Cultural Revolutions

"Bully Pulpit"

Dr. Jocelyn Elders has been elevated to what the New York Times calls the Surgeon General's "bully pulpit," and President Clinton has uxoriously compared her to Harriet Beecher Stowe. Yet Elders as the mouthpiece for the healing profession—not to mention the allusion to her in a pulpit—is grossly ironic. Her insensitive, sometimes spiteful public asides reveal her to be more fit for today's bull pit of warring ideologues than for a bully pulpit. More critically, there is mounting evidence that the public school sex-ed model she pushes is destructive of our children.

Pediatrician (now First Healer) Elders' nonchalant contempt for fetal life is now a commonplace: her taunting of pro-lifers to cease their "love affair with the fetus" savaged millions of Americans who esteem the unborn as very young human beings. (Consider, by analogy, the likely reaction of black Americans to the following variation of her vicious comment: "African-Americans should cease their love affair with slaves.") Elders also derides pro-life Christians as having a "Bible-belt mentality"; pro-life Catholics, in particular, are singled out as belonging to "a celibate, male-dominated Church." She does, however, place special stock in molding little children. "Give me," she says, "the choice of trying to educate a 3-year-old or . . . an 18-year-old and I'll take the...

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