Following up on an item from last week, Dr. James W. Holsinger Jr., Bush’s nominee for Surgeon General, has a record of activism that suggests a strong anti-gay bias. Opposition to his nomination has been growing, but it’s been unclear whether there was enough information available to sink his chances.
Maybe this will do the trick. Holsinger wrote a paper in 1991 arguing that, from a medical perspective, homosexuality is unnatural and unhealthy, a position rejected by professionals as prioritizing political ideology over science.
Holsinger, 68, presented “The Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality” in January 1991 to a United Methodist Church’s committee to study homosexuality. (Read the .pdf paper here.) The church was then considering changing its view that homosexuality violates Christian teaching, though it ultimately did not do so. Relying on footnotes from mainstream medical publications, Holsinger argued that homosexuality isn’t natural or healthy.
“A confirmation fight is exactly what the administration does not need,” said David Gergen, a former adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton, who predicted the paper would cause a “minor storm” among Democrats on Capitol Hill.
“You have to wonder given the quality of some of the nominations that have gone forward recently, whether the selection group in the White House has gone on vacation,” Gergen said. “There has been a growing criticism the administration favoring ideology over competence, and this nomination smacks of that.”
Keep in mind, it’s not just the ‘91 paper that’s raising questions about Holsinger’s anti-gay animus. He also helped found a religious ministry that seeks to “cure” gays of their “lifestyle.”