Requiring acceptance of homosexuality

Here is a religious liberty case to watch:

The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has heard arguments in a religious liberty case that could determine whether a college has the right to require students to profess certain beliefs about homosexuality in order to get a degree.

Augusta State University, in east Georgia, put counseling student Jennifer Keeton on academic probation in 2010 after she acknowledged in private conversations and during class that she disagreed with homosexuality. School administrators claimed Keeton said it would be hard for her to counsel gay clients, a stance they said violated ethical standards for licensed counselors, as put forth by the American Counseling Association.

Faculty members also faulted Keeton for saying she wanted to work with conversion therapy — which aims to help clients stop living a homosexual lifestyle — after graduation. And the faculty feared Keeton might harm middle and high school students she was scheduled to work with as part of her degree plan, said Cristina Correia, the state attorney who argued the school’s case.

“The university has a responsibility when putting students in a practicum and graduating them,” Correia told the court during oral arguments Nov. 29 in Atlanta. “When you have that kind of evidence, the faculty could not, under their ethical standards, put that student in a clinical setting without further remediation.”

After putting her on probation, school administrators required Keeton to complete a remediation plan that included going to gay pride events, attending sensitivity training and writing monthly reflection papers. Keeton declined to participate in the plan, and the Alliance Defense Fund filed suit on her behalf in July 2010.

via Baptist Press – Can colleges demand students affirm homosexuality? Court to decide – News with a Christian Perspective.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Rose

    Gay Liberation was never about tolerance.
    It was always about power.

  • Rose

    Gay Liberation was never about tolerance.
    It was always about power.

  • Gary

    It may be an interesting case to watch, and very telling about where our society is with respect to homosexual acceptance, but it wouldn’t appear to be about religious liberty.

  • Gary

    It may be an interesting case to watch, and very telling about where our society is with respect to homosexual acceptance, but it wouldn’t appear to be about religious liberty.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    So far it appears to be about how society tolerates differences about what is becoming a general core value. It all depends on how the court case is spun – if it is about tolerance, it could go either way. If it is about psychology and medical ethics, she is likely to loose. If it is about religious freedom, she might win.

    The only general comment about her behaviour though is that if she believed that that is her calling, go to gay-pride events should not have scared her, since those are the people she was comitting herself to. So that part does mystify me somewhat.

    There was an intersting case (I do not know the outcome) here in Canada where a lesbian couple went to se a doctor, who happened to be a practising Muslim woman. After awhile, it dawned on the dr that this couple was in a sexual relationship. She the stated that she could not treat them anymore, because it is against her eliefs, and because (according to her), same-sex relationships are fraught with all kinds of diseases and things she is not conversant about. She did offer them a referral, however. The case was referred to the ethics board, but I did not keep up with it. Question: Was she wrong or right – and it helps that she was Moslem, because that would move the “Christianese comments” aside….? Wrong – because a doctor should treat everyone? Right, because she referred them, thereby not violating her conscience?

    In thinking about the case in Veith’s post, it might help working through my example to see where this could all potentially lead….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    So far it appears to be about how society tolerates differences about what is becoming a general core value. It all depends on how the court case is spun – if it is about tolerance, it could go either way. If it is about psychology and medical ethics, she is likely to loose. If it is about religious freedom, she might win.

    The only general comment about her behaviour though is that if she believed that that is her calling, go to gay-pride events should not have scared her, since those are the people she was comitting herself to. So that part does mystify me somewhat.

    There was an intersting case (I do not know the outcome) here in Canada where a lesbian couple went to se a doctor, who happened to be a practising Muslim woman. After awhile, it dawned on the dr that this couple was in a sexual relationship. She the stated that she could not treat them anymore, because it is against her eliefs, and because (according to her), same-sex relationships are fraught with all kinds of diseases and things she is not conversant about. She did offer them a referral, however. The case was referred to the ethics board, but I did not keep up with it. Question: Was she wrong or right – and it helps that she was Moslem, because that would move the “Christianese comments” aside….? Wrong – because a doctor should treat everyone? Right, because she referred them, thereby not violating her conscience?

    In thinking about the case in Veith’s post, it might help working through my example to see where this could all potentially lead….

  • rlewer

    For the left, tolerance seems to be a one way street.

  • rlewer

    For the left, tolerance seems to be a one way street.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Excuse the obvious typo’s in my post @ #3….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Excuse the obvious typo’s in my post @ #3….

  • Chet

    She wants to remediate gays and the school says that is wrong, but it is ok for them to remediate her…

  • Chet

    She wants to remediate gays and the school says that is wrong, but it is ok for them to remediate her…

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Let’s say some x% of gays want such help. It seems the school wants to make sure that there will be no therapists to assist them. It seems the school wants all therapists to counsel all such patients that they must stay gay even if they feel they would be better off and happier if they could overcome such desires. Some report that they have done it. So, it must be possible for at least some who are really determined and just need some support. Why is it okay to do gender reassignment surgeries but not to just give counseling to folks who want to get past something in their lives that they feel they need to get past? If all opinions are equal, then why are some more equal than others?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Let’s say some x% of gays want such help. It seems the school wants to make sure that there will be no therapists to assist them. It seems the school wants all therapists to counsel all such patients that they must stay gay even if they feel they would be better off and happier if they could overcome such desires. Some report that they have done it. So, it must be possible for at least some who are really determined and just need some support. Why is it okay to do gender reassignment surgeries but not to just give counseling to folks who want to get past something in their lives that they feel they need to get past? If all opinions are equal, then why are some more equal than others?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Diversity is great until someone wants to do something different.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Diversity is great until someone wants to do something different.

  • Jonathan

    K @3, I suggest docs shouldn’t have authority to refuse patients for no other reason than that they disagree with the patients’ religion or way of life. Where would such authority end? With a Jewish doctor refusing treatment to Lutherans on the basis of Lutheran’s anti-Jewish writings? But a doctor can certainly refer a patient he lacks the skill to treat. In the case you posit, I suspect the outcome will turn on the legitimacy of the doctor’s referal. But I’m troubled that a doctor could simply refuse a patient because the patient is gay, or Baptist, or a woman – treatment reasons notwithstanding. Your thoughts?

  • Jonathan

    K @3, I suggest docs shouldn’t have authority to refuse patients for no other reason than that they disagree with the patients’ religion or way of life. Where would such authority end? With a Jewish doctor refusing treatment to Lutherans on the basis of Lutheran’s anti-Jewish writings? But a doctor can certainly refer a patient he lacks the skill to treat. In the case you posit, I suspect the outcome will turn on the legitimacy of the doctor’s referal. But I’m troubled that a doctor could simply refuse a patient because the patient is gay, or Baptist, or a woman – treatment reasons notwithstanding. Your thoughts?

  • DonS

    These kinds of cases expose the left for the hypocrites that they are. “Tolerance for thee but not for me” is their mission statement.

    This is a state school. It has a duty under the Constitution to educate students without discrimination based on race, gender, or creed, at a minimum. It accepted this student into a program, and as long as she passes the required coursework she is entitled to a degree. If a practicum is required to obtain a degree, they have an obligation to afford her that opportunity without discriminating against her religious beliefs, which they are doing explicitly by forcing her into “remediation” (I think this was called the “neural neutralizer” in the original Star Trek series).

    This is a no-brainer.

  • DonS

    These kinds of cases expose the left for the hypocrites that they are. “Tolerance for thee but not for me” is their mission statement.

    This is a state school. It has a duty under the Constitution to educate students without discrimination based on race, gender, or creed, at a minimum. It accepted this student into a program, and as long as she passes the required coursework she is entitled to a degree. If a practicum is required to obtain a degree, they have an obligation to afford her that opportunity without discriminating against her religious beliefs, which they are doing explicitly by forcing her into “remediation” (I think this was called the “neural neutralizer” in the original Star Trek series).

    This is a no-brainer.

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 3: why shouldn’t a doctor be permitted to refer a patient for ethical reasons? It is the basic duty of a professional, in fact, to do so. Forcing the doctor to treat a patient they don’t want to treat can do nothing other than to potentially compromise that patient’s care.

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 3: why shouldn’t a doctor be permitted to refer a patient for ethical reasons? It is the basic duty of a professional, in fact, to do so. Forcing the doctor to treat a patient they don’t want to treat can do nothing other than to potentially compromise that patient’s care.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    J, I agree. But in the specific case, a lot turns on the referral – I should add that they were looking for a Family doctor at the time, not just a single treatment. In the Canadian medical system, the family physician is very important, and where situations arise where small towns lose their doctor, or because of a shortage somewhere, a family struggles to find their (permanent) family physician, such stories always hit the headlines. So, it is not exactly refusing treatment, but enters into a grey area.

