Pasadena's medical director on leave after his Protestant sermons surface

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  • Roy_Beans La Habra Heights, CA
    May 15, 2014 1:43 p.m.

    One day attitudes and beliefs will swing back again, they always do. Will you be comfortable then with Eric Walsh type thinkers choosing whether you can work in any certain field? That is, if the common practice is to examine your beliefs to see if they conform to the thinking of Eric Walsh. He will not look at your qualifications and work ethic so much as try to examine your beliefs.
    I listened to his sermon and some messages made me uncomfortable and I completely disagree with. Big Whoop! I work with people daily I completely disagree with on religion and politics. Many of these people I really really like too.
    Just a note about Eric Walsh's qualifications and past work history:
    A Physician who is a well known world wide Public Heath Physician. He has served on several Presidential councils on HIV/AIDS and was past president of California Preventive Medicine Society. He has citations for helping poor children.

  • Roy_Beans La Habra Heights, CA
    May 15, 2014 1:42 p.m.

    Several commenters wrote that a person cannot work in the field of science if their religious beliefs are not consistent with current scientific theories. Wow. Consider how many people work at jobs where they don't believe in requirements or law or theories concerning their work? People who verbalize these objections at work, let alone at a church in private time. Construction workers or contractors who believe a current regulation is just silly. Lawyers, police who prosecute or defend law they personally think is wrong. Doctors who treat patients in way that is required by insurance but certainly not what they personally would recommend. Even people who even personally dislike you for whatever reason still manage to interact with you and accomplish whatever task is needed to get done. But if you think something is a sin or influence of Satan, well that is different. Or think evolution is wrong but do not act in your job in any way inappropriately well... you cannot be allowed to seek employment in your field.

  • Jeff29 Draper, UT
    May 11, 2014 2:22 p.m.

    What's interesting here is that no one is commenting on his actual job performance. Is there any indication that his personal beliefs have negatively impacted his ability to perform his job?

    When someone implies that he might treat gays differently, or AIDS patients differently because he believes their lifestyle is a sin, it says more about the commenter than Mr. Walsh. Your assumption that he is incapable of separating the act from the person and caring about people regardless of the choices they have made in life indicates that you may be incapable of that , but says nothing of him.

    If we are going to discredit and fire anyone and everyone whose beliefs and words we disagree with because of what they "might" do then, well, welcome to Minority Report.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    May 10, 2014 11:39 p.m.

    @I know it. I Live it. I Love it: "I call for an investigation of the people investigating this man."

    Imagine, for a moment, if the head of epidemiology at the CDC was making public speeches at his church with an anti-vaccination slant. An investigation might be in order.

    Imagine finding out the surgeon about to operate on you gives sermons saying disease is caused by demons, not germs... Would you investigate a bit before letting him treat you?

    Dude is supposed to be a scientist, running a public agency that uses science in response to public health issues.

    We find that he is making anti-science remarks in public speeches.

    The public needs some answers.

    Religion is fine. Superstition in place of science is not.

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Provo, UT
    May 10, 2014 10:43 p.m.

    I call for an investigation of the people investigating this man.

    Dare they threaten him, bully him, get him fired, or do any more harm than they already have... I say we suspend their right to live in a free country. If you don't accept religious freedom, move to North Korea, China, or Iran... where you can join their religious police and force you views on others. As for the U.S.A., we won't tolerate that tyranny here.

    I know one thing for sure... that what is good will stand and what is evil will fall. With how much this has escalated, I imagine a pretty hard fall is coming soon.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    May 10, 2014 9:59 p.m.


    People have been saying that we are in the last days, the days the prophets spoke of, the days when good is bad and bad is good for well over 2,000 years. Let me make a little prophecy of my own here. Very soon same sex marriage will become legal across America and then nothing bad will happen as a result. People will go on with their lives, gay people will get married, raise kids, other people will get married and raise their kids too. Decades will pass and people will look back at today and say "what were people so worried about?"

    And of course there will be some other issues going on in the future and there will be people saying it's the last days and the days the prophets spoke of and just you wait, any minute now it will be the end. And then centuries will go by and people will look back on Christianity in the exact same way we look at Greek Mythology.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    May 10, 2014 9:09 p.m.

    @Tekakaromatagi: "How is that relevant to this discussion? Seventh Day adventists run hospitals in third world countries."

    This is not about "Seventh Day Adventists" doing anything. This is about this individual.

    However, we will follow that. If one of the individuals running one of those hospital gave sermons where he said there is no such thing as germs, that infections are caused by demons, and microbiologists and infectious disease experts all serve Satan there would be a legitimate concern about his ability to function as a leader in a scientific setting.

    This gentleman has done the same thing. Now, perhaps he can compartmentalize and separate his superstitions from his work... Or maybe he can't. And, it is reasonable to have serious concerns about the long-term functioning of somebody who has this level of cognitive dissonance.

    The internet may have taken us to an era where we can clearly see the disconnections between science and superstition, and actively question those who claim superstition is their private life while purporting to function as rational human beings in their professional lives.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    May 10, 2014 4:42 a.m.

    "Would you support a Highway Supervisor who believed people weren't meant to travel faster than a horse? Or that motor vehicles were satanic contraptions?" No I would not. How is that relevant to this discussion? Seventh Day adventists run hospitals in third world countries. You seem to be stumbling badly on some of your stereotypes.

  • Ken Sisler Newmarket, Ontario
    May 9, 2014 9:47 p.m.

    I sometimes see the Seventh-Day Adventist Church called a Protestant church. Having grown up in a Protestant church, I can tell you some Adventist beliefs are unique and don't fall under Protestant beliefs.

  • Ontheqt SLC, UT
    May 9, 2014 2:58 p.m.

