Right Opinion

Fewer Med Students Immune From the Radical Left

Tony Perkins · Sep. 19, 2019

So what if your doctor doesn’t know how to treat your pain? At least he can tell you about your carbon footprint. In a medical field that’s putting politics over patients, that’s exactly what more physicians are worried about. There’s a growing trend in some of the country’s best schools, experts say, to emphasize radical social policy over actual medical study. So much so, Stanley Goldfarb warns, that the shortage of doctors might be less concerning than the shortage of knowledge they have when they graduate.

At places like the University of Minnesota, medical, nursing and pharmacy schools are working overtime to tweak their curriculum. Physician consortiums like Mona Sarfaty’s are marching onto campuses and proclaiming that the greatest health danger of our century isn’t cancer — but climate change. “We must respond and make sure our health professionals are sufficiently educated,” she insists. There’s just one problem, Dr. Goldfarb fires back. This foray into social justice is coming at the expense of actual medical training.

In his Wall Street Journal piece, “Take Two Aspirins and Call Me by My Pronoun,” Goldfarb shakes his head at the dangerous fallout from this indoctrination. Like the military, who, under Barack Obama, spent much of its time in sensitivity training instead of actual combat instruction, America may be sending an entire generation of medical professionals into the world completely unprepared. “Teaching these issues is coming at the expense of… medical science. The prospect of this ‘new’ politicized medical education should worry all Americans,” he insists.

The traditional model, he explains, relies on a scientific approach. Of course, as anyone reading the last five years of headlines knows, science is exactly what the Left rejects — on conception, gender, sexuality, and the environment. Mike Chupp, the new CEO of the Christian Medical and Dental Association, says he’s heard from a number of medical students, who feel like they’re the “incredible minority” in schools where the gun, transgender, and climate ideologies are being forced. “If I even ask basic questions about [gender],” one student told him, “I’m ostracized.”

And yet biological gender, as Dr. Michelle Cretella explains, is crucial to accurately treating and diagnosing patients. “[M]en and women have — at a minimum — 6,500 genetic differences between us. And this impacts every cell of our bodies — our organ systems, how diseases manifest, how we diagnose, and even treat in some cases.” In instances of heart disease, for instance, certain drugs can endanger women and not men. Even diagnoses present differently in men and women. The symptoms for certain conditions, she explains, can manifest themselves in completely opposite ways. “And these are nuances that medicine is finally studying and bringing to light.” So the idea that our schools would encourage students to focus on someone’s “feelings” about their gender isn’t just harmful — but deadly.

“Where will all this lead?” Goldfarb asks. “Curricula will increasingly focus on climate change, social inequities, gun violence, bias and other progressive causes only tangentially related to treating illness. And so will many of your doctors in coming years. Meanwhile, oncologists, cardiologists, surgeons and other medical specialists are in short supply. The specialists who are produced must master more crucial material even though less and less of their medical-school education is devoted to basic scientific knowledge. If this country needs more gun control and climate change activists, medical schools are not the right place to produce them.”

Originally published here.


From Friday Night Lights to Secular Fights


If there’s one thing secularists despise more than one person praying, it’s 7,000! That’s what the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) got when it tried to shut down faith in Opelika, Alabama. Turns out, threatening prayer in this small town didn’t lead to silence. It led to a revolution.

Football fields are for playing — not praying. That was the message from the Wisconsin-based bullies at FFRF. But if they were hoping to convince the students and supporters of the Opelika High Bulldogs, they are barking up the wrong tree. The Alabama community isn’t about to apologize for a 100-year tradition before games. In fact, if anyone’s going to be sorry, it will probably be the anti-Christian radicals who picked the fight in the first place.

The story is a familiar one. A single person complains about a public expression of faith, and suddenly, everyone else has to surrender their rights. That was the foundation’s logic when it fired off a letter to Opelika administrators demanding that the school end student-led prayers before kickoff. Sometimes, that strategy works. In small towns with even smaller budgets, districts will do anything they can to avoid a long, drawn-out legal battle. Superintendent Mark Neighbors, like others in that chair, tried to compromise. He told the players that instead of prayer, the team could have a moment of silence instead.

But last Friday, silence was the last thing on anyone’s minds. With voices so loud they probably reached Wisconsin, thousands of fans, teachers, and students let the activists know they had no intentions of backing down. Together, the teenagers led the stadium in the Lord’s Prayer — a display of courage that youth pastor Steve Bass says he’ll remember as long as he lives.

Like a lot of people in Opelika, he’s proud of the community’s deep Christian roots. In fact, it’s such a part of the town’s day-to-day life that nobody ever gave it a second thought until this month. Suddenly, he says, people started questioning the one thing that brings the town together. “And you know,” he told listeners on “Washington Watch,” “I just felt God speak in my heart that this is not okay — that I need to take a stand.” He called his students in and said, “Guys, they can threaten the coaches’ jobs. They could threaten the teachers’ job. They can threaten the administration. They cannot restrict your right as a student.” He had the idea to use the Lord’s prayer — and encouraged them to spread the idea far and wide.

“This is what we preach all the time — there’s going to be a moment, where you either have to stand for your faith or cave in. It’s like in Revelation, where it says, ‘I wish you were hot or cold, but don’t try to ride the fence. Don’t try to sit in the middle.’” In a Wednesday worship service before Friday’s game, Pastor Bass told his students, “This is one of those pinnacle moments in our history that you get the chance to be a part of…. You’re not going to win the fight if you don’t put up a fight.”

By the time gameday rolled around, kids were waiting at the visitor team entrance, explaining what was going on. Cheerleaders were at Chick-fil-A, waving over opposing players and parents to let them in on the plan.

“We’ve retreated for a long time,” Pastor Bass told me, “and we haven’t gone on the offensive because our culture and society will call us out now. And we’re so worried about offending that one person or group of people… Many people in our culture… talk about how God has been removed from schools and everything. Well, it didn’t happen overnight. It was a series of concessions like this where we have tried to be graceful as Christians and make the decisions to benefit the other side. And before we know it, this is where we are.”

In places like Valdosta, Georgia and Robertson County, Tennessee, where activists are trying to spook teams out of their First Amendment rights, the playbook is backfiring. When two high school students got baptized on the Springfield football field, coaches didn’t care if that upset the forces of political correctness. They posted the picture on social media, and when browbeaters at FFRF came calling, they ignored them.

“We have not received a single phone call from anyone asking us about [these baptisms],” the director of schools said in a textbook response. “Zero. If we have concerned parents or community members, I would think they would need to contact the district office about it instead of turning to organizations that aren’t even based in Tennessee.”

If the Freedom from Religion Foundation wanted to make an impact in these cities, they did. Just not the one they were counting on. “The movement that started Friday night in our football stadium was probably more powerful,” Pastor Bass told me, than all of the student-led prayers of the last 100 years. And certainly more memorable — for Opelika and the Left.

Originally published here.


This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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