By Peter LaBarbera
The following are two e-mail reports and analyses from Matt Barber of CWA, who attended yesterday’s Senate hearings on the confirmation of Dr. James Holsinger for U.S. Surgeon General. We agree with Matt’s assessment: while we are disappointed that Dr. Holsinger did not forthrightly defend his 1991 paper laying out how homosexual behaviors are unnatural and unhealthy – he did not fully recant his previous views as the media (including FOX News’ Brit Hume) are inferring and reporting in their coverage. (Here is Lifesite.net’s story on the hearing.)
Dodging questions and providing artful non-answers is an old Washington pastime. Also, it should be noted that since Dr. Holsinger’s nomination became news, his Bush administration handlers have sought to distance themselves from his 1991 paper (see our story on an ABC report about his nomination). Just as the Bush administration failed to strongly defend Gen. Peter Pace when he said homosexual acts are immoral, they now are running from Holsinger’s opposition to homosexual behavior.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing if the nominee for the nation’s top doctor actually looked Sen. Kennedy in the face and laid out the truth about the health hazards of homosexual behavior? He could start with the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) June report that finds, “MSM [men who have sex with men] accounted for 71% of all HIV infections among male adults and adolescents in 2005.” Sadly, that won’t happen in this administration.
Matt Barber e-mail July 13 to pro-family leaders:
I want to clarify my previous assessment of the hearing so there’s no confusion. Holsinger was definitely slipping and sliding all over the place. He came across as a regular Washington insider. In his 1991 paper he stood firm in his position. In the hearing he completely abandoned that firm stance by giving a bunch of non-answers and playing dodge ball… (Not at all impressive). I hope I didn’t give the impression I was defending his performance or his current position on homosexuality (which now nobody except for Dr. Holsinger apparently knows), because I definitely wasn’t. I was very much hoping he would display courage and stand firm on his prior position (which happens to be the correct position). He didn’t. And yes, his non-answers could be construed as “disavowing” his previous stance. But I think the MSM [mainstream media], including Fox, have grossly exaggerated his statement. They’re reporting what they wanted to hear, not what he actually said.
My point is that Dr. Holsinger never said that homosexuality was “natural” and “healthy,” which is the way that his non-answers are being portrayed in the media. They’re saying that he has affirmatively reversed course. He never said his findings were wrong or inaccurate. He never said that today’s medical science disproves his previous stance. He could have said all of those things if he believed them and the left would have loved him for it. His confirmation would have sailed through the Democrat controlled Senate.
I was very disappointed that he so clearly waffled and chose the path of lease resistance. I’m left unimpressed.
Original e-mail from Matt Barber:
From: Matt Barber, CWA
Subject: Dr. Holsinger hearing
I attended Dr. Holsinger’s Senate HELP committee hearing yesterday. Senator Kennedy came right out of the gate slamming Dr. Holsinger on both his Christian faith and the paper he wrote in 1991 detailing the negative medical pitfalls of male homosexual behavior (as you know, many of Holsinger’s findings are mirrored by the CDC, still today).
Holsinger gave several non-answers when asked if he still believed that homosexuality was “unnatural” and “unhealthy.” He seemed to try to distance himself from his 1991 paper by saying, “First of all, the paper does not represent where I am today,” he said. “It does not represent who I am today.” (What does that mean? Does it mean he no longer believes that homosexuality is “unhealthy” and “unnatural,” or does it mean that he is now MORE certain than ever that homosexuality is “unhealthy” and “unnatural”?) He completely dodged the question and provided a non-answer (which I suppose he was coached to do). His answer was prefaced by saying that he used the best medical information available at the time.
At least from what I heard (and I was listening closely) he never said that homosexuality is NOT “unnatural” or “unhealthy.” He never indicated where he currently stands on the issue of homosexuality from either a medical or spiritual standpoint. I would have certainly liked for him to have stood behind the medical facts relative to the high-risk nature of homosexual behavior, but those who prepared him for the hearing apparently weren’t going to allow him to go there.
Enter the Mainstream Media. They are widely reporting that Holsinger has “disavowed” his belief that homosexuality is “unnatural” and “unhealthy.” They’ve apparently made that extrapolation based upon Holsinger’s above referenced quote (quite a stretch I think). Brit Hume, reporting on the Fox News Channel, said, “Holsinger also told senators in a confirmation hearing that he no longer holds the views about homosexuality that he expressed in a controversial paper in 1991, in which he called it unnatural and unhealthy.” Unless I totally missed something, he never even came close to saying that.
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