Saturday, July 24, 2010

Christian beliefs forbidden at Augusta State University?

Late yesterday afternoon, the Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom filed a lawsuit on behalf of Augusta State University counseling student Jennifer Keeton. Her tale has to be read to be believed. Essentially, the facts are as follows.

Jennifer is a devout Christian and holds biblically orthodox views regarding sexual morality. In the context of classroom discussions of homosexual behavior, she expressed her Christian views, and has also shared those views with her classmates outside of class. She has stated, for example, that she believes that sexual behavior is the result of personal choice rather than an inevitability arising from deterministic forces.

These thoughts have displeased the counseling department, and it has expressed that displeasure in writing:
Another equally important question that has arisen over the last two semesters is Jen’s ability to be a multiculturally competent counselor, particularly with regard to working with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (GLBTQ) populations. Jen has voiced disagreement in several class discussions and in written assignments with the gay and lesbian “lifestyle.” She stated in one paper that she believes GLBTQ “lifestyles” to be identity confusion. This was during her enrollment in the Diversity Sensitivity course and after the presentation on GLBTQ populations....

Faculty have also received unsolicited reports from another student that [Miss Keeton] has relayed her interest in conversion therapy for GLBTQ populations, and she has tried to convince other students to support and believe her views.

To alter Jennifer’s views, the faculty imposed a “remediation plan,” that included “diversity sensitivity training,” required Jennifer to read at least ten articles in peer-reviewed journals that “pertain to improving counseling effectiveness with GLBTQ populations,” and (my personal favorite) required that she “increase exposure and interaction with gay populations,” including a suggestion that she attend the “Gay Pride Parade in Augusta.”

As she did all these things, Jennifer was required to submit a monthly two-page “reflection paper” to describe how “her study has influenced her beliefs.” Counseling faculty would then decide, based on these “reflections” and two in-person meetings, whether she should continue in the program.
Her “remediation plan” ends with the ominous warning: “Please note that failure to complete all elements of the remediation plan will result in dismissal from the Counselor Education Program.”

It’s simply stunning that state officials mandate that students change their religious beliefs. It’s egregious enough that out-of-class speech can be punished with a “remediation plan,” but to reach into a student’s very heart and soul to determine whether they’re — in essence — a good enough person to graduate? The state hasn’t just stepped over the line, it’s jumped across with both feet.

Unfortunately, as numerous other cases from the fields of education, social work, and counseling demonstrate, our public universities often see themselves high priests of the helping professions, where there is only one way to view key moral issues regarding sexuality, behavior, and identity. Yet there is room for disagreement. There is room for a Christian voice in the counseling profession.


Official British schools body warns sex lessons are leaving out marriage

Schools are teaching pupils all they need to know about the biology of sex but place little emphasis on the importance of marriage and loving relationships, Ofsted inspectors warn today.

Sex education lessons are marred by teachers’ embarrassment and a failure to discuss the possibility that you can ‘say no’ to intercourse.

One in three secondary schools is failing to provide good quality teaching in personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) which includes lessons on sex, drugs and alcohol, Ofsted warns in a report.

Inspectors criticise a failure in many schools to consult parents about the content and timing of lessons despite their sensitive nature.

Some lessons used ‘inappropriate resources’ and failed to match work to pupils’ maturity, suggesting some are exposed to materials too advanced for their age.

Ofsted suggests that schools use storylines from popular TV dramas as a starting point for some lessons. Pupils may need help to ‘make sense of ’ sensitive scenes they have seen, it is claimed.


One in five sexually-active teenage girls has been pregnant by the age of 18, shocking figures revealed yesterday.

The first survey of its kind found that 83 per cent of girls have lost their virginity by this age and 18 per cent of these youngsters have been pregnant at least once.

About half chose to keep their babies and more than a third had an abortion, according to the Government survey. A further 18 per cent reported having had a miscarriage.

Incredibly, more than 1,300 18-year-old girls have been pregnant three times.

Previous research has shown that girls feel they are under increasing pressure to have sex before they are ready, partly because of sexy images projected in marketing and teen magazines.

The statistics from this latest study show more than a quarter of girls said they had not waited until the age of consent and 27 per cent of 4,298 girls questioned for the study had lost their virginity by the time they turned 16.

The data once again reignites the controversy over Britain’s teenage pregnancy rate, which is the highest in Western Europe, and Labour’s decade of failure to tackle the problem. Figures released earlier this year revealed there were more pregnancies among girls under 18 in England in 2008 than there were in 2001.

Family values campaigners have long warned that easy access to contraception and poor quality sex education which fails to encourage teenagers to say ‘no’ are fuelling the problem.

The survey shows how education plays an important role for youngsters as they are significantly less likely to have been pregnant by 18 if they did well at school and their parents have degrees. Children who live with both parents are half as likely to engage in underage sex according to the study, published by the Department for Education.

The research relied on girls answering truthfully and there is no way of verifying their responses.


Australia's Leftist government wants to bring back compulsory unionism for students

And from long experience we know that a lot of the money raised will be spent on far-Left causes that few students agree with

THE Education Minister, Simon Crean, has promised a re-elected Labor government would try again to change the law to allow universities to charge students compulsory fees to pay for sporting facilities, health clinics and other non-academic amenities.

Labor introduced legislation last year to allow universities to charge students up to $250 a year to fund services such as childcare, counselling and career guidance, but it was blocked in the Senate by the Coalition and the Family First senator, Steve Fielding.

Mr Crean told the Herald such services were ''integral to giving people the opportunity to undertake a university education'' and he called upon the Coalition to reconsider its position.

''The opposition has an ideological bent against this concept. They're called student union fees. They see union, they go ballistic,'' he said.

The proposals were aimed at restoring services lost from campuses after the Howard government outlawed compulsory student union fees in 2005, stripping an estimated $170 million a year from student services budgets.

The opposition education spokesman, Christopher Pyne, said it would continue to oppose Labor's plans.

But the Coalition may not be able to block the legislation if, as is widely tipped, the Greens win the balance of power in the Senate. The Greens education spokeswoman, Sarah Hanson-Young, said it must be a priority in the new parliament.

The president of the National Union of Students, Carla Drakeford, said after waiting for Labor to fulfil its 2007 promise, students would expect a re-elected Labor government to make the change within six months. She said the NUS would lobby the Greens to amend the legislation, to require universities to pass on some of the money to student unions.


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