Washington Gadfly

Doc Purged By Hospital For Criticizing Gays Calls Decision Un-American

Evan Gahr Investigative Journalist
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Boston urologist Paul Church should have just stuck to telling co-workers that smoking is unhealthy.

But making similar arguments about the gay lifestyle to his Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) colleagues ultimately got him expelled from the hospital’s staff after 28 years of apparently impeccable service.

The BIDMC board of directors has quietly upheld Church’s expulsion for expressing “offensive” views when he again objected to the hospital’s gay pride events. That edict was the capstone of Church’s 11-year battle with Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital over its glorification of all things homosexual.

In an exclusive interview, his first about the decision, Church decried the effort to shut him up. “I think there is a motion to silence points of view that are not onboard with the homosexual agenda, making it almost illegal to have another point of view, which is anti-American,” he told this reporter. “I have done my part to point out the medical and health consequences involved in a lifestyle that is not harmless. There are issues of anatomy. The rectum is more vulnerable to spreading disease than vaginal sex.”

[dcquiz] Church, a born-again Christian, was not accused of communicating his views to patients, which include many gays, he says. One gay man even spoke out in his defense. Nor did the BIDMC dispute any CDC statistics about the higher rates of STDs, such as syphilis, among gays that he offered when objecting to their pride events.

Citing what he says are the well-documented dangers of gay sex, Church continually argued that the hospital’s celebration of the lifestyle contradicted the hospital’s basic mission to promote good health.

But the final straw occurred last year. Church replied to a hospital Internet posting about another gay pride event with Biblical passages critical of homosexuals.

Church’s thought crimes started in 2004 when he responded to an email about its gay pride week events by telling the hospital president Paul Levy and Board of Trustees that they contradicted the facilities basic mentions. In response, he was tacitly accused of discrimination.

Over the next few years Church responded in the same manner to the announcements of gay pride events.

In 2007, Levy posted Church’s email on his personal blog, prompting angry accusations of bigotry against him. Levy expressed sympathy for the critics but at one point noted that there were no complaints of Church foisting his views on patients.

Two years later, Church was forced to apologize to organizers of an LGBT event because he told them it was contrary to the hospital’s mission.

In 2011, the stuff that Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple’s wife allegedly likes to hurl really hit the fan.

Church offered to provide a counter-point point to a pro-gay video the hospital was making for its LBGT awards ceremony. “I would be delighted to offer a view from the ‘other side’ and expound on the significant health risks posed by homosexuality and its high risk behaviors, seems especially appropriate for a healthcare institution,” he wrote.

When employees complained that his offer was “humiliating,” Church was officially investigated for harassment and asked to resign. But he refused and told the committee investigating him that “truly caring for the well-being of individuals requires telling them the truth about their choices. The hospital does this on less controversial issues, such as smoking and diet. If it cannot tell the truth about sexual choices, then it should at least remain neutral on them.”

On November 7, 2011, Church was officially reprimanded for violating the hospital’s policy of “harassment” simply by offering to appear in the video. The Peer Review Committee told Church that “your opposition to diversity training and to BIDMC’s support for the annual Gay Pride Week events has been expressed in offensive terms and, at times, in a discourteous manner.”

The acclaimed urologist was ordered not to communicate his views on gays to anybody at the hospital. His request to not receive any more communications about the gay pride events was ignored.

In response to two solicitations in 2014, Church posted on the hospital intranet system Biblical passages condemning gays from Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 1:26:28.

Quoting the Bible was his final sin.

The BIDMC Executive Committee deemed him guilty of harassment and discrimination for referencing scripture, plus violating the 2011 gag order. On March 30, 2015 Church was officially expelled from the hospital staff.

At his appeal hearing this July, hospital lawyers disdainfully read aloud the Biblical passages he had quoted, Church says.

The appeal was rejected.

On December 8, the BIDMC Board of Directors informed Church that they had upheld the decision to remove him.

Now, Church is worried he could face trouble with his medical license given the hospital’s disciplinary action. But he is determined to keep speaking out about the health risks of gay sex and distribute such “medical facts” to school superintendents for parents.

“These are not harmless behaviors,” he contends. If parents knew the risk, “they would say they would rather have their child involved with smoking than the gay lifestyle.”