Christian Counseling Student Who Refused to Treat LGBT Patients Receives $75,000 in Settlement with Former School

Remember Julea Ward?

Julea Ward

Ward was a graduate student in counseling at Eastern Michigan University. She also happened to be a Christian and refused to treat a suicidal gay student because her Christianity prevented her from “helping him feel better about himself.”

After she refused to undergo LGBT “sensitivity training,” EMU kicked her out of their grad program. In 2010, a judge supported the school’s decision. Ward and her lawyers appealed it.

In the interim, the Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill in her honor so that no school could punish a student “who refuse[d] to counsel a client because of a ‘sincerely held religious belief.’” (The Senate never acted on it.)

Which brings us to yesterday.

EMU has now decided to settle the case rather than waste more money on litigation. They’re paying Ward $75,000 as part of the settlement (the money will come from EMU’s insurance provider).

Ward’s legal counsel, Jeremy Tedesco, said he is pleased and feels that Ward’s constitutionally protected rights have been “vindicated.”

Public universities shouldn’t force students to violate their religious beliefs to get a degree. The Sixth Circuit rightly understood this and ruled appropriately, so the university has done the right thing in settling this case,” Tedesco said.

Kraft said the resolution of the lawsuit will leave the university’s policies, programs and curricular requirements intact.

Just to be clear, the school didn’t lose the case. And they were never wrong to kick Ward out of their program. They just can’t keep spending time and money trying to defend the notion that someone who wants to be a counselor ought to be able to help people instead of demonize them for being gay or lesbian.

So, congratulations, Julea Ward. You’re getting a ton of money for being a first-class bigot who can’t help the very people you’re supposed to be counseling… out of fear it will make Jesus cry. You went into EMU’s program knowing full well what they required from potential counselors but figured they would bend the rules for you because your religion teaches you that some people don’t deserve your “kindness.”

I hope that money covers your expenses while you look for a different line of work.

There’s an old video of Ward speaking about her case:

She claims she only refused to “affirm” homosexuality. She never had to do that, though. All she had to do was counsel all of her patients in a professional, mature, and ethical way. She couldn’t do it. And for her refusal to do her job, she just got $75,000.

At least there’s one upside to this: By not letting this case go to trial, there was no precedent set. That means other Christians in similar positions won’t be able to say, “I refuse to help gay patients, too, and you can’t make me! It was okay for Julea, so it’s ok for me.”

(Thanks to Jay for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    saddening

  • JohnSargeant

    A similar issue is trying to have conversion therapy on homosexuality for minors. California are making illegal but people seem to think they have the right to determine the sexuality a child will have by homophobic quackery.

    Agree that settling was the cheaper option – which is why the insurance company paid up. Hopefully college will have tighter contracts in place for employing councillors in future. Namely treat the person in front of them.

    http://homoeconomicusnet.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/born-this-way/

  • Chris

    I never quite got this “counseling” thing. Either you’re a licensed psychologist, with the right degree, and you’re qualified to provide counseling an therapy to patients. Or you’re not, and you’re… well… I guess the word is “charlatan”.

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      It works this way:

      In the U.S., the different levels of psychotherapy providers are designed to meet the needs of people with different levels of psychological, emotional, and relationship difficulties.

      For very seriously disturbed people with disorders such as schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, and mood disorders that are so severe that they require medication or hospitalization, psychiatrists (who hold M.Ds) and Licensed Clinical Psychologists (who hold PhDs) are required. Only psychiatrists can prescribe medication. The psychologists can work with psychiatrists if they need the patient to get medication.

      Then there is the much larger group of people with less serious but still very difficult problems such as adjustment disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, addictions, mood disorders,  sexual disorders, and relationship problems. The Marriage and Family Therapists, Family Counselors, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, and several other variants are the most suitable providers of therapy for these clients. They all hold Masters level degrees from accredited colleges
      and universities in psychology, social work, or related majors.  All of these providers can work with psychiatrists if their patients need medication in addition to counseling therapy.

      All of these psychotherapists are governed by the licensing laws of each state, which in addition to their respective degrees, require years of supervised internship, passing of stringent written and oral tests, and continuing education to keep their skills and awareness current with changing needs and issues in society. They must adhere to prescribed codes of professional ethics, and if they violate those ethics, they can be disciplined by state licensing boards, including the revocation of their licenses to practice.

      • Drew M.

        Anyone else read this in Vincent Vega’s voice?

        • http://www.facebook.com/DocMonkey Mick Wright

           Somehow – and I’m still not sure how – I read it in Vincent Price’s.

          (That said, it was AWESOME.)

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I found nothing in the linked articles indicating that EMU had to award her the degree as part of the settlement, so unless she finished it at some college where they think it’s okay to leave gays to kill themselves, at least she still can’t become a counsellor. I hope she has decided against that career, since being compassionate should trump being a pious prig. Maybe she can get a job selling liability insurance. 

    • Bryan Sebeck

      Rich,

      She was not awarded the degree.  She could, theoretically, still become a counselor if she were accepted by another program and completed the degree requirements.  There are likely private Christian universities that would be glad to have her, so we shouldn’t get our hopes up about that.

  • http://www.imagesandmeanings.com/ Gary Hill

    We have seen similar murmurings of this in the UK where a minority of muslim medical students have refused to complete coursework on STDs because they refuse to treat illnesses that have resulted from ‘sin’.  So far the universities have stood their ground.

    What next, white supremacist history students (one runs a political party in the UK) who refuse to write papers on African culture? Jewish chemistry students who refuse to discuss the discuss the synthesis of hydrogen cyanide? 

    If Ms Ward wishes to practice a peculiarly Christian brand of therapy, perhaps she should get her qualifications from somewhere like the same esteemed institution that Kent Hovind got his from.

  • jose

    What she did was against the law, so his politician brothers in faith simply changed the law. Now it’s perfectly valid to not do your job out of faith. And thus the needs of the public are invalidated by religion once again.

    “Public universities shouldn’t force students to violate their religious beliefs to get a degree.”

    Bluntly, if those beliefs go against the individual rights of the public, yes, they should force students to violate their religious beliefs. Public institutions exist to look after the public, not to obey religion.

    • Bryan Sebeck

      Jose,

      The law was never actually changed.  If you read the rest of that paragraph, Hemant points out that the state senate never acted on the bill, so it’s dead.

      • jose

         Okay, thanks for the correction. My bad!

    • Coyotenose

       If I understand things right, the Michigan Senate never voted on the bill, so it never became law. Small favors…

    • Sfindley312

      So the 1st amendment  is not understandable to you?

  • Bill Haines

    Thanks, Hemant — saddening, maddening, but useful to know.  I wonder when we’ll see the first would-be Jehovah’s Witness phlebotomist get such a settlement?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Charlotte/100001257871259 Jim Charlotte

    Step one: Become Amish
    Step two: Enroll as an electronics engineering major
    Step three: Sue the school and PROFIT!

