Bryan Fischer: Grad Schools Requiring You to Properly Treat LGBT Clients Are Like Vietnamese Reeducation Camps

At the 7:00 mark of the video below, after a long conversation about how evangelical couples should have three kids each in order to outbreed the rest of us, Christian Right leader Bryan Fischer speaks with Ed Vitagliano about the “threat of secular fundamentalists.”

I listened… because I figured they were talking about mah people.

So what were their examples of how we’re threatening religious liberty?

Brad Pitt‘s Christian mom wrote a pro-life, pro-Romney letter-to-the-editor in which she said President Obama was “a liberal who supports the killing of unborn babies and same-sex marriage.”

And then random commenters said nasty things to her.

Either Vitagliano thinks nasty, vicious comments are supported by secular groups (which they aren’t) or he thinks Christians/pro-lifers/Republicans are the only recipients of such hateful comments (which they aren’t)… or he thinks what certain commenters say/do reflects on any other truth claims made by secular people (which they don’t)… Anyway, this example says a lot more about Internet culture + emotionally-charged-topics to me than any “threat” by secular groups against Christians. No decent person would ever condone it.

How else are “secular fundamentalists are threatening Christian liberty in America”? Vitagliano shares the stories of Jennifer Keeton and (though he doesn’t mention her in the broadcast) Julea Ward, both of whom were in graduate school counseling programs. Both were kicked out of their programs for refusing to properly counsel LGBT clients (including one who was suicidal) because they assumed that helping them would amount to affirming their sexual orientation.

The graduate schools did the right thing in both cases. If the grad students want to preach instead of learn how to counsel everybody properly, they’re in the wrong programs.

But Vitagliano cites both of them as victims of Christian persecution.

Then the kicker: At 12:00, Fischer compares those grad schools to Vietnamese “re-education camps.”

You know, that sounds to me, Ed, like Vietnam. When I was in Vietnam, with the Underground church, my guide told me, “Look, my dad got… he was a policeman in Saigon before the fall of Saigon. He just disappeared one day and went to a reeducation camp for two years before we ever saw him again.” That’s exactly what this sounds like.

This is the amazing thing about the rhetoric of the Religious Right. Christian extremists want to prevent certain groups of people from having the same rights they do. They want to control how others live their lives. They want the Bible to serve as a substitute for real textbooks.

Secular fundamentalists? We, apparently, want all people to be treated like human beings, and that’s what makes us so evil.

When the Christian Right owns radio stations and TV stations and multi-million-dollar non-profit groups with tens of thousands of members, and there are churches on every block, and every politician seems to believe exactly what you believe, it’s hard for the rest of us to take seriously the claim that Christian rights are being trampled upon.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • onamission5

    The amount of hyperbole from the RR nevers ceases to amaze me. Psychology students being told they can’t just make shit up and have to follow the DSM-IV or they won’t be students any more is *just like* kidnapping people and torturing them. Just like it!!!! ‘Cause religion!!Eleventy!

    Sorry, my head exploded for a second.

  • Jay

    Looks like you dropped a paragraph, Hemant, the one that starts “The graduate schools did the right thing in both cases. If the grad students want”.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Thanks. Fixed!

  • smrnda

    I had a conversation with a guy about the counseling students who were kicked out of the program – I fully sided with the decision and wouldn’t waver. He tried to make a case that if counselors are required to provide an environment for clients where they will not feel judged for their sexual orientation, then (his point) was that the counseling profession should never make a counselor feel judged for their ‘values.’

    Which is a bullshit argument – if the counseling profession wants clients to get decent treatment, then they have to enforce some standards, and if a person’s beliefs prevent them from doing the job, they can’t risk harming clients by putting that person in the profession.

    If you don’t want to have to ‘affirm’ homosexuality, go to the nearest fundamentalist clown college and get a degree in ‘Biblical Counseling.’

    • cipher

      If you don’t want to have to ‘affirm’ homosexuality, go to the
      nearest fundamentalist clown college and get a degree in ‘Biblical
      Counseling.’

      Yes, precisely – and if you want to teach creation “science”, then get your biology degree at one of those same clown colleges and don’t take away a place in a real university from someone who has someything to offer society.

      • amycas

         I dunno. I would never discourage a religious person from going to a good secular university or a good public university, if only for the fact that it is possible for them to learn new things and change their views. If we encourage them to stay in their insulated communities then we would never make any head-way.

