's a totally faulty paper. The man doesn't know anything about human sexuality," said June M. Reinisch, Ph.D., director emeritus of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender & Reproduction. "There's clearly a political agenda in this paper. This is not a scientific paper."

Paragraph by paragraph, Reinisch said Holsinger presents faulty arguments. Many homosexuals do not engage in the sexual act he criticizes; 40 percent of heterosexuals do. "It seems to me he's arguing the only way reproduction happens is in a loving heterosexual environment which is of course not true," Reinisch said, noting artificial methods, rape and one-night stands.

Reinisch, who was director of the Kinsey Institute when Holsinger wrote this paper, said that if Holsinger "is going to come up with this position in 2007 I think I can clearly say that he is not qualified to be surgeon general."

You can read the paper here.

Also at issue is the fact that Holsinger founded a church that seeks to "cure" gays and engaged in other anti-gay activities. See posts at:

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