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Tuesday, July 27, 2010



I wonder if similar remediation would be required of a counselor with strong Wesleyan beliefs in male headship who would counsel female students to solve their marital problems by submitting to the will of their spouses.


"Should a person who believes that homosexuality is wrong be allowed to be a counselor, when some of her clients may be homosexual? That is not an unreasonable question."

Yes, it is a reasonable question, but not one that concerns the University. They are not hiring her as a counselor. It is a question a potential employer should ask. The University's involvement is limited to conveying the body of knowledge required to obtain a degree, and test her to assure that she has mastered that body of knowledge. That's it, full stop. How she takes that body of knowledge and tempers it with her beliefs and information she might supplement it with from other sources out in the world beyond the campus gates is of no concern to them.

I may believe that the world is flat, but if I attend the classes, submit the papers and ace the astronomy classes at the University of Arizona they are obligated to grant me a degree. I would hope that NASA would see my belief in a flat earth as grounds for denying me a job, but that would be between me and NASA - not the University of Arizona.

If honestly believing college professors becomes the acid test for degrees, rather than simply spitting back at them verbatim that which they have spat upon their students, the graduation rate at every American college will drop through the floor.

Chuck Anziulewicz

It seems to me that Ms. Keeton would have better success as a preacher than she would as a counselor. Or perhaps she could be hired by the Family Research Council or the American Family Association. I'm sure they're beating a path to her door even as we speak.


Cory: I am guessing that the kind of counseling you describe would violate clinical standards. Professional organizations are allowed to decide what constitutes professional behavior and valid procedures within their fields. To be sure, such decisions can be corrupted by greed and bias, but there is no alternative. If this case were a matter of Ms. Keeton violating those standards, that would be another thing. As far as I can tell, it is a matter of her being corrected for what she believes and says in contexts where freedom of speech surely applies.

BillW: I certainly agree. Apparently Augusta does not.

Chuck: I am not sure it is up to you or me to decide what Ms. Keeton would be better at. I do suspect that her career as a counselor will be dramatically affected by this. But building on what BillW says, someone who believes in young earth creation science is still perfectly capable of teaching evolution in a biology class, if she chooses to do so. I say my hypothetical person should be judged by conduct as a teacher, not by beliefs. I think the same thing about Ms. Keeton.

Jango Davis

I am sick and tired of born-again Christians attempting to manipulate the academic system to fit their very narrow and prejudiced world-views. Unbelieveable, calling the university biased because they won't approve her attempts to use her counseling creditential as a soapbox for her B.S. religious beliefs.

If this little girl wants to be a missionary I could suggest a position, such as going to a bible school! If she cannot separate her narrow-minded religon from helping ALL people, she does not deserve the credential from a secular college.

Keeton isn't interested in helping people. For doesn't the bible say not to boost of your good works? Keeton is just anotehr blond bimbo looking for her 15 minutes so she can get on the tube, get a book deal, sell the movie rights. If she didn't know that a secular university wouldn't expect her to cousneling everyone, staright or gay, then she is as stupid as she looks.


Anyone refusing to live up to the required standards of their chosen profession should not be allowed to be a part of that profession.

No matter what god tells them.



How is she manipulating the academic system? She took the courses, submitted the papers, passed the tests, and got the grades. She played the game exactly by their rules. They just don't like the way she thinks. More like the academic system is trying to manipulate her religious beliefs.

Professor William O'Neal at the University of Toledo instructs his students that the United States did not liberate Europe in World War II - that it is a vast conspiracy and the heavy fighting and heroic work was done by DeGaulle and the Free French. Should Toledo deny a degree to a student it hears expressing admiration for Dwight Eisenhower?

Arthur Butz of Northwestern University is one of the leading holocaust deniers. Should Northwestern refuse to graduate anyone who thinks Hitler exterminated Jews?

Tell me, Jango, are you in favor of colleges dictating everyone how think about everything? Or just in favor of them telling Christians how to think?

Bill - Augustana University does not determine the standards for any profession. They merely teach a body of knowledge that may or may not align with the requirements for a job a student might seek later in life. It is up to the profession to determine who meets that profession's requirements - not Augustana or anywhere else. The proof? Is Augustana willing to guarantee this your lady a job if she complies with their mandate? Of course not. She learns what they have to offer, and she forms her own opinions, then she takes her chances on the job market. If her views are not acceptable to those who set the standards for her profession, not to worry, she won't get a job counseling anyone. They don't need Augustana to screen people for them.


It seems pretty clear that Ms. Keeton was corrected not for any unprofessional conduct but for what she believed and for what she said. That looks like a suppression of free exercise and free speech to me. Here is a quote from my recent piece in the American News:

She was told quite plainly that “her biblical views could be harmful to her future clients,” that the faculty wanted her to “recognize her need to alter some of her beliefs,” that “a superficial change in her behavior was not their objective, but rather a fundamental change in her outlook.” Sharing her religious beliefs with other students was apparently not allowed. “There are limits on what views Miss Keeton may express even outside the classroom or the counseling room.”


