Curious Catholic Connections of Dr. Redfield, Head of the CDC
By Greg Bentley and Dr. Lucija Tomljenovic
“But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”1
On March 15, 2020, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) banned gatherings of 50 or more people in the United States. Governors across America closed most church gatherings for months. They discarded the First Amendment rights of free speech and religious liberty. In effect, states put the whole nation under house arrest.
Entrusted at the helm of the CDC is Dr. Robert L. Redfield, a devout Jesuit trained Roman Catholic.
Ironically only 11 days later, on March 26th, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article coauthored by Dr. Robert Redfield and Dr. Antony Fauci. Both concluded that the “…overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza…”2
In the meantime, America is suffering major devastation due to the lockdown. As head of the CDC, Dr. Redfield owns responsibility for this state of affairs. Indeed, most Americans trust the CDC to give them accurate information on COVID – much more so than the rest of the Federal Government.3
It begs the question: who exactly is Dr. Redfield? What is his background and track record? Should we trust him with the serious task of leading the CDC?
The Vital Role of Dr. Redfield’s Jesuit Faith and Education
Redfield’s pastor and friends testify that his years of work studying viruses along with his deep Catholic faith will help guide the country through the crisis.4
Redfield is an active member of Baltimore’s Cathedral of Mary Our Queen where his parish priest, Richard Woy, recently remarked that “the CDC director is ‘not shy about his Catholic faith’” and that both he and his wife are serving as extraordinary ministers of holy Communion.5
Dr. Redfield was born and raised in a Roman Catholic family. Both of his parents worked at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Intrigued by Jesuit traditions and teaching, he enrolled at Georgetown University, the nation’s oldest educational Roman Catholic Jesuit institution. He received both his BA and MD. 6
Dr. Redfield has been sitting under the wings of his Jesuit masters from an early age. He admits that “Georgetown was critical in terms of my formation as a young adult and young physician.”7
This is an unfortunate development, especially for one of the four key leaders of the national effort to fight COVID.
One of the foundational principles of Jesuit teaching is the “ends justify the means”.8 This teaching contradicts Biblical ethics.9 People devolve into lawlessness. Leaders sacrifice integrity for pushing their own interests.
The Book of Judges shows the oppression and misery of the people of Israel at a time when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”10
The Jesuit Order was created by Spanish soldier Ignatius de Loyola in 1533. Their primary goal was to serve the Pope by taking whatever means necessary to convert people. In fact, the Jesuits were Rome’s response to the success of the Protestant Reformation. They were known as agents for the “Counter Reformation.”11
“’Military obedience is not the equivalent of Jesuitic obedience; the latter is more extensive as it gets hold of the whole man and is not satisfied like the other, with an exterior act, but requires the sacrifice of the will and laying aside of one’s own judgment.’ Ignatius wrote in his letter to the Portuguese Jesuits: ‘We must see black as white, if the Church says so.’”12
Dr. Redfield sees his Jesuit training as vital to his work. Hence, we should scrutinize his pronouncements as head of the CDC.
“The Jesuit tradition is important to me—women and men for others and a commitment to health justice and equity, seeing the gifts of science applied equitably. Georgetown taught me that science and medicine are made to impact public health.””13
Dr. Redfield’s Merciless Approach to AIDS
Impacting the public is exactly what Dr. Redfield vigorously pursued once he was placed in a position of authority.
During the AIDS epidemic in the late eighties and early 1990’s, Dr. Redfield headed up the US military’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. He introduced harsh measures: quarantining infected soldiers, investigating their sexual histories, and spreading their diagnoses across the chain of command with little concern for soldiers’ privacy.14
I was a personal witness to this cruelty as a young Captain in the US Army. My troops were forced to suffer through public testing and weeks of anxiety until getting their test results. Many tests resulted in false positives.
Those who tested positive were segregated from other service members and treated like prisoners. Some were dishonorably discharged. Others even attempted suicide!15 One of them was John O. Brisbois.
“The trouble came after a blood test showed that he carries the virus that causes AIDS. ‘The Army did everything possible to make me want to leave,’ said Brisbois, who, after three months absent without leave, surrendered and tried to kill himself. He was discharged last month. ‘I feel I don’t have a future anymore. I don’t want to die, but I get so depressed.’ Brisbois, 24, fled a special barracks wing, known on the base as the ‘HIV hotel’ and ‘the leper colony,’ to which he and scores of other soldiers had been transferred.” 16
The military rationalized these harsh measures as necessary to control the AIDS epidemic.
