Have you heard this story? It seems that Jennifer Keeton, a young woman studying for a Masters in school counseling at Augusta State University, has found that the profession is not a good fit for her. Under normal circumstances, such a student would chalk it up to experience and change career paths. But this is more of a “Chuck Colson says I have Special Rights” situation.
Apparently, “in written assignments and classroom discussions,” Ms. Keeton has insisted that a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity are “the result of accountable, personal choices,” and not “a state of being.” Understandably, these statements have caused those charged with conferring professional counseling credentials to question Ms. Keeton’s “ability to provide competent counseling to gay men and lesbians.” I would say that’s putting it mildly. Cue the tiny violins:
The grounds for the threatened expulsion are not poor grades or misconduct – they are Keeton’s beliefs.
I suppose that’s true, after a fashion. Say that you were applying for a job doing web development in PHP, and you firmly told the interviewer that you “don’t believe in” using functions. You would not get the job. You could make a semantic argument that it was because of your beliefs, but the argument would be meaningless. Regardless of the underlying reason, the failure to use functions would render you unable to perform the job.
I’m sorry, but the bottom line has to be this: If you cannot for whatever reason meet the basic requirements for a profession, you need to choose a different one. No, you can’t make up different professional requirements for yourself. This is not a violation of your religious freedom, nor does it represent a lack of “respect for religious values”; it just means that your beliefs are incompatible with the requirements for performing that job. If your beliefs don’t allow you to fill some of the prescriptions doctors write for their patients, you can’t meet the basic requirements for being a pharmacist. If you reject the established scientific consensus of the professionals in your field of study, if you refuse to believe that some of the students you will encounter are gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgender, and that this is a state of their being, you cannot meet the basic requirements for school counseling. In fact, you would be a danger to those students. Quit whining and choose a different career. People do it all the time.