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Judge rejects Keeton lawsuit

ASU requirements deemed 'legitimate'

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Augusta State University's requirement that a graduate student read material about counseling gays and increase her exposure to that community after she objected to counseling homosexual clients was "academically legitimate," a federal court judge ruled Friday.

Jennifer Keeton
Jennifer Keeton

U.S. District Judge Randal Hall's decision enables university officials to expel Jennifer Keeton if she does not follow the remediation plan, which professors designed to "address issues of multicultural competence and develop understanding and empathy."

Hall said the case is not about "pitting Christianity against homosexuality," but rather the constitutionality of the school's requirement.

Professors asked Keeton to complete the remediation plan after she said she opposed homosexuality and would tell gay clients "their behavior is morally wrong and then help the client change that behavior," according to an affidavit filed in the case.

Keeton filed a lawsuit against the school in July, alleging the requirement was viewpoint discrimination and a violation of her First Amendment rights.

Hall ruled that Keeton "failed to clearly establish her high burden of persuasion of a 'substantial likelihood' of success of the merits of her case."

She provided no evidence that ASU faculty imposed the remediation plan because they personally disagreed with her views, Hall said.

In an Aug. 11 hearing, ASU professors testified that the plan was not a punishment for voicing her beliefs, but a tool to teach Keeton how to counsel clients while not imposing her views.

"All three professors testified that they never told (Keeton) that she was required to change her religious beliefs in order to stay in the counseling program," Hall wrote.

He noted that Keeton did not testify at the hearing nor present any witnesses in support of her motion.

Hall said Keeton's unwillingness to adhere to the school's viewpoint-neutral code of ethics set by the American Counseling Association constitutes a refusal to complete the curriculum.

Without completing the remediation plan, Keeton was unable to begin classes at the college as part of a practicum. A filing by her lawyers earlier this week said she had begun the work at Augusta Christian School.

Hall ruled the plan was simply a way to teach Keeton how to counsel all demographics of clients.

"It was not (Keeton's) personal beliefs that were their concern, but rather only her inability to separate her personal beliefs in the judgment-free zone of a professional counseling situation," Hall said.

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InChristLove
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InChristLove 08/20/10 - 07:53 pm
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It is just as frustrating to

It is just as frustrating to Christians. Are not homosexuals or those who feel homosexuality is okay, also making judgements towards Christians. Just because you state homosexuality is okay, are you not imposing your beliefs on Christians. As a Christian I feel homosexuality is wrong, but it does not mean I'm imposing my belief on you or anyone. Some Christians are just stating their opinon, just as you are....we just disagree on how we look at the situation.

Jake, would it be fair to say that if Ms. Keeton has to intermingle with the gay communities and observe their lifestyle, that those in her class who feel that homosexuality is not a sin, should also in turn attend church services with her and fellow Christians so that they too can intermingle and observe the Christian lifestyle? That way Jennifer can learn how to counsel homosexuals and homosexuals and those who see this as okay, can counsel Christians properly.

strugglingcollegestudent
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strugglingcollegestudent 08/20/10 - 07:58 pm
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Please don't confuse my

Please don't confuse my opinions as an attempt to generalize every Christian as an individual who is out to impose the beliefs and attitudes on every non-Christian they see. I'm basing my biases off empirical evidence that I've come into contact with since childhood. So i'f I have offended you, I apologize. I'm just in the arguing mood :), getting my mind geared back up for this last year of school.

FedupwithAUG
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FedupwithAUG 08/20/10 - 07:58 pm
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Was a stupid case. I hope

Was a stupid case. I hope she has to pay the legal fees.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 08/20/10 - 07:59 pm
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...what makes one opinion

...what makes one opinion more authoritative?"

The only opinion that has authority is Christ Jesus. We can debate the issue until the end but those who are Christian and follow the teachings in the Bible will always have the opinion that homosexuality is wrong. And, those who do not believe or follow the teachings in the Bible will always have the opinion that homosexuality is okay.

