Poor Jennifer Keeton. She made the tragic error of thinking for herself and believing that such behavior would be welcomed, perhaps, even encouraged, in the modern American university setting. Poor benighted Jennifer made that politically incorrect mistake at Augusta State University and now faces expulsion from the graduate degree program in counseling.
Free thought, free inquiry, and free speech are barely on life support, if alive at all, in American academia. To those of us who have spent considerable time in such circles, that news comes as no surprise. The last place you would look for free intellectual inquiry these days is in an American university.
Jennifer's tragic mistake occurred in her holding to the traditional view that homosexual behavior is morally wrong and often psychologically unhealthy. In doing so, Keeton maintained the beliefs and moral convictions of her orthodox Christian faith as articulated by her churches, their scriptures, and by the vast majority of Christians around the globe.
In rebuking Ms. Keeton and seeking to end her dream of becoming a school counselor, the administrators at Augusta State fell back on their desire to have a counseling program that follows the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics. One wonders if the administrators have ever even read that code. In particular, the code states, “Counselors are aware of their own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors and avoid imposing values that are inconsistent with counseling goals.” That revered code of ethics also states later on, “Counselors do not discriminate against clients, students, employees, supervisees, or research participants in a manner that has a negative impact on these persons.”
Clearly, Ms. Keeton is aware of her own values and beliefs. No one disputes that fact. What is less clear is who gets to define what “counseling goals” are and what constitutes a “negative impact” on a client. If Ms. Keeton gets to define the goals of counseling as the counselor, there appears to be no problem. She will help guide her clients to evaluate homosexuality in a critical light. End of question.
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