Bush Surgeon General Nominee (and Methodist Renewal Leader) Charged with Conflicts of Interest
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Aug 31, 2007 at 03:39:28 PM EST
George Bush's nominee for Surgeon General has drawn a lot of heat for among other things, his crack-pot anti-gay views as a leader in the United Methodist affiliate of the Institute on Religion and Democracy.   But a new report may finally sink his already controversial nomination in a sea of conflicts of interest that have marked his career.
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 churchs 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 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.

Weaver and McGaughy report:

From the time of the sale of the property in July of 1995 until the [Kentucky Annual Conference of the UMC] KAC filed suit against the GSF on May 18, 2000, the foundation's trustees "refused to give an accounting of the proceeds from the sale to the Kentucky Annual Conference". In fact, as late as June of 2006 the lay and clergy members of the KAC felt compelled to pass a resolution formally seeking necessary "[i]nformation on assets, income earned, tax issues...investment practices, conflicts of interest, and other information" from the foundation.

The Good Samaritan Hospital (GSH) of Lexington, Kentucky, was one of dozens of hospitals built by the Methodist church in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to provide care for the poor and indigent. The GSH had an unbroken legal and historic connection to Kentucky Methodism dating back to 1925. Photographic evidence presented in court showed that from 1968 until 1995, signs inside and outside of the hospital publicly proclaimed "The Good Samaritan Hospital of the United Methodist Church." Not surprisingly, the Kentucky courts repeatedly ruled that the hospital "was held in trust" for the KAC and that the church rightfully owns the assets.

It was only when Holsinger was named as Surgeon General nominee that the litigation came to an abrupt halt. Within a matter of days after his May 24, 2007, nomination, Holsinger resigned from the GSF trustees [the entity that controlled assets from the sale of the hospital] and the lawsuit, communicating through a spokesperson that to continue would be incompatible with an appointment as Surgeon General. Within a mere two weeks, the suit was finally settled, after seven years of litigation."

Read the whole report here.  




Display:
And as usual, yeoman work from Brother Andrew and the MT folks!

by Frank Cocozzelli on Fri Aug 31, 2007 at 05:19:55 PM EST
It will be interesting to see if the self-described renewal groups have anything to say about this multimillion dollar diversion of church funds that have propped-up the career of the ethically challenged James Holsinger.

by Frederick Clarkson on Fri Aug 31, 2007 at 10:18:03 PM EST
Parent
wants to divert as many of the mainline churches' resources away from social justice ministries, but I'll be interested to see whether they even try to justify Holsinger's unethical stewardship.  Thanks for bringing this to light.

by Rusty Pipes on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 05:57:42 PM EST
Parent
That would be something to see, wouldn't it?

by Frank Cocozzelli on Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 09:02:27 PM EST
Parent




Fred,
I like that you took the time to briefly define "renewal," and did so early on in your post. While the contributors to Talk To Action and most readers would have known what you meant by the "renewal" phrase as it appears in your title, anyone new to Talk To Action might not be as well informed.

by IseFire on Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 12:05:49 PM EST
this is something I think we all struggle with.

A lot of people have been reading us right along, and follow how various terms are used. But you are quite right, there are new readers all the time, with a wide variety of knowledge and experiences.  

There is no one right answer to the matter of at what level to write at, and what to assume about the level of knowledge of our readers. My personal choice is to usually write in a widely accessible way, without dumbing down or over-explaining.

Thanks for raising this. It is good to regularly revisit these kinds of points so we continue to keep the site lively and accessible, and still move the conversation forward without always having to start at square one.

by Frederick Clarkson on Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 03:14:47 PM EST
Parent



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.

by liaozhi123 on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 01:57:26 AM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Are The Fundamentalists Winning?
We missed Evolution Weekend, which was held February 13-15 this year.   This worthwhile effort, which began the same year as Talk to Action,......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Mario Cuomo's Memorable Lesson on Challenging the Political Authority of the Church
It is never too late to remember. Here is a reposting of a column I did following the death of former New York Gov.......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
The Legacy of Francis Bellamy
"We assemble here that we, too, may exalt the free school that embodies the American principles of universal enlightenment and equality; the most characteristic......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
The Inquisitional Urge Gets the Better of Bill Donohue (Again)
Bill Donohue is at it again. The Catholic League president went apoplectic over President Obama’s seemingly innocuous comments at the February 5th National Prayer......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
John Dorhauer Recommended to Lead United Church of Christ
I am very pleased to report that John Dorhauer, who joined us early on at Talk to Action has been recommended by a national......
By Frederick Clarkson (3 comments)
Terms, Definitions & Glossaries for Writing about the Religious Right
One of the challenges in writing about the Religious Right and what to do about it is the matter of terms and definitions. That's......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
The Day We Won One for Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson wanted to be remembered for three things, which he had carved on his gravestone: Here was buried Thomas Jefferson Author of the......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
The Judiciary According to the Religious Right
Judicial Tyranny, compiled by Mark Sutherland, is a book that appears to represent what Religious Right types proclaim is the final word on the......
By wilkyjr (3 comments)
Beware Of Mormons Bearing Gifts: Why The LDS Gay Rights `Compromise' Isn't Useful
The leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) made quite a splash last week when they announced they would support......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
Priebus' RNC Israel Trip Organizer: "Wage War To Restore a Christian America"
image, right: Pastor David Lane, screenshot from Right Wing Watch video "Where are the champions of Christ to save the nation from the pagan......
By Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
The Theocrats' New Clothes: A Naked Call for Political Dominion
Like the monarch in Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale, The Emperor's New Clothes, the theocratic ambitions of the organizers of the big Christian Right......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
The Republican Diversity Program... Is Working
The Washington Post recently underscored the larger point in this post, which goes far beyond the issues of the GOP diversity program. So I......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Unholy Alliance for Bloomberg's Everytown for Gun Safety
When I obtained a post from a private email listserv of gun control advocates, I wasn't sure what to do with it. Then I......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Bobby Jindal's Big Rally for Christian Right Dominion
There is a big Christian Right rally in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Saturday, January 24th. The event, called The Response, is intended to, among......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
Dominionism, Gov. Rick Perry and The Response Rally of 2011
The David Pakman Show recently rebroadcast this "Classic Interview"  with Rachel Tabachnick in which they discuss her groundbreaking work on the New Apostolic Reformation,......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)

Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (1 comment)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (0 comments)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (0 comments)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (3 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (5 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (5 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (1 comment)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.