Whether a homosexual is born that way or if it is a choice, that person is still created by God and should be respected and treated as a human being.....whether we agree with their lifestyle or not.

scoopdedoop64
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scoopdedoop64 08/20/10 - 08:00 pm
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struggling, I would agree

struggling, I would agree that speaking for God in a manner to tell someone that they are unloveable or unworthy would be very insulting. I am certain that God must love us if He created us. If He tells us to avoid certain behaviors because they are harmful then that to would illustrate His love for us. You also said there is no authority. Well, if there is no absolute right or wrong that can authoritatively settle our differences then we are all to be pittied because we are only left to wander about with our intelligence to guide us...that is not very encouraging given how men act...LOL.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 08/20/10 - 08:02 pm
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FedupwithAug, it's not a

FedupwithAug, it's not a stupid case. Ms. Keeton believes she has had her right violated and whether you agree with it or not, she as an American still has that right to defend what she believes. You may not agree with it, but that doesn't make it stupid.

Strugglingcollegestudent, I did get the impression that you were lumping all Christians in the same category and thank you for the apology. It's actually nice to have some manners on here for a change. I wish you well in your last year of school, hang in there.

scoopdedoop64
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scoopdedoop64 08/20/10 - 08:05 pm
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ICL, that is my point

ICL, that is my point exactly. Unless we can have an absolute standard that is authoritative for the world we will never agree. It is at this point that I have found the Bible as God's written word to us to guide us in all matters pertaining to Life and liberty. It is through this word that we not only find the authoritative guidance for life but the freedom from guilt over our wrongs done as we accept Jesus' forgiveness for our sins.

strugglingcollegestudent
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strugglingcollegestudent 08/20/10 - 08:11 pm
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scoopdedoop64, was it

scoopdedoop64, was it Socartes who stated that "I know that I know nothing", besides our discussion now, I do believe individuals have been arguing about the very same issue we've been discussing, and individuals will continue to argue about it far into the future. Heck, wars have been started concerning the issue! I'm just glad we live in a nation where this discussion is allowed.

InChristLove, thank you!

InChristLove
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InChristLove 08/20/10 - 08:12 pm
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That's true scoop, but we

That's true scoop, but we will never agree because there will always be those who reject God's Word as truth....so we must learn to love individuals, faults and all, but that doesn't mean we have to approve of sin in their life. The real issue is Christians want people to come to know Christ and live a good life, and non-believers want Christians to shut up and leave them alone. If we speak the truth in love and show it by the way we live, that's all we can do, but there will always be those to take offense. It's just the devil doing his biding.

Nice talking with you again but I've got to go find some vittles.......

dougk
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dougk 08/20/10 - 08:14 pm
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Please, please stop making
Unpublished

Please, please stop making this a Christian vs. homosexual issue. It's offensive to Christians who are not fundamentalist Christians. There are 100s of thousands maybe millions of gay people who are Christians and practice their religions, perhaps even religiously. There are different flavors of Christianlity and, specifically, different Protestant denominations and sects whose followers see homosexual behavior from different perspectives.

scoopdedoop64
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scoopdedoop64 08/20/10 - 08:15 pm
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that is right

that is right strugglingstudent, I too am glad we can discuss things and I hope we never lose that in America. Have a good one, got to go.

ICL, good to chat with you again and enjoy your vittles

strugglingcollegestudent
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strugglingcollegestudent 08/20/10 - 08:30 pm
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dougk, my intentions were not

dougk, my intentions were not to make this a Christian vs. homosexual issue. If you read up, I apologized for my comments to sound generalized, I also stated that I based my biases off my personal experiences. I'm glad that some Christians are able to view both sides of the line.

dougk
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dougk 08/20/10 - 08:37 pm
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Hey, college student, I was
Unpublished

Hey, college student, I was certainly not singling you out....don't even know whose comments I was reading for sure....but there seemed to be a theme emerging from more posters than just you!!
And, of course there are....that's the flavor of Christianity (Protestantism) that I was raised with. I can as much relate to some strains of Christianity as devout Buddhists, Hindus, or athesists could.

