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Sad, But Not Isolated

According to an Alliance Defense Fund press release, Augusta University graduate student Jennifer Keeton has been told she won’t graduate with a Master’s degree in counseling unless she abandons her Christian belief that homosexuality is a serious sin.

Sad, but this is hardly an isolated case. The ADF is also handling the case of Julea Ward, who was dismissed from Eastern Michigan University’s graduate program for the same thing. Also, the ADF is handling the case of Emily Brooker, who was threatened with expulsion for refusing to write a letter to her Representative expressing support for homosexual adoption.

Consider the dismissal of licensed counselor Marcia Ward from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for referring a client seeking counseling for a same-sex relationship to a colleague. Ward told the client that she couldn’t affirm or encourage homosexual relationships due to her religious beliefs, so she referred the client to a counselor who would. The client filed a complaint anyway, and the CDC fired Ward.

Also, the Christian Legal Society, according to a recent Supreme Court decision, must allow leaders who disagree with its statement of faith to hold office. However, the Supreme Court did acknowledge that the CLS could have a discrimination suit in the making, since the college in question selectively applied the policy that led to this suit. They allowed minority groups to limit leadership to the minority race it represents; therefore, there is no logical reason why the college should throw a fit if religious groups do the same thing.

What we face as Christians is the increasing secularization of society, and the fact that the “majority” is going to impose its views on us,  forcing us to accept the “normative” values that they are creating. In order to be considered “good” members of society, we will have to discard our Christian mores. Some Christians are going to do this (such as Bruce Waltke). Others, like Jen Keeton, Emily Brooker, and Marcia Ward, will fight to be allowed to maintain Christian values.

I applaud Keeton, Brooker, and Ward. Stand up and fight for biblical values and lead the way for a new generation of Christians to do the same!

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About Cory Tucholski

I'm a born-again Christian, amateur apologist and philosopher, father of 3. Want to know more? Check the "About" page!

Posted on July 24, 2010, in Apologetics and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Well, I’m not an expert, but as a counselor, she might be telling homosexuals to change, during her career. If that’s the case, the school is not that bigoted, in my opinion. If they chastised her for believing that the world was 6000 years old, I’d understand (though that would be condemnable in astronomy or geology, and she had been one of those, believing homosexuality is a sin wouldn’t be a problem). But, because of her profession, I actually agree with the school.

    • If a compulsive gambler, porn addict, murderer, adulterer, or pathological liar came to her, should she encourage him on his path to express his individuality?

      • No, she shouldn’t (porn is not always “wrong” outside of religious faith, though I know it is wrong regardless of circumstances, for a Christian). But homosexuality is not wrong, at least not outside of religion. And not any religion. It is only wrong when you put it against the monotheistic three (and maybe Hinduism, not sure). Besides Native American cultures, it is also encouraged in voodoo, from my country, Haiti (though Catholicism counters that). Some would consider it deeply offensive to even compare homosexuality to such behaviors.

      • Well, not “encouraged”,rather “tolerated”, “accepted”…

      • Can you justify taking murder as comparible activity to homosexuality?

      • One sin is just as serious as another. It might not justify the same degree of punishment in eternity, but that’s really another debate. My point is that all of those activities are sins.

  2. “…forcing us to accept the “normative” values that they are creating. In order to be considered “good” members of society, we will have to discard our Christian mores.”

    If we all woke up tomorrow with amnesia, having to learn everything all over again, we would put the Bible next to the Illiad, homosexuality would not be considered a sin. It’s a monotheistic construct, and it has not been shared by most other peoples before Christianity, Islam and Judaism. CHRISTIANS create their values, it’s not the other way around.

    And the values need not be discarded, unless they are harmful. And this one (about homosexuality) IS harmful. No one is going to ask Christians to stop “loving their neighbors as themselves”, or start cheating on their spouses…

    • “If we all woke up tomorrow with amnesia, having to learn everything all over again, we would put the Bible next to the Illiad, homosexuality would not be considered a sin.”

      One wonders why we would not have forgotten the idea of sin entirely 🙂 I must disagree with you, as this appears to be one of your less “well thought out” responses. Supposing amnesia, it stands to reason that some would come to view the bible and the Iliad (as well as a host of other books) in the same way we view them today (factual accounts, myth, history, fiction, etc.) – while others would reject them entirely, in much the same way some of us do today. This by virtue of our asking – as we’ve been inflicted (afflicted?) with amnesia – “who are we?” “where did we come from?” “why are we here?” etc. Questions we still ask ourselves today, questions which books like the bible attempt an answer (and books like the Iliad, don’t). We would not, necessarily, come to view these things as you view them now – fiction.

      Of course, what is most offensive in your thought is the implication that those people who are religious believers today, are people who haven’t critically and rationally examined their faith (something they would apparently be able to do if they were amnesiacs). I’m not even sure that’s worth more than a “sigh*”.