        • cipher

          Undergraduate perhaps. Graduate programs are a different story.  There’s a growing phenomenon of fundamentalists getting PhD’s from secular universities then using the credentials to validate the creationist organizations for which they subsequently go to work:

          http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/08/17/a-first-hand-report-of-nathani/

          • B_R_Deadite99

            We tell creationists to educate themselves, but even this has no affect on their overall stupidity and dishonesty. They truly are worthless…

        • Ibrewwedit

          Except the ones who attend secular schools in the hopes twisting what they learn to try bolster the arguments of creationists. They will then no doubt try use the name of said school as a credential for their brand of pseudo science.

          • amycas

             I honestly forgot about those.

  • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

    It’s all about the buttsecks.

    I know, broken record, but all I’m doing is restating my point truthfully, instead of restating it disingenuously like Fischer does. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NS6BLWMTVS44FSSTA2H47B4SY4 Sinjari

    Jane Pitt is Brad Pitt’s mother, not daughter.  Can these loons get anything right?

  • Baby_Raptor

    These people are so pathetic. They wouldn’t know actual persecution if it bit them in the ass.

    And the best part? If they ARE right about their god, he just forgives all this bullshit with no punishment to them or justice for the people they’re hurting. In fact, most of the people they’re hurting are gonna suffer for all eternity. 

    That, in a nutshell, is why I refuse to believe in the christian god.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    I perhaps leveled out the breeding odds a bit by marrying a somewhat religious girl and then low and behold, the religious meme did not successfully get transmitted to our two kids.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1351473675 Matthew Baker

     Its all part of their True Christian™ Persecution Complex which is codified right in the bible

  • Ken

    Maybe we should start posting “1 Cor 10:23 ” everywhere, as counter propaganda.  It’s in that part of the Bible that some atheist must have slipped in somehow.

  • Rwlawoffice

     “Secular fundamentalists? We, apparently, want all people to be treated like human beings, and that’s what makes us so evil.”

    No you don’t.  What you want is for everyone else to agree that homosexuality is morally equivalent to heterosexuality and if anyone disagrees with you they can be fined, lose their job, get failing grades on assignments, be told to close their business, be ridiculed, and in some countries, arrested.

    It is a flat out lie to say that religious liberty protected by the First Amendment is not under attack in this  country. The examples are everywhere from the EEOC filing suit against churches, to the HHS filing suit against religious businesses, to private businesses being fined for standing up for their religious beliefs, to companies being vandalized for exercising their first amendment rights.

    As for Julea Ward- do you know how long the person seeking counseling went without treatment before she was referred to someone else to help her?  Are you ready?  Ten minutes!  And the student got excellent care from the other counselor.  Julea didn’t try to preach or change anyone’s opinion, she simply understood she wasn’t the best counselor for this student and referred her to someone who was.  And your response to that is she should forgo her years of education and find another profession.  So much for the lofted tolerance the homosexual agenda keeps claiming they are seeking.  This tolerance is only defined as agree with us or else.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Being religious does not get you a free pass to not follow laws. That seems to be the issue you guys have–you think your “deeply held personal beliefs” should get you out of things everyone else has to do. 

      Churches and institutions suffering penalties for not following laws is NOT an attack on their First Amendment rights. 

      And no, we don’t expect everyone to agree that homosexuality is morally okay. Again, you’re confusing lines. You’re free to personally believe whatever you want. When you start acting against other people, that’s when you’re going to get flack. Your religious freedom allows you to have that opinion, it does not allow you to use that opinion against others. Why is this so hard for you to understand? 

      Lastly, he’s right. She should find another job. Nopony who thinks, like she does, that a decent chunk of the population is morally degenerate and going to hell should be a counselor. It doesn’t matter that there are other people who could help the kid in a short amount of time. She lacks basic human respect for people who don’t fit her personal views and isn’t mature enough to put her personal feelings aside and do her job anyway. She shouldn’t be in a job that requires working with people. 

      • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

        With her views, she should not be a councilor to the general population where she needs to council people who have a wide variety of genetic make-ups – some with homosexual tendencies, some with heterosexual tendencies.  If she wants to only council people of a particular genetic make-up, she should be in an environment that only has people of that particular genetic make-up.  She should perhaps go to seminary and minister to like-minded heterosexual people of her own faith.    She is just masquerading as a general population therapist.

    • Octoberfurst

      Troll alert! Troll alert!  No we don’t want people “fined”, “get failing grades” etc. What we want is for straight people to treat gays as human beings worthy of respect and dignity.  As for Julia Ward if she thinks she can’t counsel gay people simply because they are gay and therefore offensive to her she should not be in the counseling business. It would be no different if Julia were White and refused to counsel Black people.  So take your self-righteous nonsense elsewhere please.

