NOM BLOG

6th Circuit Hears Oral Arguments in Julie Ward Case, Grad Student Expelled for Religious Beliefs on Homosexuality

 

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Tuesday heard oral arguments in the appeal of a former Eastern Michigan University graduate student who was expelled over her refusal to counsel a homosexual patient. The Christian Post has background:

Julie Ward enrolled in a counseling practicum course at EMU in 2009 in order to fulfill the requirements for her graduate degree. A few credits shy of finishing her degree, she was assigned a potential client who was seeking assistance regarding a homosexual relationship. However, as a Christian, Ward felt her values and beliefs on homosexuality and extra-marital affairs would not allow her to counsel the patient.[...] Consistent with ethical and professional standards on patient referral, Ward was advised to assign the patient to another counselor. But that’s when her trouble began.

Soon thereafter, Ward was informed the only way she could remain in the program was if she agreed to undergo a “remediation” program, with the sole purpose to help her “see the error of her ways” and change her “belief system,” as it related to homosexual relationships. After Ward refused, a disciplinary hearing was held, whereby an EMU faculty denigrated Ward’s Christian beliefs, leading another faculty member to ask Ward if she viewed her “brand” of Christianity as “superior” to that of other Christians. As a result of the hearing, Ward was dismissed from the counseling program and after appealing to the dean of the College of Education, her expulsion was upheld.

43 Comments

  1. Sam Jones
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Why don't we just open up the reeducation camps already?

  2. Ash
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    This is disturbing. I was taught in school that professionals of this ilk should refer clients out if they think that any of their personal beliefs, etc., can negatively affect their practice. Actually, this is recommended because the profession takes the interests of the client into mind (a person can't render proper services to a client if they have certain hurdles). Such is the case even if the issue is not related to homosexuality. For example: if a therapist once suffered an adulterous affair, they might want to refer a couple to another therapist if that is the presenting problem for the couple. The idea is that the client deserves the best services, and the therapist should refer out if necessary.

    I hope this young lady receives justice. It is apparent that hands-down endorsement of homosexuality is the issue--not the respectful treatment of homosexuals. These various human service fields, such as counseling, are moving farther and farther away from what they actually teach their students, and what they consider acceptable practice. The weird and confusing nature of the conversion therapy debate, the lauding of methodologically flawed ss parenting studies, and the expulsion of this young woman are evidence of this movement away from the professional and academic standard.

  3. Mike Brooks
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Infiltration of the psychology profession with homosexuals.

    Ironically, the student was advised to go to remediation when the ones needing remediation are the homosexuals.

  4. Teri Simpkins
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    This woman was wronged and deserves to win her case. I like that she didn't use her religion as a means to beat the client down but respectfully declined the client's case. Good luck, Julie Ward.

  5. P. Edward Murray
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Ash,

    Exactly, if you have a problem you refer the client to the best person that you can...

    If you approach your GP with a specific problem, he DOES refer you to a specialist..and you don't "sue" your GP for this!

  6. John Garrett
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    This is another example of a person who should not choose a profession that would require them to provide services and not discriminate against someone based on narrow minded simplistic beliefs. Just like the Ny State Town Clerk or the Bed and Brekfast owners if you are not prepared to render services to someone simply based on the wauy they were born it is time to find a vocation that does not require you to service the general public.

  7. Posted October 5, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    From what I had read, she did not disobey her supervisor, but asked for advice and then followed it. That should have been the end of the matter.

  8. TC Matthews
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Everyone ought to have the right to conscience.

  9. TC Matthews
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    John, 'how they were born' has nothing to do with anything. There's no gene test at the door. It's not who you are, it's what you do.

  10. Bob T.
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    She wasn't fired for her beliefs, she was fired for her behavior. Once again, NOM has to lie because the facts don't support their agenda.

  11. TC Matthews
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Bob, it is against the freedom of religion to say to someone you may believe, but not act on your beliefs. She hurt no one, she merely declined to give counsel for reasons that are her own, she felt she would not be a good match. She is perfectly within her right to do so.

  12. Randy E King
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    It is "the right of conscience and free exercise thereof' not "the right of conscience just so long as you keep it to your damn self."

  13. M. Jones
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    I'm glad to Christians standing up and say enough is enough to attacks on religious liberties and freedom of conscience. This persecution has to stop. We are letting a tiny evil minority steam roll their extremist views on the majority.

  14. Louis E.
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    The only advice anyone should give someone asking advice about a same-sex sexual relationship is,"DON'T".

    That the profession seeks to exclude those who would not act as accomplices to the clients' bad life choices argues that they have no credibility.Even referring someone to a (wrongly) sympathetic counselor is NOT in the client's best interests,only learning to suppress all same-sex attraction is.

    I am NOT religious and this is not a religious issue.

  15. Daughter of Eve
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    No one should be compelled to act against their conscience. "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

  16. Sam Jones
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 2:28 am | Permalink

    Garrett, your post is only one of many examples of the oppressive, intolerant, and bigoted nature of SS"M" advocates who seek to destroy our civil and religious liberties to promote their dogma. That is why organizations like NOM exist.