  • Iikagenbob

    You’d think as an African-American she might have a bit more sympathy towards a minority group. Seems a holier-than-thou attitude trumps basic human decency.

    • Gus Snarp

      You might  think or hope that, but it’s not an unusual pattern. Minority groups who have fought for their rights will always have some members who believe that they are ethically obligated to fight for the rights of others as well, and other members who are perfectly willing to throw other groups under the bus in order to get theirs, or after they get theirs. Civil rights movements of all kinds have had problems with this, you can even see it emerging among atheists.

      • Coyotenose

         Ugh, painfully, horrifically true.

    • David Starner

      Asimov told a story of a Jewish women he met at a conference, in the 60s or 70s I believe, who complained how no one paid attention to the sufferings of the Jews. He asked what she was doing about black civil rights, to which she replied that the Jews had to take care of their own first. He was apparently unable to get her to see the contradiction in her statements.

  • Akronqui

    Office of the President
    Dr. Susan Martin is the first female president in EMU’s 160-year history.
    Sue.Martin@emich.edu

  • Epeo

    “Public universities shouldn’t force students to violate their religious beliefs to get a degree.”? I belong to an old and almost unknown religion, where it is forbidden to ask nor answer any question. This is because we believe that all knowledge must come from the inner self, instead of relying on knowledge from other humans, because it is inherently corrupted. So, can I get a degree without passing any exam?

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

      - Claims own religion forbids asking questions
      - Asks questions

      • Patterrssonn

        Welcome to the world of religion

      • Baal

         …the point is rhetorical and shouldn’t be read literally.

        • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

          I understand, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have some fun with the contradiction. As atonement, I won’t take your ellipsis literally.

      • Epeo

        You did not put my sentence in its proper context! The instruction to avoid questions is in the first book of my religion, which is not valid anymore because we slaughtered a celestial llama once.

        • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

          Fair enough! Forgive me, as I was born corrupt, and without contextual discernment.

  • Matto the Hun

    Does this mean as an atheist counselor I can ignore suicidal theists because I didn’t want to “affirm” their theism? Unless of course, they wish to submit themselves to my “therapy” which would consist of telling them their lives are fucked up because they believe in an imaginary being.

    • Enfantdupeche

      Why yes, Matto, yes it does! This case number will be one to remember because it will be so often cited.

      • Brian Pansky

         erm, they settled out of court.  nor precedent was made.

    • Sfindley312

      Say You as an emergency room doctor are an atheist and the only way to save the Jehovah Witness in front you is a blood transfusion forbidden by their religion you would transfuse?

      • Sfindley312

        Didn’t think you would answer Atilla The Hun.

  • Rwlawoffice

    Actually Hemant your post is factually incorrect. The sixth circuit court if appeals reversed the lower court ruling in favor of the school and ordered a trial. In doing so the court held that the schools requirement for her to go through what it called sensitivity training was wrong because it would require her to affirm that homosexual behavior and relationships were moral. This went against her religious beliefs so she refused and they kicked her out.

    She had actually pillowed the rules and the code of ethics. When she understood that her personal beliefs would affect her ability to give prop counseling about a homosexual relationship, she asked her supervisor what to o and was told to make a referral, which took all of ten minutes.

    By the way, as you call her a boot without knowing or ignoring the facts about her, she had counseled homosexual students before on a variety of issues without a problem.

    The bottom line is that the school wanted her beliefs to change so those referrals would not happen again, they did not think that she broke the rules.

    But once again we have an example of tolerance only working one way. If you hold that homosexual behavior goes against your religion, you must not be a counselor . If you think that morning after pills kill babies and as a pharmacist you won’t prescribe them, you must no longer be a pharmacist. If you own a bed and breakfast and hold that any sexual relationship outside of marriage is wrong and won’t rent out a room to any unmarried couple you must not be in that business or get fined.

    Spin it how you want but this time the court held that religious liberty prohibited the schools intolerance.

    • amycas

       What do you do when you have a mentally ill person who barely able to work up the courage to go into counseling the first day and then is immediately referred to another counselor because of their sexuality and the religious beliefs of the original counselor? What does a school do* if it finds out that many of the patients referred were not making it to their referral appointments and their needs were not being addressed, because they did not have an affirming situation with the first counselor? It’s difficult enough to seek help the first time; it would be even more difficult to continue seeking help if roadblocks–such as unnecessary referrals–are put into place.

      People should not go into fields where their religious beliefs prohibit them from fulfilling all the functions of the job. A Muslim who is against consuming or serving alcohol should not become a bartender; a Jew who observes Kosher should not go work at a pork processing plant. A Jehovah’s Witness, who disagrees with blood transfusions, should not work in an emergency room (or any other medical situation where transfusions might be necessary). So, a Christian who cannot counsel the lgbt community should not seek degrees from public institutions that are required by law to be open to everybody.

      *not saying that happened at this school, but it does happen with some patients

      • Rwlawoffice

         The facts of this case are that the student didn’t even know of the referral.  She never met with this counselor. The referral was made from the information in her file. This comes from the court of appeals opinion.

        Where she received her degree is not the issue.  As a counselor she is required to make referrals if her own values interfere with her giving counsel. What you are asking her to do is change her values to fit yours or otherwise not be a counselor.

        In this case the school wanted her to change her values in order to receive her degree.  They don’t have that right. The court of Appeals found that she had the right to keep those values under the First Amendment.

        My point is that those that disagree with these values try to impose them on others at the same time they  claim to have the right to their own values that no one should force them to change. It is a sign of intolerance by those claiming they are pushing tolerance.

        • amycas

          I specifically said at the end of the post that I was not merely referring to this case, but to other possible outcomes of allowing this kind of behavior. You did not answer my questions.

          • Rwlawoffice

             Its hard to address your hypotheticals because those aren’t the facts of the case.  However, the school has a built in referral system for situations where the counselors values, whatever they maybe ( for example, maybe a counselor was sexually abused and cannot counsel abusers with their guilt issues because of the counselors own experiences).  The ability of a counselor to refer a patient when the counselor cannot appropriately counsel the patient is important to the integrity of the counseling.  

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              A better example might be that the counselor is already working with the client’s significant other.  If I’ve built a counselor/client relationship with Joe, I probably shouldn’t be counseling the person who is having relationship problems with Joe.  Or perhaps because I know the client personally already, and feel I would have difficulty maintaining confidentiality, or that the client would feel uncomfortable since we have a prior relationship.

      • Sfindley312

        So I can tell the atheist custodian I work with at a catholic school to resign?  The amendment works both ways.

        • Sfindley312

          Hey coyotenose, the custodian I work with is a pole smoker too and gets all pissed off when i gasm cuz of what i say.

    • Baby_Raptor

      If you think Plan B kills babies, you have no right being a pharmacist to begin with. You’re not capable of basic understanding. Whether or not a conception is a life doesn’t even come into that, because Plan B doesn’t mess with already conceived fetuses. It prevents conception from ever happening. You can’t kill something that never existed.