““The reason we have done what we have done,’ said Maj. Robert Redfield, of Rockville, Md., chief scientist for the Army’s AIDS research effort, “is that we think it’s good medicine–and it’s medicine that might work in the civilian sector, as well.”17
Should You Trust Dr. Redfield’s Track Record?
No wonder much concern arose when President Trump appointed Dr. Redfield to lead the CDC. Dr. Peter Lurie stated 3 grave concerns:
“First, he has no experience running a public health agency, and does not have the all-important relationships with state and local public health officials such experience would bring. Second, based on work I conducted with Sidney Wolfe at Public Citizen in the mid-1990s, he has been credibly accused of scientific misconduct for exaggerating the benefits of a putative HIV vaccine, for which he was investigated by the military. Third, he has supported a variety of policies related to HIV/AIDS that are anathema to the great majority of public health professionals: mandatory HIV testing, reporting of positive HIV results to public health authorities without the patient’s consent, and quarantining of HIV-positive individuals in the military.”18
Drs. Peter Lurie and Sidney M. Wolfe show that Dr. Redfield and his team ruthlessly engaged in a “systemic pattern of data manipulation, inappropriate statistical analyses and misleading data presentation….in apparent attempt to promote the usefulness of the GP160 AIDS vaccine.” 19
A committee of Air Force doctors in 1992 in San Antonio reached similar conclusions:
“The committee agreed the information presented by Dr. Redfield seriously threatens his credibility as a researcher and has thus the potential to negatively impact AIDS research funding for military institutions as a whole. His allegedly unethical behavior creates false hope and could result in premature deployment of the vaccine.” 20
Although the Army acknowledged there were issues about the accuracy of the data, Redfield was ultimately cleared of any allegations of scientific misconduct.
Dr. Redfield actually confessed that his analyses were deceptive and agreed to publicly correct them. Yet, he did not keep his word:
“Afterward, he continued making his false claims at three subsequent international HIV conferences, and perjured himself in testimony before Congress, swearing that his vaccine cured HIV. Their gambit worked. Based upon his testimony, Congress appropriated $20 million to the military to support Redfield and Birx’s research project. Public Citizen complained in a 1994 letter to the Congressional Committee’s Henry Waxman 21 that the money caused the Army to kill the investigation and ‘whitewash’ Redfield’s crimes. The fraud propelled Birx and Redfield into stellar careers as health officials.” 22
Observers remain concerned about Dr. Redfield’s appointment to lead the CDC.
“. . .one of the whistleblowers who raised the issue of the trial data to the Army told Kaiser Health News (KHN) that he remains concerned about what happened. ‘Either he was egregiously sloppy with data or it was fabricated,’ said former Air Force Lt. Col. Craig Hendrix, a doctor who is now director of the division of clinical pharmacology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, to KHN. ‘It was somewhere on that spectrum, both of which were serious and raised questions about his trustworthiness.’”23
It is tragic indeed that the Trump Administration ignored Dr. Peter Lurie’s appeal against Dr. Redfield’s appointment at the head of CDC.
“What one wants in a director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a scientist of impeccable scientific integrity. What one would get in Robert Redfield is a sloppy scientist with a long history of scientific misconduct and an extreme religious agenda. We urge the administration not to appoint Dr. Redfield.” 24
Should You Trust Dr. Redfield’s “Religious Agenda”?
Dr. Redfield’s cruelty and falsification of results should cause concern. Given his Jesuit training, they might not be all that surprising.
““Liguori, in his treatise on oaths, Question 4, asks if it is allowable to use ambiguity, or equivocal words, to deceive the judge when under oath, and at No. 151 he answers: ‘These things being established, it is a certain and a common opinion amongst all divines that for a just cause it is lawful to use equivocation in the propounded modes, and to confirm it (equivocation) with an oath.… Now a just cause is any honest end in order to preserve good things for the spirit, or useful things for the body’. . .””
To add insult to injury, the mainstream media trumpets the Jesuit Dr. Redfield as a Bible-believing Christian. 26
In reality, he practices the mystical techniques, or “spiritual exercises”, of his Jesuit teachers.
