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Christian student sues ASU

School says master's candidate must change beliefs, suit states

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An Augusta State University graduate student is facing dismissal from the university's counseling program unless she silences her convictions on homosexuality and gender identity, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

Jennifer Keeton is suing ASU for trying to silence her religious views.   Special
Special
Jennifer Keeton is suing ASU for trying to silence her religious views.


Jennifer Keeton, 24, plans to press forward with her lawsuit against the university if she is not allowed to retain her biblical viewpoints and remain a graduate student at ASU, according to the complaint filed by the Alliance Defense Fund. The complaint names ASU President William Bloodworth and professors Mary Jane Anderson-Wiley, Paulette Schenck and Richard Deaner as defendants, according to the documents filed in United States District Court in Augusta.

"Jennifer Keeton has not been accused of mistreating a client," said David French, senior counsel for ADF, a legal alliance that supports religious freedom. "She's being told, 'You must change your beliefs or we'll deny you a degree.' "

Keeton claims that she has voiced her Christian beliefs inside and outside the classroom on homosexuality and other biblical teachings. ASU faculty has ordered her to undergo a remediation plan, which would include diversity sensitivity workshops, she says.

Professors also suggested that she attend Augusta's Gay Pride Parade last month, Keeton told her attorneys. As a part of the plan, she would report back once a month to faculty to determine whether the activities have an impact on her convictions.

Keeton, who is from the Atlanta area, plans to become a school counselor, and says she refuses to change her religious beliefs. She enrolled in the program last fall, but was not asked to begin the remediation plan until this summer.

"While I want to stay in the school counseling program, I know that I can't honestly complete the remediation plan knowing that I would have to alter my beliefs," Keeton said in a video produced by the defense fund. "I'm not willing to, and I know I can't change my biblical views."

Her lawyers declined a request for an interview with Keeton.

The defense fund has handled similar cases the past few years. A Missouri State University social work student filed suit against the university when she was asked to change her views on same-sex adoption, French said. The university later settled. An Eastern Michigan University counseling student filed suit when the university threatened to dismiss her for her religious views. The case is still pending.

"This is an emerging trend in education, social work and counseling," French said. "Schools are trying to ensure that their children graduate with a particular world view."

Edward Delgado-Romero, a University of Georgia associate professor of counseling psychology, said he is not familiar with the case, but is aware that every university counseling program has national guidelines on training and practice. Every student entering the counseling field should be aware of what is considered acceptable, he said.

"All programs that are training professional counselors have guidelines, not in terms of belief but in terms of behavior during training and treatment," Delgado-Romero said. "A student saying 'I personally have religious beliefs against this group, and I will convince my clients to believe this' would be a conflict."

Delgado-Romero said that UGA's faculty would not force a student to change their beliefs, but there would be discussions on how personal beliefs should not affect treatment of clients.

Messages left for an Augusta State University spokeswoman were not returned Thursday evening.

Though Keeton has refused the remediation plan, the university has not taken steps to dismiss her, French said.

Keeton is suing the university for actual and nominal damages to vindicate her "constitutional injuries," according to court documents. She is also requesting that the university pay for her attorney fees.

"I really want to serve others," Keeton said. "I want to strengthen and prepare young people for the challenges they will face."


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1313
127
Points
1313 07/22/10 - 05:01 pm
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Subject: Dr. Laura and

Subject: Dr. Laura and Leviticus

This is brilliant! We need more Prof's with a sense of humor like this one.

In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan.

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia

(It would be a damn shame if we couldn't own a Canadian :)

Sargebaby
4693
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Sargebaby 07/22/10 - 05:03 pm
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Stick to your guns, Jennifer!

Stick to your guns, Jennifer! Pay no attention to the "bumpers" on here, us "thumpers" are praying for you!

JM88
17
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JM88 07/22/10 - 05:05 pm
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If what this student is

If what this student is saying is true, then I hope those professors who discriminated against her are appropriately punished. But, let's not rush to label ASU an "anti-Christian" school. In my time as a student at ASU, I have never felt marginalized or ridiculed for my Christian beliefs. Even though much of the faculty is not Christian, I can honestly say that all of the professors I have come across have at least showed a basic level of respect for everyone's beliefs. That's just one reason why I think ASU has, generally speaking, EXCELLENT faculty.

As others have said, I think we should wait to hear the other side of the story before we rush to judgment. But I would certainly be disappointed in my school if this is true.