dichotomy
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dichotomy 08/20/10 - 08:37 pm
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Just lie to them honey. Go to

Just lie to them honey. Go to their stupid little classes and turn in the stupid little paper and get your degree and do whatever the heck you want to do in your practice. Everything in this country is protected except christian beliefs. If Ms. Keeton were muslim and stated the same views the school would not have dared to threaten her with being kicked out of the program. I am an atheist and I think Ms. Keeton has a right to graduate and believe as she wants and run her practice as she wants. And the judge should have ruled in her favor if there was the remotest possibility that she might win the case.

dougk
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dougk 08/20/10 - 08:46 pm
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You've been over-ruled by the
Unpublished

You've been over-ruled by the faculty at ASU (who are in charge of the program, by the way) and, now, by a judge. So, what's your opinion worth, Dichotomy? Nonetheless, you have every right to express it.

wishtofish
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wishtofish 08/20/10 - 09:23 pm
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My dear Christian brothers

My dear Christian brothers and sisters. I appeal to you to please learn from this episode as I have. Quite frankly, I have been embarrassed by our "witness" here. I have not followed postings as closely as I have this one and I just want encourage all of us to realize who is "looking in" on us; watching us; reading our fruit. God needs no defense from us, please understand. Our duty here is to love God and love one another. Jesus put it so plainly. Yes, we need to discuss things, and we will disagree, but let's consider doing it in the family and not out here where it does more harm than good.
Really, do you think all our bantering here has helped the cause of Christianity? Encourage converts? No. All it has done is help us vent in an area where we don't need to be venting in the disguise "standing up for what we believe". Remember the great deceiver is smarter than you or you would not be deceived.
We can learn from those who are looking at us.
Whether you want to believe it or not, there are MANY non-believers much more intelligent, wise and astute as us. We are converted sinners, period. Even when we have done what we need to do or are called to do, we are still unworthy servants. We should humble ourselves and follow the leading of God and seek His Wisdom.
I pray for us all and I am not just saying that, I do.
I humbly offer my apology to all those who have felt yourself pushed further away from believing because of my action here. Please forgive me. Through my belief system, my greatest desire is to enter into Heaven with you, not without you.

dougk
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dougk 08/20/10 - 09:45 pm
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Well stated, wishtofish.
Unpublished

Well stated, wishtofish.

freeradical
1075
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freeradical 08/20/10 - 10:13 pm
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Feb 18 2009, four government

Feb 18 2009, four government workers won their lawsuit,

(in San Diego California of all places) against their taxpayer funded

government institution which declared the adopted government

institution policy to be one which "suggested" that they attend the gay

pride parade in San Diego.

In the interest of exposing the employees to the "positive"

homosexual lifestyle, diversity,etc,etc,& etc.

"ALL EMPLOYEES ARE ENCOURGED TO PARTICIPATE"
(San Diego Fire Chief Tracy Jarman)

Fire Chief Tracy Jarman being an open homosexual by the way.

Of course her personal "beliefs" had as much to do with her "suggesting"

participation in a gay parade as did the personal beliefs of the ASU

brain trust.

The jury found that among the gay parade festivities were "simulated

sex acts".

The jury found that the taxpayer funded institution could not do anything

to prevent or hinder those in their charge from :

"Abstaining from activities that they consider morally offensive."

Of course historically this is a rare occurance and most gay sex parades

have nothing to do with sexual predilictions, simulated or otherwise.

How nice to know we have an activist liberal judge in our midst that is

left of California in the exact same circumstance.

Marvelous.

I'm moving to California.

sledgehammer
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sledgehammer 08/20/10 - 09:46 pm
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I don't see where it is

I don't see where it is over--the judge is not even sure his ruling will be upheld--in fact he knows it won't!

dougk
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dougk 08/20/10 - 09:51 pm
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Socrates...I surely
Unpublished

Socrates...I surely understand the "maddening" part....but maybe a bit strong on ICL. It's what fundamentalist Christianity is all about...people don't have to use their heads. She/he's sucked in, give her a break...the most you're going to get back is that you're just anti-christian and going to hell...

