May 8, 6 years ago

Catholic League says Dr. Eric Walsh not qualified…

Catholic League says Dr. Eric Walsh not qualified…

Catholic League says Dr. Eric Walsh not qualified to be Pasadena Public Health director

PASADENA>> The New York based Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights issued a statement Tuesday saying Pasadena Public Health Director Dr. Eric Walsh should not keep his post at the city.

League President and CEO Bill Donohue said after learning of Walsh’s sermons, many of which express discriminatory views toward homosexuals, Muslims, Catholics, popular culture icons, and others, he thinks Walsh is not qualified for the position in public health.

“The first I learned of Dr. Eric Walsh was last week when he was asked to give the commencement address at Pasadena City College. After reading some of his hateful, and astonishingly ignorant, statements on Catholicism, I wondered why anyone would invite him to speak anywhere, never mind a college,” Donohue said in a statement. “Dr. Walsh is not fit to be the head of Pasadena’s Public Health Department. It is not worth attempting to rebut the man’s bigotry, so outlandish is it. Anyone whose judgment is that impaired has no legitimate role to play in public life.”

Walsh’s sermons surfaced last week after Pasadena City College announced he would be the college’s commencement speaker, following a scandal in which the college uninvited Oscar winning screenwriter, actor and gay rights advocate Dustin Lance Black.

The Catholic League is not the only group to express concern over Walsh’s sermons. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which had a float in this year’s Rose Parade featuring a same sex marriage, turned out at Monday’s City Council meeting to call on the city to remove Walsh from his position.

Others have defended Walsh, arguing that his religious beliefs should not preclude him from working for the city.

“I’m not sure what authority a public health director has that could be wielded to the detriment of those he believes to be sinful,” open government advocate Terry Francke said. “But the city obviously has to steer away from punishing Mr. Walsh because of his beliefs.”

Walsh is on paid administrative leave from his job at the city while City Manager Michael Beck investigates whether Walsh’s religious views have influenced his job performance.

By Lauren Gold, Pasadena Star-News

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