    In the above case, I would imagine that the University administrators made their decision arguing that it is like that ms Keeton would refuse treatment, or force unwanted treatment on someone. It depends very much on what she told them, and we are not being told that. If a gay student came to her, and said they struggled with say substance abuse, would she then, in her position as councillour, just concentrate on the substance abuse problem, or would she attmept to get them into a conversion facility, or attempt to facilitate them. Or, even closer to home, if the gay student said that they struggled because their one parent feels uncomfortable with their sexuality, how would she handle that? Would she concentrate on relationship coping mechanisms, or would she try and implement conversion therapy? These are from a medical ethics viewpoint, very important questions, one that physyicians must answer regularly in difficult circumstances. Cut-and-dried doesn’t work.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    J, I agree. But in the specific case, a lot turns on the referral – I should add that they were looking for a Family doctor at the time, not just a single treatment. In the Canadian medical system, the family physician is very important, and where situations arise where small towns lose their doctor, or because of a shortage somewhere, a family struggles to find their (permanent) family physician, such stories always hit the headlines. So, it is not exactly refusing treatment, but enters into a grey area.

    In the above case, I would imagine that the University administrators made their decision arguing that it is like that ms Keeton would refuse treatment, or force unwanted treatment on someone. It depends very much on what she told them, and we are not being told that. If a gay student came to her, and said they struggled with say substance abuse, would she then, in her position as councillour, just concentrate on the substance abuse problem, or would she attmept to get them into a conversion facility, or attempt to facilitate them. Or, even closer to home, if the gay student said that they struggled because their one parent feels uncomfortable with their sexuality, how would she handle that? Would she concentrate on relationship coping mechanisms, or would she try and implement conversion therapy? These are from a medical ethics viewpoint, very important questions, one that physyicians must answer regularly in difficult circumstances. Cut-and-dried doesn’t work.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    DonS – see my response at 10 (first paragraph) – I gave too little info first time round.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    DonS – see my response at 10 (first paragraph) – I gave too little info first time round.

  • Susan

    I thought that the duty of a school was to impart information, and that it is the responsibility of students to learn the information in order to pass the exams?

    I had a biology prof who absolutely understood and did not argue that some of us students did not accept evolution but rather Divine creation as the origin of life. She did have to make it plain, though, that she had to teach what the state of Colorado required her to teach and we had to learn it in order to pass the exams. Life went on, and I earned an A.

    Acquiring the necessary information to pass an exam is NOT the same as being expected to also believe it-the latter is indoctrination and should have no place in our academics.

    Still, I can’t help but think that the female Moslem doctor should have understood that she would eventually have to mediate situations she would find personally distasteful and a violation of her religious beliefs. That’s what being in business entails, sometimes, and there are only one or two exceptions permissible that I can see, such as receiving and not passing forward advance knowledge of or being an accessory to a crime.

  • Susan

    I thought that the duty of a school was to impart information, and that it is the responsibility of students to learn the information in order to pass the exams?

    I had a biology prof who absolutely understood and did not argue that some of us students did not accept evolution but rather Divine creation as the origin of life. She did have to make it plain, though, that she had to teach what the state of Colorado required her to teach and we had to learn it in order to pass the exams. Life went on, and I earned an A.

    Acquiring the necessary information to pass an exam is NOT the same as being expected to also believe it-the latter is indoctrination and should have no place in our academics.

    Still, I can’t help but think that the female Moslem doctor should have understood that she would eventually have to mediate situations she would find personally distasteful and a violation of her religious beliefs. That’s what being in business entails, sometimes, and there are only one or two exceptions permissible that I can see, such as receiving and not passing forward advance knowledge of or being an accessory to a crime.

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 13: I agree that if there is not a reasonable referral option, the physician probably has an ethical obligation to provide at least urgently needed treatment, regardless of her religious objections or concerns. If she is in the employ of the government, of course, as is the probably case in Canada, then her obligations to treat this couple are probably a lot more extensive if she wants to maintain her employment status.

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 13: I agree that if there is not a reasonable referral option, the physician probably has an ethical obligation to provide at least urgently needed treatment, regardless of her religious objections or concerns. If she is in the employ of the government, of course, as is the probably case in Canada, then her obligations to treat this couple are probably a lot more extensive if she wants to maintain her employment status.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    DonS – but to further complicate matters, in Canada for instance, the law does provide a religious freedom clause for doctors – ie you cannot compel a prolife doctor to preform an abortion, even if he/she is employed by the state (well, technically, the state is the single payer, not always the employer, but you see where this goes).

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    DonS – but to further complicate matters, in Canada for instance, the law does provide a religious freedom clause for doctors – ie you cannot compel a prolife doctor to preform an abortion, even if he/she is employed by the state (well, technically, the state is the single payer, not always the employer, but you see where this goes).

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    But if I am correct under #16, this must be under no threat to the patient. Thus no doctor can refuse to apply emergency care under any circumstances. But what are emergency circumstances in a psychological setting? If a patient, because the councillor refused treatment because of their orientation, walks away and commits suicide, you can be damn sure that is what the laywers will argue.

    This is not such a simple case as it seems to be.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    But if I am correct under #16, this must be under no threat to the patient. Thus no doctor can refuse to apply emergency care under any circumstances. But what are emergency circumstances in a psychological setting? If a patient, because the councillor refused treatment because of their orientation, walks away and commits suicide, you can be damn sure that is what the laywers will argue.

    This is not such a simple case as it seems to be.

  • mikeb

    Jonathan @9

    I suggest docs shouldn’t have authority to refuse patients for no other reason than that they disagree with the patients’ religion or way of life. Where would such authority end?

    I suggest we shouldn’t force anyone–whether they be professional or laborer–to work against their will (regardless of the reas0n). Where would such authority end? We have a term for such coercion: Involuntary servitude. Or perhaps you prefer the more common term slavery.

    Now don’t get me wrong–I hate to see unjustified discrimination. But we have to allow for a certain amount of personal liberty… for good and bad.

  • mikeb

    Jonathan @9

    I suggest docs shouldn’t have authority to refuse patients for no other reason than that they disagree with the patients’ religion or way of life. Where would such authority end?

    I suggest we shouldn’t force anyone–whether they be professional or laborer–to work against their will (regardless of the reas0n). Where would such authority end? We have a term for such coercion: Involuntary servitude. Or perhaps you prefer the more common term slavery.

    Now don’t get me wrong–I hate to see unjustified discrimination. But we have to allow for a certain amount of personal liberty… for good and bad.

  • Jonathan

    @18, you don’t understand what slavery is.
    No one is forced to become, for example, a doctor. But if one chooses the profession, one also must accept the ethical duties that accompany it. If one can’t accept the duties, one can find another profession.

  • Jonathan

    @18, you don’t understand what slavery is.
    No one is forced to become, for example, a doctor. But if one chooses the profession, one also must accept the ethical duties that accompany it. If one can’t accept the duties, one can find another profession.

  • Gary

    @Klasie, I agree, it is not a simple case.

    She had to know her placement in the practicum for her degree was made questionable at best when she expressed her views on homosexuality. And these were not religious beliefs–no one said, “You believe in God? You claim Christ rose from the dead? You’re outta the program.”

    In any case, she has the liberty to believe anything she wants to. She just won’t complete her degree program through that school. Counseling homosexuals to change their sexual orientation is antithetical to secular psychological counseling.

  • Gary

    @Klasie, I agree, it is not a simple case.

    She had to know her placement in the practicum for her degree was made questionable at best when she expressed her views on homosexuality. And these were not religious beliefs–no one said, “You believe in God? You claim Christ rose from the dead? You’re outta the program.”

    In any case, she has the liberty to believe anything she wants to. She just won’t complete her degree program through that school. Counseling homosexuals to change their sexual orientation is antithetical to secular psychological counseling.

  • SKPeterson

    Klasie @17 – Dealing with mental illness is a legal minefield. However, it has generally been found in many other suicide cases that the responsibility ultimately resides with the suicide, not with outside parties.

    The other problem is that we generally don’t have “emergency” mental health care – we only respond to actions. So, we would act to restrain someone attempting to kill themselves, but we wouldn’t act to restrain that person if they merely stated their intention. We can try and talk the person out of such an action and request they seek therapy, but it ultimately resides with that person what they choose to do. Besides, mental health diagnoses are not snap judgments – they take time – which militates against them being used in an emergency context.

    Finally, as to the lesbian couple desiring a child. There is nothing remotely “emergency” in such a situation, so compulsion of the medical professional to provide care would be wrong. Now, if one of the lesbians slit her wrists in protest, the doctor would be obligated by her professional oath to render aid.

  • SKPeterson

    Klasie @17 – Dealing with mental illness is a legal minefield. However, it has generally been found in many other suicide cases that the responsibility ultimately resides with the suicide, not with outside parties.

    The other problem is that we generally don’t have “emergency” mental health care – we only respond to actions. So, we would act to restrain someone attempting to kill themselves, but we wouldn’t act to restrain that person if they merely stated their intention. We can try and talk the person out of such an action and request they seek therapy, but it ultimately resides with that person what they choose to do. Besides, mental health diagnoses are not snap judgments – they take time – which militates against them being used in an emergency context.

