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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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scoobynews
3697
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scoobynews 07/22/10 - 08:59 pm
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lonewulf - go to the Georgia

lonewulf - go to the Georgia Performance Standards and look up middle grades and high school history. We teach the foundations of religion and how they shaped the culture of the civilization. We don't try to convert anyone just help them understand diversity.

scoobynews
3697
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scoobynews 07/22/10 - 09:04 pm
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Dave you are right on the

Dave you are right on the money about doing harm. If your a child being brough up in a (Muslim, Jewish, or any other religious) household and you have some woman trying to convert you then your asking for trouble. She has pretty much burned her bridges with public school because none of them after this would be willing to hire her in fear of having a lawsuit on their hands. She should stick to only religious private schools.

shamrock
21
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shamrock 07/22/10 - 09:05 pm
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Did someone miss the

Did someone miss the important message here?? She is being directed to change her religious beliefs or she would be dropped from the program. I think ASU should consider Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the new President of their crummy little University which is still the same small minded College I went to years ago before they got the title of University.

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 07/22/10 - 09:06 pm
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Yeah, Baron, I saw that on

Yeah, Baron, I saw that on FB. Man, I'm trying to figure out who you are! Send me a message on FB will ya? Search for Taylor Bryant

InChristLove
21686
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InChristLove 07/22/10 - 09:10 pm
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'Since schooling is

'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."

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Just as parents should be able to send their child/children to school and not worry about a school employee attempting to indoctrinate the child into believing homosexual activity/conduct is okay or that the world was created some other way except by God Almighty.

scoobynews
3697
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scoobynews 07/22/10 - 09:10 pm
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You can teach ABOUT religions

You can teach ABOUT religions just don't try to convert here are some examples.

SSWH5 The student will trace the origins and expansion of the Islamic World between 600 CE and 1300 CE.
a. Explain the origins of Islam and the growth of the Islamic Empire.
b. Identify the Muslim trade routes to India, China, Europe, and Africa and assess the economic impact of this trade.
c. Explain the reasons for the split between Sunni and Shia Muslims.
d. Identify the contributions of Islamic scholars in medicine (Ibn Sina) and geography (Ibn Battuta).
e. Describe the impact of the Crusades on both the Islamic World and Europe.
f. Analyze the relationship between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

veggie-d
0
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veggie-d 07/22/10 - 09:11 pm
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that's her "claim" that she

that's her "claim" that she was told to "change her beliefs"...it was more likely suggested she keep the preachin' outta her counseling and remain professional about it...and she jumped to the next level with it...

scoobynews
3697
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scoobynews 07/22/10 - 10:31 pm
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InChristlove - I don't even

InChristlove - I don't even go there as far as sexuality is concerned BUT on the flip side you have to teach children - yes, even Christian children that even though they don't approve of something they may be in a room with people who do things they don't like. Public schools are just that PUBLIC. You can have athiest, homosexuals, agnostic, wican, unwed mothers, dopeheads, need I go on. If parents choose to send their children to public schools then it is their job to make sure they have taught them well enough to be tolerant of others. Jesus did not like sin but for those that were not willing to come to him all he could do was pray for them. So teach your children to not sit in judgement but instead to pray for these people they are offended by. You can't shelter them in a little bubble there is a bigger and badder world beyond public school.

InChristLove
21686
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InChristLove 07/22/10 - 09:23 pm
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Seriously doubt you were

Seriously doubt you were there for the conversation veggie_d so your comment that "more likely suggested she keep the preachin outta her counseling and ......she jumped to the next level with it" is only speculation.

So many want to claim Christians are hypocritces but then they expect her to sit back and keep her mouth shut or to change her religious views........talk about being hyprocritical.

It's not like she intended to preach to anyone. She said she would have to refer homosexuals to another counselor because of her religious view I'm sure she could not give them advice except based on her own personal beliefs so it sounds like she'd have the client's best interest at heart. Refer them to someone who can tell them what they want to hear or counsel them and tell them what she feel is the truth.

You may not agree but it's her "truth". Isn't counseling just discussions and opinons anyway.

