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The Healthcare Inquisition

By David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics) | May 05, 2016

by David Stevens,
MD, MA (Ethics)

An effort is underway to punish politically incorrect healthcare professionals, and those advocating “tolerance” are leading the inquisition. 

Dr. Paul Church, a CMDA member and urologist, was on the medical staff of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) for 28 years. He also served next door on the faculty of Harvard Medical School. He provided compassionate and competent care of numerous homosexual men with urological diseases resulting from their lifestyle. He was loved by his patients and the hospital never received a complaint from any of them.

In December, the board of BIDMC fired him, a decision with terrible ramifications. He was blackballed at the other two hospitals where he operated and lost his surgical privileges. BIDMC also reported him to the state medical board, which has now called him for an interview that may result in the loss of his medical license.

What terrible thing did Dr. Church do? Sexually abuse a patient? Gross malpractice? Drug addiction? No, he simply questioned the hospital’s fanatical endorsement of the LGBT movement to the extreme of encouraging its employees to march in the annual Gay Pride parade. That’s like a hospital posting billboards in the hallways lauding smoking or obesity. A healthcare system should only promote healthy lifestyles, not those leading to tragic health consequences. Dr. Church saw the disease ravages of the homosexual lifestyle every day in his practice. It didn’t make sense to praise a destructive lifestyle.

But when truth is abandoned, it is replaced by myths which can only maintained by coercion and punishment. The LGBT movement is a master at attacking, discrediting and destroying anyone who dares to oppose them. That is their stated strategy in the 1987 manifesto, “Overhauling of Straight America,” where they advocate “vilifying” anyone who opposes them to the extent that they “look so nasty that average Americans will want to dissociate themselves from such types.”

The vicious attack of Dr. Church is not an isolated incident; it is part of this growing inquisition in which the right of free speech is being assaulted, as well as the basic right of religious freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

And this inquisition now goes beyond examining actions in the workplace. Dr. Eric Walsh is a devout Christian physician who is a former member of both President Bush’s and President Obama’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. He started a dental clinic for low income families dealing with HIV/AIDS while he served as Director of Public Health for the city of Pasadena, California. Students at Pasadena City College attacked him for his Christian views after he was asked to speak at commencement. LBGT activists initiated a campaign to discredit him at the same time. The city then put him on administrative leave after they examined the sermons he gave as a lay preacher in his church. He ultimately resigned, stating he felt “persecuted” for his religious views and been “devastated” by the “witch hunt” directed at him.

So he moved to the Bible Belt and obtained employment with the Georgia Department of Health, but they soon learned about the controversy in California. The Georgia Voice, an Atlanta-based group committed to LGBT issues, wrote,

“Dr. Walsh’s public displays of anti-gay propaganda and religious rhetoric will become symbols of the department and will further isolate an already vulnerable population. We believe this hire is detrimental to the wellbeing of our community, as well as to the effectiveness of the Department to conduct meaningful outreach to LGBT Georgians.”

The senior staff at the Georgia Department of Health gave written directions to their subordinates to examine his recorded sermons and report their content. This illegal activity was so obvious the health department’s own legal counsel twice warned that “under federal law Dr. Walsh’s religious beliefs could play no role in any employment decision.” The health department ignored this warning and fired Dr. Walsh one day later.

Is this modern day inquisition of non-politically correct religious dissenters widespread? It is. A survey of Christian healthcare professionals found 40 percent had been pressured to compromise their convictions, 24 percent had lost a position, promotion or compensation as a result and 95 percent thought the problem was getting worse.

Do you see the progression? First, freedom of religion was attacked. You couldn’t live out your beliefs in the workplace, but politicians assured everyone they still had freedom of worship, a lesser thing. In other words, worship anything you want or nothing at all, but it cannot affect your public behavior or speech. Now the inquisitors have taken the next logical step and attacked freedom of worship itself. What you say in the church or other place of worship can now result in severe punishment as well. 

So what’s the answer? Dr. Walsh is bringing a suit against the state of Georgia. A few large settlements against those who violate religious civil rights would likely cause the inquisition to abate, but I don’t put my hope in that. I believe Christians are entering days of even greater persecution, as I shared in a session at CMDA’s National Convention just a few days ago. You can listen to that talk here. It is time to get ready!

Related Resources

CMDA's Healthcare Right of Conscience Ethics Statement

Religious Freedom in Healthcare: Navigating the New Era

Christian Doctor's Digest
April 2016

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