The head of the CDC revealed this recently during a radio interview on April 1st, 2020 when he emphasized the “powerful weapon” of social distancing. He told listeners that he understood that staying home is a sacrifice, but asked them to “close their eyes” and think of the vulnerable people whose lives they could save if they did their part to break the chain of transmission. 27
Dr. Redfield merely parrots his living Jesuit master, Pope Francis, who also uses this technique.28 They both denigrate God’s Word in favor of their own imaginations.
On the contrary, Scripture exhorts the Christian “to cast down vain imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, for we are to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 29
Conclusion: Trust in God, Not in Man
Without a doubt, we live in challenging times. What are the people of God to do?
First, let us not put our trust in vaccines or any man. “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” 30
Secondly, let us not live in fear but in God’s strength. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 31
Finally, let us look at life through the perspective of truth: we will not live here forever, and we should not panic because of death. Indeed, we await a better, perfect, and future home: “But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He hath prepared for them a City.” 32
Dedicated to Lynn Bennett, faithful wife, mother, sister in Christ, and editor of the Berean Beacon.
1 Matthew 5:37. Unless otherwise cited, all Scriptures come from the King James Version.
2 A.S. Fauci, H.C. Lane, and R.R. Redfield, Covid-19 – Navigating the Uncharted. The New England Journal of medicine, 2020: 382(13), 1268–1269, available from nejm.org.
3 Nathaniel Rakich, Who do Americans trust on COVID-19?, April 16, 2020 on https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/americans-trust-the-cdc-on-covid-19-trump-not-so-much/
6 Jacques Kelly, What you should know about Dr. Robert Redfield, the Baltimore resident heading the CDC’s coronavirus effort, March 14, 2020, available from the Baltimore Sun.
7 Jupiter El-Asmar, Alumni in the Field: Robert Redfield, Georgetown Medical Magazine Fall-Winter 2019, available from alumni.georgetown.edu.
8 J. Beaufort Hurlbert, The end justifies the means: proven from Jesuit authors to have been taught for 350 years, Montreal 1890, available from archive.org.
9 For example, see the history of Asa, King of Judah in 2 Chr. 14-16 in his bribing the heathen king of Syria to fight against Israel. God does not justify the wicked means Asa uses even for a “good end”.
10 Judges 21:25b.
12 Selections from Ignatius de Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, available from http://homepages.neiu.edu/~wbsieger/Art316/316Read/Loyola.pdf
13 Jupiter El-Asmar, Alumni in the Field: Robert Redfield, Georgetown Medical Magazine Fall-Winter 2019, available from alumni.georgetown.edu.
14 Russ Choma, Trump’s CDC Director Has a History of Controversial Opinions on Controlling Viruses, March 7, 2020, available from motherjones.com.
15 Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Who Is Robert Redfield Jr.? Monday April 9, 2018, available from allgov.com.
16 Laurie Garrett, AIDS in the Military: Soldiers Tell of Army Base ‘Leper Colony’, March 12, 1989, available from latimes.com.
18 Statement of CSPI President Dr. Peter Lurie: CSPI Urges Administration Not to Appoint Dr. Robert Redfield, with History of Scientific Misconduct, as CDC Director, March 21, 2018, available from cspinet.org.
19 Peter Lurie MD, MPH, and Sidney M. Wolfe MD, Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, June 7, 1994, available from Keiser Health News – khn.org.
21 You can access the full letter from Freedom of Information Act here.
22 Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Redfield and Birx: Can they be trusted with COVID? Available from thechildrenshealthdefense.org.
23 Elizabeth Renstrom, AIDS Researcher Robert Redfield Is the New CDC Director. Here’s Why the Pick Is Controversial, March 22, 2018, available from time.com.
24 Statement of CSPI President Dr. Peter Lurie: CSPI Urges Administration Not to Appoint Dr. Robert Redfield, with History of Scientific Misconduct, as CDC Director, March 21, 2018, available from cspinet.org.
25 Alfonse de Liguori, Moral Theology, tom. ii. lib. iii. cap. iii. p. 116, n. 12. Mech. 1845
26 Heather Digby Parton, Is the Christian right now in charge of public health inside the Trump administration? March 9, 2020, available from salon.com.
29 Richard Bennett, Pope Francis: Master of Jesuit Spiritual Exercises, available from bereanbeacon.org.
29 2 Cor. 10:5
30 Ps. 20:7
31 2 Tim. 1:7
32 Heb. 11:16