      Then there’s also your basic inability to understand words. “Baby” has a set definition. “Fetus at moment of conception” isn’t that definition, no matter how many times you stick your fingers in your ears and yell. 

      And of course,  there’s your typical whining about our supposed intolerance. Your beliefs don’t get you the privilege of discriminating. You’re not special. Get over it.  Your bed fellows in the church might keep handing you your christianist privilege for now, but it’s costing you dearly. More and more people are waking up to the fact that ya’ll are bigots and jerks, and walking the hell away. 

      • Rwlawoffice

         Actually the Plan B pill can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting which some would view as killing a life that began at conception.

        http://women.webmd.com/guide/plan-b

        You don’t need to agree that life begins at conception, but you don’t have the ability or the right to say others can’t believe that.

        And yes you are being intolerant. You want everyone to believe as you.  And if they don’t you call them a bigot.  To the point that this word is losing all meaning.

        By the way, what you call Christian privilege is not that at all.  It the right to religious liberty that is contained within the same First Amendment that you use to give you the right to call those that disagree with you bigots. I know you only want it to work in your favor, but its doesn’t.

        • amycas

           They don’t have to believe as I do, I just expect them to do their jobs.

          • Blacksheep

            What if it conflicts with their right to religious freedom? 

            • matt

              My god says that I must be naked at all times as clothes are unatural.  Yet I am consistently forced by other to put clothes on.  Where is MY religious freedom?

              • Blacksheep

                being naked in public breaks an actual law, so one couldn’t do that. But – if you truly believed it, along with a majority of otheres, you could get the law changed some day.

                • smrnda

                   I agree, but I don’t think the possibility that public nudity might be legal in the future is a bad thing.  A majority would not likely approve of it unless society had undergone some pretty massive changes.

            • Baby_Raptor

              Then find another job. Nobody is forcing you to stay at a job that conflicts with your beliefs. 

              Expecting you to do your job is not a violation of your right to freedom. Do your job or find one that doesn’t conflict with your religion.

              • Sfindley312

                So 76% of doctors should quit?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Most doctors manage to keep their religion out of their work.  If one is a Jehovah’s Witness or a Christian Scientist, then perhaps they should look into alternate career paths.

                  And let us know when your co-worker’s sexual orientation interferes with his ability to push a broom.

                • Sfindley312

                  Hey we do more than that, push brooms that is. I just want to know if I’m bigoted now cuz of a term i used.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  No more than anyone who uses some derogatory name for janitors.  But I can’t think of anything other than “broom pusher”.  You’re pretty creative with the names.  What do people call you if they want to encourage their kids to stay in school, lest they become ______?

                • Sfindley312

                  Mentally challenged?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Could be worse.  At least they’re using a PC term, if not correctly applied.

            • Chasity Channell

              They still have religious freedom. Have they heard of church and their home? They cannot expect to get to practice their religion every waking moment of the day. If you are going to work with people then you have to learn tolerance and respect. Empathy of others even. Public service is that service. You cannot pick and chose who you serve. This is why religion is harmful. Religious people expect special treatment and they are a drain on society.

              • Sfindley312

                Again the founders were smart guys, you also seem to forget the 6 words after the comma  ” OR PROHIBIT THE FREE EXCERCISE THEREOF”. Again if the founders wanted it any other way they would have put  “OR PROHIBIT THE FREE EXCERCISE THEROF” except on city hall properties, in school auditoriums or public universities etc. etc.

            • amycas

              If your job conflicts with your religious beliefs, then you should perhaps choose another job. I work at a restaurant right now, and I don’t think a Muslim or Mormon who refuses to touch alcohol or serve it would keep a job as a server or bartender for very long. The restaurant would probably make them a host.

        • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

           The “may prevent implantation” is a warning is FDA speak for “someone suggested this might happen based on animal studies that involve much higher doses of levonorgestrel than what is used in Plan B, and proving that induced implantation failure doesn’t happen would be expensive, time-consuming, and could require ethically questionable medical procedures, so we’ll just go ahead and cover our asses by saying it could happen even though there’s no real evidence that it does.”

          Ovulation is triggered by Luteinizing Hormone (LH).  After ovulation, the follicle that had housed the maturing egg turns into a corpus luteum, which produces progestin. This helps maintain the uterine lining and also acts as a timer.  Once progestin levels get high enough, LH production is shut down. 

          Plan B is a synthetic progestin.  If taken early enough, it shuts down production of LH, which in turn prevents ovulation.

          There is some evidence it might have a secondary MOA of inhibiting sperm by thickening cervical mucus or thickening the protective layer on the oocyte so that sperm cannot penetrate it.

          Studies continue to *not* find any evidence that Plan B causes implantation failure, to the point that the NIH has removed the warning from its PI materials.  I would not be surprised if the FDA follows suit in the next year or two, which means your WebMD source would be similarly updated.

          http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57448998-10391704/investigation-reveals-morning-after-pill-may-not-prevent-implantation/

          http://lifeethics.org/2006/09/02/review-plan-b-how-it-works-and-doesnt-work/ 

        • Baby_Raptor

          Okay, I rescind my previous statement. Apparently, it is possible (though according to my own research, they aren’t even sure it’s possible, but I’ll give you the point) that Plan B could prevent implantation. Why is this only murder when the woman actively prevents it? Why is it not murder when it happens naturally? After all, it’s still a “life” failing to implant. 

          Also, your hypocrisy is stunning. You’re right. I don’t have to think that life begins at conception. But apparently the people who DO think that have every right to force the rest of us to adhere to it by making abortion, Plan B and birth control illegal? Why does only your side get to make everyone play by it’s rules? 

          Again, I don’t give two shits what you believe. You can believe that life actually starts when the guy gets a hard on for all I care. What you can’t do is force other people to live by your beliefs. Leaving abortion legal does not force people to go against their beliefs. Taking abortion away does. 

          And yes. When you want to force other people to live by your beliefs, you are a bigot. 

          And no, it’s not “religious freedom.” Nobody forces you, or anyone else, to hold a certain job. If your religious beliefs go against something your job expects you to do, then you’re free to find another form of employment. To expect to be given special privileges so you don’t have to be responsible for your own shit is exactly that: Privilege. Why is this so hard for you to understand?

          • Sfindley312

            Again the first amendment works both ways not just yours. COMMA,”or prohibit the free excercise thereof”. The founders were pretty smart guys. If they wanted it interpreted any other way they would have said prohibit the free excercise thereof except for nativity scenes on city property, or banners in higschools or crosses in front of firestations or counselors refusing to treat pole smokers.

            • Coyotenose

              Your right to privacy is not explicitly spelled out in the Constitution by those pretty smart guys. Oh LOOK, your argument instantly falls apart.