    Finally, as to the lesbian couple desiring a child. There is nothing remotely “emergency” in such a situation, so compulsion of the medical professional to provide care would be wrong. Now, if one of the lesbians slit her wrists in protest, the doctor would be obligated by her professional oath to render aid.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    SKP – you misread – the Lesbian couple were not looking for a child, they were seeking a family physician. Doctors would not handle such other issues .

    But lets posit another scenario: Let’s say you have a JW fellow who is studying to become doctor. In accordance with his beliefs, he states, in an interview, that he will not personally ever recommend a blood transfusion. Does he graduate and get his licence? If not, did you infringe upon his religious freedoms? If so, are you endangering patient lifes?And where do you draw the line?

    Next scenario: You have an Adventist person who is studying medicine. In an interview, she says she will always council her patients to immediately cease drinking alcohol and start practicing adventist dietry practices, since they are God’s laws. Oh, and your little boys should get the chop at 8 days. Graduate, or not? Why?

    It is important to think about these issues and their possible legal ramifications, precedent setting etc before indulging in knee-jerk reactions.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    SKP – you misread – the Lesbian couple were not looking for a child, they were seeking a family physician. Doctors would not handle such other issues .

    But lets posit another scenario: Let’s say you have a JW fellow who is studying to become doctor. In accordance with his beliefs, he states, in an interview, that he will not personally ever recommend a blood transfusion. Does he graduate and get his licence? If not, did you infringe upon his religious freedoms? If so, are you endangering patient lifes?And where do you draw the line?

    Next scenario: You have an Adventist person who is studying medicine. In an interview, she says she will always council her patients to immediately cease drinking alcohol and start practicing adventist dietry practices, since they are God’s laws. Oh, and your little boys should get the chop at 8 days. Graduate, or not? Why?

    It is important to think about these issues and their possible legal ramifications, precedent setting etc before indulging in knee-jerk reactions.

  • Gary

    Klasie, I admire you. I had already thought of the exact same scenario with the JW wannbe doctor and the snag with blood transfusions. Kudos for adding the Adventist w/ the special dietary laws. No. In neither case are these persons granted to become regular practicing doctors. _Perhaps_ the laws and medical practices/ethics could be changed to allow for a JW doctor who _only_ is a doctor for JWs, but I don’t think it could work.

    FTR, I wouldn’t want this young woman to become a licensed counselor.

  • Gary

    Klasie, I admire you. I had already thought of the exact same scenario with the JW wannbe doctor and the snag with blood transfusions. Kudos for adding the Adventist w/ the special dietary laws. No. In neither case are these persons granted to become regular practicing doctors. _Perhaps_ the laws and medical practices/ethics could be changed to allow for a JW doctor who _only_ is a doctor for JWs, but I don’t think it could work.

    FTR, I wouldn’t want this young woman to become a licensed counselor.

  • mikeb

    Johnathan @ 19

    We’re getting in the weeds here. And perhaps my wording wasn’t right–these doctors would not bring to mind the plantations in the American south of the 1800s. But my point is that the government should not be in a position to require an individual to perform in this instance. For government to require such performance places too much restriction on liberty. We’re not talking about good regulations–we’re talking about forcing someone to provide a service to someone they would rather not serve. And it doesn’t matter that its healthcare–the same circumstances could be found in many other industries where you have a service provider/consumer relationship.

    Flip the question around: Could the doctor’s employer require such service? Yes–For the doctor is free to practice medicine elsewhere or solo.

    Freedom means people are going to make choices you or I wouldn’t have made.

  • mikeb

    Johnathan @ 19

    We’re getting in the weeds here. And perhaps my wording wasn’t right–these doctors would not bring to mind the plantations in the American south of the 1800s. But my point is that the government should not be in a position to require an individual to perform in this instance. For government to require such performance places too much restriction on liberty. We’re not talking about good regulations–we’re talking about forcing someone to provide a service to someone they would rather not serve. And it doesn’t matter that its healthcare–the same circumstances could be found in many other industries where you have a service provider/consumer relationship.

    Flip the question around: Could the doctor’s employer require such service? Yes–For the doctor is free to practice medicine elsewhere or solo.

    Freedom means people are going to make choices you or I wouldn’t have made.

  • Med Student

    Physicians are not required to violate their consciences, but they also have an obligation not to abandon their patients once a doctor-patient relationship has been established. You can always choose not to become someone’s doctor when that person initially comes to you (unless you’re working in the ER), but once you agree to treat someone you’re not allowed to just stop doing so for reasons of conscience UNLESS you provide a referral to another physician. So pro-life doctors don’t have to perform abortions, but if their patient wants one they are duty-bound to provide a referral to someone who does. Generally-speaking, a doctor has to inform a patient of all options for treatment that any doctor would reasonably suggest, but is not obligated to provide that treatment provided he gives a referral to a doctor who will. So while a JW doctor might not have to give a blood transfusion himself, he would certainly have to tell the patient that it’s an option if medically called for. How all this relates to counseling is outside my scope. I’ve only taken medical ethics from the perspective of a medical student.
    One other point of interest is that the current common physician’s oath (Oath of Geneva or something along those lines) specifically states that you won’t discriminate on the basis of age, race, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc in how you treat patients. So while you could probably legally only provide care to a specific subset of patients, say German Lutherans, it wouldn’t be terribly ethical to do so.
    (Sorry about the length, I’m just about to finish a 14 week medical ethics course and we talked at length about some of these issues).

  • Med Student

    Physicians are not required to violate their consciences, but they also have an obligation not to abandon their patients once a doctor-patient relationship has been established. You can always choose not to become someone’s doctor when that person initially comes to you (unless you’re working in the ER), but once you agree to treat someone you’re not allowed to just stop doing so for reasons of conscience UNLESS you provide a referral to another physician. So pro-life doctors don’t have to perform abortions, but if their patient wants one they are duty-bound to provide a referral to someone who does. Generally-speaking, a doctor has to inform a patient of all options for treatment that any doctor would reasonably suggest, but is not obligated to provide that treatment provided he gives a referral to a doctor who will. So while a JW doctor might not have to give a blood transfusion himself, he would certainly have to tell the patient that it’s an option if medically called for. How all this relates to counseling is outside my scope. I’ve only taken medical ethics from the perspective of a medical student.
    One other point of interest is that the current common physician’s oath (Oath of Geneva or something along those lines) specifically states that you won’t discriminate on the basis of age, race, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc in how you treat patients. So while you could probably legally only provide care to a specific subset of patients, say German Lutherans, it wouldn’t be terribly ethical to do so.
    (Sorry about the length, I’m just about to finish a 14 week medical ethics course and we talked at length about some of these issues).

  • Jonathan

    @24, I can see your emergency room: as each patient enters, his vitals are taken (blood pressure, race, opinion of Ayn Rand), and then, depending on the answers, he’s sent to the doctor whose freedom of choice won’t be compromised by treating such a patient.

    No thanks.

  • Jonathan

    @24, I can see your emergency room: as each patient enters, his vitals are taken (blood pressure, race, opinion of Ayn Rand), and then, depending on the answers, he’s sent to the doctor whose freedom of choice won’t be compromised by treating such a patient.

    No thanks.

  • mikeb

    Gary and Klasie,

    I admire you both digging into the JW/Adventist angle. Very interesting to think about.

    Are you both (or either) saying that a JW should not get a license if they refused to ever recommend a blood transfusion? Can’t we trust patients in the marketplace to choose a physician who will recommend the transfusion (or any treatment that the consumer/patient desired) or that this physician would bring in a colleague to order the treatment? I understand your fear for the patient, but I’m a little afraid of big brother in some of these scenarios, too…

  • mikeb

    Gary and Klasie,

    I admire you both digging into the JW/Adventist angle. Very interesting to think about.

    Are you both (or either) saying that a JW should not get a license if they refused to ever recommend a blood transfusion? Can’t we trust patients in the marketplace to choose a physician who will recommend the transfusion (or any treatment that the consumer/patient desired) or that this physician would bring in a colleague to order the treatment? I understand your fear for the patient, but I’m a little afraid of big brother in some of these scenarios, too…

  • mikeb

    Jonathan @ 26

    I see your point and any ER physician who looks to politics isn’t going to last very long. But the ER physician chose to work in an ER where he or she must have know that they would come into contact with a diverse group.

    What if the same physician, opened his own solo practice–is it ever permissible for them to treat only those patients they wish to see?

  • mikeb

    Jonathan @ 26

    I see your point and any ER physician who looks to politics isn’t going to last very long. But the ER physician chose to work in an ER where he or she must have know that they would come into contact with a diverse group.

    What if the same physician, opened his own solo practice–is it ever permissible for them to treat only those patients they wish to see?

  • Jonathan

    @28 The answer surely depends on why they wish to see the patient. Physicians, even those working “solo,” aren’t hot dog stands. They’re licensed by a society that (1) invested a great deal to make their education possible and (2) stakes a great deal on their skill. Society purposely makes the license very hard to get and keep. The license is not private property; it represents the privilege to serve all parts of the society that made it possible.

