Wednesday, August 25, 2010

You Can't Counsel and Be a Christian

Below are two links to articles about college students who are in programs that teach them counseling skills, seeking a degree to become counselors.  Unfortunately for some of the students, they are being punished for not being willing to forsake their Christian beliefs to succeed in the program.

The issue is dealing with gays. Some schools' programs insist that students not only treat gays well, but that they affirm the gay lifestyle. If that is against your religious convictions, then you can not graduate with the degree you sought.

I wonder if the same limitations are, or will be, applied to students looking to be teachers, for example. With a teaching degree from a state university, one might seek to teach in either a public school or a private school. In the latter case, the school may be Christian and may not choose to affirm the gay lifestyle, even through they might very well admit gay student, or children of gay parents. The university that trained the teacher taught him/her the skills necessary to teach. That is what matters.

For counselors, they need to have good counseling skills. I have met Christian counselors before, and I have met atheist counselors. I have met counselors who did not reveal that part of their makeup. Must all counselors believe the same things when it comes to moral principles? Are not the skills of counseling separate from the belief about lifestyle?

Must all counseling students believe that home schooling is unhealthy? Must they believe that God has not part in healing, mentally or physically? How about a lifestyle of excessive consumption? Do we need to affirm that? It is not illegal, and not everyone believes it is immoral. To how many moral issues must all students agree in order to graduate?

Could someone get a medical degree if they believed abortion is immoral? Or euthanasia? How about non-reconstructive plastic surgery? Isn't the medical degree independent of those beliefs (even though one's take on those issues might well affect where they can ultimately be employed)?

When our current President and Secretary of State simultaneously abandon the phrase "freedom of religion" in favor of "freedom of worship" should we worry? Being denied a degree does not affect my freedom of worship necessarily, but it may indeed affect my freedom of religious expression (not to mention freedom of speech).

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