              Your right to be a bigoted piece of shit (see your final words) is, however, quite guaranteed, you bigoted piece of shit.

              • Sfindley312

                Hey dude or dudette no different than your faction calling my higher power “sky fairy or jebus!!  and fyi f…..kface I’m a pole smoker.

              • Sfindley312

                Your thoughts on my last post? I thought that would light a fire under someone. It has nothing to do with privacy Cochice or whatever the hell you are.

              • Sfindley312

                Come on coyotenose, answer my question.
                am I still bigoted seeing I revealed my sexual orientation oh speculative one? 

              • Sfindley312

                I didn’t think you would have anything else to say!

    • Coyotenose

       I’m sorry that you aren’t competent enough to grasp the principle that her refusal to do her job puts lives in immediate danger. But then, we wouldn’t expect better from someone who supports teaching children to want to execute people for how they were born.

      False equivalence about “tolerance”. On the one hand, we have an inborn condition; on the other, someone’s refusing to properly treat patients according to that condition and creating situations that may be HARMING patients based on that condition. You’re either ignorant of a simple word like “tolerance”, ignorant of basic logic, or a shoddy liar. Based on your post history, my bet is on all three.

      Other posters here shredded your “religious liberty” argument long before you even posted. By your remarkably stupid lights, someone couldn’t be denied work as a paramedic or nurse at a public hospital for refusing to perform blood transfusions as long as they claimed it was because of their religion.

      Oh, and fetuses/embryos/blastocysts aren’t babies. Jesus you people are as dense as you are overprivileged and dishonest.

      • Rwlawoffice

         You just can’t help yourself trying to bait me can you. You are really bad at it.

        Actually, my religious liberty argument that you claim was shredded long ago, was upheld in this case by the Court of Appeals.

        Calling human life by a different name during the stage of its development doesn’t mean it isn’t human life. Only those that want the right to kill that life what to make that illogical and irrational distinction.

        • 3lemenope

          I still am boggled by your affection for citing appeals court decisions as authority, given that you hate–so very much!–other decisions made by appeals courts. It’s the most transparent grab for naked authority one can make, and consequently sounds really quite silly when it is made.

          I particularly like it when in the very next sentence you indicate your implicit dislike for a rather famous court case called Roe v. Wade with your nattering about human development. So, are we to take your prior example seriously, that “an appeals court ruled” as anything other than trivia, or are we rather to take the next paragraph seriously where you discard that authority because it doesn’t agree with you?

          • Rwlawoffice

             Maybe I can explain it to you. The court of appeals decision is legally precedent for that district and would be given weight in the other districts. Just like other decisions from court of appeals, some that i agree with and some that i would have liked to see ruled differently.

            Roe v. Wade is the law of the land that said pursuant to a right of privacy a woman can seek an abortion and outlined when based upon human development the rights of the fetus outweighed that right of privacy.   I don’t agree with it and would love to see it overruled. However, at no time did the court say that the developing fetus was not a human being, nor does science or reality for that matter. At all stages of development it is always a human being that is being developed.  The fact that the courts and those that support abortion give different rights to that being based upon different stages of development does not change what it is.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QIOCTUX55ZX6IP6OYWJGP4IAYI Ruth

              Who cares what you name a fetus?  Whether you call it human being or life or a fetus,  it is not the same as baby.   Lines have to be drawn and Roe v. Wade did a half decent job of it.  

    • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

      Someone’s having difficulty with autocorrect, I presume. (“Pillowed the rules”? “Call her a boot”?)

    • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

      If you hold that homosexual behavior goes against your religion, you must not be a counselor. If you think that morning after pills kill babies and as a pharmacist you won’t prescribe them, you must no longer be a pharmacist. If you own a bed and breakfast and hold that any sexual relationship outside of marriage is wrong and won’t rent out a room to any unmarried couple you must not be in that business or get fined.

      If your religion prevents you from doing your job, then get a different job! Don’t offer a service to the public and then refuse to serve certain people. Is this really so hard to understand? If I’m an atheist baker, I shouldn’t be able to refuse to sell a christening cake because I disagree with performing religious rituals on babies. It’s my job to sell the baby’s parents the cake, not affirm or negate their life choices. If you want to discriminate, then work for a church or other religious organization.

      • Rwlawoffice

        I understand completely.  I disagree with your point of view.  But this way of thinking is my point.  You cannot force people to give up their religious beliefs or get a different job.  If you as an atheist baker refused to bake cakes for baptisms, that would be your right.

         

        • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

          No one’s asking them to give up their beliefs. They’re being asked to do the job that they signed up to do. That’s all. If your job involves selling cakes to the public, then you need to sell those cakes to the public, regardless of the fact that you may vehemently disagree with the event the cake is for. I’ve been to a few First Communion ceremonies. I thought they were awful, but if I’m a baker or videographer or caterer, I can’t advertise my services to the public and then refuse to perform them for First Communions because I don’t like what the people are doing. It’s not part of my job to approve or disapprove of what they’re doing. 

          If Christians (or Muslims or Jews) aren’t willing to serve the entire public, then they should not take a job where they will have to serve the entire public. It’s really that simple. You can’t enter the workplace with a bunch of conditions about who you will and will not serve. That’s why we have laws preventing discrimination.

          • Rwlawoffice

             In reality that is exactly what they are being asked to do. You cannot force someone do a job that is contrary to their religious convictions.

            I do believe you have the right to refuse service to those that are engaging in an event that you disagree with. For example, would you make a caterer who is opposed to serving alcohol serve it because your value system says its ok or get out of the catering business? Would you expect a kosher butcher to sell non kosher food because some people may want it?

            It is religious liberty which prevents this being mandated by the government.  The same Amendment that atheists use to keep nativity scenes from public places, is the one that gives religious people the liberty to live their faith.  It is a right that is protected by the constitution .

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              I think we define our own rights by which we are willing to defend for others.  When it comes to specifics, I’m leaning different ways with different examples.

              For one I think there’s  a difference between a product and a service.  Photographing a wedding where the couple is dark skinned strikes me as different from selling something to dark skinned people who come into your store.I also don’t think a store should be required to sell anything.  If I have a bookstore, I should not be required to sell Bibles, or The God Delusion, or cookbooks with recipes for pork.

              The B&B I’m not sure.  In the actual British case I was for the requirement that they serve everyone, but I’m actually now sorta feeling like they should be allowed to refuse service.  Maybe it’s kind of like the idea that you cannot require a specific performance in contract law.  Part of running a B&B is being pleasant to your guests.  If you can’t force a smile, it’s not really the same thing.  I can live with my bookseller not smiling at me because I’m white.  Staying in a B&B where the owner was scowling at me would be pretty unpleasant   Unless of course it was Basil Fawlty.

              • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

                But if you’re a photographer advertising your services to the public, you absolutely can’t refuse to photograph a couple’s wedding simply because they’re black! That’s racial discrimination. Otherwise, a black couple would be going through the phone book, trying to find a photographer or a caterer, and seeing ads like “Sorry, we don’t serve blacks.” It’s Jim Crow all over again.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Then you end up having to go to an out of town florist who will deliver flowers to your evil little thing. 

