Bush Surgeon General pick faces bruising confirmation battle over homophobia
On Thursday, ABC News reported that President Bush's nominee for surgeon-general, Dr. James Holsinger, may be in trouble because of his "homophobic statements."
In 1991, Holsinger wrote a paper on "Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality" for the United Methodist Church, in which he argued that homosexuality is unnatural and unhealthy. As reported in The Nation, "Holsinger argues that male-female 'reproductive systems are fully complementary' because 'anatomically the vagina is designed to receive the penis.' The remainder of his paper is a graphic account of the 'delicate' rectum which is 'incapable' of 'protection' if 'objects that are large, sharp, or pointed are inserted' into it."
"Gay rights groups are outraged," reports ABC, adding that Holsinger also helped found a church that promises to "'cure' gays of their sexual orientation," a claim that major medical organizations dispute.
"A confirmation fight is exactly what the administration does not need," says commentator David Gergen. "There has been a growing criticism of the administration favoring ideology over competence and this nomination smacks of that."
Adding to Holsinger's problems, ABC concludes, the committee which will consider his nomination is chaired by Senator Ted Kennedy, a supporter of gay rights, and includes among its members presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Chris Dodd.
Senator Obama (D-IL) released the following statement Thursday morning, "America’s top doctor should be a doctor for all Americans, and so I have serious reservations about nominating someone who would inject his own anti-gay ideology into critical decisions about the health and well-being of our nation."
"As with other nominees, I will listen to the testimony of Dr. James Holsinger, but this Administration must know that the United States Surgeon General’s office is no place for bigotry or ideology that would trump sound science and good judgment," Obama's statement continued.
The following video is from ABC's Good Morning America, broadcast on June 7.
More on the controversy can be found at the blogs, Pam's House Blend and Bible Belt Blogger.