Meet Bush’s new Surgeon General

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I vaguely recall a time when Surgeon General was a big deal. C. Everett Koop became a prominent national figure in the 1980s, and seemed to take the position from honorary title to leading public health official.

Other than Joycelyn Elders, who gained unwelcome notoriety, the position hasn’t garnered much attention since. Quick: name the last Surgeon General. If you said, “Richard Carmona,” give yourself a prize. If you know that Kenneth Moritsugu has been the acting Surgeon General for the last year, you’re probably either a relative or an employee of Dr. Moritsugu.

However, with Bush’s new nominee for the job, James Holsinger, we’re probably going to hear quite a bit more about the position.

[Holsinger and his wife] founded Hope Springs Community Church in a warehouse at 1109 Versailles Road. Calhoun called it a socially diverse congregation with a “very vital recovery ministry.” It serves the homeless and those with addictions to drugs, alcohol and sex; and it has a Spanish-language Hispanic congregation with its own pastor. […]

Hope Springs also ministers to people who no longer wish to be gay or lesbian, Calhoun said.

“We see that as an issue not of orientation but of lifestyle,” he said. “We have people who seek to walk out of that lifestyle.”

Holsinger, in his capacity as a high-ranking official in the United Methodist Church, also opposed allowing a lesbian to be an associate pastor, and backed another pastor who refused to let a gay man join his church.

The Surgeon General needs Senate confirmation. Expect interesting hearings.

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