                  IDK

                  I do kind of appreciate the little fish icons that some advertisers use.  It lets me avoid the ones who use their religion as a marketing tool rather than something to live.

                • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

                  That would be an awful precendent to set, if florists, caterers, photographers, bakers, etc. were allowed to refuse service because they didn’t like the customer’s race or religion.

                  We’ve been there, done that. Society has moved forward. It would be a shame to go back to the 1950s.

                • Blacksheep

                  Can you refuse to shoot a man Boy Love Association event? It’s a legal organization…

                • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

                  You’re comparing black people to members of NAMBLA? Do you think that photographers should be allowed to refuse black people service?

                  Legally speaking, I have no idea. Such an event has nothing to do with religion either way. If an organization is legal, I would presume they would have the right to public accommodation no matter how abhorrent the organization is. That’s why the Ku Klux Klan has been allowed to adopt highway signs.

            • amycas

               Caterers can determine what kinds of foods and drinks they serve, so if a caterer doesn’t offer alcohol to anyone, then nobody could force them to. A more comparable situation would be a religious person who believes alcohol is wrong but then wants to be a bartender at a club and only serve “virgin” drinks. Nobody is forcing them to do a job that is contrary to their religious convictions–these people chose to go into that field knowing what the requirements for the job are.

              • Rwlawoffice

                 What if a client of the caterer demanded that alcohol be served at their function? If it is against the caterer’s religious beliefs to  serve alcohol should they be forced to do so? Or should the caterer not be allowed to become a caterer because some people want alcohol at their functions?

                Or should a caterer be forced to provide catering to a bachelor party where there will be strippers if that goes against the caterer’s beliefs?

                • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

                  Caterers aren’t the same as waiters, by the way. If you’re hired as a waiter at a party, then you need to serve whatever the person who hired you wants you to serve. If you’re a caterer, you have your own menu and bring your own food to the event. It wouldn’t make much financial sense to refuse to provide alcohol, but a caterer could leave it off their menu.

                  That’s an interesting conversation to have about bachelor parties, by the way. If you’re hired to cater a party, are you going to ask in advance if there will be strippers there? What about alcohol? Dancing? “Immodestly dressed” women? Really, if people aren’t willing to cater all kinds of parties, then I don’t see why they’d be a caterer in the first palce.

                • Rwlawoffice

                   I don’t really want to get into semantics about a caterer, but having had parties catered I can tell you that I got to choose the menu.  So a customer can dictate to the caterer that they want alcohol at the function. The caterer should have the right to say I won’t participate in that because it goes against my religion.

                • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

                  The customer can’t request something that the caterer doesn’t provide.
                  I thought the problem was that the caterer might have to provide alcohol. You can’t demand that a vegan caterer provide meat if it’s not on their menu, nor can you require a religious caterer to provide alcohol.

                  But it seems like your objection is that they might have to see something they disagree with, If it’s against their faith to cater a party where alcohol might be present? Good luck with that. I suppose pretty much everything is out.

                  If you’re a caterer, and you have a big ad in the Yellow Pages advertising your services, you don’t get to refuse service to certain people just because you don’t like them.

            • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

              In reality that is exactly what they are being asked to do. You cannot force someone do a job that is contrary to their religious convictions.

              I’m sorry, but that’s just ridiculous. If you take a job serving the public, then serve the public! Don’t moan and whine and cry about not being allowed to discriminate. It is perfectly possible to hold a belief and still do your job. I have religious clients. Should I refuse to serve them because I disagree with their religion? No, I don’t do that, because it’s not part of my job. I deal with the fact that other people have different points of view, and my job is not to approve or disapprove of what they do in their personal lives.

              If you’re a Christian, and you’re unable to sell a cake to a gay person, then get out of the bakery business! Either that, or get over it. Deal with it. They came in to buy a cake, not to hear you expound on what you think about homosexuality. Don’t take a job serving the public unless you’re willing to serve the public.

              For example, would you make a caterer who is opposed to serving alcohol serve it because your value system says its ok or get out of the catering business?

              You went from serving certain kinds of people to serving certain kinds of things, which are entirely different issues. If you can’t handle alcohol or non-kosher meat, then don’t take a job where you will be expected to handle alcohol or non-kosher meat. It’s that simple. If this is so important, then get a job at a  restaurant that doesn’t serve alcohol, or get a job at a kosher butcher shop. Don’t get a job as a butcher at Safeway and then complain that you have to handle the wrong kind of meat. Don’t take a job waiting tables at a fancy restaurant if you can’t handle the fact that you will have to pour wine for people.

              Like I said, if you really think selling a cake prevents you from being able to “live your faith” then don’t take a job where you have to sell cakes to the public. Problem solved.

          • Blacksheep

            Society runs smoothly in part because good people do the right thing based on their conscience. Without that, we’re just pawns of the government.
            If I advertised my services as a videographer, and a hate group asked me to film an event, I would refuse, simple as that. And that’s how it should be.
            personal freedom and liberty, provided one is doing no harm, are too valuable to throw away.

            • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

              I’m unsure what that has to do with religion, but if a hate group is a legal organization, I would assume they have the right to eat at a restaurant or book a hotel for a conference. Hate groups do have certain rights, no matter how abhorrent we find them. See my comment below about the Ku Klux Klan.

              I do find it awfully interesting that you are comparing having to provide service to gay people to having to provide service to the Klan or NAMBLA. Great example of emotional extremism.

        • RobMcCune

          You cannot force people to give up their religious beliefs or get a different job.

          Of course, that’s why employers make reasonable accommodations for their employees. However, in this case Ward refused to meet the needs of a suicidal patient, and the university felt they could not give her the qualifications of a councilor. This is like a steak house hiring a chef who has religious objections to eating meat and refuses to cook steak. Clearly the chef’s right to their religious beliefs isn’t greater than the restaurant right to decide the menu. Same goes for the university who can’t in good conscience give qualifications to a person who can suspend their own personal issues for the good of the patient.

      • Blacksheep

        If I were a baker, it would completely be within my rights to refuse to bake a cake for a nazi group meeting, for example. That’s what freedom is! 

  • amycas

    I hate religious exemptions for doing your freaking job. If your religion prevents you from counseling gay people, then don’t try to get a degree at a public university where it is required that you counsel everybody. Go to a Christian university or something. If your beliefs prevent you from dispensing perfectly legal prescription medication because you think the person might be using it to mitigate the affects of an abortion (even though the same medication is used in more general blood clotting situations), or you think they’re using it to avoid pregnancy (even though the same medication is used to treat other medical problems), then don’t be a pharmacist. Just like people who have religious beliefs against consuming or touching alcohol don’t go out to be a bartender, you should find a different line of work. It frustrates me to no end that these people are allowed to obstruct others’ desperately needed medical care in the name of their religion. What about my freedoms? What about my rights to have access to perfectly legal and needed medical care? I’m telling you right now, if when I first went to see a counselor about my depression, and they found out I was bi and/or atheist and dropped me, at that low point in my life, I would not have had the fortitude (or the funds) to find a new counselor.

