In the last couple of weeks a great controversy has arisen about Rev. Dr. Eric Walsh who is both the director of the Pasadena Health Department and a Seventh Day Adventist preacher. Many of Dr. Walsh's sermons have been loaded onto YouTube, and he has some things to say in his capacity as a spiritual leader that are annoying to some and have caused them to demand his removal as the director of Pasadena's Health Department. I do not know Rev. Dr. Walsh, but I rise to defend him and his future employment.
When Dr. Walsh claims the theory of evolution is satanic, perhaps he realizes, as anyone who has studied any history would, that it was used as the pseudo-scientific underpinning of American slavery, European colonialism, and a major component of Nazism, Stalinism, and was used regularly by racists and neo-Nazis right up to this morning. Perhaps especially as a African-American man, he finds this evil.
When Dr. Walsh claims Islam is satanic, perhaps he has studied comparative religion and he realizes that of all the worlds religious leaders, only Mohammed ever claimed to have written any scripture under the direct influence of Satan. Who can know if Mohammed a man who claims to have been fooled by Satan, knew the full extent of his delusion. Given some of the claims of the prophet himself, it's not a far stretch.
When Dr. Walsh claims Roman Catholicism is a satanic institution, perhaps he realizes that the Roman Empire took a religion that was written to and for the oppressed and made it the underpinning of the oppressor and ordered the destruction of all scripture that too overtly attacked the institutions of Roman paganism and imperial power. I am sure as a member of the Seventh Day Adventist denomination, a group concerned with bringing Christianity closer to its Jewish roots, Dr. Walsh is aware of these perversions of the gospel of Jesus Christ by the Roman state, the enemy that indeed crucified Christ.
When Dr. Walsh states that AIDS comes from a sinful lifestyle, this comment is no different than my cardiologist saying to me "Steve you have to change your lifestyle, stop eating what you are eating and exercise, if you want to stay alive more than the next year." Most prominent American diseases are a matter of excessive, some would even say, sinful lifestyles.
I can understand how some people may find Rev. Dr. Walsh's comments offensive and even annoying. But he does not have as a condition of his employment that in his non-official life he will offend no one. It's a good thing too, because if that were the case, no one could be employed.
Many have claimed that because Dr. Walsh believes homosexuality is a sin, he should be barred from public office. They claim it is literally impossible for a person to believe homosexuality is a sin and to provide a homosexual with compassionate medical care. My personal experience says otherwise. In the late 1970's, before anyone knew what AIDS was, even before it had the common name "the gay cancer" homosexual men in Hollywood were dying. No one knew what the disease was. The only place at that time that provided hospice care for them in Hollywood was a Pentecostal Christian ministry. Every one of us who worked or volunteered at that ministry believed homosexuality was a sin. We all provided compassionate care for the dying in an era where there was not yet another option.
There was a time, seemingly long ago now, in America when we judged people not by what they believed, but by what they DID. The only question about Dr. Walsh's fitness as a director of the City of Pasadena's Health Department should be: Has Dr. Walsh ever done anything to deprive or cause mistreatment of people whose views he does not share? Has he treated and caused to be treated, all who sought help with compassionate well informed medical care?
Are we now to have a belief test for all people holding public office? Are there things one may no longer believe? I would note that EVERY Orthodox Jewish person, every intellectually honest Protestant, most Buddhists believe all of the things Dr. Walsh has been "accused" of believing. Members of the Roman Catholic faith and the Islamic faiths agree generally with Dr. Walsh's opinions, except specifically where he has a negative opinion of their own faith, so they agree with his controversial opinions 80 percent. Are all of these people to be banned from public life and public office, based not on any untoward action, but upon belief?
Is THAT what we really want - a new system of complete intolerance of views not deemed politically correct by the thought police? Really? Where does that ever end? What a sad day for America.
Steven S. Lamb