Arthur Christopher Schaper: One-Sided Free Speech and Religious Liberty in MA

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A growing cause for concern in Southern New England has been the resolute lack of media reporting on egregious encroachments of the state into private lives of citizens.

The first major case involved the plight of a young Connecticut resident, Justina Pelletier, held against her family’s will in the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, even though there was no clear evidence that her parents were harming her. In fact, quite the contrary: The parents worked hard to free her from the clutches of the state bureaucracy.

Following the ongoing efforts of local activists and pressure from Fox News anchor (now presidential candidate) Mike Huckabee, Justina was released to a Connecticut facility.

Now, in the private sector, a long-standing urologist, Dr. Paul Church, assigned at Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center, has been targeted for retribution and summarily terminated for speaking out his concerns about the medical consequences and health effects connected with homosexual behavior, according to Mass Resistance, a pro-family advocacy group based in the Bay State.

He was pressured to participate in “gay pride” activities, despite his adherence to the Hippocratic Oath (first, do no harm) and his understanding of the moral and health implications of same-sex conduct. After a round of media inquiries, some hospital staffers informed this writer that BIDMC is a publically funded non-profit, while others commented that they could not adequately respond to the query. Regardless of the hospital’s funding sources, the fact remains that Dr. Church faced pressure then persecution for exercising his First Amendment rights.

Mass Resistance has also informed concerned citizens nationally about this attack on freedom of speech and conscience perpetrated against this physician. Providing a long timeline beginning in 2004, Mass Resistance detailed the rising hostility imposed on Dr. Church and fellow colleagues, from e-blasts promoting “Gay Pride” week from the CEO, and responses from Dr. Church. Here is a link providing an extended timeline.

Church’s first comments focused on medical concerns, voicing his opposition to LGBT-related promotional activities: “This action again jeopardizes the credibility of BIDMC as a healthcare institution and dishonors a large proportion of its community who continue to hold to the conviction that homosexuality is unnatural and immoral.”

Immediately, the physician and concerned colleagues were tarred with accusations of discrimination. Over five years, the doctor emphasized that his conduct with individual patients, regardless of sexual behavior, never changed, but he would submit letters and send comments regarding the ongoing promotion of “Gay Pride” and other homosexual activist activities.

At one point, Church was called on to apologize to gay rights groups for his comments. Staff leaders also encouraged the doctor to resign, then imposed a gag order on his “anti-homosexual” statements. Because he continued to post comments (including Bible verses) about the inappropriate nature of a hospital promoting destructive behavior, he faced further investigations, reprimand, and finally termination.

Freedom of speech, conscience, and the press are under attack in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on other fronts already. Former Governor Patrick and Attorney General Coakley resisted a Supreme Court decision which stuck down barriers to freedom of speech and assembly outside of abortion clinics. No one should be surprised at the silence of Beacon Hill on this egregious attack on freedom of speech as well as the truth.

Despite arguments from the national press and academic circles, and even from BIDMC administrators, there is indeed a growing body of research, from pro-family activists and professionals, is indeed fraught with unhealthy consequences and dangerous medical implications. The liberal online news site Daily Beast and the alternative, left-leaning LA Weekly have also acknowledged the high incidence of disease, dysfunction, and death associated with homosexual behavior.

The deeper tragedy, and the larger point of concern in the BIDMC-Church matter, is that a trusted, respected medical physician was not only dismissed for reporting the truth, but for protesting the in-house pressure to participate in activities that he found offensive, immoral, and contrary to his professional calling.

So far, the Boston media establishment (conservative and liberal) has said nothing. How can this be? Boston, Massachusetts, was the first major battleground against British tyranny during the American Revolution. How sad that the very rights and freedoms for which our Founders fought are now foundering in the state where “the shot heard round the world” was fired.

More people need to fire back, and the case of Dr. Church is one telling example of tyranny against free speech, as well as an opportunity for individual citizens to live and work according to their conscience and even professional judgment.

Arthur Christopher Schaper is a blogger, writer, and commentator on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow his blogs at The State of the Union and As He Is, So Are We Ministries and on Twitter.



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