  • DougI

    Clearly expecting a fundamentalist to do her job is persecuting her.  If I had pulled that shit that she did I would fully expect to be kicked out of the graduate psychology program I was in.

  • Gus Snarp

    It’s sad that basically no one can afford to fight a legal battle on principle. The risk and potential cost of losing must always be considered and ultimately, the lawyers and the insurance company tend to make the final decision as to what is likely to be the least costly path.

    Which makes me think there needs to be a legal defense fund for this sort of thing. There are so many worthy things to raise money for, but what if LGBT allies of all kinds had come together to form a legal defense fund, or if secular groups all came together to create one, and these funds could be used even to pay damages in the event of a trial loss assuming that a panel of legal experts agreed the case was reasonable. Then schools could go to the mat and hopefully win and set a valuable precedent.

    On the other hand, if they lost in the end it would set a dangerous precedent, so even the legal fund wouldn’t eliminate every risk of a court battle.

    • Baal

       The other problem with a as needed fund is that an organization such as a University has political concerns and might not take LGBT (read special interest) money.  I’m all for the various causes we’re asked to help out on here at FA but the recipient of the aide should be individuals or non-business non-government groups (essentially people and NGOs that help people).

      • Gus Snarp

        You’re absolutely right about the political concerns of a large organization. And I fully understand wanting to help individuals or NGOs over large organizations. At the same time it seems that schools, colleges and universities are ripe targets for all kinds of lawsuits as groups try to shoehorn religion in where it doesn’t belong, whether in the case of a woman who refused to do her job because of bigotry, or promoting creationism, and many of these schools just can’t afford to fight. I don’t think my proposal is particularly realistic at any rate, but I’m a dreamer.

  • Baby_Raptor

    So Fucking sick of these christiainists and their belief that they’re somehow special. 

    If your beliefs prevent you from doing your job, find another job. Nobody, no matter what the belief, should get special outs. 

    • Sfindley312

      We’re not special, it’s just that we have first amendment rights too. You believe in the First Amendment don’t you?

      • Chasity Channell

        I believe in ethics too and she violated them. You are suppose to put your personal beliefs aside and help people. I forgot Jesus said ” to profit from your faith.”  She will never work again and I love that more than anything. Nobody is going to employ someone like her and risk being sued. From your logic if I am an Jehovah witness and a doctor I can refuse someone a blood transfusion because it is against my beliefs. Your rights end where someone else’s begin. If your beliefs are gong to harm someone in your profession, then chose another profession. I really dislike people like this.

        • Sfindley312

          Base your argument on the 1st amendment, which this about. not ethics or morals. It seems non-theists want to double dip on the issue. the question I asked is as a non-theist and a jehovah witneess needed a blood transfusion to survive, as a Dr. would you do it against their beliefs?

      • Drew M.

        The right to swing my fist ends at the tip of your nose.

        That’s exactly what’s going on here – her beliefs interfere with someone else’s well being. 

        • Sfindley312

          It’s a first amendment issue Bruser Brodie. You  too believe in that don’t you? You see Drew whether you like it or not theists have first amendment rights too!! It’s all about the first amendment . I don’t like the idea of her not treating that person, because she wouldn’t treat me also, but I have to respect her FIRST AMENDMENT rights. You non-theists are always double dipping on the issue. I’ll use some of the logic I see on this blog, there are plenty of ” gay therapists” out there, seek one out. Also do you always resort to violence to solve your issues rather than logic? Don’t let anything but fear stop you from swinging that fist at the tip of my nose.

          • Drew M.

            I have never seen anyone misunderstand that analogy until today. It isn’t a threat. Its purpose is to illustrate that a person’s liberty to do whatever (swing a fist) ends at the point it would hurt someone else (tip of a nose).

            I suppose that’s what I get for assuming you had a modicum of intelligence. I’m done here.

    • Sfindley312

      Well?

  • Otto

    This sick, twisted, bitch.  Maybe she needs a history lesson, not too long ago she wouldn’t have been able to hold this position at all, because the “deeply held religious beliefs” of many dictated that she should be barefoot and in the kitchen while her man earns a living.  Or maybe even a little earlier in US history, where she would have been property, due to “deeply held religious convictions” that Africans were inferior and no better than cattle.

    In summation fuck this sanctimonious idiot, may she choke on her blood money.

    • Sfindley312

      Reminds me of Jessica Ahlquist getting a free education for being a fake coached activist!! The school settled because their attorneys said they would lose the case. Whether you like it or not, it would be like you all bitching about nativity scenes on government property. the first amendment works both ways bud.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Few differences.  In Jessica’s case the last legal decision was quite strongly against the district.  And in Jessica’s case the money had nothing to do with the case or a settlement.  Her damages for the case were $20 (in order to maintain standing in case the district did appeal).

        Her ‘free education’ was donated by other people, who are free to give their money to just about anyone they want for just about any reason they want.  Who I decide to give my money to is frankly none of your business, but it is amusing how upset you are over the fact that I gave a few bucks to someone you don’t like.

        • Sfindley312

          Mr. Wilson, how are you? Happy it’s the “season for reason”. Give your $’s to whoever you’d like, You know why that grinds my gears. It’s also blood money, she played it very well. 

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    So, I guess we know the $ value of her principles.

  • Justin Miyundees

    A great sin indeed.

  • Enfantdupeche

    The school did the right thing – it’s hands were tied by the state. See how the state changed the law to favor religious fanaticism over equal rights?
    As a Michigander, I’m ashamed.

  • Justin Miyundees

    I will say, however, she’s going to have to wear that label for all her days and that’s not necessarily going to serve her well.  

    Here’s a personal anecdote.  My wife was told, some 20+ years ago, that she would not be promoted to the level of partnership because she was a woman of childbearing age and the company had too much on the line to risk her dumping them to go off and have babies.  As illegal as this was, her boss knew she was powerless and so was able to speak and act with impunity (this is a reality that’s going to be awfully difficult to rectify – the Lilly Ledbetter act is a step in the right direction).  In her field, if my wife had kicked up any dust, no client would ever engage her again.  She would have been labelled as “litigious” and that would have been the end of her career.  She’d have been a pariah. 
    Perhaps the mechanisms of the free market will deliver a cosmic justice in this case and she’ll get what she deserves in the end.  She’s litigious and that’s a fact and savvy employers will steer clear.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QIOCTUX55ZX6IP6OYWJGP4IAYI Ruth

      About 30 years ago when I asked for a raise as an associate at a law firm I was told by a partner that my husband should get a better job instead of me asking for more money.  I too kept my mouth shut.  No way was I going to burn bridges forever. I also got put off from partnership for a couple of years, I am sure because I was a woman.    Because there is no karma I never got any justice.  Instead, I worked, eventually became a partner , and retired early when I got enough money.  