    • Helanna

       Well, I’ll be honest. I *do* want everyone to agree that homosexuality is the moral equivalent to heterosexuality, what with the fact that it hurts absolutely nobody whatsoever and by itself has literally no effect on anyone but the person in question.

      But hey, delusional, self-righteous nutbags’ll always exist. Watchya gonna do.

    • cipher

      Don’t worry. Soon enough, we’ll all be roasting in hell while you, Jesus and Dubya get to point and giggle like schoolchildren. I’m sure just thinking about it gives you a great, big erection.

    • Margaret Whitestone

       What you want is a free pass to disobey any law you want, and to treat certain people as subhuman, by screaming about your “religious beliefs”.     You want special rights because of your chosen religious lifestyle, and damn anybody who gets harmed in the wake of it all.  What pathological selfishness.

      • Rwlawoffice

        It’s called freedom of religion. It’s protected by the first amendment to the constitution .

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Patrick/100000027906887 Adam Patrick

          Freedom of religion doesn’t mean you get to tell everyone to live by your beliefs.

          • Rwlawoffice

            What it means is that I don’t get penalized for exercising my faith. That is what the gay community wants to see happen and it is in fact happening.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

              How would you get penalized?

              • Rwlawoffice

                If I cannot express my religious teaching on homosexual behavior without retribution, then I am being penalized and my constitutional rights are being taken away. Religious expression protected by the constitution is not merely the right o believe quietly nor is it thevrightbjust to worship. It is the right to live our faith without threat of penalty or attack. It is the right to teach our children our faith. The homosexual community demanding moral equivalence takes these rights away. If you want to see it happening study what is happening in the public schools in mass.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Patrick/100000027906887 Adam Patrick

                  So basically, you’re upset because you can’t go around telling gay people they’re going to hell without someone rebutting you for it. Freedom does have consequences. You’re free to use your freedom to be a dick to gay people, but they are free to deride you for it. You still have your rights.

                • AP

                  Ok. And part of OUR right as non-believers or atheists or agnostics or pagans or non-christian whatevers is to be free FROM your religion. It is the right to live our lives without the threat of the hateful speech and often hateful intolerant acts from the right. It is the right to teach our children that everyone is equal, and that no one deserves being made to feel less than any other group. The Christian community demanding that the LGBT community go back in the closet takes away their basic right to exist. Public schools are teaching tolerance and acceptance. When your kid goes to school they aren’t forced to watch live homosexual orgies. That would be inappropriate and probably illegal in many ways.  Merely expressing the belief that people of all genders, races, orientations, and faiths should be treated the same is not radical. Its common decency.

                  No one thinks that you’re less of a human being because of you faith, race, orientation, or gender. But, also note that you are not better than the rest of us because you go to church on Sunday. And you do not have more rights than the rest of us because of who you  chose to pray to.

                • cipher

                   No one thinks that you’re less of a human being because of you faith

                  I do, actually.

                • Margaret Whitestone

                   You are free to worship. You are free to live your faith.  You are free to teach your children whatever you wish.  You are free to speak of your religious beliefs, to pray, to read your Bible, etc.

                  Being free from dissenting opinion is not one of your rights.  Demanding people you don’t approve of be deprived of their rights isn’t one of your rights.  Demanding your religious beliefs be inserted into the nation’s laws isn’t one of your rights. 

                  You are not being persecuted.  You are just a selfish, sanctimonious bigot tantruming like a toddler because you can’t have everything your way.

            • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

              I’ve just converted to Kayootism. A part of exercising my faith is bludgeoning the living fuck out of Christians whilst telling them I love them with all my heart. First Amendment rights! Exercising my faith! Don’t oppress me bro!

            • nakedanthropologist

              If exercising your faith means hurting or persecuting other people then yes, you should be penalized.  If you worked for me (presumably at a law firm) it would be wrong for me to harrass or fire you because you are a Christian (and only that).  So if you pray, go to church, participate in symbolic cannibalism – I’m cool with that.  However if you break the law or your employment contract by being rude to clients, deliberately losing cases which involved gay clientelle – then I have every right to fire you.  That’s how a civil, pluralistic, and secular society works.  We may have differences in opinions, but we treat each other as equals.

              In closing, Julia Ward was training to be a healthcare professional.  Ethically, she has an obligation to put her own prejudices aside (we all have ‘em) and work with her clientelle towards a better state of mind.  Furthermore, she was at a secular university and agreed to their nondiscrimination policy when she accepted an offer to study there.  She violated the terms of that agreement.  It would be no different than if an atheist refused a Christian treatment (because of the differences in faith) in the same program.  And its not as if this was a hasty decision – the school made it clear what was expectedof her not only as student, but what would be expected by the ethical guidelines set down by the national organization that governs said profession.  Your argument is in error.

        • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

          What Adam Patrick said. You can believe what you want, but if you try to legislate harm to others, your douchecake religion can go fuck itself.

        • Margaret Whitestone

          Freedom of Religion means you’re free to live according to your beliefs, not that you get to force them on everybody else by claiming you’re being persecuted if you can’t.   You’re not being persecuted by laws (where they exist) that require you to treat gay people like human beings any more than PETA members are persecuted because they’re not allowed to throw blood on every fur wearer and meat eater.

    • onamission5

      If she wants to be able to impose her faith based religious beliefs upon others, she can go to seminary. If she wants to use fact based (not belief based) psychiatry, then she’s going to have to keep her religious biases off of people who don’t share them with her.

      It’s really very simple.  

      • Rwlawoffice

        Considering she didn’t do that then now what is the justification?

        • amycas

           She refused to treat a patient who had every right to be treated. I don’t see how you could defend this, or why you would want to defend it.

    • cipher

      It wasn’t at all difficult to find Robert Wilson’s (aka “rwlawoffice”) Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/rwlawoffice . It’s filled with the predictable tripe one would expect:

      atheists know there is evidence for God, they choose to ignore it or change it to suit them

      Yes, of course.

      I want to be very clear about this, Robert: you’re a congenital psychopath. You have absolutely nothing to offer civilization in any capacity. It is a crime against humanity that you’ve been allowed to reproduce. It is my fervent hope that you live to see your children disavow everything you hold sacred.

      • B_R_Deadite99

        “I want to be very clear about this, Robert: you’re a congenital
        psychopath. You have absolutely nothing to offer civilization in any
        capacity. It is a crime against humanity that you’ve been allowed to
        reproduce. It is my fervent hope that you live to see your children
        disavow everything you hold sacred.”

        Cipher, you should really consider writing for Ruthless Reviews. I think they’d really dig your style.

        • cipher

          I was actually holding back.

          • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

            When you decide NOT to hold back, please ping me. I really, really want to watch. :-)

          • B_R_Deadite99

            Exactly. Like I said, Ruthless would love you.

          • Rwlawoffice

            Go for it big guy.

      • Rwlawoffice

        This is in response to all those who responded to my post- thank you for so predictably proving my point . All of these responses are further evidence of who the really bigoted intolerant bullies are in this dispute.

        As for chiper let me make it very clear for you- I am not hiding, I am not ashamed of my faith, and I will not be scared silent by the likes of you. So spew all the hate you want if it makes you feel better but you are only showing your truly hateful nature.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Patrick/100000027906887 Adam Patrick

          So pointing out that you’re wrong is now persecution and hate? Ok, got it.

        • cipher

          I don’t eagerly anticipate the eternal torment of billions of my fellow human beings. You’re far more hateful on a regular basis than I’ve been on my worst day.

          You should be ashamed of your faith. You should be ashamed of your very existence.

          • Rwlawoffice

            Either do I. Nor do most other Christians I know. I am not ashamed of my faith at all.

            • SphericalBunny

              You are not ashamed of your faith, yet your chosen version of faith requires that other people are ashamed, let alone legally unequal, of their innate and involuntary sexuality.

              You really are a festering little pustule on the great and hairy backside of Christianity.

        • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

          Do you know what confirmation bias is? I bet you do. You’re not unintelligent, just really fucking deluded.

        • Margaret Whitestone

          People telling you that your beliefs are bigoted isn’t “silencing” you.  You prattle incessantly about free speech and freedom of religion.  You forget other people have the same rights to free speech and freedom of religion as you do.  Just because you don’t like that fact doesn’t change a thing.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Patrick/100000027906887 Adam Patrick

            That’s too hard for people like him to understand. It involves thinking.

        • Octoberfurst

           Yeah we’re “intolerant” Robert. Intolerant of mindless religious bigots like yourself who clothe themselves in self-righteousness and become “offended” when people tell you how full of crap you are.  So sorry that your precious feelings were hurt.
            So go back to your Bible-thumping church and tell everyone how the big, bad atheists were sooo mean to you all because you stood up for righteousness.  I’m sure they will all pat you on the back & dry your tears & tell you what a “good Christian” you are.  Yes you are such a martyr. Boo hoo hoo.
            Face it, you and your kind are dinosaurs. Gay rights will prevail and you right-wing fundies will be reduced to a small insignificant group of fanatics who hide in caves waiting for Jesus to come and save you.  The rest us will go about our lives and just laugh at you. I, for one, can’t wait for that day.  

