Dr. Church loses final appeal at hospital. Board of Directors upholds physician’s expulsion for telling the truth about high-risk LGBT behavior to colleagues.
Dr. Paul Church Statement
On December 8, 2015, my final appeal battle at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) ended with a judgment by the Board of Directors to uphold previous decisions and revoke my appointment as a member of the medical staff after 28 years. This concludes a dispute with the administration spanning more than 10 years involving the aggressive institutional endorsements and annual promotions surrounding lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activities within and outside the medical center, including the vulgar Boston Pride parade, to the exclusion of medical facts and traditional values.
Speaking out for staff and employees that find these promotions objectionable and inappropriate for a healthcare institution, I have challenged the medical center to be more truthful and honest about the negative health consequences inherent with high risk and unhealthy sexual behaviors and to be more respectful of the diversity of religious and moral views regarding homosexuality.
In presenting medical facts and Biblical truths criticizing these policies and the obvious contradictions to the higher mission of the medical center to protect the public welfare and promote healthy, moral choices, it was never my intention to offend or attack any individuals personally. Nevertheless, my objections were unfortunately characterized as “offensive” to some members of the BIDMC community, and this became the focus of repeated investigations and efforts to expel me from the staff, instead of addressing the merits of the objections and the criticism itself.
Over the years, BIDMC became more aggressive about efforts to silence these concerns, even resorting to the creation of a special “gag order” in 2011 designed to silence the expression of my concerns within the medical center. This past year a team of Boston lawyers hired by the medical center accused me of violations of the “gag order” and hospital bylaws in their case to have my staff appointment revoked.
Rather than resign as BIDMC initially requested, I engaged in the internal appeals process with help from my legal team from Liberty Counsel. I hoped to show BIDMC policy-makers the ultimate issues at stake and the hypocrisy of a one-sided definition of “offensive” that ignores both medical facts and religious and moral convictions. In its decision to expel me from the medical staff, it is evident that BIDMC no longer has room for the open, honest, and respectful discussion of medical issues or personal beliefs, nor a true fidelity to its stated mission of promoting healthy choices and lifestyles. Instead, it has chosen the path of political correctness and the promotion of a social agenda unrelated to the practice of medicine or the advancement of healthcare and the public welfare.
Despite an outpouring of public support, the Board of Directors was unwilling to address the real issues here. Voicing medical facts, religious convictions, or traditional morality is now apparently punishable by dismissal if a member of the staff claims to be offended by such views. 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 am grateful for the high level of support from social conservatives, people of faith, and organizations dedicated to traditional values. Many have written letters, emailed, demonstrated, and signed petitions in my behalf and for the cause of holding healthcare institutions to the higher standard of protecting the public welfare.
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 in favor of following a highly controversial social agenda. 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.