  • Jonathan

    @28 The answer surely depends on why they wish to see the patient. Physicians, even those working “solo,” aren’t hot dog stands. They’re licensed by a society that (1) invested a great deal to make their education possible and (2) stakes a great deal on their skill. Society purposely makes the license very hard to get and keep. The license is not private property; it represents the privilege to serve all parts of the society that made it possible.

  • Med Student

    mikeb @ 28
    You are correct in that a physician with a solo practice can pick and choose his/her patients. But once you agree to be someone’s doctor, you can’t abandon them if you suddenly find out something about them that you don’t like – you have to refer them to another doctor. Only ER physicians are bound by law to treat anyone and everyone who comes into the ER. Most other doctors would be bound by the rules of their employer (i.e. hospital).
    In regards to @27, I would say that yes, a JW doctor who refused to recommend a blood transfusion even if it were the standard of care in the situation should not be issued a medical license. You can’t just refuse to discuss a particular procedure or treatment that is considered to be a standard of care option with a patient because you don’t agree with it for religious reasons. Again, you wouldn’t have to do the procedure yourself, but you can’t just not mention it if it’s at all medically indicated. If someone has a problem with that, then don’t enter the medical field.

  • Med Student

    mikeb @ 28
    You are correct in that a physician with a solo practice can pick and choose his/her patients. But once you agree to be someone’s doctor, you can’t abandon them if you suddenly find out something about them that you don’t like – you have to refer them to another doctor. Only ER physicians are bound by law to treat anyone and everyone who comes into the ER. Most other doctors would be bound by the rules of their employer (i.e. hospital).
    In regards to @27, I would say that yes, a JW doctor who refused to recommend a blood transfusion even if it were the standard of care in the situation should not be issued a medical license. You can’t just refuse to discuss a particular procedure or treatment that is considered to be a standard of care option with a patient because you don’t agree with it for religious reasons. Again, you wouldn’t have to do the procedure yourself, but you can’t just not mention it if it’s at all medically indicated. If someone has a problem with that, then don’t enter the medical field.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    mikeb – at least in patient care – no, such a person should not get a licence. However, maybe there is an option for them to work as “non-patient care ” physicians, such as pathologists, or medical examiners? I don’t know if the structure of medical icences allow for that kind of thing.

    Med Student – nice to see I was sort of on track there. To be fair, I have learnt a lot about medical ethics from the CBC radio program, “White Coat, Black Art”, presented by a practicing MD, Brian Goldman. Very, very thought provoking.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    mikeb – at least in patient care – no, such a person should not get a licence. However, maybe there is an option for them to work as “non-patient care ” physicians, such as pathologists, or medical examiners? I don’t know if the structure of medical icences allow for that kind of thing.

    Med Student – nice to see I was sort of on track there. To be fair, I have learnt a lot about medical ethics from the CBC radio program, “White Coat, Black Art”, presented by a practicing MD, Brian Goldman. Very, very thought provoking.

  • mikeb

    Johnathan @ 29

    No doubt society has a vested interest in physicians. But where do the the wishes and whims of society end and those of the individual begin? Who gets to decide–and at what cost to society?

  • mikeb

    Johnathan @ 29

    No doubt society has a vested interest in physicians. But where do the the wishes and whims of society end and those of the individual begin? Who gets to decide–and at what cost to society?

  • mikeb

    Klasie @ 31

    Obviously there is a distinction between emergency medicine and routine care. I see no problem providing reasonable accommodation to allow a physician who is JW or Adventist to practice medicine so long as patients know he or she will not provide certain treatments. As med student points out the system already demands they make patients aware of all options.

    But what if we weren’t talking medicine?

    What if we have an atheist finance professional who refuses clients who are people of faith because the fruit of the investments might be used to aid houses of worship? Should he be denied a license to practice his profession based solely on this one criteria?

  • mikeb

    Klasie @ 31

    Obviously there is a distinction between emergency medicine and routine care. I see no problem providing reasonable accommodation to allow a physician who is JW or Adventist to practice medicine so long as patients know he or she will not provide certain treatments. As med student points out the system already demands they make patients aware of all options.

    But what if we weren’t talking medicine?

    What if we have an atheist finance professional who refuses clients who are people of faith because the fruit of the investments might be used to aid houses of worship? Should he be denied a license to practice his profession based solely on this one criteria?

  • mikeb

    Jonathan @ 29

    One more question: Whose labor does the medical degree represent; who was that studied, trained, and committed themselves to such rigor? Who provides the medical care–the services–to the patients? Was it society or the individual who completed the degree?

  • mikeb

    Jonathan @ 29

    One more question: Whose labor does the medical degree represent; who was that studied, trained, and committed themselves to such rigor? Who provides the medical care–the services–to the patients? Was it society or the individual who completed the degree?

  • Med Student

    Klasie @31
    If you’re interested in learning more about medical ethics, the text used at my school is “Resolving Ethical Dilemmas” by Bernard Lo. It’s somewhat dry reading, but it does outline the basic ethical duties of physicians pretty well. As I’ve said previously though, I’m not sure how well it translates to counseling. Medical treatment of homosexuals isn’t really any different than treating heterosexuals except some of the risk factors may differ; but psychological treatment obviously depends on how you view homosexuality…

  • Med Student

    Klasie @31
    If you’re interested in learning more about medical ethics, the text used at my school is “Resolving Ethical Dilemmas” by Bernard Lo. It’s somewhat dry reading, but it does outline the basic ethical duties of physicians pretty well. As I’ve said previously though, I’m not sure how well it translates to counseling. Medical treatment of homosexuals isn’t really any different than treating heterosexuals except some of the risk factors may differ; but psychological treatment obviously depends on how you view homosexuality…

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    mikeb, at the danger of entering a reductio spiral, I would say it depends on ethical requirements. I am not sure how the boards regulating licences to fiance professionals operate – but my gut feel is that he is on shaky grounds there. If he is not a specialist in non-profits, he could refer on those grounds, for instance. But if the refusal is based solely on religious preference, he might be transgressing his ethical codes. But medical ethics are considerably trickier than financial ethics, imho. We should be careful of not trying to apply ridiculous reductio arguments (I’m not saying your example is, but I’m forestalling a decent of this interesting discussion).

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    mikeb, at the danger of entering a reductio spiral, I would say it depends on ethical requirements. I am not sure how the boards regulating licences to fiance professionals operate – but my gut feel is that he is on shaky grounds there. If he is not a specialist in non-profits, he could refer on those grounds, for instance. But if the refusal is based solely on religious preference, he might be transgressing his ethical codes. But medical ethics are considerably trickier than financial ethics, imho. We should be careful of not trying to apply ridiculous reductio arguments (I’m not saying your example is, but I’m forestalling a decent of this interesting discussion).

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Med Student – as referenced in another post here (the Darwin one), I have been woefully short of reading time of late, but thanks for the suggestion.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Med Student – as referenced in another post here (the Darwin one), I have been woefully short of reading time of late, but thanks for the suggestion.

  • Jonathan

    @34, The degree represents the student’s labor, to be sure, but also that of every taxpayer who helped pay for the medical college, faculty salaries, etc., and who has a strong interest in wisely regulating the medical profession. The student’s labor is ultimately well compensated by enormous amounts of money doctors can make in the US. But medical skill is too valuable and too scarce for its use to be left to the complete discretion of one possessing it.

  • Jonathan

    @34, The degree represents the student’s labor, to be sure, but also that of every taxpayer who helped pay for the medical college, faculty salaries, etc., and who has a strong interest in wisely regulating the medical profession. The student’s labor is ultimately well compensated by enormous amounts of money doctors can make in the US. But medical skill is too valuable and too scarce for its use to be left to the complete discretion of one possessing it.

  • mikeb

    Klasie @ 36

    Can I re-frame my question? (I think we didn’t exactly understand each other when I brought up with finance guy–it’s okay, not sure I understand myself!)

    Is it right to force an individual to go against their conscience in order to serve (be it as a medical doctor, or any other worker) in society even if they promise to serve to the best of their ability and with the utmost regard for those in their care?

  • mikeb

    Klasie @ 36

    Can I re-frame my question? (I think we didn’t exactly understand each other when I brought up with finance guy–it’s okay, not sure I understand myself!)

    Is it right to force an individual to go against their conscience in order to serve (be it as a medical doctor, or any other worker) in society even if they promise to serve to the best of their ability and with the utmost regard for those in their care?

  • Grace

    The sinful “referral ”

    Not comitting the sin of aborting a child, but yet sending them somewhere, where they can obtain an abortion? Isn’t that the same thing? … ‘I don’t want my hands to be covered in blood from this sinful deed, but I will send you somewhere, where they WILL perform the deed’. What’s the difference?

  • Grace

    The sinful “referral ”

    Not comitting the sin of aborting a child, but yet sending them somewhere, where they can obtain an abortion? Isn’t that the same thing? … ‘I don’t want my hands to be covered in blood from this sinful deed, but I will send you somewhere, where they WILL perform the deed’. What’s the difference?

  • mikeb

    Grace @ 40

    The difference is an office call is $150 but a referral is only $75… Sorry, I just couldn’t resist the humor, it’s been a long day.

