BOSTON — A Massachusetts urologist has lost his appeal of his expulsion from a Boston hospital for making statements on an internal online portal expressing concern about the health dangers of same-sex sexual activity.
As previously reported, Dr. Paul Church serves as a urology professor at Harvard University and has also had admitting privileges at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he has seen patients for nearly the past 30 years. He has additionally participated in medical missions outreaches in Mexico and Africa.
For over the past decade, Church has expressed concern to his colleagues about the hospital’s promotion of homosexual events. He has commented both via email and on the hospital’s internal portal that it is improper to promote lifestyles that are contrary to the goals of the healthcare community, and has been met with allegations that his comments constitute “discrimination and harassment” and are “offensive to BIDMC staff.”
“The evidence is irrefutable that behaviors common within the homosexual community are unhealthy and high risk for a host of serious medical consequences, including STD’s, HIV and AIDS, anal cancer, hepatitis, parasitic intestinal infections, and psychiatric disorders,” Church wrote on the portal on one occasion.
According to reports, in 2011, after being told that he would be subjected to an investigation if he does not resign, Church received a letter from a peer review committee demanding that discontinue providing his “opinion about sexual orientation, homosexuality, or other protected status.”
Church in turn asked that he discontinue receiving the hospital’s emails promoting homosexual pride events, but when he continued to receive the notices more frequently, he again spoke out. One comment was posted in 2013, and two in 2014.
“Celebrating sexual perversions is highly inappropriate, especially in the context of a medical center that should be aware of the negative health consequences of high risk behaviors,” Church wrote in 2013. “It also ignores and dishonors the religious convictions and moral objections that many members of the hospital community share who are opposed to these behaviors.”
In 2014, he simply responded with a reference to a Bible verse, pointing to Leviticus 18:22 on one occasion and Romans 1:26-28 on another.
In September 2014, a formal investigation was launched against Church, and findings were turned over to a 25-member Medical Executive Committee for consideration. In March, the committee decided to expel Church for his “unsolicited views about homosexuality that were offensive to BIDMC Staff” and for violating the hospital’s discrimination policy.
Church appealed the expulsion, but it was upheld in September by the panel. He now reports that a final ruling from the hospital’s board of directors has likewise upheld the decision.
“Voicing medical facts, religious convictions, or traditional morality is now apparently punishable by dismissal, should a member of the staff claim to be offended by such views,” Church said in a statement. “While I am deeply disappointed in the outcome from these decisions, I feel that we have fought ‘the good fight’ and brought these valid concerns into the spotlight of the public arena.”
“I end my long affiliation with BIDMC with sincere regrets that the administration and directors have departed from the institution’s higher mission and calling to follow a highly controversial social agenda,” he continued. “I do value the many personal and professional relationships fostered there over many years. For my part, I intend to continue my medical practice elsewhere and will continue to fulfill my responsibility as a doctor by advocating for healthy and moral choices.”