Jennifer Keeton wants to be a school counselor when she graduates from her grad school program at Augusta State University in Georgia. If a student ever tells her he’s gay, though, she’s going to tell him he’s living a life of sin and needs to be “cured.”
At least that’s what I can gather from the lawsuit she plans to file against the college.
Keeton claims that she has voiced her Christian beliefs inside and outside the classroom on homosexuality and other biblical teachings. ASU faculty has ordered her to undergo a remediation plan, which would include diversity sensitivity workshops, she says.
“While I want to stay in the school counseling program, I know that I can’t honestly complete the remediation plan knowing that I would have to alter my beliefs,” Keeton said in a video produced by the defense fund. “I’m not willing to, and I know I can’t change my biblical views.”
No one’s asking her to alter her beliefs. She just has to damn well keep them to herself if she’s counseling a student.
Just like Creationists could theoretically get jobs as public school science teachers as long as they taught evolution properly and didn’t bring up their faith.
Just like Christians could get jobs as pharmacists as long as they didn’t prevent a woman from obtaining her birth control.
If she can’t help but evangelize, she’s in the wrong line of work. She’s basically admitting she can’t counsel an atheist or Muslim or Hindu or gay or transgendered student properly. If she’s really desperate, then she can go to a Christian college and work at a Christian school.
Public schools need counselors who have the ability to help all students, not proselytize to them during their toughest hour. Who knows, it’s possible that Keeton could graduate without comprising her beliefs — you can be an effective counselor without agreeing with what your students do or believe — but she’s chosen to fight a losing battle.
If she can’t keep her beliefs to herself, I don’t know why any public school would want to hire her. She’s a walking lawsuit waiting to happen. She’s only shooting herself in the foot by threatening the university with this unnecessary lawsuit of her own.
(Thanks to Meg for the link)
***Update***: There was a similar case going on at Eastern Michigan University with student Julea Ward.:
Last year Ward refused to treat a suicidal gay student, telling fellow counselors that her religious views prevented her from helping him feel better about himself.
Today, thankfully, a judge dismissed her case.