Lonewuf
5
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Lonewuf 07/22/10 - 05:06 pm
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1313 ...... You need to study

1313 ...... You need to study more about just who were the Levites of the bible.....and what they were charged to do... nuf said......

larrym
0
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larrym 07/22/10 - 05:08 pm
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Teachone........THANK

Teachone........THANK YOU!!!!!! You got it together on this subject.

lifelongresidient
0
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lifelongresidient 07/22/10 - 05:11 pm
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CONGRATS JENNIFER, WAY TO GO,

CONGRATS JENNIFER, WAY TO GO, HANG IN THERE WE HAVE TO BEAT BACK THIS INSANE POLITICAL CORRECTNESS ONE CASE AT A TIME....THE SAD PART IS SHE PROBABLY WOULD HAVE BEEN ENCOURAGED BY THE FACULTY TO SPREAD HER BELIEFS IF SHE WAS A SATANIST TRYING TO RECRUIT OTHERS TO JOIN HER

ohhsweetconcord
3
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ohhsweetconcord 07/22/10 - 05:12 pm
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0
What a crappy article. I

What a crappy article. I don't know anything from reading this other than Keaton is suing. "Her Christian beliefs.." You mean her beliefs? She calls them Christian.

I don't understand how anyone can take sides on this issue. There clearly isn't enough information. Many Christians view themselves as victims though, so I guess this is some kind of confirmation.

veggie-d
0
Points
veggie-d 07/22/10 - 05:15 pm
0
0
she needs to "counsel"

she needs to "counsel" christians...help them w their their insanity.

religious preachings have no place in professional therapy...she may want to give up on therapy and become a pastor...oh yeah...THEY (southern baptists) won't let her do THAT either!

wonder how many gay counselors provide therapy to christians...without them even knowing their counselor/therapist is gay?! that's a thought that makes me smile! : )

Lonewuf
5
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Lonewuf 07/22/10 - 05:16 pm
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Ohhsweetconcord.... I guess

Ohhsweetconcord.... I guess we Christians can now have a parade downtown just as the gay pride parade huh..... I wonder just how much opposition THAT would be met with......

Sargebaby
4693
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Sargebaby 07/22/10 - 05:17 pm
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James M. Kauffman, Ed.D.

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia, It's a damn shame you don't know more about the Bible, doc! Laws of Moses changed after Christ was born! If you want to quote rules and laws from the Bible, try it from the New Testament!

(It wouldn't be such a damn shame if more college professors weren't influencing young minds in an openly negative manner, would it?)

Lonewuf
5
Points
Lonewuf 07/22/10 - 05:17 pm
0
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You must have been in that

You must have been in that OTHER parade Veggie-d

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 07/22/10 - 05:19 pm
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0
I am pretty sure when she

I am pretty sure when she signed up for this program she was informed of what it involved. If you can't handle stepping away from your beliefs then you don't need to be a counselor. Educator's do this all the time. We can not mix church and state. I can't pick up a bible and start teaching out of it. I teach religion and tolerance as part of the standards. I have taught athiest, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and Christain children. Who are we to tell someone what their parent is teaching them at home is the "wrong" religion. Religion is a personal choice if you choose to work with children in a public education forum then be prepared to follow the law. I think instead of her taking classes to remidiate her they should have called them TOLERANCE classes. I think they may have been able to get away with that one. She does have a right to her beliefs but she also has to realize that those she will counsel will have the same rights and might not appreciate it if she tells them they are gonna burn if they don't change their ways.

Lonewuf
5
Points
Lonewuf 07/22/10 - 05:21 pm
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I dont guess you should be

I dont guess you should be teaching religion scooby.... IMO

burninater
9949
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burninater 07/22/10 - 05:23 pm
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Sarge, Reread that Leviticus

Sarge, Reread that Leviticus post. The writer said it was in response to Dr. Laura's claim that, as a Jew, Leviticus required her to view homosexuality as an abomination. The writer was merely demonstrating to Dr. Laura that it was clearly not her obedience to OT law, but her own opinion, that forced her to hold that view.

flipa
35
Points
flipa 07/22/10 - 05:24 pm
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FACT=Faith based counseling

FACT=Faith based counseling is running a 300% greater rate of success. Now we know why ASU's hand is always out for state money and why they can't compete. FACT=If they did allow faith based counseling they wouldn't need state subsidies and the taxpayers wouldn't have to subsidize their incompetence and arrogance. She’s not doing it the PC way because the PC way does not work. Faith based counseling works with NO STATE MONEY and has PROVEN to be FAR more successful and THAT is why she is sticking to her guns. She knows what works and she can PROVE IT....K?

Lonewuf
5
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Lonewuf 07/22/10 - 05:24 pm
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Tolerence is okay for

Tolerence is okay for everything EXCEPT Christianity......

dmoon1
0
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dmoon1 07/22/10 - 05:24 pm
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0
Nothing like religion to stir

Nothing like religion to stir up debate...

stephr721
204
Points
stephr721 07/22/10 - 05:25 pm
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"Ms. Keeton has been very

"Ms. Keeton has been very vocal in class about her unwillingness to work with homosexual clients. She has voiced that she would have to "refer them out" because homosexuality conflicts with her religious views."

