Faith Based Larceny

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Bush Administration, Religion

Frederick Clarkson at Talk to Action tells us about George Bush’s nominee for surgeon general:

Dr. James Holsinger has also been a longtime leader of the Confessing Movement in the United Methodist Church. The Confessing Movement is a rightwing “renewal group” affiliated with the Washington, DC-based Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), whose purpose for a generation has been to divide and disrupt the historic churches of mainline protestantism in the interests of advancing neoconservatism and the religious right.

Holsinger was elected to the highest court in the Methodist Church a time when the IRD-affiliated church “renewal” groups had launched efforts to use church judicial systems to enforce their notions of orthodoxy, particularly on matters related to homosexuality.

Now, an investigation [by] Rev. Andrew J. Weaver, Ph.D. and Lawrence H. McGaughey, Esq., and published at Media Transparency, shows that Holsinger used the sale of a United Methodist Church-owned hospital in Kentucky, as a cash cow for his personal ambitions. It took years of litigation by the church to find out what had happened to its money, only to learn that Holsinger had diverted millions to endow professorships at the Chandler Medical Center at the University of Kentucky where he served as Chancellor and fundraiser-in-chief.

Meanwhile, Weaver and McGaughy report Holsinger did not disclose to his fellow church justices that he he was party to significant litigation against the church in the state courts — and thereby surface any potential conflicts of interest. The litigation cost the United Methodist Church (UMC) millions of dollars in legal fees to recover its assets. The article also raises questions about how those assets (that were not given away) were managed while under the control of Dr. Holsinger and his associates, some of whom apparently also had conflicts of interest.

You might remember that the last surgeon general, Richard H. Carmona, told Congress that the White House kept him on a leash and would not allow him to speak or issue reports on stem cells, emergency contraception, sex education, or prison, mental and global health issues. I guess the Bushies recognized that Holsinger is a man who won’t let integrity get in the way of his job. And what was that about people needing religion to be moral?

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1 Comment

  1. Doug Hughes  •  Sep 2, 2007 @8:55 am

    For the next year-plus, the Senate needs to stall any questionable nominees. These departements will follow the direction of career bureaucrats with no religious axe to grind and the damage will be much less than with a wingnut at the helm.



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