    A Quaker brings up a good point while highlighting some of the hypocrisy of how the Director was treated. He has expressed his views about homosexuality and other social issues and been judged by the political correctness standards of today. I am sure that he has also expressed negative remarks about smoking, alcoholism, and other social ills but nobody is faulting him with regards to how he deals with various health programs geared towards those problems. I think that fear of the LGBT community is driving any actions taken here.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    May 9, 2014 9:50 a.m.

    @ironANDclay: There is speech and there is action. The concern is over his action, or lack thereof.

    The correct way to deal with public health diseases is to establish effective programs to deal with them. Smoking cessation programs. Drug treatment and rehab for alcoholics and addicts. Safe sex education programs and condom distribution for sexually active singles (gay AND straight). STD clinics. Dietary guidelines. Diabetes screening. Colorectal screening. Drunk driving reduction programs. HPV vaccination.

    Most cities have some or all of these, and they're cost-effective. AND they educate the public.

    Simply condemning all the sinners and blaming them for their own problems, and so refusing to do anything about it, is not in the job description.

    Does this man also oppose holding blood drives? Is he against all vaccination programs? Does he drag his feet and deflect action on these important health programs because of his expressed faith and lack of belief in science? These are legitimate concerns of the people who employ him.

  • UT Brit London, England
    May 9, 2014 9:14 a.m.

    Wait a minute are people complaining that a guy saying stupid things does not deserve to be fired by his employer? If I said anything in the list in the story in a public setting my employers knew about I would be fired so quickly I would not hear the "Don't let the door hit you on the way out.....".

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    May 9, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    I support azkid in the boycott of Pasadena Rose parade and Pasadena bowl games. Also....I will no longer allow myself or family to listen to "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena" by the beach boys.

    Tongue in cheek, but what's up with not allowing people to speak freely about behavior that contributes to public health diseases?

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    May 9, 2014 6:52 a.m.

    It is reasonable for your employer to question whether you are capable of doing the job they hired you for when your religious teachings are contrary to the mission of your public service employment. In this case, not just the teachings of a religion that he passively attends, but his own teachings standing at the pulpit.

    A public director of health needs to be able to deal with public health crises and other community needs without regard to who those citizens are, and with the best tools modern practice brings to it. If he's starting with a biased view and potentially withholding services, that's not acceptable. If he's rejecting the scientific basis of his profession, that's also not good.

    If you can compartmentalize your religious views such that they won't interfere with the performance of your duties, there's no issue. But if you stand up and announce your opposition to important or necessary aspects of your job, then that isn't the appropriate job for you. Would you support a Highway Supervisor who believed people weren't meant to travel faster than a horse? Or that motor vehicles were satanic contraptions?

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    May 9, 2014 6:43 a.m.

    A public health administrator who doesn't have a firm grasp on scientific reality is unqualified for that job.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    May 9, 2014 5:34 a.m.

    Mr. Walsh was the SECOND person invited to speak. The first invitee was a gay rights advocate who was disinvited when some private photos of him were stolen and posted on the internet. The kids at the school were upset at the school's decision, and became even more upset when Mr. Walsh's sermons were discovered online. The school has since re-invited the gay rights advocate to be the commencement speaker.

    The City of Pasadena is assessing whether, given Mr. Walsh's stated beliefs - including his apparent disregard for scientific knowledge - he can effectively act as the city's public health officer. It has also been learned that Mr. Walsh did not disclose the money he was paid for preaching despite signing a form declaring that he had disclosed all other income.

  • AZKID Mapleton, UT
    May 8, 2014 11:23 p.m.

    Boycott the Rose Bowl and Rose Parade.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    May 8, 2014 9:55 p.m.

    During World War I music by Beethoven was banned in some places because Beethoven was German. This seems like a McCarthyism red scare hysteria and, hopefully, after a few years people will start to go, "Geez, we've been acting really dumb." More and more it seems like California is a whole lot less progressive and liberal and open to diversity as we've been led to believe.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    May 8, 2014 5:34 p.m.

    It's absolutely chilling the left's attack on freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.

    Do we really want to live in country were only politically correct and approved voices are allowed to speak publically without punishment?

    @Tyler D

    If you silence or punish all voices you disagree with or of people you do not like for what ever reason, then what do have? A very chilling attack on free speech.

    Doesn't sound like a good thing to me no matter your intentions.

    Certaintly not what the founding father wanted.

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    May 8, 2014 4:57 p.m.

    People it is only going to get worse as those who call for tolerance are intolerant of those who view their lifestyle as against the norms for society. There are many especially Latter Day Saints and others who will teach that having same sex attraction itself is not sinful but the act is. We are now in the age as spoken of by prophets of old where good is called evil and evil good. As this becomes more prominent as the left completely silences those that are vocal that it will in the end lead to mob rule by some and that is even happening today with the boycotts and other things as they persecute those that are on the Lord's side.

  • BrentBot Salt Lake City, UT
    May 8, 2014 4:56 p.m.

    Apparently the Bible's teachings are not welcome in the City of Pasadena California.

    Whatever happened to freedom of conscience?

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    May 8, 2014 4:47 p.m.

    "Topics discussed by Walsh at the pulpit include: homosexuality as a sin; Oprah, JAY Z, Beyonce ... as examples of the spirit of anti-Christ; Darwin’s theory of evolution as a satanic belief; and describing the prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam, as a Satanist,"

    Contrary to what many believe, you can be fired for being a delusional jerk (and these above comments speak for themselves in that regard). The Constitution does not guarantee speech free of any social consequences, only free from government prohibition.

    Heck, the comment about evolution alone should disqualify him from ever holding a science related position.

    Good luck in your next career Dr…