    I think your analysis is spot on, though.

  • mikeb

    Grace @ 40

    The difference is an office call is $150 but a referral is only $75… Sorry, I just couldn’t resist the humor, it’s been a long day.

    I think your analysis is spot on, though.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Mikeb,

    Two things – it is not clear that anything had been required that would violate anyone’s conscience – omission and comission.

    Secondly – what if paying taxes was against my conscience? Or driving on the right side of the road? What then? Your path of absolute individualism leads to anarchism. So, who decides where to draw the line?

    Exactly.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Mikeb,

    Two things – it is not clear that anything had been required that would violate anyone’s conscience – omission and comission.

    Secondly – what if paying taxes was against my conscience? Or driving on the right side of the road? What then? Your path of absolute individualism leads to anarchism. So, who decides where to draw the line?

    Exactly.

  • mikeb

    Klasie @ 42

    Regarding your second point: Ouch!!–That stings. In all sincerity I mean that you make a good counterpoint. But let’s not forget the dangers of absolute collectivism…

    So it appears to me that we would both be in agreement that some sort of reasonableness (or middle ground) needs to enter in? Help me understand then why it’s reasonable to tell a JW or Adventist they can’t be a doctor because of their membership in a group while at the same time its also reasonable to tell a doctor they can’t discriminate against a couple of lesbians for membership in their group? I think this goes to the core of Dr. Veith’s post.

  • mikeb

    Klasie @ 42

    Regarding your second point: Ouch!!–That stings. In all sincerity I mean that you make a good counterpoint. But let’s not forget the dangers of absolute collectivism…

    So it appears to me that we would both be in agreement that some sort of reasonableness (or middle ground) needs to enter in? Help me understand then why it’s reasonable to tell a JW or Adventist they can’t be a doctor because of their membership in a group while at the same time its also reasonable to tell a doctor they can’t discriminate against a couple of lesbians for membership in their group? I think this goes to the core of Dr. Veith’s post.

  • Grace

    K K @ 42

    YOU WROTE: “Secondly – what if paying taxes was against my conscience? Or driving on the right side of the road? What then?”

    Neither one of those you mention above is a sin, .. in fact the LORD talked about giving to Caesar what was his.. the driving part is nonsense.

    They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. Matthew 22:31

    Homosexuality is a sin, just as abortion is.

  • Grace

    K K @ 42

    YOU WROTE: “Secondly – what if paying taxes was against my conscience? Or driving on the right side of the road? What then?”

    Neither one of those you mention above is a sin, .. in fact the LORD talked about giving to Caesar what was his.. the driving part is nonsense.

    They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. Matthew 22:31

    Homosexuality is a sin, just as abortion is.

  • Med Student

    Grace @ 40
    The issue is what’s considered ethical, not what’s considered sinful or not, at least at a society-wide level. I’m sure many Christian doctors agree with you, which is why they might choose not to go into OB/GYN. On the other hand, most abortions performed are not done for medical reasons at all, and thus bringing an abortion up as an option is not even necessary to fulfill ethical obligations. But I’m pretty sure even Catholic (or other Christian) hospitals have to make it clear at the outset that they won’t perform abortions, and if you want one you have to go to Planned Parenthood, etc. Does that make these hospitals guilty of abortion too?

    Also, a correction to what I said @30 – physicians have to follow ADA guidelines on discrimination when accepting/declining new patients, meaning they can’t discriminate on the basis of race, sex, national origin, religion, or disability.

  • Med Student

    Grace @ 40
    The issue is what’s considered ethical, not what’s considered sinful or not, at least at a society-wide level. I’m sure many Christian doctors agree with you, which is why they might choose not to go into OB/GYN. On the other hand, most abortions performed are not done for medical reasons at all, and thus bringing an abortion up as an option is not even necessary to fulfill ethical obligations. But I’m pretty sure even Catholic (or other Christian) hospitals have to make it clear at the outset that they won’t perform abortions, and if you want one you have to go to Planned Parenthood, etc. Does that make these hospitals guilty of abortion too?

    Also, a correction to what I said @30 – physicians have to follow ADA guidelines on discrimination when accepting/declining new patients, meaning they can’t discriminate on the basis of race, sex, national origin, religion, or disability.

  • Grace

    Med Student @ 45

    The Hippocratic Oath

    (A Modern Version)

    I swear in the presence of the Almighty and before my family, my teachers and my peers that according to my ability and judgment I will keep this Oath and Stipulation.

    To reckon all who have taught me this art equally dear to me as my parents and in the same spirit and dedication to impart a knowledge of the art of medicine to others. I will continue with diligence to keep abreast of advances in medicine. I will treat without exception all who seek my ministrations, so long as the treatment of others is not compromised thereby, and I will seek the counsel of particularly skilled physicians where indicated for the benefit of my patient.

    I will follow that method of treatment which according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patient and abstain from whatever is harmful or mischievous. I will neither prescribe nor administer a lethal dose of medicine to any patient even if asked nor counsel any such thing nor perform the utmost respect for every human life from fertilization to natural death and reject abortion that deliberately takes a unique human life.

    With purity, holiness and beneficence I will pass my life and practice my art. Except for the prudent correction of an imminent danger, I will neither treat any patient nor carry out any research on any human being without the valid informed consent of the subject or the appropriate legal protector thereof, understanding that research must have as its purpose the furtherance of the health of that individual. Into whatever patient setting I enter, I will go for the benefit of the sick and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief or corruption and further from the seduction of any patient.

    Whatever in connection with my professional practice or not in connection with it I may see or hear in the lives of my patients which ought not be spoken abroad, I will not divulge, reckoning that all such should be kept secret.

    While I continue to keep this Oath unviolated may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art and science of medicine with the blessing of the Almighty and respected by my peers and society, but should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot.”

  • Grace

    Med Student @ 45

    The Hippocratic Oath

    (A Modern Version)

    I swear in the presence of the Almighty and before my family, my teachers and my peers that according to my ability and judgment I will keep this Oath and Stipulation.

    To reckon all who have taught me this art equally dear to me as my parents and in the same spirit and dedication to impart a knowledge of the art of medicine to others. I will continue with diligence to keep abreast of advances in medicine. I will treat without exception all who seek my ministrations, so long as the treatment of others is not compromised thereby, and I will seek the counsel of particularly skilled physicians where indicated for the benefit of my patient.

    I will follow that method of treatment which according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patient and abstain from whatever is harmful or mischievous. I will neither prescribe nor administer a lethal dose of medicine to any patient even if asked nor counsel any such thing nor perform the utmost respect for every human life from fertilization to natural death and reject abortion that deliberately takes a unique human life.

    With purity, holiness and beneficence I will pass my life and practice my art. Except for the prudent correction of an imminent danger, I will neither treat any patient nor carry out any research on any human being without the valid informed consent of the subject or the appropriate legal protector thereof, understanding that research must have as its purpose the furtherance of the health of that individual. Into whatever patient setting I enter, I will go for the benefit of the sick and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief or corruption and further from the seduction of any patient.

    Whatever in connection with my professional practice or not in connection with it I may see or hear in the lives of my patients which ought not be spoken abroad, I will not divulge, reckoning that all such should be kept secret.

    While I continue to keep this Oath unviolated may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art and science of medicine with the blessing of the Almighty and respected by my peers and society, but should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot.”

  • Grace

    In essence, Jennifer Keeton’s free speech, religious rights are now defunct, she has no right to either one.

  • Grace

    In essence, Jennifer Keeton’s free speech, religious rights are now defunct, she has no right to either one.

  • Grace

    We need more Jennifer Keeton’s in our schools –

    Transgender Clownfish? Gender Diversity Lesson at California School Riles Critics
    By Joshua Rhett Miller & Claudia Cowan

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/05/25/gender-diversity-lesson-california-school-riles-critics/

  • Grace

    We need more Jennifer Keeton’s in our schools –

    Transgender Clownfish? Gender Diversity Lesson at California School Riles Critics
    By Joshua Rhett Miller & Claudia Cowan

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/05/25/gender-diversity-lesson-california-school-riles-critics/

  • Grace

    Med Student,

    My career in medicine is unique. I have observed both sides of the fence.

    A physcian who substitues his beliefs for sinful practice is no doctor but a fraud, .. through his /her cowardly acts of omission, not having the God given backbone to stand before devilish practices.

    God help us when men and women are castigated for the right path, and punished by evil men for refusing to accomodate them.

    Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
    Isaiah 5:20

  • Grace

    Med Student,

    My career in medicine is unique. I have observed both sides of the fence.

    A physcian who substitues his beliefs for sinful practice is no doctor but a fraud, .. through his /her cowardly acts of omission, not having the God given backbone to stand before devilish practices.

    God help us when men and women are castigated for the right path, and punished by evil men for refusing to accomodate them.

    Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
    Isaiah 5:20

  • Med Student

    Just so you know, Grace @ 46, the Hippocratic Oath is generally not used anymore (ancient or modern version). There’s another one whose name is escaping me (something to do with Geneva) that leaves out the abortion language (since it is now unfortunately considered by many to be ethical as well as legal).

