.- Homosexual groups have denounced the nomination of Dr. James Holsinger as U.S. Surgeon General because of his leadership in the United Methodist Church, which disapproves of homosexual practice.
Holsinger is expected to testify today before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, chaired by Senator Ted Kennedy.
Several senators, including fellow United Methodist Hillary Clinton, have already said they will oppose Holsinger.
The United Methodist Church has 7.9 million members in the U.S. and several million more outside the U.S. Members also include President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Holsinger has served on the church's top court since 2000.
Mark Tooley of UMAction said Holsingerâs critics seem to want to establish âa new litmus test for public office -- a test that would exclude any nominee who is an orthodox Christian with traditional beliefs about sexual ethics.â
âThis would appear to violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the provision in Article VI of the U.S. Constitution stipulating that âno religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States,ââ he noted.
"Dr. Holsinger's nomination should be evaluated based on his qualifications in the fields of medicine and public health,â said Tooley. âOpposition to any nominee based exclusively on his church activities and traditional Christian beliefs sets a dangerous new precedent."