University orders student to change her views on homosexuality

You’ve probably seen this story: The Alliance Defense Fund is suing Augusta University in Georgia on behalf of Jennifer Keeton, a 24 year old Masters in Counseling student. She has been ordered by the university to change her beliefs or be kicked out of their program.

Keeton expressed her Christian views in classes at times, equating the gay lifestyle with identity confusion. Counseling faculty claim her beliefs violate the code of ethics that counselors (and counselors in training) must adhere to, including those of the American Counseling Association and the American School Counselor Association.

According to news reports, Keeton must enter a remediation program which includes “three workshops on diversity, a monthly two-page reflection on what she has learned from research into LGBT counseling issues, and increased exposure to gay populations. The latter action came with the suggestion that she attend Augusta’s gay pride parade.”

David French, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, says this is an emerging issue in the counseling and social work fields and that “requiring a student to change his or her beliefs to graduate is ‘punishment of free speech.'”

This story is of particular interest to me since I have a Master’s degree in counseling. While The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders had already been changed regarding sexual identity issues by the time I was studying, codes of ethics allowed counselors to refer clients to other professionals if they could not in conscience counsel them. 

Sadly this was no longer the case when Julea Ward, a student at Eastern Michigan University’s School of Counseling, asked her advisor about how to help a client with his or her same-sex relationship since Ward couldn’t “morally affirm such relationships.” The university then dismissed Ward from the program in 2009 and the case is now being litigated in court.

Codes of ethics are important guidelines for helping professionals. But what ultimately must be affirmed is the freedom counselors have to hold their own beliefs. That Keeton and Ward would be booted out of their graduate programs is ridiculous. I hope both universities get the pants sued right off of them.

Zoe Romanowsky

By

Zoe Romanowsky is writer, consultant, and coach. Her articles have appeared in "Catholic Digest," "Faith & Family," "National Catholic Register," "Our Sunday Visitor," "Urbanite," "Baltimore Eats," and Godspy.com. Zo

Crisis Magazine Comments Policy

This is a Catholic forum. As such:

  1. All comments must directly address the article. “I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter.” (Matthew 12:36)
  2. No profanity, ad hominems, hot tempers, or racial or religious invectives. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
  3. We will not tolerate heresy, calumny, or attacks upon our Holy Mother Church or Holy Father. “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
  4. Keep it brief. No lengthy rants or block quotes. “For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)
  5. If you see a comment that doesn’t meet our standards, please flag it so a moderator may remove it. “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” (Galatians 6:1)
  6. All comments may be removed at the moderators’ discretion. “But of that day and hour no one knows…” (Matthew 24:36)
  7. Crisis isn’t responsible for the content of the comments box. Comments do not represent the views of Crisis magazine, its editors, authors, or publishers. “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God… So each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10, 12)
MENU