I had a teacher in High School who would often share her personal beliefs on religion with her classes. It was very non offensive and she would generally preface it with "these are my beliefs, and you can believe what you like." My problem with this line is that any bit of this from a teacher can feel like preaching. As a student, you never got any equal chance to say your own thoughts or beliefs, so instead of a discussion, it turned into a little bit of a sermon. I feel that as a teacher, your own personal religious beliefs will almost never have to come up in a classroom setting.

Miss Keeton "has communicated both inside and outside the classroom that she holds to Christian ethical convictions on matters of human sexuality and gender identity." Whatever she wants to do outside of the classroom is her own business, but I feel like this does not need to come up inside a classroom, and if it does I feel like she should state it as her beliefs outside of religion. Yes, ASU only needs to make sure she is qualified as a teacher, but I feel like part of being qualified as a teacher is knowing what is and is not appropriate to say in the classroom. The "remediation program" sounds to be a bit much, but I feel that some form of discipline would be in order. She can keep her beliefs, I just don't know how appropriate it was that she stated them in the classroom.


Anon: thanks for the thoughtful comment. Ms. Keeton's comments "inside the classroom" refers to comments she made as a graduate student, not comments she made as a teacher. So far as I can tell, she doesn't intend to teach.

Ms. Keeton insists that she is prepared to treat all the persons she counsels equally. I think we have to take her at her word, in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

The question of faculty politics and bias in the classroom has come up many times on this blog. For the record, I had a teacher similar to the one you describe. She was firm an open about her Christian beliefs, but scrupulously fair to and respectful of anyone who did not share them. She was one of the best high school teachers I had, and I had some good ones.




First off, she would suck as a counselor. Counseling on airotbon (and for that matter, orientation) isn't about how *she* feels, it's about how the client feels. *She* may believe it's a sin, but telling a client that it's wrong or immoral, because of her beliefs, not taking into account the clients beliefs, isn't counseling it's preaching.Secondly, with that statement, because my beliefs are about absolute truth how is she going to counsel *any* one of different beliefs. If an atheist walks in is she going to tell them they're wrong? Is she going to tell a jewish person going through a hard time that maybe Jesus Christ is the answer?Unless she was going to market herself as a christian counselor, (which she should have enrolled in such a program if thats the case) she's not going to have much success. And since she was going for public school counseling, she doesn't get a choice, public schools do not discriminate against orientation, if she told a public school student questioning their orientation that it was all confusion and that they have to be straight, because gay is a choice, that school district would be flayed for hiring her. Her beliefs, as they stand, and her refusal to have professional respect for others beliefs, makes her unfit to counsel in a public setting. Tl;Dr version, Public schools pass no judgement over sexual orientation, ergo public school employees should not pass judgement over students orientation.Besides, if the ACA Code of Ethics does not allow discrimination based on orientation, and she believes orientation is a choice and intends to counsel as such, she is in violation of the ethics.


By profession I am an HIV Prevention Specialist for the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health. Part of my job ilnovves doing HIV testing and counseling; I also teach other social workers and health care professionals how to do the same. The definition of HIV prevention counseling is to assist clients in making behavior changes that can reduce their risk for acquiring or transmitting HIV. But counseling of ANY kind relies on certain skills and concepts, and one of the three important Counseling Concepts is this:MANAGE YOUR OWN DISCOMFORT.Anyone who does HIV prevention counseling is invariably going to be confronted with sexual behaviors and drug use behaviors that make us uncomfortable. But if we are unable to manage that discomfort, the counseling session will not be effective. If one of my clients feels that I'm being judgmental and sanctimonious, rather than caring and empathetic, that's going to drive a big barrier between me and that person.Jennifer Keeton is entitled to her views about homosexuality. But COUNSELING is the wrong profession for her, as any professional counselor will have you know.


In the first place the university has no bsuiness whatsoever telling any student that their ability to receive a degree is contingent upon them renouncing beliefs they hold on religious grounds. Augusta State University is not a private institution; they’re a publically funded school in Augusta, Ga.Second, isn’t it Jennifer Keeton’s decision to make? If she wants to be a counselor and wants to run the risk of losing patients who may disagree with her religious views, that too is her prerogative. Augusta State University’s Christian discrimination is blatant in this case.According to one report, one of Keeton’s teacher’s told her she couldn’t be a teacher let alone a counselor with beliefs like hers. In essence, the teacher was saying that only non-Christians or those who agree with homosexuality could hold those professions. And we’re supposed to be the closed minded ones.


Ah, in the end it comes down to our difference of ooipinn in marriage. You would rather someone marry a compatible person of the opposite gender. I'd rather someone marry a compatible person. my problem with realism in this case is that it seems to excuse men of their actions. Oh, you can't blame the hook up culture on men, it's in their nature. Oh, you can't expect men to wear condoms, they don't feel as good. Oh, you can't expect men to not rape women, they were tempted. Men having a stronger sex drive suddenly becomes less of their own responsibility and more of womens. Unfettered capitalism would do no one but the rich good. Communism does no one but those in power good. Balance, (and no, not necessarily socialism) is needed.

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