Wednesday, June 06, 2007
This Man Could Be Dangerous To Your Health
Quick -- can you name the current Surgeon General of the United States?
It wasn't always like this.
One of my top ten work days ever was the day that I accompanied former Surgeon General Koop in Hollywood. It was probably in 1986, and Dr. Koop had established himself as not only the nation's doctor on the AIDS epidemic but its moral voice. As the Director of Education for the Center for Population Options (now Advocates for Youth), we took Dr. Koop to Hollywood to bring his message to producers, writers, and stars. I still have the picture of Dr. Koop and I on the set of the "Golden Girls" hanging in my office.
As President of SIECUS, I also had opportunities to work with Dr. Joycelyn Elders and Dr. David Satcher, both who used their "bully pulpit" to help America understand that sexual health was part of public health.
I've just learned from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force that President Bush has recently named a new candidate for U.S. Surgeon General. That's him in the picture...it's Dr. James Holsinger Jr. from the University of Kentucky. He's being touted for his expertise in obesity.
But what the White House's press release doesn't tell us is that Dr. Holsinger has served on the United Methodist Judicial Council, and voted to keep a lesbian woman from serving as a pastor and to allow another church to deny membership to gay people. More alarming, he founded an "ex-gay ministry" at a local church, a type of therapy derided by every major health and counseling organization. One can hardly imagine what he might do as the "nation's doctor" when it came to health care for LGBT persons. Just a guess, but I think it's reasonable to think he's anti-choice as well.
Now, maybe we shouldn't be surprised that the same White House that made Dr. Eric Kerouac, an anti-family planning fundamentalist, the head of the national family planning program would nominate an anti-gay doctor to be the Surgeon General of the United States...but that doesn't make it any less troubling. No hearings have been scheduled on this appointment. Stay tuned for how you can make your voice heard.
And a free copy of a Religious Institute publication of your choice to the first person who can name the current Surgeon General. (without googling it!)