Dominionism's parallel economy: Dominionism at the doctor's office
Part 1: Dominionism at the pediatrician's office
Our story begins with the saga of two employees--Lexi Foster and Vergel Worrell. Mrs, Foster and Mr. Worrell share a similar story--both Lexi and Vergel were forced out of their jobs at Woodcreek Pediatrics in Puyallup, WA by an incredible climate of religious coercion:
Two former employees of a Puyallup-area pediatric clinic contend in a federal court lawsuit that they were pressured to participate in prayers and subjected to other forms of religious harassment by clinic officials.
When the Dark Christianity post broke, the team of amateur researchers went into action, and stumbled upon a major player in Puyallup's dominionist "parallel economy".
A quick looksee revealed a veritable hive of dominionist activity. The roster almost entirely consisted of dominionist docs:
Pullayup facilities (the centre of the lawsuit) include a physician who did his internship at a hospital funded by AmWay and major dominionist funder Richard DeVos (and is apparently also explicitly dominionist according to his bio, including educating his kids through the dominionist correspondence-school "homeschool" system) and a lactation consultant who promotes her "church work".
The Sunrise facility includes a pediatrician who is a member of an Assemblies of God frontgroup targeting third-world countries and whom has adopted a kid from Guatemala (a nation that has suffered all too much at the hands of Assemblies frontgroups in general) as well as another pediatrician-cum-missionary, a doctor of internal medicine who is a member of a Foursquare congregation (and in fact is the worship director at aforementioned congregation; this is signifigant because Foursquare is a "daughter church" of the Assemblies and holds similar dominionist beliefs), a third missionary doc, and a doctor with links to a group called "In His Image".
("In His Image" itself deserves a bit of explanation--it's a dominionist medical training group (effectively acting as the medical training wing for Oral Roberts University after its dominionist hospital "City of Faith" shut down) whose founder has membership in a dominionist medical society called the "Christian Medical Foundation International. In turn, "In His Image" is linked with Cornerstone Assistance Network (a dominionist "parallel economy" alternative to the United Way which is heavily connected to neopentecostal churches including the Assemblies of God) as well as Project MedSend (a dominionist "parallel economy" alternative to Doctors Without Borders which is likewise linked with the Assemblies as well as the SBC). It also receives endorsements from the "Christian Medical and Dental Association", a "parallel economy" group we'll get into in a bit.)
The Bonney Lake office also has docs that raise warning flags, including a missionary doc (including operating as a mentor in a group called "Young Life" which has an explicitly bibolatrous statement of faith and is based out of the Colorado Springs complex of dominionist groups--the group itself seems to explicitly operate as an alternative to YMCA et al (yes, YMCA isn't "Christian enough" for a lot of dominionists)), a second doc who promotes stuff about "moral beliefs" on his page, and a nurse practitioner going on about God.
The website itself describes the company as a "ministry" which is itself a subtle--but important--sign that the company could be operating as an explicit "missionary front" without revealing too much. Per at least one other report on the lawsuit, the order to essentially "shut out" non-dominionists from working at Woodcreek may well have come from Reitzug himself.
More warning signs that we are dealing with a potential front show up in research of the company's founder; as it turns out, Dr. Henry Reitzug is a member of Northwest Medical Teams, a group with explicit links to the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International (enough that it can almost be considered an medical front of the FGBMFI; FGBMFI is an Assemblies of God frontgroup that has been involved in some foul behaviour, including (on the nicer end of their activity) welcoming groups against allowing LGBT people to adopt and (on the downright despicable end) assisting SBC steeplejackers and targeting pretty much any other non-dominionist church for the same treatment, assisting in steeplejacking the Republican Party, and involving themselves in blatant interference in Latin American politics, ranging from the use of the Miskitu first nation to funnel aid to the Contras in Nicaragua to literally hailing Guatemalan genocide architect Gen. Rios Montt (who is, of note, not only an FGBMFI member but spoke at one of its conferences less than a year after he was overthrown by his own junta leaders).
Of note here (especially in regards to our own exploration of front groups), no less than three of the staff pediatricians are members of the American College of Pediatricians (specifically, Drs. Paul Billing (internal medicine) of the Pullayup facility and Drs. Cal Kierum (pediatrics) and Kathy Brewer (allergist) of the Sunrise facility are known to have signed a statement calling for the US Constitution to be amended with a "defense of marriage" bill).
And here, we get to focus in detail on the first of the dominionist "parallel economy" medical groups--the American College of Pediatricians.
ACPeds is a dominionist-run "parallel economy" alternative to the legitimate American Academy of Pediatrics which formed in 2003 when the AAP issued statements stating that allowing LGBT people to raise and adopt children would not permanently warp the little sprouts. Roughly 100 dominionist members of AAP left to essentially "take their ball and go home". NARTH (a dominionist group promoting "de-gaying" and also a focus with dominionists trying their own "alternate certifying bodies", as we'll get into later) and Concerned Women for America still have the initial press releases on formation of the group. Of note, ACPeds has been trying to get itself certified as an alternative "accreditation board" for pediatricians--that is, a group authorised to give certification to practicing pediatricians, issue "Continuing Medical Education" credits, and whose membership can be used by state medical boards to license physicians.
