Bush's Homophobic Surgeon General Nominee

This post, written by Lindsay Beyerstein, originally appeared on Majikthise

As part of his ongoing war on science and reason, Bush nominated James W. Holsinger for the post of Surgeon General last week.

BarbinMD has some fun facts about the man who could be America's next top doc:
- 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]
Frank Lockwood of Bible Belt Blogger reports:
When surgeon general nominee Dr. James Holsinger was serving on the board of the Confessing Movement of the United Methodist Church, the board issued a statement accusing the "radical homosexual/lesbian lobby" and those who support homosexuality of precipitating "a crisis in the United Methodist Church."
Dr. Holsinger also served as the medical director of the Department of Veterans Affairs under the former president Bush. During his tenure the department was forced to accept blame for the deaths of six veterans in a large VA hospital:
"Mistakes were made," said the Veterans Affairs Secretary, Edward J. Derwinski. "The medical care was clearly not what it should be."
The agency's announcement came a week after department investigators questioned poor supervision and delays between diagnosis and surgery, among other things.
After an extensive review of 15 deaths between June 1989 and March 1990, the agency acknowledged blame in six, said Dr. James Holsinger Jr., the agency's chief medical officer.
Dr. Holsinger and an agency spokeswoman, Donna St. John, said they would not discuss the six deaths that were linked to poor care until family members were notified
The agency said it would invite the families to meet with its lawyers to discuss a financial settlement. [NYT]
A date for Holsinger's confirmation hearings has not yet been set.

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