          • Rwlawoffice

            Those of us who support traditional marriage are in such the minority that thirty one states Ty put it to the vote passed constitutional amendments to allow same sex marriages…… Oh wait that never happened.

            • Octoberfurst

               Most of those who oppose gay rights are middle-aged or elderly. According to every survey I have seen young people today are overwhelmingly supportive of gay marriage. So in the near future, as your side dies off, gay marriage will win out. That’s reality Robert. Deal with it!
                

            • amycas

               I don’t care how many states put it to vote. Let me be crystal clear: civil rights should not be put up to a vote. It’s as simple as that. I find it insulting that the rights of a minority are being voted on by the majority. The Bill of Rights is there to protect minorities against the tyranny of the majority. Denying a segment of the population the right to marry the person they love for no rational reason is tyranny.

    • B_R_Deadite99

       Waaah! Religious bigots can no longer discriminate without fearing consequences, so we’re being persecuted, waaaah!!

      Yeah, and any day now, the evil secularist/Muslim/socialist/atheist queers will swoop down in black helicopters and sap your precious bodily fluids. But wait! There’s still hope! Just wear your tinfoil hat and they won’t be able to find you!

    • Margaret Whitestone

       You whine incessantly about how your religious beliefs are being attacked because you’re not allowed to treat gay people like shit.  Meanwhile you facilitate heterosexual divorces in blatant violation of the many Biblical denouncements of divorce. Why should we even begin to take you seriously when you pretend this is about your “religious beliefs” and not about outright bigotry?   

    • amycas

       “do you know how long the person seeking counseling went without
      treatment before she was referred to someone else to help her?  Are you
      ready?”

      Do you know how difficult it is just to get up the courage to go to the counseling center for treatment? I had to do it a little over a year ago, and I can guarantee you that if I had been turned down by the first counselor, that I would not have had the emotional fortitude to see another counselor. It doesn’t matter that in this one case this one patient had a good outcome. What about the next patient who feels abandoned by the people who are supposed to be helping them and so decides to forgo treatment?

    • Ibrewwedit

      She had to endure bigotry. I am so glad I was able to free myself of the churches influence. If there is religious persecution at work here it is by the religious against a minority. One day those who are different will be treated properly and douchbags like you will be a fading memory

  • Margaret Whitestone

    No.  Requiring therapists to use accepted treatment standards and not abuse their patients is not abusing the therapists or “persecuting” them.  If they disagree they’re always free to choose another field in which to work. 

  • smrnda

     Last I checked, religious freedom meant that one is free to believe that homosexuality is a sin and that, as a result of that belief, one is free not to engage in anything homosexual. However, when you enter a profession, you have to be willing to comply with its standards for what service you offer clients. A therapist is to check their beliefs at the door since the client is supposed to come first.

    Also, if you’re a Christian who can’t affirm homosexuality, are you also going to flip out when clients admit to having sex outside of marriage? Why pick out homosexuality? And the ‘I’m not qualified’ – if your homosexual, this is an obvious euphemism for a much more judgmental attitude. I mean, what am I going to think once I realize that the counselor finds out I’m not straight and then immediately goes “I’m not qualified to treat you.”

  • reallifeishard

    Another thought on this, though this article is apparently not lacking for comments. I understand why some people may not want to counsel others, regardless of what the reason is. The ability to relate to one another and build a high amount of rapport is the cornerstone of any mental health aid. If that isn’t possible, it could be for a variety of reasons. If it happens to be that one of them is gay and the other isn’t comfortable with that, why should they have to continue that professional relationship? It’s not going to do either party any good. If it’s because one is from a high-income family, the other from a low-income, same deal. If it’s because the patient was a victim of sexual assault, and the counselor happens to be as well and is therefore not able to discuss detailed events related to the assault, they should have the right to refer. That’s the beauty of private sector mental health: you are there to HELP the client, and if you recognize that you are not the best person to do so, there’s no shame and nothing wrong in referring them on to someone else to is better equipped to deal with a client’s set of individual circumstances. I would rather see a referral case than one where the counselor knows they can’t help, but they decide to waste the client’s time and money by providing them with sub-standard care just so they’re not deemed “prejudiced”. THAT would be the real moral outrage. People on both sides of this (and every other issue) are unwilling to admit to any kind of middle ground and admit that (as much as we want them to), not everybody can be made to fit in the same box.
    Not trying to intentionally poke a nest here, but would it have been just as outrageous if the counselor was gay and refused treatment to the straight client?


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