This should scare the hell out of people, frankly. ACPeds has much looser standards for membership, for starters (you just have to be a practicing physician and pay a yearly membership fee); secondly, their positions on things are...shall we say...more than a bit skewed towards dominionist positions that most legit doctors would probably find a bit horrifying.
Among other fun statements:
If it were merely dominionist pediatricians and medical offices one had to worry about, that'd be one thing. Unfortunately, dominionist medical associations are broader than just pediatrician associations.
Part 2: Dominionists at the OB/GYN (and the pharmacist, and the nurse's station, and the dentist, and...)
Our next story shows how the juxtaposition of the dominionist medical "parallel economy" and the decidedly poor state of medical insurance in the US often snare people in a catch-22--leading, in an increasing number of cases, to people being denied healthcare outright.
Guadalupe Benitez was in a situation increasingly common for women--seeking the services of a reproductive technology assistant so that she and her partner could have a baby of their own.
Mrs. Benitez was also in a situation that all too many Americans can say they feel her pain in--namely, her healthcare coverage was through an HMO, specifically Kaiser Permanente, which required company referrals to visit specialists and which had only a limited network of doctors whom she could see.
So she did what thousands of Americans do yearly--called up the insurance company and her primary-care physician, got the referral (to the one clinic in her area that offered services and which was in Kaiser Permanente's network), and proceeded to see the doc.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Benitez ran into a rather major snag.
You see...Mrs. Benitez is a lesbian, and Kaiser Permanente just happened to refer her to the local dominionist OB/GYN:
Guadalupe Benitez filed a sexual-orientation discrimination suit against the doctors at a San Diego women's clinic after they refused to artificially inseminate her in 2000.
Unfortunately, merely going to another provider is rarely an option when one is in an HMO. It's not uncommon for only one or two specialists in a field to be covered in an HMO plan; Mrs. Benitez was stuck, and so she sued.
California's courts have so far ruled on the side of the OB/GYN clinic--in part because California, like other states, has "moral refusal clauses" that apply to reproductive healthcare workers. Meant to originally allow healthcare workers to "opt out" of performing abortions, the use of the "Moral refusal clause" has expanded.
. . .
As I noted, dominionist medical associations often have some pretty bizarre concepts on just when life begins; whilst most mainstream doctors see pregnancy beginning upon implantation, dominionist groups see it as beginning at fertilisation--a concept that has led to some rather bizarre promotions (including adoption of "snowflake babies"--leftover zygotes resulting from in-vitro fertilisation that are not used in implantation attempts).
It has also led to expansion in "moral refusal" clauses to include (increasingly) pharmacists and--in some states--nurses and EMTs, and has been expanded to include end-of-life directives.
This has led, in part, to a dominionist War on Birth Control aided by dominionist "parallel economy" providers; among other things, dominionist groups consider the IUD and "the Pill" (including "the pill" in its megadose form as Plan B) as "abortifacient".
This, in turn, has led to the expansion of the "moral refusal clause" to pharmacists--in part because of stunts that involved pharmacists belonging to dominionist medical societies tearing up birth control scripts in front of women. This is, of note, a Bad Thing--"the Pill" is used for things besides actual birth control, notably for control of polycystic ovary syndrome (which causes severe pain to women who have it and increases their risk of cancer and diabetes if untreated; my own sister is a PCOS sufferer who was refused medical treatment by my mom (who refused to let her go on "the pill"), ended up in hospital with a suspected gallbladder attack which turned out to be a PCOS flareup, and is now a type II diabetic--likely as a result of delayed treatment).
In turn, the passing of the pharmacist "moral refusal clause" led to the expansion of "moral refusal" to things like refusing to fill prescriptions for antibiotics and pregnancy vitamins because the scrip issuer was a women's clinic, attempts to refuse HIV antiretroviral scripts and prescriptions for the antiherpetic Valtrex, and so on. (Valtrex and antiretrovirals are often used for things not related to STDs--Valtrex is essential in treatment of and prevention of chickenpox in immunocompromised individuals (and in adults; chickenpox is, sadly, occasionally fatal in adults) and in prevention of the invariably-fatal simian herpes B virus in primate workers, and certain antiretrovirals are now used in treatment of hepatitis C (which is primarily a bloodborne disease). Even HIV is often not from homosexual contact; het cases of HIV are rising, and there is a non-negligible percentage of the population who contracted HIV from tainted blood and blood products.) For that matter, the same dominionist medical associations are also pushing to allow "moral refusal" to give the potentially lifesaving HPV jab.
This in turn led to nurses in dominionist medical associations pushing for the right to expand "moral refusal" clauses further, as well as EMTs (these efforts got a big boost during the fiasco with Terri Schiavo and dominionist groups working to keep her in a vegetative state rather than allowing her husband to let her die in peace as she would have wished). As a result, we now have states like Mississippi that have such broad "moral refusal" clauses that legally a physician, nurse, or EMT can refuse to provide lifesaving treatment to a pagan because they have "strong moral objections to rendering treatment". (Georgia is also attempting to pass a similar law.)
