Dr. James Holsinger appears to be a heavily “faith-based” religio-political activist, and isn’t likely to serve the health interests of the full and diverse community of tax-paying Americans.
His record as a member and current president of the United Methodist Judicial Council, the highest church court for the Methodist Church in the US, includes votes against allowing a lesbian associate pastor, and also supporting the denial of church membership to a gay man. The latter decision was overturned by the church’s Bishops.
“Dr. James Holsinger has demonstrated in the past that he harbors religious-based prejudice towards homosexuals,” said Jamie McDaniel, coordinator of Soulforce Lexington, the local chapter of a national organization that opposes the use of religion to oppress lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. “As a gay American, I am deeply concerned over any surgeon general nominee not being healed of such personal prejudice.”
There’s more, including a list of Senators who can block the nomination, after the flip.Holsinger is also the founder of a “recovery-oriented” congregation in his hometown of Lexington, Kentucky.
[David] Calhoun, a United Methodist pastor, noted that Holsinger and his wife, Barbara, were members of Lexington’s First United Methodist Church, which asked them to set out and start a new congregation.
They founded Hope Springs Community Church in a warehouse at 1109 Versailles Road. Calhoun called it a socially diverse congregation with a “very vital recovery ministry.” It serves the homeless and those with addictions to drugs, alcohol and sex; and it has a Spanish-language Hispanic congregation with its own pastor.
“It’s built around compassion for people who struggle with a lot of issues,” he said.
Hope Springs also ministers to people who no longer wish to be gay or lesbian, Calhoun said.
“We see that as an issue not of orientation but of lifestyle,” he said. “We have people who seek to walk out of that lifestyle.”
This appointment needs approval from the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which is composed of the following members:
Chairman Edward Kennedy (MA)
Christopher Dodd (CT)
Tom Harkin (IA)
Barbara A. Mikulski (MD)
Jeff Bingaman (NM)
Patty Murray (WA)
Jack Reed (RI)
Hillary Rodham Clinton(NY)
Barack Obama (IL)
Bernard Sanders (I) (VT)
Sherrod Brown (OH)
Michael B. Enzi (WY)
Judd Gregg (NH)
Lamar Alexander (TN)
Richard Burr (NC)
Johnny Isakson (GA)
Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Orrin G. Hatch (UT)
Pat Roberts (KS)
Wayne Allard (CO)
Tom Coburn (OK)
You can get their staffers on the phone by calling the Capitol switchboard at 202 224 3121. You can submit email comments to the HELP Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find contact information for individual Senators here.
The primary role of the Surgeon General is health education. A nominee who appears to reject the conclusions of the leading professional and scientific bodies–in order to embrace and promote dogmas derived from his personal religious beliefs–is a bad fit for the job, and should be rejected.