Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sunday's Herald Leader Article - Dr. James Holsinger.

The Herald Leader had a front page article today about Dr. James Holsinger, the homophobic nominee for U.S. Surgeon General.

"His posture on things is based on the science of health and disease, not on any moral or health issue," said Dr. F. Douglas Scutchfield, a colleague at UK.


In Lexington, Holsinger and his wife, Barbara, were asked to be part of a team that founded Hope Springs Community Church, which has a Hispanic ministry and recovery ministries for those with addictions to drugs, alcohol and sex. The recovery ministry includes some who no longer wish to be gay, the Rev. David Calhoun has said.

However, Calhoun said in an e-mail last week that the church does not have a specific ministry targeted at "curing" gays -- as some gay-rights groups have charged.

In 2000, Holsinger was elected to the United Methodist Church's Judicial Council, which rules on disputes involving church doctrine. As one of the nine members of the court, Holsinger ruled with others that a lesbian in a committed relationship could not continue to be a minister and that a pastor could withhold church membership from a gay man.

In 1988, Holsinger began serving on a national church committee to study homosexuality and make recommendations on whether church doctrine should be changed.

The committee took four years to consider the issue, and, in 1991, Holsinger wrote a paper entitled the Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality. In it, he makes a biological argument that gay sex is unnatural and unhealthy. He argues that, like male and female pipe fittings, certain body parts are designed for one another.

The paper has drawn wide criticism from gay-rights groups. They say it represents an out-dated view, even for 1991, of gay sex. The American Psychological Association, for example, removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973.

Shortly after he submitted the paper, Holsinger withdrew from the committee. At the time, the committee was beginning to form its opinion, said the Rev. Phil Wogaman, who served on the committee and is now retired.

Most of the members wanted to remove language from church doctrine that said the church did not condone homosexuality and "considered its practice incompatible with Christian teaching," Wogaman said.

The majority believed that homosexuality, if practiced in a caring, committed relationship, was acceptable, Wogaman said. "When the majority was beginning to form its views, Dr. Holsinger was in strong disagreement with that and chose to leave the committee, in some anger," Wogaman said.

Holsinger opposed any recognition of homosexuality as normal, Wogaman said. "He took the view that it's pathological, that homosexuality is both sin and a kind of mental sickness," Wogaman said. "He was quite vocal about it."

Moral issue? What moral issue? This is crazy! What if someone has a "moral" issue with him being Methodist?


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