Sunday, May 27, 2007

NPR on James Holsinger

James Holsinger, University of Kentucky cardiologist and public health professor recently nominated for the Surgeon General position, gets some positive treatment from NPR. He has his conservative credentials: a theology degree from the conservative (but not really in that nasty Falwell/Dobson sort of way) Asbury Theological Seminary, and a history of serving on the judicial council of the United Methodist Church which supported a ban on homosexual clergy (at least according to a questionable reference on his Wikipedia site).

Buzzflash, which I'm not familiar with, but looks like a potentially very fringy far-left sort of source, has an article expressing its mass unhappiness with Holsinger's nomination. I don't necessarily trust the claims of malfeasance and malpractice, but it's always interesting to see what sort of dirt is being thrown at someone from either side of the wingnutsphere.

For example, while I find it personally unacceptable that homosexuals be excluded from clergy positions, I also don't think that someone who disagrees with that position would necessarily discriminate against homosexual persons in health policy. The latter is the question to be asked, not the former. He's being nominated for Surgeon General, not National Chaplain. If that's the most damning criticism a far-left source can expose towards a public health official's treatment towards the LGBT community, then concern over his policy positions towards the LGBT community may be a general non-starter.

Here's hoping that Holsinger at least represents the best of what we could expect from the Bush administration. I wouldn't anticipate a nominee wholesale interested in the best available evidence outside the realm of a conservative, fundamentalist world-view. So if Holsinger is a nominee who stands on the side of medical evidence, we may have a much better nominee than we ever would have anticipated.


Kyle said...

Frank Lockwood has coverage on the homosexuality issue (and indeed, it's the only thing about the story that he is covering), but I agree with your assessment - his interpretation of the United Methodist Book of Discipline likely has very little to do with his LGBT-related health policies. C. Everett Koop was an evangelical, after all, and famously the Surgeon General for all Americans.

Garrett said...

I was surprised you didn't comment on my assessment of Asbury :)

There are a certain politics that accompany health policy in academia, and I'd be surprised if someone could deviate absurdly from the party line and that not be the first thing we hear about. And honestly, the current administration probably isn't going to change any of its policies towards abstinence education or drug policies, etc, no matter who the surgeon general is (the NPR story suggests that Koop's prominence is part of the reason that the SG position has since become so dull-toothed).