Dr. Joycelyn Elders, President Clinton’s nominee for the post of Surgeon General, is on record as being anti-Catholic.
The Catholic League, in a July 22 news release, quoted several public statements by Elders indicative of her hostility towards the Catholic Church. (The full text of the League news release appears on pg. 2).
Bishop James T . McHugh, chair of the USCC pro-life committee, in a letter to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, criticized Elders for her “bigoted and contemptuous remarks about Catholics and other Christians.”
Msgr. William F. Murphy, in a Boston Pilot column, called Elders “an anti-Catholic bigot [who] advocates extreme positions regarding health care, sex education and abortion referrals for young people.” Msgr. Murphy, secretary for community relations in the Boston Archdiocese, went on to note the American “double standard” which accepts anti-Catholicism but condemns all other forms of bigotry.
The League’s charges against Elders received national exposure during a heated exchange on CNN’s Crossfire between former White House chief of staff John Sununu and Dr. Reed Tuckson, President of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science.
Tuckson praised Elders’ “behavior, thought, word” as something “all Americans could be proud of.”
Sununu countered: “The Catholic League disagrees with you. Catholic groups across the country disagree with you. These are the folks against which her language was directed. You certainly should understand from the history of the country that those are the kinds of things that divide and don’t unite the country.”
Later in the broadcast Catholic opposition to Elders was tied to the Church’s stand on abortion. Kay Coles James of the Family Research Council quickly noted: “It is not politically correct to to be anti-black. It is not politically correct to be against women. It is not politically correct to be anti-Semitic, but in America today, it’s totally acceptable to make the comments that she made about the church, not only the Catholic Church, but the comments she made about the Christian community as well.”
A letter from League president William Donohue has been sent to all members of the U.S. Senate. In his letter, Dr. Donohue cited the blatantly anti-Catholic comments of Elders and pointed out that there is no place in public office for such bigotry.