Jewish Journal


September 9, 2007

The transsexual minister and the president’s pick for America’s physician


Talk about worlds colliding.

The LA Times this morning took note of a transsexual United Methodist minister—the former Rev. Ann Gordon, now Drew Phoenix—mentioned here in May. But an interesting twist on the story is this:

(w)hen Phoenix, 48, was reappointed to another year of ministry this spring by his bishop, it sparked a protest in the United Methodist Church.

The denomination’s highest authority, the Judicial Council, will take up the case next month, deciding whether the church should accept transgender pastors. The decision will determine Phoenix’s future; it could also have political implications.

Presiding over the Judicial Council is Dr. James W. Holsinger Jr., President Bush’s nominee for surgeon general and a longtime lay leader of the United Methodist church. Democrats have objected to Holsinger in large part because of work he has done for his church over the years.

Holsinger, whom you might remember from here and here and here, has been attacked fro the left and right because of his position on homosexuality. He wrote a 1991 paper for the denomination describing homosexuality as unnatural, ruled last year in favor of a minister who wouldn’t allow a gay man to join his church and supports ex-gay therapy.

The United Methodist playbook—known as the Book of Discipline—has “no specific policies regarding gender reassignment.”

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