      • Oh, héhé, by “sin”, I mean “something harmful”, not the religious sense. If we were amnesic, we wouldn’t be religious, and therefore we would no longer be able to classify things as “sin” or “not sin”. But we would still have the concept of right and wrong (I’m sure we would still believe it is wrong to stab our neighbor, or to be stabbed by our neighbor). “Sin” is a nice term, I use it all the time, though I’m an agnostic.

        And of course, there are other problems with my amnesia analogy. There is the fact that there are many types of amnesia, I guess you sometimes cannot do daily tasks (like driving your car), sometimes you just can’t remember anything, and are still able to operate (like the guy who appeared on Oprah looking for his family). And we would have to figure out how to read, possibly over many years. Figure out what we meant by certain words. Experience the world for some time. And then, only then, we would be able to look at our texts, test their plausibility. But I wasn’t going to go into such details.

        I do believe that we would look at the Bible, read that Moses crossed the Red Sea, that Joshua “horned” down the walls of Jericho, and, armed with our regained experience, realize that such actions were unlikely, as were the exploits of Ulysses, and conclude that we were reading fiction. The amnesia WOULD help people see things in a less biased manner: we wouldn’t have our pastor to tell us what to think, or suffer from the effect of our upbringing.

        The Bible does try to answer the “Big Questions”, but without anyone to tell us that it is supposed to be true, we would realize how mythic it is that God sent a curse on the builders at Babel, that He sent a flood on the world sparing Noah with all living species on his boat, that St Paul heard a voice on his way to Damascus…we would realize that those stories sound very much like “Why the Bear has a short tail” (used to hear it when I was a child). Would many of us believe that too? If not, why is it so different from the Bible stories (this story are answering a question, like “Why do we speak different languages?”)?:

        http://www.sacred-texts.com/etc/bnm/bnm22.htm

        I’m sorry to offend, I really don’t mean to. It’s hard not to if you say things the way you see them, at times, and when such ways are not terribly neat, which they aren’t in this case in my opinion.

    • No, belief that homosexuality is a sin is not harmful. The way this belief manifests often is. My solution.

      • It is a better way to deal with it than many religious people do. But you have to understand why it is still harmful in my worldview. Imagine a group of people felt they had to drink some harmless beverage. That they really felt they needed to drink it, that they would feel “fake”, depressed, that they would not live to their full potential if they didn’t drink it. No matter how small the measure put against drinking said beverage, I would (and I think you would yourself) think it is wrong, fundamentally wrong.

        Even with your system (and I’m glad you realize homosexuality is an inborn trait), teenagers would be told that their feelings are unnatural, that it was a sin to follow them. That, for me, is horrible. Not for all non-secular sins, for that one in particular, because it is inborn and harmless (and harmless in my worldview, which can’t be said for alcoholism and rage).

        But I have another problem with your post: it says that we are attempting to accept homosexuality for the 1st time in 10,000 years. The behavior was perfectly accepted by the Greeks, and later somewhat adopted by the Romans. Native
        Americans accepted it. The Nandi tribe in Africa (I think) has always conducted gay marriages. Judaism, Christianity and Islam have transformed it into a sin. It has always existed, and has been, for the most part, accepted.

      • I didn’t explain the “drink” analogy right. I mean that condemning those who drink the beverage is wrong, because the act is harmless and necessary for some to live happily…

  3. Maybe you would agree with a school which would deny a degree (I don’t know which one would fit the bill, I’m not saying any degree would) to someone who believed that 9/11 was justified, that Islamic terrorism was ok…those are other harmful religious beliefs, they shouldn’t be tolerated simply because they are religious…

    • I’m not saying every belief should be tolerated just because it is religious. But how is believing that homosexuality is a sin a harmful belief? Read this before you answer. I actually think that the church has mistreated homosexuals, and that piece outlines what I think is a better way to go about handling the situation.

      • I understand, it is a better way to deal with homosexual behavior, but if it harmless, being necessary for some people’s happiness, doing anything at all against it is wrong. I know it is harmful in your worldview, but you must see why whatever measures you take against it are automatically condemnable in mine, even if mild compared to the harsh actions by other Christians.

  4. People are not entitled to a masters degree unless they fulfill the requirements of the particular graduate program to which they have applied. Heaven help us if it ever becomes true that a particular religion can dictate what must be taught in any graduate program and particularly in those programs which require scientific knowledge and training. People ARE entitled to believe whatever they want to believe, for religious or any other reasons, so long as it does not harm others. But the key is “so long as it does not harm others.” Graduate Schools in any field of psychology must teach the best practices of that science if they are to have credibility. Students who deny what they are being taught, who give answers on their exams which do not comport with what the school is trying to teach, cannot and should not expect to receive passing grades despite this fact. Surely this woman can find a Christian University that teaches what she already believes to be so, and potential patients can then look at the degree on her wall and decide whether they want to trust her or not, and everyone can be happy. What is at stake here is whether a religion may dictate to a graduate program what they must teach or tolerate in their students. Come on, people. There is no controversy here.

