By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 8/13/2020
Posted: 6/13/2007
Topics/Keywords: #AdolfHitler #BushCrimeFamily #HealthCare #JamesW.Holsinger #ReligiousPolitics #RepublicanCorruption #Sexuality Page Views: 3291
Religion should NEVER be a requirement for a government job..

There's an urban legend that, in the days of World War II when radar was first being developed as a defensive weapon, Hitler might have had it first. His scientists on both sides were working on it. But Hitler had a lot of strong metaphysical beliefs, largely influenced by Theosophy, that, besides the certainty that Germans comprised a superior form of humanity (which was used to justify the extermination of "inferior" forms), included the belief that the sky above us was, in fact, a star-studded dome suspended just a few miles above the surface of the Earth. When his scientists sought to demonstrate the power of radar to detect distant objects before they could be seen, Hitler had them direct their radar devices upwards, in order to determine exactly how far overhead the dome of sky was located. The radar, of course, detected nothing—no dome. To Hitler's mind, this proved that radar was useless. He therefore refused to make use of it, which gave the Allies a tactical advantage as we could detect the Nazi planes and ships at a distance, while he was unable to detect ours.

There's little evidence to support this legend, although it is documented that the Nazis made little or no use of radar during the war. The thing is, no one doubts it could be true. We know to what extremes a person will go to support his or her religious beliefs, even when the evidence of one's senses must be denied to do so. As Groucho Marx put it, "Who are you going to believe—me or your lying eyes?" So thorough is this selective blindness that even people who are themselves guilty of this behavior are quick to laugh at others for engaging in it.

During the 16th century witch hunts, one common method of determining whether an accused person was actually guilty of witchcraft, was to bind the person and drop him or her into a cauldron of water. It was believed that pure water would reject a witch, so that only an innocent person would sink. We moderns, acutely aware that floating depends on one's body/fat ratio and is therefore less dependent on consorting with the devil and more dependent on consorting with Twinkies, find such ancient beliefs to be quaint, and are no longer threatened by them—but they caused many innocents to be executed.

But even though the belief that a witch cannot sink is no longer taken seriously, the intense ignorance that allows such a belief to justify the death of another human being is very much alive, and very threatening.

For example, the United States military, with its "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, still discharges gay servicemen and women. Think that's harmless? Many of the discharged persons were Arabic linguists. While they, themselves, only lost their jobs, the ignorance that dismissed them has cost the lives of thousands of American soldiers that might have been saved if we'd had timely translations of Arabic intelligence. 9/11 itself might have been thwarted, as an Arabic warning had been received but lay untranslated because so many gay linguists had been discharged from the Army.

The justification for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is that non-gay servicemen and women might be "uncomfortable" serving with gay compatriots. But 26 nations in the world, including Great Britain, Canada and Israel, do not discriminate between gay and straight personnel, and simply have zero problems with it. (And our soldiers are working with their soldiers in Iraq without issues.) This justification is a freaky religious belief, no more founded in reality than witch floatation. Its adherents are ignorant. That's their right; but the rest of us must not allow them to dictate policy that affects the rest of us—especially when their policies are causing Americans (as well as others) to die.

As another example, a few days ago ago the Pentagon confirmed that in 1994 it looked into creating a "gay bomb" that would "turn an enemy gay" and demoralize them by having the enemy soldiers fall in love with each other. This is so preposterous, on so many levels, that it's hard to know where to begin. Perhaps the most important thing to note is that this happened when appointees of the first President Bush were running the Pentagon. Like his son, Bush I appointed cronies and crazy religious freaks to run things. The abysmal job they did contributed to Bush's defeat at the polls that November. (And it took a stolen election in 2000 to get Bush II into the White House so that more cronies and crazy religious freaks could be hired.)

Is 1994 ancient enough for us to think the "gay bomb" plan was quaint? After all, the bomb wasn't built (it couldn't be; aphrodisiacs are possible but only the right genes can make a man gay) and no lives were lost because of it. But we have the makings of an equally foolish move right in front of us, today.

James W. Holsinger, Jr., M.D.

By all accounts, James W. Holsinger means well. He's been a licensed doctor since 1964 (graduated from Duke University) and managed to get a Masters degree in Biblical Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary as well.

But he has a blind spot. Thanks to his extremist religious beliefs, he sees homosexuality as a disease rather than a normal difference, despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary, which he chooses to ignore. In 1991 he wrote a white paper for the for the Committee to Study Homosexuality of the United Methodist Church. At the time he was chief medical director of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, a department that was at the time under fire for the poor quality of care it provided our veterans (as it is now, under the command of yet-another-Bush-crony).

In his paper he compares human sexuality to plumbing (seriously), and selectively quotes published articles that support his contention, while ignoring the majority of evidence that does not.

That very year Holsinger had to answer for six patients who had died at the veterans' hospital in North Chicago due to inadequate care. Yet he had time to join a church committee whose purpose was to investigate homosexuality to determine whether the Methodist church should reverse its traditional position that homosexuality was "inconsistent with Christian teachings". And when other members of the committee didn't share Holsinger's homophobic views, he resigned from it.

And he then helped found Hope Springs, a Methodist church that preaches "reparative therapy" (the idea that being gay is a bad habit that can be cured, like nose-picking or swearing).

So, of course, president George W. Bush wants to make him Surgeon General.

Please understand; I don't fault Holsinger for his homophobia or any other unscientific beliefs he may hold. He can have sex with pipes all he wants (as long as it's consensual). But when he's about to be put into a position where his homophobia will affect me I have to draw the line.

I don't want Supreme Court judges who believe witches float. I don't want Surgeon Generals who believe being gay is some kind of perverted plumbing, and that I can be "cured" of it by Finding Jesus.