This becomes highly problematic in small towns and with folks on HMOs--frequently they don't have the choice to go to a non-dominionist doc.
It doesn't help that most of the time dominionist doctors don't always advertise their links to dominionist groups outside of the "parallel economy".
. . .
The two biggest dominionist "parallel medical economy" associations are Pharmacists for Life (promoting dominionist pharmacists and pharmacy techs) and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations; both are hardcore dominionist groups, and CMDA in particular has been pushing to be seen as an alternative accreditation board to the American Medical Association.
CMDA's ethics statements are particularly telling; among other things, they promote the "life and pregnancy begin at fertilisation" concept (again, this flies in the face of legitimate medical science which holds that implantation is the start of pregnancy--no implantation, no pregnancy), believes that reproductive assistance technology should be denied to non-married couples and that amniocentesis and reduction abortions should be avoided (amniocentesis is a cornerstone of good reproductive care, especially for pregnancies of women over the age of 35 or who have had a history of miscarriage--besides, most people who find they are carrying a kid with a chromosomal defect don't abort; reduction abortion is sometimes a necessary thing for IVF pregnancies to survive (ask the Morrison family about their ongoing heartbreak--they refused reduction, had sextuplets only 18 weeks into the pregnancy, five of the six are dead, and the odds aren't good for the sixth; if a few of the fetuses had been aborted, it's likely she could have carried the pregnancy to near term and had healthy babies)), believes that prosyletisation in the doctor's office is not only acceptable but to be encouraged, has advocated against making the HPV jab mandatory (and likewise fought its approval), and claims (in almost complete contradiction to every legitimate medical association in the US) that people choose to be gay and that abusive "degaying therapy" is to be encouraged (more on this in a bit).
In addition, CMDA uses statements from NARTH (to back up "degaying" claims) and even quotes from literature from the Holocaust-revisionist "Abiding Truth Ministries" to back up its claim that LGBT people are more likely to be paedophiles ("Abiding Truth Ministries" is publisher of a horrid bit of Holocaust revisionism known as The Pink Swastika; for those unfamiliar with this book, it is a bit of Holocaust revisionism that claims not only that gays were not murdered en masse by the Nazis but that the gays were, quite literally, not only Nazis but the very architects of the Holocaust, that LGBT people are of an explicitly criminal and sociopathic nature, and that LGBT people are in a worldwide conspiracy with the Moslem population to wipe out Jews and "born-again Christians" (as Jews and "Joel's Army" dominionists are seen as God's two "chosen people").)
In the same section, they also reference the debunked work of disbarred "therapist" Paul Cameron (noted earlier in this chapter) and in the section on "Human Sexuality" makes the claim that sex education for unmarried individuals constitutes pornography.
The group also promotes the work of groups linked to Army of God domestic terrorists in its abortion ethics guidelines (Operation Rescue's leaders, along with Operation Save America, have been linked to clinic violence, clinic harassment, and Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry has actively worked with "Christian Patriot" militia groups linked to domestic terrorism and Operation Rescue members have included "Army of God" assassins) and (again, against practically every legit medical association) makes the claim that "the Pill" and other hormonal birth control are abortifacient--in addition, they promote "moral refusal" explicitly in regards to birth control.
The associated ministry groups are also a dead giveaway we're dealing with the dominionist "parallel economy" (as if the search tool for dominionist doctors wasn't enough of a cluehammer for you): it's a veritable laundry-list of dominionist charity fronts (including "MAP International", a dominionist "parallel economy" alternative to Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders), dominionist orgs (including Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, and Concerned Women for America), various other dominionist medical associations dealing with other non-physician specialties of practice, a dominionist investment scheme called "Crown Financial Concepts" (we'll get into them in a future installment on dominionist investment), and Zondervan (a dominionist book publisher and bookstore chain we'll focus on in later installments). Notably not listed in their medical resources are legitimate peer-reviewed medical journals like Journal of the American Medical Association or Lancet.
PFLI is considerably less formal; in a Bill O'Reilly-esque move, they like to post their hate mail online, and laughably refer to states which have enacted "pharmacist shall fill" legislation as "abortaholic" states. Like most dominionist "parallel economy" business associations, they have their own directory of dominionist pharmacists; in probably the most bizarre endorsement I have ever seen for open-source software, the group promotes Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice under the guise that Microsoft are apparently abortionists. (No word, of course, on Apple.)
The links page is also a veritable laundry list of dominionist "pro-life" and anti-contraception groups, including the radical "American Life League" (which has claimed that spermicides cause cancer, among other things).
Especially if you're in an HMO with a limited network, the worry about dominionist docs and pharmacists may be enough to drive you crazy. You increasingly need to be careful in seeing a therapist, though, for things like marriage counseling or psychotherapy--dominionists have a "parallel medical economy" for THAT, too.
Tomorrow, we continue the focus on this part of the dominionist parallel economy--specifically, the extensive promotion of alternatives to mental health providers.
Dominionism's parallel economy: Dominionism at the doctor's office | 2 comments (2 topical, 0 hidden)
Dominionism's parallel economy: Dominionism at the doctor's office | 2 comments (2 topical, 0 hidden)