  • Med Student

    Just so you know, Grace @ 46, the Hippocratic Oath is generally not used anymore (ancient or modern version). There’s another one whose name is escaping me (something to do with Geneva) that leaves out the abortion language (since it is now unfortunately considered by many to be ethical as well as legal).

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Grace – what Medstudent said. This is really a debate about ethics, personal choice the individuals position within a pluralistic society. If we all agreed on belief, of course, it would be very easy. But that is not the reality out there. Thus the debate is in balancing the individuals beliefs / feelings within the setting of a free society, against the need to have an orderly society. In this specific case, the point is not whether ms Keeton is wrong or right in her personal beliefs. It is on how much those personal beliefs should be allowed to influence what amounts to be medical decision making, and medical advice. And on how much whatever decision you make could create ethical and legal precedents of much greater consequence.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Grace – what Medstudent said. This is really a debate about ethics, personal choice the individuals position within a pluralistic society. If we all agreed on belief, of course, it would be very easy. But that is not the reality out there. Thus the debate is in balancing the individuals beliefs / feelings within the setting of a free society, against the need to have an orderly society. In this specific case, the point is not whether ms Keeton is wrong or right in her personal beliefs. It is on how much those personal beliefs should be allowed to influence what amounts to be medical decision making, and medical advice. And on how much whatever decision you make could create ethical and legal precedents of much greater consequence.

  • Michael B.

    I pro-gay-marriage, but I certainly hope there is never a law made that forbids free speech or requires one to profess that homosexuality isn’t sinful. I want what Fred Phelps does to be completely legal, and would greatly be disturbed if he were ever jailed for his statements.

    Having said that, my personal hope is that one day being anti-homosexual is regarded the same as being anti-Black. While making an anti-Black comment is completely legal, it instantly disqualifies the intellectual and moral character of the speaker.

  • Michael B.

    I pro-gay-marriage, but I certainly hope there is never a law made that forbids free speech or requires one to profess that homosexuality isn’t sinful. I want what Fred Phelps does to be completely legal, and would greatly be disturbed if he were ever jailed for his statements.

    Having said that, my personal hope is that one day being anti-homosexual is regarded the same as being anti-Black. While making an anti-Black comment is completely legal, it instantly disqualifies the intellectual and moral character of the speaker.

  • Grace

    Med Student

    There are several versions, and there are medical schools that choose which one they will use. Most doctors in practice for the past 5 to 10 years took the one I posted, – THUS it is an ‘OATH’ which physcians (who took it, then) are bound to adhere to.

  • Grace

    Med Student

    There are several versions, and there are medical schools that choose which one they will use. Most doctors in practice for the past 5 to 10 years took the one I posted, – THUS it is an ‘OATH’ which physcians (who took it, then) are bound to adhere to.

  • Grace

    Should be spelled “physicians”

  • Grace

    Should be spelled “physicians”

  • Grace

    Kraalogies @51

    YOU WROTE: “Grace – what Medstudent said. This is really a debate about ethics, personal choice the individuals position within a pluralistic society.”

    It is MUCH more than that. I don’t need you to translate the meaning of this thread.

  • Grace

    Kraalogies @51

    YOU WROTE: “Grace – what Medstudent said. This is really a debate about ethics, personal choice the individuals position within a pluralistic society.”

    It is MUCH more than that. I don’t need you to translate the meaning of this thread.

  • Apocryphon

    Grace, as a fellow believer, I sympathize with the position. But it really is about the situation of living in a pluralistic society where not everyone holds the same belief, and what is necessary to resolve conflicts caused by those differences. You or I could say it’s really about God’s will, but to nonbelievers it isn’t. The question is, how do you reconcile that?

  • Apocryphon

    Grace, as a fellow believer, I sympathize with the position. But it really is about the situation of living in a pluralistic society where not everyone holds the same belief, and what is necessary to resolve conflicts caused by those differences. You or I could say it’s really about God’s will, but to nonbelievers it isn’t. The question is, how do you reconcile that?

  • Grace

    Apocryphon @ 56

    YOU WROTE: “The question is, how do you reconcile that?”

    You cannot “reconcile” evil with good -

    The OATH physcians took before they changed it (in some med schools) is the one doctors must live with. Most doctors took the ‘old Oath’ -

    If….. they punish a student for her beliefs, as they did to Jennifer Keeton, ….. “academic probation” …… the entire system of free speech and religious freedom, becomes a moot point. The Constitution is EXTINCT!

  • Grace

    Apocryphon @ 56

    YOU WROTE: “The question is, how do you reconcile that?”

    You cannot “reconcile” evil with good -

    The OATH physcians took before they changed it (in some med schools) is the one doctors must live with. Most doctors took the ‘old Oath’ -

    If….. they punish a student for her beliefs, as they did to Jennifer Keeton, ….. “academic probation” …… the entire system of free speech and religious freedom, becomes a moot point. The Constitution is EXTINCT!

  • mikeb

    Apocryphon, Grace, Klasie, et. al.,

    Apocryphon asks how we reconcile pluralistic beliefs. I reiterate my earlier argument: we must defer to individual liberty as much as possible. Yes, freedom allows people to commit evil and to sin but I doubt we see more evil in free and open societies than we have in closed societies, especially so when we account for state sponsored evil (think of the Third Reich’s final solution or Pol Pot’s killing fields for example).

    So in essentials, we must require certain action. Firemen, police officers, public school teachers all sign on knowing they will be servants to all. But in non essentials, in private life, private business, private practice we should defer to private individuals to decide what is best for them in accordance with their free will. Of course we should have and enforce criminal laws to protect those who cannot protect themselves, to restrict and punish heinous crimes. But where society’s interest isn’t clear and convincing, where no immediate and irrevocable injury (perhaps harm is a better word?) would occur and where we impede on the rights of those to choose or choose otherwise, I defer to freedom.

    This liberty doesn’t have to slip into anarchy as Klasie suggests. It doesn’t mean that people can drive on the wrong side of the road or refuse to pay their taxes. Those are essentials, items where there is risk of an immediate and irrevocable injury.

  • mikeb

    Apocryphon, Grace, Klasie, et. al.,

    Apocryphon asks how we reconcile pluralistic beliefs. I reiterate my earlier argument: we must defer to individual liberty as much as possible. Yes, freedom allows people to commit evil and to sin but I doubt we see more evil in free and open societies than we have in closed societies, especially so when we account for state sponsored evil (think of the Third Reich’s final solution or Pol Pot’s killing fields for example).

    So in essentials, we must require certain action. Firemen, police officers, public school teachers all sign on knowing they will be servants to all. But in non essentials, in private life, private business, private practice we should defer to private individuals to decide what is best for them in accordance with their free will. Of course we should have and enforce criminal laws to protect those who cannot protect themselves, to restrict and punish heinous crimes. But where society’s interest isn’t clear and convincing, where no immediate and irrevocable injury (perhaps harm is a better word?) would occur and where we impede on the rights of those to choose or choose otherwise, I defer to freedom.

    This liberty doesn’t have to slip into anarchy as Klasie suggests. It doesn’t mean that people can drive on the wrong side of the road or refuse to pay their taxes. Those are essentials, items where there is risk of an immediate and irrevocable injury.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Having said that, my personal hope is that one day being anti-homosexual is regarded the same as being anti-Black. While making an anti-Black comment is completely legal, it instantly disqualifies the intellectual and moral character of the speaker.

    Hoping for intolerance by everyone of anything you don’t agree with?

    Let’s just replace anti-Black with Christian.

    Hey, it could happen. It likely already exists in some circles.

    It will be completely legal to espouse Christianity but, it will instantly disqualify the intellectual and moral character of the speaker.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Having said that, my personal hope is that one day being anti-homosexual is regarded the same as being anti-Black. While making an anti-Black comment is completely legal, it instantly disqualifies the intellectual and moral character of the speaker.

    Hoping for intolerance by everyone of anything you don’t agree with?

    Let’s just replace anti-Black with Christian.

    Hey, it could happen. It likely already exists in some circles.

    It will be completely legal to espouse Christianity but, it will instantly disqualify the intellectual and moral character of the speaker.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    It will be completely legal to espouse Christianity but, it will instantly disqualify the intellectual and moral character of the speaker.

    After all Christian = anti gay, right?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    It will be completely legal to espouse Christianity but, it will instantly disqualify the intellectual and moral character of the speaker.

    After all Christian = anti gay, right?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Ok, and the thread is lost. A pity, it was good while it lasted…

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Ok, and the thread is lost. A pity, it was good while it lasted…

  • Gary

    @sg “After all Christian = anti gay, right?”

    Correct. And it is legal to espouse Christianity. It’s even legal for Fred Phelps to claim “God hates fags.”

    Christians have done a bang-up job of making sure non-Christians perceive Christians to be anti gay. Because of the rapidly declining influence of Christianity, many people have decided the Christians are wrong and it’s nobody’s business who’s gay and who’s not. Therefore, Christians are often disqualified, and their moral viewpoints vilified.

