Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fed. Court Rules out Christian Beliefs at Univ.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court that Augusta State University was right to expel Jennifer Keeton, a Christian graduate student in counseling, because she believes that homosexual behavior is a choice and that sexual orientation is not fixed.

Note that the secular media (below) refers to the student's Christian beliefs as "anti-gay."

For background, read Reject Christ, Says University to Grad Student and also read Homosexuality NOT Fixed, Change Possible: Study as well as Lesbianism NOT Genetic: Study

UPDATE 12/10/12: Appeals court supports Christian graduate counseling student expelled from Eastern Michigan University

-- From "Court rules Ga. university can require counseling student to follow ethics code on gay clients" by The Associated Press 12/19/11

A federal court has upheld a ruling that Augusta State University in Georgia was within its rights to require a graduate school counseling student to keep her biblical views on gays to herself.

The university argued that it would risk its accreditation if it didn’t hold Keeton to a code of ethics. Keeton filed suit, claiming the institution was punishing her for her Christian views.

The Phoenix-based Alliance Defense Fund, which brought the suit, declined comment on the ruling.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Now in court: Student wants to conduct anti-gay counseling" by Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times 11/30/11

After enrolling in a graduate counseling program in fall 2009, Keeton, a devout Christian, began discussing how she wanted to engage in "conversion therapy," in which a counselor attempts to "cure" homosexuality, the [Associated Press] news service reports.

Keeton's suit alleges that she was subject to sanction because she "holds Christian ethical convictions," a violation of her constitutional right to free speech.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Ga. Student Fights Expulsion over Biblical Beliefs" posted at CBNNews.com 11/30/11

Augusta State University put counseling student Jennifer Keeton on academic probation in 2010 after she said it would be hard to work with gay clients.

The university said her thinking was unethical and threatened expulsion unless Keeton attended gay pride events and sensitivity training.

"[Augusta State University] faculty have promised to expel Miss Keeton from the graduate Counselor Education Program not because of poor academic showing or demonstrated deficiencies in clinical performance, but simply because she has communicated both inside and outside the classroom that she holds to Christian ethical convictions on matters of human sexuality and gender identity," Keeton said in the suit.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Anti-Gay Student's Suit Rejected" by Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed 12/20/11

While the ruling may be appealed, it represents a strong victory for advocates of counseling standards that require that students be trained to treat a range of clients in supportive, nonjudgmental ways.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit found that Augusta State had legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons to enforce its rules. The counseling program's accreditation depended in part on adhering to a code of conduct, and faculty members believed it was their responsibility to train students to work with a wide range of clients, the court found. The decision placed the counseling department's actions at Augusta State in the broader context of faculty members training professionals who must pay attention to the ethics of various fields.

[The decision reads,] "Every profession has its own ethical codes and dictates. When someone voluntarily chooses to enter a profession, he or she must comply with its rules and ethical requirements. Lawyers must present legal arguments on behalf of their clients, notwithstanding their personal views.... So too, counselors must refrain from imposing their moral and religious views on their clients."

. . . an article on the Alliance Defense Fund's website offers its views on the case (from before the time when the gag order was imposed). The article quotes David French, senior counsel, as saying: "A public university student shouldn’t be threatened with expulsion for being a Christian and refusing to publicly renounce her faith, but that’s exactly what’s happening here. Simply put, the university is imposing thought reform. Abandoning one’s own religious beliefs should not be a precondition at a public university for obtaining a degree. This type of leftist zero-tolerance policy is in place at far too many universities, and it must stop. Jennifer’s only crime was to have the beliefs that she does.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Buffalo Univ. Favors Gays, Suspends Christian Organization