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Remediating Christian Beliefs?

23 Jul

The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) is bringing a lawsuit against representatives of Augusta State University on behalf of Jennifer Keeton, a student in the Counselor Education program. The complaint alleges that Keeton, who intends to become a school counselor, is being asked to go through a remediation plan to “alter her central religious beliefs on human nature and conduct.” What are some of these beliefs?

From page 6 of the complaint:

…sexual behavior is the result of accountable personal choice rather than an inevitability deriving from deterministic forces.  She also has affirmed binary male-female gender, with one or the other being fixed in each person at their creation, and not a social construct or individual choice subject to alteration by the person so created.  Further, she has expressed her view that homosexuality is a “lifestyle,” not a “state of being.”

I am sure that this part of one paragraph does not capture all of Keeton’s beliefs or the layers of complexity reflected in a Christian worldview, but it will be interesting to watch where this goes. This is a different complaint than that by Julea Ward against Eastern Michigan University, in which Ward says she would not want to counsel a homosexual client about that person’s same-sex relationship in a way that affirmed same-sex behavior as morally good. It didn’t get to that point with Keeton, apparently. The alleged remediation here comes from class papers, discussions, and conversations outside of class.

I have been in academics long enough to know that there are always two sides to a story, so it will be important to see how the university officials respond and what their perspective is on the complaint. But it would be concerning if a program was unwilling to respect the conventional religious beliefs and values of students.

There is a unique opportunity here to help all students expand their multicultural competence by identifying differences and finding ways to engage one another and provide appropriate services (or make appropriate referrals) in a way that demonstrates respect for multiple expressions of diversity, including sexual orientation and religion. Faculty and supervisors, too, have an opportunity to model this respect for multiple expressions of diversity to their students and supervisees, and they have an opportunity and an obligation to train their students in ways that recognize and respect our diverse society and the real value differences that exist within the broader culture.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on July 23, 2010 in Ethics, Sexuality & Gender

 

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5 responses to “Remediating Christian Beliefs?

  1. Ken

    July 25, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    This woman is not fit to counsel troubled teens. She’ll do more harm than good. How many lives will here archaic superstitions destroy? There is no place for religious fundamentalism when you are working with people’s lives. She must be kicked out.

     
  2. James Lunaburg

    July 25, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Rationality, civility, tolerance? Those concepts are alien to the tenured bullies in the Georgia University system. Liberal, leftist thinking permeates graduate programs in all of the “well-respected” universities in the state. There is no mercy when a student with Christian beliefs is outed to faculty. They dive in like sharks with a whif of blood. GPA’s drop subtly. Suddenly that paper you worked so hard on gets a C instead of an A. Professors refuse to entertain your research ideas. You get on the outside while folks with the “right” (leftist) ideas get all the breaks.

    Two sides? For students there is only one side that could possibly come out on top in any given conflict over ideology. The side that wins has all the power, all the authority, all the knowledge, and all your tuition money.

     
  3. Jacob Wells

    July 26, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    How ironic is the appeal of the left for tolerance. Ken’s comment above bears that out. Unfortunately, Julie’s observations in the Georgia state university is probably true of most public universities. Ken’s confidence in psychology and the counseling profession’s liberal philosophical perspective to help people in need is almost laughable. I recall a sit-com serial on TV that was based on the futility of counseling from psychiatrists, and this futility has been the butt of jokes for decades. I worked for several years as a nurse in a chemical dependency, and the long term success rate for rehab nationally hovers less than 25%. Among Christian treatment programs such as Teen Challenge and Midwest Challenge the success rate is more like 90%, so I wouldn’t be so quick to label Christian beliefs as archaic superstition that will destroy lives. The truth is that the lies of liberal secular humanism are destroying lives on earth and blocking souls from finding heaven.

     

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