The problem with taking on the label of Christian is that so many other bigots use it as a shield to enforce their ignorance and hatred upon others. Most rational thinking people can see that the bible contradicts itself in many places. In fact, just comparing the God of the Old Testament to God of the the New Testament it would seem like we are dealing with a split personality. The problem with modern Christianity as it is practiced is that many people cherry pick passages to oppress others while ignoring the various ways in which they fail to adhere to nonsensical doctrine that applies to them. The most ignored passage in the bible is judge not lest ye be judged — and that certainly applies to everyone.
An Augusta State University student filed suit Wednesday after she was told to change her Christian beliefs or otherwise be expelled from the school’s graduate counseling program.
“A public university student shouldn’t be threatened with expulsion for being a Christian and refusing to publicly renounce her faith, but that’s exactly what’s happening here,” said David French, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund. “Simply put, the university is imposing thought reform.”
Jennifer Keeton, 24, has been enrolled in the College of Education’s School Counselor masters degree program since fall 2009. She has expressed her Christian beliefs in class discussions and written assignments, but it was her views regarding gender and sexuality that irked faculty.
According to the filed complaint, “She has stated that she believes sexual behavior is the result of accountable personal choice rather than an inevitability deriving from deterministic forces. She also has affirmed binary male-female gender, with one or the other being fixed in each person at their creation, and not a social construct or individual choice subject to alteration by the person so created. Further, she has expressed her view that homosexuality is a ‘lifestyle,’ not a ‘state of being.'”
In May, Keeton was notified that she would be asked to participate in a remediation plan. Mary Jane Anderson-Wiley, an associate professor who also oversees student education and discipline, explained that the faculty wanted to see Keeton’s writing skills improve and that they are concerned with some of her beliefs and views pertaining to GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender) issues.
Several faculty members later met with the student and told her that they considered her to be failing to conform to certain professional standards. In a written Remediation Plan, the faculty said her speech on GLBT matters violated the codes of ethics that counselors and those in training are required to adhere to.
Keeton’s views “depart from what ‘the psychological research about GLBTQ (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning) populations asserts’ that that ‘sexual orientation is not a lifestyle or choice, but a state of being,'” faculty members said.
Here we go again with false oppression being cited by a woman that claims to be Christian to support her bigotry. How can she be effective as a counselor when she fails to accept the most basic premises? If she were in a position to counsel a GLBT person coming to terms with their gender and or sexuality, her particular views would end up causing harm to them. A person does not seek out aid to end up being hurt. The decision of Augusta State University is an attempt to insert accountability into their programs. If you think that someone is choosing to engage in an abomination, how can you possibly advise them in a neutral way? By giving this woman accreditation the university would be supporting the idea that such beliefs have a valid space in the profession of psychology.
Of course Keeton cannot accept that she is approaching this from a position of privilege. The GLBT community has for decades fought the understanding that there is a choice in their actions and further asserted that their sexuality and or gender identity is as essential to their person, as it is for heterosexual, cisgender people. If she were given accreditation, this would only increase the power that is already encoded to this woman’s body by nature of her heterosexuality and cisgender status. Think about the arrogance it takes to tell someone that that their identity is wrong — if that is not power and privilege in action I don’t know what is.
Even more astounding is the fact that some students sought to defend this woman using free speech.
No one is stopping Keeton from speaking her truth. She can scream her bigotry from the highest mountain but that does not mean she should not be held accountable for her hatred. I am sure that Keeton likens herself to Daniel facing the lions, but she is far from it. Free speech is often used to excuse unacceptable behavior and the very idea that speech should be without consequence is only socially acceptable because most often it is used for the benefit of dominant bodies to further marginalize groups that we have deemed to exist with outgroup status. I furthermore believe that Keetons frame of thought rises to the level of hate and should not be covered under the label of free speech. Her specific thought process has been used to attack the GLBT community by straight cis people including and up to death because it specifically marks them as less than human and somehow deviant. What these fundie Christians want is not equality but speech without consequence and that is only acceptable if you believe in that a group or individual has a monopoly on the truth.
Christians like Keeton test my faith because while they preach intolerance and hatred, I believe strongly in love and acceptance. The GLBT community is as much God’s creation as any straight het person and I believe to show hatred to towards them is to spit on the work of God. I love them because God loves them and heaven forbid these small minded people give up the notion that they have the right or the power to question what God willing chose to create. This has never been about the divine; it has always been about asserting power and enforcing a damaging hierarchy. Christianity and loving/accepting the GLBT community are not mutually exclusive, and though I hold no doctorate in divinity, my common sense and faith in God tell me that what they profess as a manifestation of God, represents no God I would see fit to worship.