InChristLove
21686
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InChristLove 07/22/10 - 09:27 pm
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scoobynews, your post is true

scoobynews, your post is true but young children's minds are still impressionable especially when you have a teacher that is in authority telling them there's nothing wrong with homosexuality, it's okay, and that there's not really a God. Been there, dealt with that. When you teach your children that they should listen to adult teachers, they take it literally and it's a mess when you as a parent try and explain...yeah I know what I said but this particular teacher doesn't know what they are talking about. The issue can go both ways.

Reverie
48
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Reverie 07/22/10 - 09:29 pm
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The entire world is at war

The entire world is at war against Christians and Jews. Keep Gods commandments and stand up for what you believe. What do you believe?

batya
280
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batya 07/22/10 - 09:32 pm
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The only thing the school

The only thing the school needs to be concerned about is if she has passed her tests! Some are on here have said that ASU is not a Christian school....duh...it's a PUBLIC school, open to the public regardless of what anyone's belief system is. She is not demanding Christian education, she is demanding freedom of expression...ya know, that thing in the U.S. Constitution! Where is separation of Church and State here? The state university has NO RIGHT to tell her she is not fit for a job because of her beliefs...that's her future employers decision. Has she passed her tests? If yes...she's earned her degree!

veggie-d
0
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veggie-d 07/22/10 - 09:39 pm
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uh ICL...that's why i said

uh ICL...that's why i said "MORE LIKELY"...not FOR A FACT..."reading comprehension" is a beautiful thing.

Pay What U Owe
5
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Pay What U Owe 07/22/10 - 09:39 pm
0
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Actually, she is asking a

Actually, she is asking a public school to say she is qualified to be a counselor at the level ASU produces. If she can't counsel people she doesn't like or agree with, they can't do that. It's an educational issue, not a religious one. Lacking journalism skills, the staff at the AC throws this to the evangelicals to sell newspapers. Amazing how they keep falling for it. Let us pray fervently that both they and the AC go broke soon.

dodo1234
0
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dodo1234 07/22/10 - 09:39 pm
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You go Jennifer! Don't let

You go Jennifer! Don't let those liberals beat you down. You are a beautiful Aryan woman. God Bless You.

InChristLove
21686
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InChristLove 07/22/10 - 09:39 pm
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There is a spiritual war

There is a spiritual war going on between good and evil, between God’s kingdom and Satan’s kingdom. Although sometimes it seems like Satan's kingdom is winning we who are born again believers, know the victory belongs to God.

dodo1234
0
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dodo1234 07/22/10 - 09:45 pm
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baronvonreich, quit using a

baronvonreich, quit using a german name. You are missing a finger and I'm pretty sure the hamburger helping hand is a conservative, since he represents beef products.

Sargebaby
4690
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Sargebaby 07/22/10 - 09:51 pm
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ICL reference your 9:39PM,

ICL reference your 9:39PM, that war was over before it began! We know the ending of that story. BTW, I can hardly wait!

myusername
10
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myusername 07/22/10 - 10:01 pm
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Veggie-D, instead of

Veggie-D, instead of speculating why don't you read the actual complaint? She was told to CHANGE HER BELIEFS and has documentation to back this up.

http://www.telladf.org/userdocs/KeetonComplaint.pdf

Southern_Patriot
0
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Southern_Patriot 07/22/10 - 09:57 pm
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Clean their clock, young

Clean their clock, young lady.

justsayin2u
0
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justsayin2u 07/22/10 - 10:07 pm
0
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Is there no constitutional

Is there no constitutional right for freedom of speech? Other religious groups have been fighting through the courts, now the Christians have no rights? I hope she wins, you can't force someone to change their religious views and why would you? This is America HOME OF THE FREE...when that was written it was based on the right to choose your Religious views, doesn't anybody remember that?? Color, diversity, isn't that what makes us so beautiful?

dominionfs
0
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dominionfs 07/22/10 - 10:19 pm
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Justsayin :- while it does

Justsayin :- while it does give me the right to choose my own views, it does not give me the right to impose my views on others.

