Video: US University tells Christian to change beliefs
Fri, 23 Jul 2010
A Christian student in the US has been told she will not be permitted to graduate unless she changes her beliefs.
Jennifer Keeton, 24, is studying for a degree in counselling at Augusta State University in Georgia.
But University chiefs say her beliefs about sexual ethics do not conform to the prevailing views of the counselling profession, and she must change or get out.
She has been ordered to undergo a re-education plan involving “remediation” assignments and “diversity sensitivity training”.
She must report back on how the re-education has influenced her beliefs. If she refuses, she has been told she faces being thrown off her degree course.
She has also been urged to attend a homosexual parade in Augusta.
American pro-freedom group, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), has come to the student’s aid.
Supported by the ADF, she is suing the University for interfering with her religious liberty.
“Jennifer Keeton has not been accused of mistreating a client,” pointed out ADF Senior Counsel David French.
“She’s being told, ‘You must change your beliefs or we’ll deny you a degree’”, he continued.
Each month, she would be required to write a report on how the re-education assignments have influenced her beliefs so the faculty can “decide the appropriateness of her continuation in the counselling program.”
Mary Jane Anderson-Wiley, an associate professor at the University and a named defendant in the lawsuit, said that the faculty was concerned about some of the counselling student’s beliefs pertaining to LGBT issues.
However, the student has stated that she understands the need to reflect her counselling clients’ goals and allow them to work through their own solutions.
“I know I can do that”, she stressed. But what she can’t do is alter her beliefs.
In an ADF video, she said: “I’m not willing to, and I know I can’t, change my Biblical views”.
According to ADF, the 24-year-old’s threatened expulsion is part of a trend among universities to apply “religious and ideological litmus tests” in university departments teaching “education, counselling, and social work”.
ADF is also currently representing Julea Ward, a counselling student at Eastern Michigan University who was expelled because she would not say that homosexual behavior is morally acceptable.
Recently, ADF successfully resolved a case at Missouri State University where social work student, Emily Brooker, was punished for declining to support homosexual adoption.