    This isn’t something that’s going to happen, it’s already happened.

    The moral equivalency proposed between being anti-black and anti-gay is interesting, because in the early part of the 20th Century it was very common for Christian preachers in the south to use the Bible to justify their bigotry.

  • Gary

    @sg “After all Christian = anti gay, right?”

    Correct. And it is legal to espouse Christianity. It’s even legal for Fred Phelps to claim “God hates fags.”

    Christians have done a bang-up job of making sure non-Christians perceive Christians to be anti gay. Because of the rapidly declining influence of Christianity, many people have decided the Christians are wrong and it’s nobody’s business who’s gay and who’s not. Therefore, Christians are often disqualified, and their moral viewpoints vilified.

    This isn’t something that’s going to happen, it’s already happened.

    The moral equivalency proposed between being anti-black and anti-gay is interesting, because in the early part of the 20th Century it was very common for Christian preachers in the south to use the Bible to justify their bigotry.

  • moallen

    A Question: Is someone who desires to help those who deal with homosexual desires to overcome those desires and live in peace with God and their religion “anti-gay?” Wouldn’t a refusal to help such a person (who believes their gay desires need to brought under the bloody cross of Jesus) discriminate against their desire to live in forgiven peace with their sinful desires, or even exploit any possible change? If it is wrong or forbidden to help such a person live in repentance, we are all slaves to those who know better than us – and we better know it or else!

  • moallen

    A Question: Is someone who desires to help those who deal with homosexual desires to overcome those desires and live in peace with God and their religion “anti-gay?” Wouldn’t a refusal to help such a person (who believes their gay desires need to brought under the bloody cross of Jesus) discriminate against their desire to live in forgiven peace with their sinful desires, or even exploit any possible change? If it is wrong or forbidden to help such a person live in repentance, we are all slaves to those who know better than us – and we better know it or else!

  • Grace

    Maollen @ 63

    YOU WROTE: “A Question: Is someone who desires to help those who deal with homosexual desires to overcome those desires and live in peace with God and their religion “anti-gay?”

    No they are trying to help a poor sinner. There are many people who have fallen prey to homosexual lifestyles – it’s not impossible through Jesus Christ to be freed from those desires.

  • Grace

    Maollen @ 63

    YOU WROTE: “A Question: Is someone who desires to help those who deal with homosexual desires to overcome those desires and live in peace with God and their religion “anti-gay?”

    No they are trying to help a poor sinner. There are many people who have fallen prey to homosexual lifestyles – it’s not impossible through Jesus Christ to be freed from those desires.

  • Grace

    Sorry Moallen, for misspelling your name in post 64

  • Grace

    Sorry Moallen, for misspelling your name in post 64

  • Grace

    Kraalogies @ 61

    YOU WROTE: “Ok, and the thread is lost. A pity, it was good while it lasted…

    It is still a good thread – still here!

  • Grace

    Kraalogies @ 61

    YOU WROTE: “Ok, and the thread is lost. A pity, it was good while it lasted…

    It is still a good thread – still here!

  • steve

    I can say from first hand experience that there are quite a number of therapists and psychiatrists out there who have no qualms about imparting their own personal beliefs to their patients. A local psychiatrists was actually counseling his Christian patients to consider other forms of spirituality and recommending Eckhart Tolle books.

    Personally, I commend Ms Keeton for acknowledging her beliefs and how they might limit her ability to provide adequate counsel to certain people. If only more mental health professionals were as ethical.

  • steve

    I can say from first hand experience that there are quite a number of therapists and psychiatrists out there who have no qualms about imparting their own personal beliefs to their patients. A local psychiatrists was actually counseling his Christian patients to consider other forms of spirituality and recommending Eckhart Tolle books.

    Personally, I commend Ms Keeton for acknowledging her beliefs and how they might limit her ability to provide adequate counsel to certain people. If only more mental health professionals were as ethical.

  • Grace

    Steve @ 67

    You wrote: “Personally, I commend Ms Keeton for acknowledging her beliefs and how they might limit her ability to provide adequate counsel to certain people. If only more mental health professionals were as ethical.”

    They don’t really limit her ability, those who fear her ability to make ‘change’ through Jesus Christ are the problem – the world fights against the Savior.

    There are those just like Keeton who speak the truth, who pray and love the LORD, more than what their professors expound, or their friends admire – they stand alone, many times, as the cowards are afraid to stand for Christ and the Word of God.

  • Grace

    Steve @ 67

    You wrote: “Personally, I commend Ms Keeton for acknowledging her beliefs and how they might limit her ability to provide adequate counsel to certain people. If only more mental health professionals were as ethical.”

    They don’t really limit her ability, those who fear her ability to make ‘change’ through Jesus Christ are the problem – the world fights against the Savior.

    There are those just like Keeton who speak the truth, who pray and love the LORD, more than what their professors expound, or their friends admire – they stand alone, many times, as the cowards are afraid to stand for Christ and the Word of God.

  • Pete

    sg @61 sez “After all Christian = anti gay, right?”

    Needs clarification. I think “recognizes homosexuality as a sin against God” might be a more accurate characterization. I had a bit of an “aha” moment a few years back when I was reading the first chapter of Romans – the laundry list of evil things ascribed to mankind (among which is homosexuality), following which the author begins chapter two with “You, therefore, have no excuse… because you who pass judgment do the same things.” The brush there is broad and, as I read it, is saying that I, the reader, do the same things. The “aha” moment was this: unlike lust or greed or covetousness or sloth, I can honestly say that I just don’t wrestle with homosexuality. It doesn’t do much for me – rather the opposite. But I think Paul is saying here that, despite the fact that circumstances in my life (nature and nurture) have played out such that I’m not drawn to homosexuality, it’s still there in me somewhere. And for reasons more related to my self-interest than my inherent goodness it just doesn’t get expressed. Very analogous to Jesus’ assertion that by the strict definition of God’s law we’re all murderers and adulterers, even if we’ve never actually murdered anyone or committed actual adultery.
    That said, Christians ought to be opposed to those who advocate homosexuality (or murder, or injustice, or greed) as something to be celebrated and, as shown by the court case above, that is becoming increasingly difficult in our society.

  • Pete

    sg @61 sez “After all Christian = anti gay, right?”

    Needs clarification. I think “recognizes homosexuality as a sin against God” might be a more accurate characterization. I had a bit of an “aha” moment a few years back when I was reading the first chapter of Romans – the laundry list of evil things ascribed to mankind (among which is homosexuality), following which the author begins chapter two with “You, therefore, have no excuse… because you who pass judgment do the same things.” The brush there is broad and, as I read it, is saying that I, the reader, do the same things. The “aha” moment was this: unlike lust or greed or covetousness or sloth, I can honestly say that I just don’t wrestle with homosexuality. It doesn’t do much for me – rather the opposite. But I think Paul is saying here that, despite the fact that circumstances in my life (nature and nurture) have played out such that I’m not drawn to homosexuality, it’s still there in me somewhere. And for reasons more related to my self-interest than my inherent goodness it just doesn’t get expressed. Very analogous to Jesus’ assertion that by the strict definition of God’s law we’re all murderers and adulterers, even if we’ve never actually murdered anyone or committed actual adultery.
    That said, Christians ought to be opposed to those who advocate homosexuality (or murder, or injustice, or greed) as something to be celebrated and, as shown by the court case above, that is becoming increasingly difficult in our society.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Anyone know if Vieth is o.K. ? I always get a bit nervous when there isn’t a new post up by seven A.M. So just in case, I’m praying for him.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Anyone know if Vieth is o.K. ? I always get a bit nervous when there isn’t a new post up by seven A.M. So just in case, I’m praying for him.

  • Michael B.

    “There are many people who have fallen prey to homosexual lifestyles ”

    If you read Paul’s letter to Roman’s, it’s actually God who delivers people into homosexuality. See Romans 1:26, for example.

  • Michael B.

    “There are many people who have fallen prey to homosexual lifestyles ”

    If you read Paul’s letter to Roman’s, it’s actually God who delivers people into homosexuality. See Romans 1:26, for example.

  • DonS

    Michael, “gives them up to vile passions”, specifically sexual sin, including homosexuality, is not the same as “delivering into”. The context is that they brought it on themselves by exchanging the truth of God for a lie (v. 25). The vile passions are Satanic — sin — God just sometimes lifts his protection — hardens hearts.

  • DonS

    Michael, “gives them up to vile passions”, specifically sexual sin, including homosexuality, is not the same as “delivering into”. The context is that they brought it on themselves by exchanging the truth of God for a lie (v. 25). The vile passions are Satanic — sin — God just sometimes lifts his protection — hardens hearts.

  • fws

    Why am i not surprised that this thread has alot of hits?

    Another hypothetical: a policeman believes that taking another human life is ALWAYS wrong.

    A judge believes that capital punishment is murder.

    I am a CPA. I too am required to take an oath of ethics. And I will soon become a real estate agent in Brasil. There is a code of ethics I am required to follow there too.