scoobynews
3697
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scoobynews 07/22/10 - 10:28 pm
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Inchrist - I think any

Inchrist - I think any teacher that would discuss sexuality with students should not be allowed to teach. That is against the code of ethics. Sorry if your children had to deal with that. I hope this person is no longer in a classroom. I would never press my views upon anyone's children because I would not want anyone to do it to my own.

veggie-d
0
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veggie-d 07/23/10 - 06:59 am
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myusername- "changing your

myusername-

"changing your beliefs" altogether and "altering them" as the complaint clearly states are VASTLY different...

like i said earlier, she appears to have taken the suggestion to a whole different level...

if i "tell you"...or "suggest to you" that you "alter your pants"...did i tell you to "change them"? absolutely not...

if you wanna blow it outta proportion and you storm off refusing to "change your pants"...that's your CHOICE...don't blame me for it!

if i take a pair of pants in for "alterations" am i asking them to provide me with an entirely DIFFERENT pair of pants...or just to tweak the ones i have a lil, to make'em fit my new lifestyle/butt, and so i'd be more comfortable & others won't have to see my butt crack hangin' out?!

just because it's mentioned in the complaint she filed does NOT make it fact...i'm sure they put in the "complaint"/warrant against john mark karr that he killed jonbenet ramsey too...but we all know how that turned out don't we?...

the "victim" determines what goes into the "complaint" the court will determine it's accuracy/vailidity...and...she WILL LOSE in court.

Dixieman
10350
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Dixieman 07/22/10 - 10:29 pm
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Good for her! The only

Good for her! The only significant diversity is intellectual diversity, and ASU needs to become more tolerant...

disssman
6
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disssman 07/22/10 - 10:32 pm
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Now is when we need "loser

Now is when we need "loser pays" laws. I wonder if she would have filed suit if she thought she could be counter sued and lose?

sookiestackhouse
0
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sookiestackhouse 07/22/10 - 10:56 pm
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Some people are REALLY

Some people are REALLY missing the point here.

While I am in the process of getting my masters in school counseling I too am faced with DIVERSITY. I am a Christian but as a counselor we are taught that tolerance is key in situations. College is about taking courses to become informed about different types of people within this world. As a student at UGA, I have taken many different religion classes to become more tolerant of others. But it doesn't mean I believe in those religions, it just means that in order to love people and help them (counseling) you must step in their shoes. It is offensive to me that she believes that because the program wants her to become more sensitive to DIFFERENT TYPES OF PEOPLE it is taking something away from her religion. There should be a separation of church and state and this woman unfortunately cannot find the common ground to do so. It is unfortunate that she took this route because it truly does show how intolerable she is of other people who can bring such beauty to this world. Wake up people, this career choice comes with the idea that you will encounter many different people, but you must help them in any way possible and put aside YOUR feelings, after all counseling isn't about yourself-correct?

scoopdedoop64
2235
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scoopdedoop64 07/22/10 - 11:16 pm
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dodo1234, that was funny!

dodo1234, that was funny! He will probably report you for referring to his name but funny still.

ICL, great posts and answers to the questions. I only wish that I could keep my high blood pressure down (that's no joke) or I would try to answer more myself but know I am praying for you.

robnsnest
0
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robnsnest 07/22/10 - 11:18 pm
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ASU is way out on this one.

ASU is way out on this one. Re-education...hmmmm...sounds like socialism, communism, nazism. Our political correctness is ushering in a new age...called social engineering.

The US Founding Fathers would be shocked at what we have become.

A Christian can be sensitive in the world that we live in, however, these actions by ASU are quite extreme. Very disappointing to me concerning ASU counseling department stand on this.

larrym
0
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larrym 07/22/10 - 11:25 pm
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I was trained if I wanted

I was trained if I wanted someone to convert then I need to be just as willing and open to that persons belief system just like I want them to be open to mine. I once had someone preach to me and attempted to convert me to Christianity......they worked me hard, would not back down, promised me I was going to hell if I did not convert. Only two problems, I already believed and I wished they would have taken time to know me first. Getting to know your clients issues first are important........

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