  • smrnda

    The counseling profession makes a promise that people who go get counseling should never feel judged for a number of things, including their sexual orientation. If your beliefs prevent you from providing this service to homosexuals or bisexuals, you have no business being a counselor.

    Counselors, to some degree, have to respect the beliefs of their patients, but the counseling profession is in no way obligated to respect the beliefs of counselors if they prevent them from doing their jobs.

    The experience of having a counselor refer you away (and seriously, is anyone who is LGTB going to wonder why?) is pretty disheartening and could cause a lot of damage. Nice to know this young woman values her write to have a puritanical hissy fit above patient welfare.

  • Oneplus999

    She’s probably not going to see any of that, it’s all going to her lawyers I’d assume.

  • http://twitter.com/rlrose328 Kerri Russ

    So just let gays kill themselves because you refuse to counsel them, thus eliminating gays.  Nice.  Same with others of other faiths or those with no religion at all.  Eventually, we’ll all die off and they’ll be left to themselves. 

  • http://twitter.com/rlrose328 Kerri Russ

    So just let gays kill themselves because you refuse to counsel them, thus eliminating gays.  Nice.  Same with others of other faiths or those with no religion at all.  Eventually, we’ll all die off and they’ll be left to themselves. 

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Very Hesitant Client: “It took all the courage I have to come see a counselor. I’m so scared that I’ll be judged and rejected because so many people have done that to me.”

    Bigoted Counselor: Yes, I understand that if you’ve been through a lot of that, being judged and rejected even by a professional counselor would be devastating, even catastrophic.”

    V.H.C: “Yes! Oh I’m so relieved that you understand!” (begins to softly cry)

    B.C. “Uh, I just read here on your Initial Intake Form that you’re gay.”
    “…that you’re Jewish.”
    “…that you’re a Muslim.”
    “…that you’re a Pagan.” “…a Wiccan.” “…an atheist.”
    “…that you’re an African American.”
    “…that you’re a Caucasian.”
    “…that you’re Polish.” “…German.” “…a Californian.” “…from Quebec.”
    “…that you’re left-handed.” “…prefer sausage pizza over pepperoni pizza.”

    V.H.C: Yes, but I don’t understan–”

    B.C: “Excuse me, my sincerely held religious beliefs prohibit me from counseling you or encouraging you in any way to be a ________.  I’ll have to find some other counselor who doesn’t mind having to work with somebody like you.”

    V.H.C: “Wha… But… I… Please… Oh… Oh. No, not again. (quietly leaves.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGinnes/100000712864762 Patrick McGinnes

    If you are judging your students based on their sexual desires, you have no right to be a councilor. EVER. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES.

    That’d be like me joining the Church of Satan, and becoming a councilor and refusing to help people who are Christian because “Well they entered into the abusive relationship in the first place and until they decide to leave the abusers they have no right coming to ask me for help”

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    Generally speaking, this can be viewed as conflict of interest. I find it to be quite responsible to exclude oneself after recognizing his/her own conflict of interest. I disagree with the common sentiment in these comments that, because someone may be unfit to perform a duty in a specific instance, that he/she is thus unfit to perform in the relative field.

    While we can hope for professionals to put aside their biases to perform their duties, it clearly isn’t always possible. Appropriate self-disqualification is, I think, preferable to prejudicial service.

    • amycas

       Refusing to council some people based on their sexuality, gender, race, religion etc. IS giving prejudicial service though.

      • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

        I forgot that the absence of service is the presence of service. It’s like how not posting a prejudicial comment IS posting a prejudicial comment. :)

        • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

          If a counselor advertises to the general public as a counselor who serves the general public, then I don’t see how refusing to counsel a client who is gay is any different from refusing to serve someone in a restaurant because they are gay, or black, or Muslim, any other category that people have used to discriminate against others.

          If a counselor clearly advertises to the general public, in her initial intake phone call, and in her waiting room with a big warning, “NOTE: I will not counsel fags or anybody else I consider to be too foul to soil my Christian hands with,”  then I suppose she won’t at least run into trouble with civil rights laws, just the outrage of people in the general public.

          • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

            I agree with you. I’m sympathetic to the problems of prejudice and bigotry. I don’t know how best to deal with it. What do you propose?

            • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

              This reply column is getting too narrow. Please see my reply to you below.

  • Cortex_Returns

    Thing is, this is more than just religion getting in the way of someone’s job. Counseling is a profession with certain ethical obligations attached to it, and the faculty at Eastern have an obligation to protect the integrity of that profession. And the ethical principles of the APA are very clear that respecting a person’s sexual orientation is a requirement:

    “Psychologists respect the dignity and worth of all people, and the rights of individuals to privacy, confidentiality, and self-determination. Psychologists are aware that special safeguards may be necessary to protect the rights and welfare of persons or communities whose vulnerabilities impair autonomous decision making. Psychologists are aware of and respect cultural, individual and role differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language and socioeconomic status and consider these factors when working with members of such groups. Psychologists try to eliminate the effect on their work of biases based on those factors, and they do not knowingly participate in or condone activities of others based upon such prejudices.”

  • A2268809

    Speaking as someone who has had counsellors who have not been the greatest at concealing their actual opinions of me, I think it would probably have been more damaging to the gay student if she had tried to counsel him (or her). Still, if there’s some reason why you can’t do your job, the thing to do would be to make sure your job gets done anyway — like maybe try switching patients with some other counsellor.

  • Tak

    I am a psychiatric RN and I agree that she should not be a counselor if she’s going to discriminate based on gender, age, sexual orientation, race, or religious beliefs. She can believe whatever she wants in her own head but you leave your personal garbage at the door when you work with people who are suicidal. When you work with the public you are not allowed to discriminate, period. I can’t imagine the fallout if I claimed my religious beliefs prohibit me from working with GBLT people.

    Oh and by the way, some of the staff are deeply religious but they are able to leave their personal beliefs at home and show compassion to all patients. There is no reason a modern day Christian should be denying anyone help. Their messiah himself said that the greatest commandant was to love one another. Not once have I heard anyone at my hospital complain that their religious principles were an obstacle to caring for someone. I guess neither college nor faith has taught her anything about unconditional positive regard for others based on the fact that she’s treating human beings. It’s sad … if I refused HER care when SHE was in crisis because my deeply held religious beliefs said I shouldn’t affirm heterosexuality I would be crucified! I guess since it’s popular bigotry it’s okay.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    (reply to m6wg4bxw above)

    I propose what is essentially the common practice in the U.S, although
    it is sometimes abused. If a counselor (or any other psychotherapist)
    presents herself to the public as just “a counselor,” that implies that
    she will accept clients of any stripe, without discrimination. As a
    licensed family counselor, the only time I had to refer someone to another
    counselor was when their diagnosis were beyond the scope of my
    practice <as stipulated by my license. For instance, if
    they came in and I realized they were schizophrenic, I was required by
    law to refer them to a licensed clinical psychologist or a
    psychiatrist.  Other than that, I did my best to help without hesitation or discrimination 10,000 clients of my own, and another 200,000 clients assigned to other counselors.

