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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Republicans Declare War on Science Yet Again

Bush’s nominee for Surgeon General, James Holsinger, is an anti-gay bigot and there is, therefore, a strong moral case against his confirmation as America's doctor (in case I need to spell it out for Republican strays among my readers, bigotry is a character flaw and character is a qualification for prestigious positions at the height of one's profession, not to mention the fact that the millions of queer citizens he irrationally denigrates are among the Americans whose medical interests he would be charged with representing, too). But Holsinger is more than the latest cynical gambit of the market fundamentalist wing (the corporate-militarists) of Movement Republicanism to whomp up the useful idiocy of the religious fundamentalist wing (The American Talibanists) in order get enough votes to ensure the plutocrats remain in a position to loot, cheat, and steal their way to ever greater fortunes for themselves and their friends, everybody else on earth be damned (their faithful enablers very much included). Quite apart from all that all too familiar ugliness, it is important to grasp that the Holsinger nomination also represents another skirmish in what Chris Mooney has described as the ongoing Republican War on Science.

Over thirty years ago, in 1974, the American Psychological Association stopped listing homosexuality as a mental illness, but Holsinger still believes it is one. He and his wife were founders of Hope Springs Community Church, which has a notorious "ex gay ministry" offering bogus "reparative therapy" for queer folks made to feel unsure and unhappy about themselves by the relentless bigotry of their "loving" communities. It actually matters that literally every reputable medical organization in America rejects the travesty that is "ex-gay" therapy as well as the underlying premise that homosexuality is a disease to be "treated" in the first place. It actually matters that the nominee for Surgeon General, seeking confirmation based on his qualifications for the position, is nothing short of a crackpot.


jfehlinger said...

> [I]t is important to grasp that the Holsinger nomination also
> represents another skirmish in what Chris Mooney has described
> as the ongoing Republican War on Science.

Which is more than a quarter of a century old, now.

Mel White, in _Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the
Christian Right_ mentions (on p. 218):

"Bill Moyers reminds us that fundamentalist theology began
affecting U.S. policy, domestic and foreign, with the Reagan
administration. Moyers recalls that 'James G. Watt told the
U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was
unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ.'
Watt, Reagan's Secretary of the Interior and a fundamentalist
Christian, claimed that there is no need to support
treaties, protocols, and agreements intended to protect
the air, the seas, the wildlife, and forest preserves because
'we don't know how much time we have before Jesus returns.'
In public testimony he said, 'After the last tree is felled,
Christ will come back.'"

[End note: Bill Moyers, "Armageddon & the Environment,"
published December 6, 2004, by]

jfehlinger said...

By all means check out the March episode of The Daily Show
in which Jason Jones and Wayne Besen ambushed
"reparative therapist" Richard Cohen and made an utter
fool of him.

The clip was yanked from You Tube, but is still available at

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