  5. A little Googling reveals just how egregiously you’ve misrepresented these stories, Cory. Of course, you’re not alone in that. I urge anyone who reads this to take the time to do a bit of research. Google the names of the people involved in these stories and read accounts that are not biased by Christianity. When you do that, the stories read very differently. I won’t take the time to hit on every point, but there are a couple of big one that need to be addressed.

    Cory wrote: Augusta University graduate student Jennifer Keeton has been told she won’t graduate with a Master’s degree in counseling unless she abandons her Christian belief that homosexuality is a serious sin.

    No one is being required to abandon any belief, and saying so is a ludicrous distortion that approaches an outright lie. These people can believe anything they want. However, they are not allowed to enforce their religious beliefs on others in their capacity as counselors, and the people in these stories make it clear that that’s exactly what they would do in that position.

    Religion is a personal belief. Because it’s PERSONAL. If you can’t get through life without trying to enforce your religious beliefs on everyone around you, then you need to confine yourself to groups in which those beliefs are shared. Of course, it would be much more productive to learn how to apply your religious beliefs to YOUR life and let others live as they please. But religion does not allow that. The problem here is not with society, it is with the religious. There are rules in life. If those rules do not conform to your religious beliefs, then avoid the arenas in which those rules apply, or find a way to follow the rules while maintaining your personal beliefs. If these people want to be counselors, then they should go into the clergy, where they can wield their beliefs like swords if they so choose. But it is unrealistic of them to expect non-religious institutions to bend the rules to conform to their religion. Simple as that.

    Cory wrote: What we face as Christians is the increasing secularization of society, and the fact that the “majority” is going to impose its views on us, forcing us to accept the “normative” values that they are creating.

    Society is not being secularized. Society has ALWAYS been secular. The mistake society has made for so long is bending to the will of the religious because of some unwritten law that states religious beliefs must be respected and bowed to by everyone. The Constitution guarantees everyone the right to believe and worship as they please. It does not guarantee that everyone is going to get out of their way and let them do what they want. For too long, Christians in America have believed that “freedom of religion” means that they, as a religion, have the freedom to do and say whatever they want. That’s not the case and behaving as if it is reveals a deep misunderstanding of religious freedom.

    America is becoming more diverse, and while Christians are still the majority, that majority is shrinking. Every survey on the subject shows that people are walking away from Christianity in growing numbers, especially young people. Even people who profess to be Christians do not practice the belief they claim and are ignorant of its teachings to the point of embarrassment. This is being reflected in other voices talking back to Christianity where once there was only silence. Christians are not being persecuted or oppressed. Their religious rights are as intact as they’ve ever been. None have been removed or restricted. What Christians are identifying as persecution and oppression is nothing more than the fact that Christianity is no longer the cock of the walk. It is the natural reaction of people who are tired of dealing with the arrogance and attitudes of entitlement that are inherent in Christians. Christians have abused the rights afforded them by the Constitution for so long that they now feel entitled to go on abusing them. But an increasing number of people feel otherwise.

    • Religion is a personal belief. Because it’s PERSONAL. If you can’t get through life without trying to enforce your religious beliefs on everyone around you, then you need to confine yourself to groups in which those beliefs are shared. Of course, it would be much more productive to learn how to apply your religious beliefs to YOUR life and let others live as they please.

      Whenever an outspoken atheist says something like that, I always have to laugh out loud.

  6. No offense taken, Héhé.

    You seem to believe that there are only religious believers because they were told a certain religion is true, and that upon accepting this ‘truth’ they abandoned their rational and critical faculties, blinded to the falsehood of their religion, and the truth of ‘X’ (whatever it is you hold to be true). In what way do you account for the convert – Christian to Muslim, Muslim to Christian, Hindu to Christian, Jew to Buddhist, etc. In what way is your amnesiac substantially different from the child who grows up in India – a Hindu – and later “converts” in life to atheism, Christianity, Islam etc.? Plenty of people have given up theistic belief, why should it take amnesia to do theism totally in? If this is truly your argument – that people only believe because they are told to – then you may very well be intelligent, but you are far from wise.

    Quite frankly, what I find odd is your belief that in amnesia we would loose our religious, but not our moral sense. Why shouldn’t we? Perhaps we would find Nazism to be the ‘natural’ order of things.

  7. She can’t be the first traditional christian ever to study to be a counsellor. I guess it comes down to, do the staff think her beliefs would get in the way of doing her job.

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