IT DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU MEAN BY ‘HEALTH’….There are plenty of great museums in Washington, but Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) has an idea for one more: a national health museum near the Smithsonian. To hear Gingrey’s pitch, it sounds like a pretty straightforward and non-controversial concept: there would be one museum near the national mall devoted exclusively to medicine and health. “My vision of it is the history of medicine,” Gingrey said. “What we have done, how far we have come, just basically like, similar to what you have in the space museum.”

Gingrey introduced a bill (H.R. 3630), it picked up some bi-partisan support, and it seemed like the kind of effort that wouldn’t generate a whole lot of controversy. After all, who’s against the study of medicine and health?

Take a wild guess.

[S]ome conservatives fear the museum could be a back door for promoting a liberal agenda. Jim Backlin, a lobbyist for the Christian Coalition, told [Focus on the Family’s news website] he could envision displays covering issues such as abortion, embryonic stem cell research, sex education and more.

“This is just yet another dumb, expensive idea,” he said. “I noticed that one of the original board members an executive of Planned Parenthood, one of the most dangerous and destructive organizations in America.”

Worried about the political implications, Gingrey added a disclaimer to his legislation, explaining that the health museum will avoid discussion of health-related issues that may be controversial, including “abortion, physician assisted suicide, human embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and even in vitro fertilization.”

In other words, we can have a health museum, as long as far-right activists are satisfied that people only learn about certain kinds of health.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.