Sounds like this woman not only won't follow basic clinical standards, she's contradicting a pretty important tenet of the belief system for which she's purporting to be persecuted. Pity.

WillG
0
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WillG 07/22/10 - 05:28 pm
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Thank you LarryM for the Role

Thank you LarryM for the Role Model input.
Thank you ASU for keeping our children safe and working to progress our society past bias, prejudice, and views that teach hate.

Sargebaby
4693
Points
Sargebaby 07/22/10 - 05:31 pm
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0
burninater, you're correct! I

burninater, you're correct! I didn't read it through, and violated one of my own standards of "knee-jerk." Actually, I was being rushed to get back in bed and prop up an infected leg. Thanks for pointing it out, though!

burninater
9949
Points
burninater 07/22/10 - 05:31 pm
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0
Lonewuf - I guess we

Lonewuf - I guess we Christians can now have a parade downtown just as the gay pride parade huh..... I wonder just how much opposition THAT would be met with......
----
Um, probably zero? No, I take that back -- Richard Dawkins might show up on a streetcorner. No, I take that back too. Probably zero.

stephr721
204
Points
stephr721 07/22/10 - 05:33 pm
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"Faith based counseling is

"Faith based counseling is running a 300% greater rate of success."

*facepalm*

In what area of counseling? Marriage? Family? Substance Abuse? Vocational? Rehabilitation? Mental Illness? What standards are this "300%" success rate based upon?

If you think faith-based services don't use public money, you're wrong.
http://www.au.org/resources/brochures/the-faith-based-initiative/

Lonewuf
5
Points
Lonewuf 07/22/10 - 05:35 pm
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0
That's just the OPPOSITE of

That's just the OPPOSITE of what's happening here WillG. Show me where there is bias and prejudice......and also tell me of how her views teach hate......

veggie-d
0
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veggie-d 07/22/10 - 05:38 pm
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lonewuf- in reply to your

lonewuf- in reply to your post of 6:17pm...

homophobia IS treatable...want a free session?

Lonewuf
5
Points
Lonewuf 07/22/10 - 05:39 pm
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0
I would hope you are right

I would hope you are right burninater, But I kind doubt it.... (Regarding Christian parade downtown)

veggie-d
0
Points
veggie-d 07/22/10 - 05:42 pm
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0
christians parade around town

christians parade around town every sunday...but if you wanna have one downtown go right ahead...just ask deke...but...be warned...he's not a christian either...

burninater
9949
Points
burninater 07/22/10 - 05:43 pm
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0
I assume if it was her

I assume if it was her Christian beliefs that forced her to this position, that she made it clear that she would also have to refer out adulterers, gluttons, liars, thieves, idolaters, drug users ... Heck of a counselor she'd become. "so, what's going on in your life that we need to talk about? Absolutely nothing? Great! Billing will be in contact. Next?"

DaveMustaineRules
0
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DaveMustaineRules 07/22/10 - 05:49 pm
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Her comments in the video

Her comments in the video suggest she intends to witness to young people as a means of counseling them. Sorry, but that is a no go on her part. Since schooling is compulsory, a parent should be able to send his or her child to school and not worry about a school employee attempting to indoctrinate the child into a particular religion.

The very fact this young lady doesn't understand her personal religious views would have to be seperate from the counseling work she intends to do shows she does not belong in a graduate program.

Plus, we don't know what she said regarding homosexuality. For example, if she has stated she would advise a young person who is having sexual orientation questions that being homosexual would result in burning in hell, then this young lady has indicated she would not be able to work within a school system.

ASU has programs which are designed to feed the public schools, and the programs must revolve around that. This young lady should pursue a graduate program at a religiously oriented school and pursue a counseling position at a private religous based institution.

She has the potential to do some real harm to kids if she approaches counseling with a religous agenda. After watching the video, the diversity training seems mild - I believe she should have been expelled from the school.

stephr721
204
Points
stephr721 07/22/10 - 05:50 pm
0
0
"so, what's going on in your

"so, what's going on in your life that we need to talk about? Absolutely nothing? Great! Billing will be in contact. Next?"

LOL!

Great post, DMR. There are faith-based counseling training and certification programs that seem like a much better fit for the career she envisions.

WillG
0
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WillG 07/22/10 - 05:53 pm
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RIGHT ON

RIGHT ON DaveMustaineRules!!
I would rather have a GAY counselor for my child that cared about thier welfare then some "Drink the koolaide" counselor that would make my kid hate people

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