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Student told to change beliefs to graduate

August 23, 2010

A Georgia University Orders Student to Change Her Christian Beliefs to Earn Degree.
By Oregon Family Council

In another blatant (and increasingly common) example of religious freedoms being assailed in the “land of the free”, a counseling student at Augusta State University in Georgia was told that her Christian beliefs were “unethical” and “incompatible with prevailing views” of the counseling profession. If we accept Augusta State University’s position, then it would be reasonable to assume that any Bible believing Christian, and by inference Jesus Himself, would be unfit to counsel.

Jennifer Keeton, age 23, was told to stop sharing her beliefs with others and to change her beliefs if she hoped to graduate from the University’s counseling program.

Furthermore, the university ordered Keeton to undergo a “re-education” program or be expelled from the Counselor Education Program.

According to University officials, her Christian beliefs make it impossible for Jennifer “to be a multi-culturally competent counselor, particularly with regard to working with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (GLBTQ) populations.”

Re-Educating Away the Christian Faith
The plan mandated for Keeton requires her to take steps to change her beliefs through additional assignments and additional “diversity sensitivity training.” It also orders her to “work to increase exposure and interactions with gay populations. One such activity could be attending the Gay Pride Parade in Augusta.”

Each month, Keeton is required to complete a report on how the “remediation” assignments have influenced her beliefs so that faculty can “decide the appropriateness of her continuation in the counseling program.” The plan concludes by noting that “failure to complete all elements of the remediation plan will result in dismissal from the Counselor Education Program.”

If Christian beliefs are “unethical” and “incompatible with prevailing views” as counselors, how long will it be before Christians are deemed unfit to teach school, coach youth sports, work in social services, serve as journalist or news professionals or hold any government position? And how long before Augusta-style “re-education” is mandated at all levels of education. Some might argue it’s already begun.

Jennifer Keeton’s cause has been taken on by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a non-profit organization dedicated to defending religious liberties. This is one of several similar cases that ADF has undertaken.

Read about a similar case: Eastern Michigan University

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Discuss this article

GetREAL August 23, 2010

Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness. What you just printed is not what the judges ruling said. And you Christians wonder why people are leaving Christianity in droves.

TJ Parker August 23, 2010

What a distortion of the facts. The issue is professional behavior and treatment of patients without imposing your own beliefs or making judgment based on personal morality.

If you sent your child to a counselor who determined that he was troubled because of this or that mandate of Christiantity and that counselor, because of his own religion – let’s say he’s a Satanist – tries to persuade your child to abandon his beliefs and come over to the Dark Side … would you find *that* to be ethical behavior? Is that something you want from your child’s counselor?

And yet, if Miss “My Standards are better than the ACA’s” had her way, this is exactly the kind of behavior that would be deemed acceptable.

Rabid Christian zealots are always so eager to cut off their noses to spite their faces.

To Miss Keaton: way too much makeup.

AsuStudent August 23, 2010

Try again author. All for the truth, when you distort it to make someone look like a Martyr. This girl is not being oppressed, she was being OFFENSIVE. Whether she is Christian or not, saying offensive things and having visible problems with sectors of the population that she would encounter in her career. Christianity is not the only religion out there and some people Need to stop pretending that their views supersede the thoughs and opinions of others. Bottom line is she was not following the rules and decided to throw religion under the bus.
– Bryan

Sister Krissy August 23, 2010

This article borders on an out and out lie. Ms. Keeton was not told to change her beliefs and is not required to do so. ANY counselor, however is required to refrain from imposing their personal views on those they counsel. What the school is requiring is no different than if you have a liberal gay counselor counseling someone who is a conservative Christian. They liberal gay person would not be allowed to impose their beliefs either. This has nothing to do with personal faith and everything to do with ethical behavior. Shame on you for distorting the facts.

Oregon Skeptic August 23, 2010

It’s not surprising to see yet another christian distorting the truth to make another christian look persecuted. Others have said it, and I can only echo, we’re talking about being professional here, and she hasn’t been told to change her beliefs, only to keep them to herself because she’s being placed in a position where she can influence people, and brainwashing them with her brand of belief would be an abuse of power. There’s no problem with her being a christian (especially at a university in Georgia, of all places), only with her evangelizing when she’s supposed to be counseling.

a.mcewen August 23, 2010

And I might point out while the university had three professors testifying on its behalf, the young lady had witnesses and she herself didn’t testify. How can she win if she offers no proof that she was done wrong?

jah August 23, 2010

It saddens me that whoever took the time to write this outraged drivel didn’t take the time to do basic research on the subject before putting on the outrage hat and marching to the keyboard. ASU’s counselling program is accredited by the American Counselling Association. If she were granted a degree by ASU under the circumstances ASU could potentionally lose their accredidation by graduating a clearly unqualified (by ACA standards) individual.

The ethical standards she was required to adhere to were well known and yet she chose to enroll and assumed somehow the rules didn’t apply to her.

She is 100% entitled to her beliefs. However if her beliefs prevent her from upholding the standards she had already agreed to uphold, then she should be kicked out without pity. The failure is on her part.

I wonder how many of the people “outraged” over this “assault against religious freedom” would feel if it were a Muslim student who couldn’t seperate their beliefs from the ethical obligations of their profession and wanted to counsel Christian students on the evilness of their ways.

I also wonder if the author of this article has the moral courage to actually READ the judges descision and update the article with facts. However it seems unlikely.

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