InChristLove
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InChristLove 08/20/10 - 09:52 pm
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So crates......not insulting

So crates......not insulting me....we'll I'd hate to read it if you were. I'm sorry you have a hard time comprehending my post. Odd, other readers seems to understand and post responses. Maybe the issue isn't with my intelligence but with your comprehension. I've seemed to managed over 50 years with my logic, so I'll continue as is for as long as the Good Lord gives me. Until then, maybe it would be best if you'd just hit that little ignore button about my post and you shouldn't have to strain your brain any longer.

fftaz71
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fftaz71 08/20/10 - 09:52 pm
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Baron, what you are missing

Baron, what you are missing in this case is the fact that a counselor cannot ethically impose his or her beliefs onto a client. Period. Ms. Keeton was implying that is exactly what she would do. She doesnt HAVE to accept their lifestyle or choices. Nobody ever said that. What she DOES have a legal and ethical obligation to do however, is to provide treatment free of judgement and bias to a client.
The judge is right in his decision. Btw, Im a practicing Catholic and I do not feel this was a meritous case either.
ASU deemed her deficient in a particular area and was requiring her to go through extra training. Im quite certain that she is not the only student ever required to go through remediation before. All students are judged in class as to their attitudes and actions through statements and behaviors, if other students understand the requirements of the program, why would they need to go through the remediation?

momster59
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momster59 08/20/10 - 10:05 pm
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The judge has ruled and

The judge has ruled and stated, as many in this forum, that this case is not about religion but failure to follow the curriculum.

Where are all the "christian" zealots who were yelling about bias over the Proposition 8 ruling? Judge Hall is a Christian.

To all the "christian" extremists, thank you for helping me to see the beauty and truth in my own spiritual belief system.

dougk
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dougk 08/20/10 - 09:56 pm
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Yes, Sledge, Judge Hall
Unpublished

Yes, Sledge, Judge Hall clearly states in his ruling that it will not be upheld. Where do you get such garbage???

InChristLove
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InChristLove 08/20/10 - 09:55 pm
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oh so wrong dougk....I've not

oh so wrong dougk....I've not been sucked into anything. I guess you can call me a fundamentalist if you like...not sure what that even is. I just try and follow the teachings of Christ the best way I can even though I know I'm not perfect. As for calling someone anti-Christian...that's not my call to make and saying someone is going to hell.....only Christ knows the answer.

dougk
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dougk 08/20/10 - 10:01 pm
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ICL, these are your words.
Unpublished

ICL, these are your words. It's fundamentalism and not the CHristian values that I was brought up with. Again, they are your beliefs and that's cool.....just don't tell me the my beliefs are wrong and not Christian:

"The only opinion that has authority is Christ Jesus. We can debate the issue until the end but those who are Christian and follow the teachings in the Bible will always have the opinion that homosexuality is wrong. And, those who do not believe or follow the teachings in the Bible will always have the opinion that homosexuality is okay."

momster59
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momster59 08/20/10 - 10:07 pm
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If you want to read the

If you want to read the judge's ruling, it can be found here:
http://media.mgnetwork.com/jbf/pdf/Keeton_ASU_Final.pdf

InChristLove
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InChristLove 08/20/10 - 10:11 pm
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dougk...I'm trying to

dougk...I'm trying to understand you. Do you believe in God, do you believe in the Bible as God's Word, and do you or do you not believe that homosexual behavior is wrong? I'm just trying to figure out what you believe.

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 08/20/10 - 10:15 pm
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According to the wording in

According to the wording in the court order: While Plantiff may ultimately prevail in this case, the current record reveals that she has failed to clearly establish her high burden of persuasion of a "substantial likelihood" of success on the merits of her case.

So if it says she may ultimately prevail in this case.....does this mean that the preliminary injunction was denied but she will still go to court over this and another judge will rule whether her rights have been violated?

fontana
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fontana 08/20/10 - 10:16 pm
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Is the Judge Gay?

Is the Judge Gay?

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