New bill would allow therapists to refuse to treat LGBT people.

How can our legislators, who are supposed to represent equality, decency, and every single American vote for something like this?

The Christian Right’s latest attack on the state’s LGBT community zipped out of the Senate Education Committee yesterday by a 7-2 vote. Nashville Republican Sen. Steve Dickerson was among the yes votes. The bill bars public universities from making graduate students in psychology counsel anyone if that would conflict with their “deeply held religious beliefs.”

Let’s get this fucking straight right now: immoral actions are no more excusable if they are religiously motivated or if they are motivated by any other type of ignorance.  Period.

If you wouldn’t let doctors watch a person die because they don’t approve of the person with whom the patient is swapping spit, you wouldn’t let a therapist watch someone march down the path to suicide because he thinks Jesus will cast them into hell.  While religion may make you a shitty person, it does not give you license to be a shitty person with impunity.  Where others are prohibited from discriminating against others professionally, being religious does not exempt you from the laws that bind everyone else.

What other laws could this apply to?  Everybody else can’t speed, but if your religious beliefs say you’re allowed, then go hog wild?  Laws are made (presumably) in the best interest of society, to protect people and to foster equality.  When someone’s religious beliefs are in conflict with those standards, our laws should not be what is made to bend.

psychologists and social workers told the senators the bill violates the American Psychological Association’s code of ethics and therefore jeopardizes the accreditation of Tennessee’s psychology graduate programs.

Not only that but “we don’t have an identified problem in Tennessee that this legislation will fix,” said Rebecca Smith, chair of the MTSU Department of Social Work. “We’re not able to cite a recent incidence where a student has refused to counsel a client or a client group based on religious belief.”

“It is our goal to teach the student how to be accepting of the client even when they cannot accept the client’s behavior. Much like the Good Samaritan, we do not pass by the individual in need because of an ideological difference.”

And, as usual, the experts with all the relevant information on the subject were instantly waved off because a group of particularly ignorant people from a particularly ignorant region in a time period ignorant of almost everything human beings now know thought differently.  Like Elizabeth Scalia said, why defer to experts when gut instinct is available?  Of course, you’ll never hear Elizabeth Scalia or GOP legislators say “Fuck these experts, I’m going to build a better computer with my gut instinct.”  You never hear that because they wouldn’t even know where to start and the experts would laugh at them.  But when the science has to do with the brain, and the effects of bone-headed legislation aren’t immediately visible, all of a sudden the experts-are-wrong-and-we-piss-ignorant-laymen-are-right approach doesn’t get mocked, even though it’s just as silly as trying to build a computer with intuition.

Jesus fucking Christ, these people…

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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