A student at Augusta State University in Augusta, Georgia, is crying “victim!” because, in order to graduate with the counseling degree she seeks, she must exhibit an understanding of the psychology and science involved in human sexuality. She would rather skip that part and stick with her uninformed bigotry:
Jennifer Keeton, a Christian who believes that being gay is a choice (she thinks gays suffer from “identity confusion”), is represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal defense organization. WRDW reports:
At the end of the first year, she was presented with a remediation plan, or courses to improve in certain areas. That plan includes classes to improve writing and grammar skills, as well as workshops to make her more sensitive to the gay population — something her instructors say is necessary for her to be an effective counselor.
“The school counseling faculty has decided that my views are not acceptable for me or to share with other students,” she says in a video statement produced by the Alliance Defense Fund. “They have required a remediation plan in which the end result would be me altering my beliefs or being dismissed from the program.”
In a letter to Keeton, program directors say that is not the case.
In the letter, associate director Mary Jane Anderson-Wiley points to what she calls Keeton’s “belief that you possess a special knowledge about the way that other people should live their lives, and that others need to adopt a similar set of values.”
The letter goes on to say that “the content of [Keeton’s] moral or religious beliefs is not in question.”
According to the remediation plan, program directors are concerned about Keeton’s ability to effectively council people who are gay or lesbian, citing class papers and comments where Keeton has disagreed with the gay “lifestyle.”
The letter also cites an email from Keeton in which she says: “my Christian moral views are not just about me. I think the Bible’s teaching is true for all people and it shows the right way to live.”
Let’s get this out of the way first: It’s utterly unsurprising that grammar skills were also included in her remediation plan.
As for her “views” and sharing them with potential clients, yes, Jennifer, your “views” are unacceptable if you want to be a counselor! You can hold stupid beliefs until the day you die, as that is your right under American law. However, jobs have qualifications! To be a heart surgeon, it’s useful to understand that hearts are actually not shaped like Valentine’s candy, for instance. A refusal to believe otherwise would likely disqualify a medical student from graduating, because it betrays an ignorance of biology. Likewise, it’s important for former vice-presidential candidates to understand how to log into Facebook, because it’s necessary for refudiation purposes. AND in counseling, psychology, psychiatry, and related fields, a student must, in order to be a VALID, TRAINED counselor, be able to grasp and implement the work done by countless experts before them in understanding how mental health works! It has nothing to do with your religion, Jennifer. It has to do with the fact that you’ve shown yourself to be a complete ignoramus on a subject that is crucial to the field you’d like to enter one day.
We are VERY SORRY, Jennifer, that Augusta State University isn’t giving you a pass, but as it is, you are unqualified. If stupid, incorrect beliefs are part of your “religion,” you probably should reconsider said religion, or barring that, look into a field that doesn’t require you to interact with the public in any way that involves innocent people’s mental health.
Here’s a news report on the situation. For a little context, Augusta State is largely a commuter school in a part of Georgia where many of the residents still haven’t gotten over emancipation, so it’s encouraging to see that the younger generations at ASU mostly understand what the hell is going on.
[h/t Towleroad. There’s also video there of the girl herself whining that she’s not getting special treatment because she’s a fundamentalist. I would embed it here, but we just mopped the floors.]