    If a counselor is going to be limited by her Christian beliefs, or if
    she is going to employ her Christian beliefs in the counseling process,
    then she should advertise and make clear from the first phone call that she is a
    “Christian Counselor.” That way potential clients have a better chance
    of knowing beforehand what they are getting into.

    The abuse of the common practice I mentioned is when psychotherapists
    who definitely use their religious beliefs as major parts of their
    methodology do not notify potential clients beforehand. I receive many
    letters from nonreligious clients who have had religious manipulations
    perpetrated on them by such therapists.  That is why I’m part of The
    Secular Therapist Project, a database where nonreligious clients can
    find qualified therapists who will give them proper therapy without
    running any “get good with God” numbers on them.

    http://www.seculartherapy.org/

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    (reply to m6wg4bxw)

     

    I propose what is essentially the common practice in the
    U.S, although it is sometimes abused. If a counselor (or any other
    psychotherapist) presents herself to the public as just “a
    counselor,” that implies that she will accept clients of any stripe, without
    discrimination. As a Family Counselor, the only time I had to refer someone to
    another provider was when their difficulties were beyond the scope of my
    practice as stipulated by my license. For instance, if
    they came in and I realized they were schizophrenic, I was required by law to
    refer them to a licensed clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist. Other
    than that, I did my best to help without hesitation or discrimination 10,000 of
    my own clients and another 200,000 clients assigned to other counselors.

    If a counselor is going to be limited by her Christian beliefs, or if she is
    going to employ her Christian beliefs in the counseling process, then she
    should advertise and make clear from the first phone call that she is a
    “Christian Counselor.” That way potential clients have a better
    chance of knowing beforehand what they are getting into.

    The abuse of the common practice I mentioned is when psychotherapists who
    definitely use their religious beliefs as major parts of their methodology do
    not notify potential clients beforehand. I receive many letters from
    nonreligious clients who have had religious manipulations perpetrated on them
    by such therapists.  That is why I’m part of team building The Secular
    Therapist Project, a database where nonreligious clients can find qualified
    therapists who will give them proper therapy without running any “get good
    with God” numbers on them.
    http://www.seculartherapy.org/

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      The abuse sounds like The Church of Scientology buying Narconon.

  • Count_Von_Krolock

    Way to spread the love, Christians. Because it’s not like homosexuals are people, right? Dicks.

    • Sfindley312

      It’s not about types of people!! It’s about the 1st amendment!! Theists have rights under that too!! and when they get it you all get bent out of shape. cam’t have it both ways.

      • TheBlackCat

        If your religion does not let you do your job, you shouldn’t be trying to do that job.  You don’t have a right to a profession that you refuse to perform adequately.

  • WoodyTanaka

    Only a $75K settlement in a section 1983 case that went through an appeal???  That’s all but an admission by the plaintiff that she has no chance of success at trial.  Heck, her lawyer’s fees are probably twice that much, if not more.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QIOCTUX55ZX6IP6OYWJGP4IAYI Ruth

      No, probably a contingency fee case. 

      • WoodyTanaka

        Almost certainly not.  There were no actual damages.  Contingency fee arrangements only work when a plaintiff can hope to recover a significant amount in damages.  (There’s no incentive otherwise.  Why would a lawyer do $50-100 K worth of work to get a verdict which would only get him $35 K??)

        Further, and more importantly, attorney fees can be recovered under section 1988 in a case like this, so the attorney has every incentive to fee shift (i.e., seek attorney fees from the defendant after winning the case.)

        My point, though, is that if they thought they had any chance of winning on remand, they wouldn’t have settled, because the attorney’s fees for the work done so far, including the appeal, are likely more than the settlement amount, and the school would have been liable for all the fees, if the plaintiff won.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    *headdesk*

    They caved. Fucking hell.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    (reply to m6wg4bxw)

    I propose what is essentially the common practice in theU.S, although it is sometimes abused. If a counselor (or any other psychotherapist) presents herself to the public as just “a counselor,” that implies that she will accept clients of any stripe, without discrimination. As a Family Counselor, the only time I had to refer someone to another provider was when their difficulties were beyond the scope of my practice as stipulated by my license. For instance, if they came in and I realized they were schizophrenic, I was required by law to refer them to a licensed clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist. Other than that, I did my best to help without hesitation or discrimination 10,000 of my own clients and another 200,000 clients assigned to other counselors.

    If a counselor is going to be limited to certain clients by her Christian beliefs, or if she is going to employ her Christian beliefs in the counseling process, then she should advertise and make clear from the first phone call that she is a “Christian Counselor.” That way potential clients have a better chance of knowing beforehand what they are getting into.

    The abuse of the common practice I mentioned is when psychotherapists who definitely use their religious beliefs as major parts of their methodology do not notify potential clients beforehand. I receive many letters from nonreligious clients who have had religious manipulations perpetrated on them by such therapists.  That is why I’m part of team building The Secular Therapist Project, a database where nonreligious clients can find qualified therapists who will give them proper therapy without running any “get good with God” numbers on them.
    http://www.seculartherapy.org/

  • Thomas Farrell

    > At least there’s one upside to this:
    > By not letting this case go to trial,
    > there was no precedent set. That
    > means other Christians in similar
    > positions won’t be able to say,
    > “I refuse to help gay patients, too,
    > and you can’t make me! It was
    > okay for Julea, so it’s ok for me.”

    No, it sets the precedent that “if your school bounces you out for being a total asshole and refusing to abide by the standards of the health care profession you are supposed to be learning, you just file suit and they’ll settle.”

    You can bet that Eastern Michigan University will be coming down hard on that department not to kick out anyone else who acts like her, so they won’t have to do another payout.

  • Kaydenpat

    Did Ms. Ward, who appears to be an intelligent woman, not know that the counseling degree she was pursuing required her to counsel lgbt patients prior to embarking on the degree?  Perhaps schools are going to have to warn people up front that there are certain requirements that will have to be met, regardless of one’s religious/moral beliefs, in order to graduate.

    Otherwise, you’re going to have students seeking degrees, refusing to follow the schools’ requirements, and then suing for discrimination.  And getting $$$ because of their frivolous lawsuits.

  • Dan Nobull

    Liar, liar, pants on fire! She did not refuse to counsel, listen to what she says in the video. She was required to affirm homosexuality. It’s like you taking the course and being asked to affirm Christianity. My! What a hissy you will throw then, I am sure.
    But you guys like lying a lot, that’s obvious!


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