    If I cannot in good conscience follow that ethical code, then I need to find another profession. It is really that simple. And the woman in question could have known the ethical code she would be required to follow even before entering studies for that profession.

    MikeB: many christians believe that no ones individual rights are impinged upon by denying them the right to enter into a marriage contract (eg gay marriage and polygamy). I would suggest that there might be a logical inconsistency in your views.

    MikeB: you state, as a point of fact, that we should always aim for the most individual liberty possible. Where is this doctrine found in Holy Scripture? I see rather , in Scripture, that a christian is duty bound to give up his individual “rights” and enslave himself to the needs of others. Now non christians do not share this ethic. But this is the christian ethic isn’t it? If you need bible passages to see this I can provide them.

    sg: you seem to base your opinion upon whether or not it is true that being homosexual is something that can be reversed or not. And you offer that there is empiracle evidence that it can be reversed if someone wants that to be badly enough.
    I hope you realize that this is not in any way whatsoever a Biblical argument.

    It might help for you to understand that modern psychology is of the opinion that homosexuality and bisexuality fall within a range. What this means is that maybe someone say, has a mild emotional/romantic/sexual afinity for the same gender. For that person homosexuality may look, practically , just like any compulsive behavior and can be overcome accordingly.

    Then there are those for whom the idea of a romance or sex with a person of the opposite gender turns their stomach in precisely the same way it would turn the stomach of a heterosexual to have a romantic relationship with someone of the same gender. In that case there have not been ANY documented cases that such a person can be made ex-gay, or be turned into a heterosexual.

    So what to make of all this information Biblically? Nothing. None of this provides biblical support for anyone on either side of this issue.

    It would be therefore better to deal with the fact that all homosexuals hate God in their Old Adam in exactly the same way we too, according to our Old Adam , hate God and must die. The only real cure for that is baptismal regeneration. And we should offer that freely to all who desire it whether they are practicing homosexuals or ax murderers or pharisees or whoever…. We are under orders from our dear Lord Jesus to bring all those into the Church through those sin destroying waters of Holy Baptism.

  • fws

    Why am i not surprised that this thread has alot of hits?

    Another hypothetical: a policeman believes that taking another human life is ALWAYS wrong.

    A judge believes that capital punishment is murder.

    I am a CPA. I too am required to take an oath of ethics. And I will soon become a real estate agent in Brasil. There is a code of ethics I am required to follow there too.

    If I cannot in good conscience follow that ethical code, then I need to find another profession. It is really that simple. And the woman in question could have known the ethical code she would be required to follow even before entering studies for that profession.

    MikeB: many christians believe that no ones individual rights are impinged upon by denying them the right to enter into a marriage contract (eg gay marriage and polygamy). I would suggest that there might be a logical inconsistency in your views.

    MikeB: you state, as a point of fact, that we should always aim for the most individual liberty possible. Where is this doctrine found in Holy Scripture? I see rather , in Scripture, that a christian is duty bound to give up his individual “rights” and enslave himself to the needs of others. Now non christians do not share this ethic. But this is the christian ethic isn’t it? If you need bible passages to see this I can provide them.

    sg: you seem to base your opinion upon whether or not it is true that being homosexual is something that can be reversed or not. And you offer that there is empiracle evidence that it can be reversed if someone wants that to be badly enough.
    I hope you realize that this is not in any way whatsoever a Biblical argument.

    It might help for you to understand that modern psychology is of the opinion that homosexuality and bisexuality fall within a range. What this means is that maybe someone say, has a mild emotional/romantic/sexual afinity for the same gender. For that person homosexuality may look, practically , just like any compulsive behavior and can be overcome accordingly.

    Then there are those for whom the idea of a romance or sex with a person of the opposite gender turns their stomach in precisely the same way it would turn the stomach of a heterosexual to have a romantic relationship with someone of the same gender. In that case there have not been ANY documented cases that such a person can be made ex-gay, or be turned into a heterosexual.

    So what to make of all this information Biblically? Nothing. None of this provides biblical support for anyone on either side of this issue.

    It would be therefore better to deal with the fact that all homosexuals hate God in their Old Adam in exactly the same way we too, according to our Old Adam , hate God and must die. The only real cure for that is baptismal regeneration. And we should offer that freely to all who desire it whether they are practicing homosexuals or ax murderers or pharisees or whoever…. We are under orders from our dear Lord Jesus to bring all those into the Church through those sin destroying waters of Holy Baptism.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Well, Frank, as you see, I tried to keep the focus on the obvious issue here, which are the professional implications of the wholse issue. This “Medical Student” agreed upon. The bottom line here is Medical Ethics, not religious freedom. Unfortunately, our culture warrior friends cannot seem to see pass their favourite hobby horses.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Well, Frank, as you see, I tried to keep the focus on the obvious issue here, which are the professional implications of the wholse issue. This “Medical Student” agreed upon. The bottom line here is Medical Ethics, not religious freedom. Unfortunately, our culture warrior friends cannot seem to see pass their favourite hobby horses.

  • fws

    Klasie @ 74

    Sigh. The distinction is an extremely important one in a pluralistic society. When baptism is even less influential upon society the precidents insisted upon in the culture wars by christians will come back to bite us.

  • fws

    Klasie @ 74

    Sigh. The distinction is an extremely important one in a pluralistic society. When baptism is even less influential upon society the precidents insisted upon in the culture wars by christians will come back to bite us.

  • Grace

    KK @ 74

    “Unfortunately, our culture warrior friends cannot seem to see pass their favourite hobby horses.

    Calling homosexual wrong or sinful isn’t a “hobby” –

    One is castigated by others, shouting out the ‘outdated over-used phrase “culture warrior” — when in fact it’s the weak kneed liberals who blow that horn… much like the kids using the phrase “that’s really cool” and then their parents following suit. Yes I know Bill O’Reilly has brought back the phrase ‘culture warriors’ … but tacking it on everything, isn’t correct.

  • Grace

    KK @ 74

    “Unfortunately, our culture warrior friends cannot seem to see pass their favourite hobby horses.

    Calling homosexual wrong or sinful isn’t a “hobby” –

    One is castigated by others, shouting out the ‘outdated over-used phrase “culture warrior” — when in fact it’s the weak kneed liberals who blow that horn… much like the kids using the phrase “that’s really cool” and then their parents following suit. Yes I know Bill O’Reilly has brought back the phrase ‘culture warriors’ … but tacking it on everything, isn’t correct.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I guess some Culture Warriors don’t like being outed?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I guess some Culture Warriors don’t like being outed?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd, :) :)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd, :) :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anyhow, I don’t know enough about this particular case to say what I think about it — it’s just not clear what the particular objectsions and statements were — but I do think, FWS (@73), that your statement here is too simplistic:

    If I cannot in good conscience follow that ethical code, then I need to find another profession. It is really that simple. And the woman in question could have known the ethical code she would be required to follow even before entering studies for that profession.

    Really? So if some hypothetical law were passed (or code enacted) that said that all doctors must be on hand to assist in abortions (let’s say the demand is skyrocketing), then your advice would be, simply, that all Christians should follow that code or stop being doctors? Because the law/code in this case is sacrosanct?

    I have a hard time believing that. There is a time when we, as Christians, believe that the rules of men must be ignored. It’s just possible that we might believe that ethical codes are, well, unethical.

    Again, it’s not clear to me that this is such a case. Is the woman refusing to counsel gay clients whatsoever, even on topics not obviously related to homosexuality (as in, “Ew, gay people!”)? Or is she simply refusing to counsel them to do things she perceives to be sinful?

    I’m not sure I want to live in a world where, for instance, JW’s aren’t allowed to be doctors. I would think, at the least, that fellow JW’s would want to have a JW doctor. And, depending on what their field is, I might not mind having one myself (provided that I am informed of whatever particularities might be involved in their practice).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anyhow, I don’t know enough about this particular case to say what I think about it — it’s just not clear what the particular objectsions and statements were — but I do think, FWS (@73), that your statement here is too simplistic:

    If I cannot in good conscience follow that ethical code, then I need to find another profession. It is really that simple. And the woman in question could have known the ethical code she would be required to follow even before entering studies for that profession.

    Really? So if some hypothetical law were passed (or code enacted) that said that all doctors must be on hand to assist in abortions (let’s say the demand is skyrocketing), then your advice would be, simply, that all Christians should follow that code or stop being doctors? Because the law/code in this case is sacrosanct?

    I have a hard time believing that. There is a time when we, as Christians, believe that the rules of men must be ignored. It’s just possible that we might believe that ethical codes are, well, unethical.

    Again, it’s not clear to me that this is such a case. Is the woman refusing to counsel gay clients whatsoever, even on topics not obviously related to homosexuality (as in, “Ew, gay people!”)? Or is she simply refusing to counsel them to do things she perceives to be sinful?

    I’m not sure I want to live in a world where, for instance, JW’s aren’t allowed to be doctors. I would think, at the least, that fellow JW’s would want to have a JW doctor. And, depending on what their field is, I might not mind having one myself (provided that I am informed of whatever particularities might be involved in their practice).


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