    PS: There is no scientific evidence that homosexuality is genetic. That is an article of faith, nothing more.

  17. Little man
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 3:45 am | Permalink

    Judges are allowed to recluse themselves.... counselors should be able to do likewise. Would the counseled person of homosexual persuasion prefer to be told the truth about his passion and his problems? The school EMU is showing their value system coincides with the homosexual advocate agenda. Another truth surfaces! Is it tolerance? No, i think it is ignorance and lack of logic on the part of an educational institutional. Don't run. Confront.

  18. GFPC
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Fight on Julie! You have many many people on your side!

    Is Ohio the new North Korea?

  19. mcewen
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Sorry but Ms. Ward has lost this in court already. If she can't do the job for everyone, she shouldn't go in the field. It's the same case with the marriage clerks. Why are gays being accused of skirting the law when it is some folks wanting special privileges for their religion.

  20. Ash
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    John Garrett: "This is another example of a person who should not choose a profession that would require them to provide services and not discriminate against someone based on narrow minded simplistic beliefs."

    If you want human services to move into this direction, fine. But rest assured, such a move will not result in the isolation of "simplistic beliefs." It will result in these fields losing all credibility in the public eye (the loss of credibility is already underway). For some of these fields, it may even result in the total privatization of human services :)

  21. Teri Simpkins
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    If I go to a therapist because of a problem, ANY problem, then I want sound, logical advice. I don't want to be told my problem is because I don't believe in some deity and their rules, or that I don't have enough faith in some deity to make a change in my life. Changes come about because I make them, not because I said the right words in some pre-ordained fashion.

    Julie Ward did the right thing and is being punished unfairly because of it. Any injustice is an injustice to all. It's something that everyone needs to remember, not just one side of an argument.

  22. Bob T.
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    @ Sam: Organizations like NOM exist for one reason only: to make money off of anti-gay groups and individuals. That's it.

  23. TC Matthews
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Mcewen, the issue is being heard in court currently. It's far from decided. Freedom of religion is what this nation was founded on. It is worth protecting, even for you. Just because your beliefs are different than hers, doesn't mean freedom of religion doesn't apply just as equally to you or anyone else. We all have freedom of conscience.

  24. TC Matthews
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Bob, I find it hilarious that you would post that on a thread that epitomizes the threat to religious freedoms in this country. Oh no, it's all about the money. Pay no attention to the woman who was denied her freedoms. (fingers in ears) lala la la la la la......

  25. Barb Chamberlan
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Way up there in the 2nd comment of this thread, Ash points out the truth. It's considered "best practices" to sometimes refer a client to another therapist. This is recognized as professional conduct.

  26. Louis E.
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    McEwen,doing the job for someone at risk of getting or staying involved in a same-sex sexual relationship involves getting them to abandon the idea.Julie Ward didn't even do that,but her refusal to reinforce the client's unhealthy tendencies personally got her into undeserved trouble.

  27. Posted October 6, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    She wasn't fired for her beliefs, she was fired for her behavior.

    What behavior?

    When confronted with the client, she was unsure of what to do, so she went to her supervisor who told her to refer the client to another counselor.

    If that was wrong, why was her supervisor not in trouble?

  28. Little man
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Bob T.: So, you have to lie because the facts don't support your agenda.

  29. Posted October 6, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Eastern Michigan's counseling program -- like many others -- requires its students to practice in ways that are consistent with the counseling association's ethics code, including requirements that bar behavior that reflects an "inability to tolerate different points of view," "imposing values" on clients or discrimination based on a number of factors, including sexual orientation. The counseling association does permit referrals, but they are supposed to be for the good of the client, not for the comfort of the counselor. Typically, a referral that would be seen as legitimate might involve a counselor referring someone to a colleague with expertise on a particular problem.

    Ametrano, the Eastern Michigan professor, who was on the review panel that expelled Ward, said that the requirements that counselors work with clients of a range of views and background are essential. She noted that counselors regularly work with clients who make decisions about such matters as birth control, sex, drug use, abortion and many other choices that a counselor may or may not support. And clients come from a variety of backgrounds and sexual orientations. A counselor can't be effective, she said, with litmus tests on who may be helped.

    Further, she said that the ethics code is designed in part because Eastern Michigan is training counselors who will work in schools, colleges and social service agencies where referrals aren't possible. So the ability to help anyone, and to do so in a way that "is consistent with client values," is an important, relevant skill as determined by the profession.

    "Are you going to refer away half of your clients because you can't reconcile your own issues with the client's value system? We want students to reconcile their biases" and their work, she said. "Being nonjudgmental is a central part of how we work."

  30. Ash
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Barb Chamberlan: "Way up there in the 2nd comment of this thread, Ash points out the truth. It's considered 'best practices' to sometimes refer a client to another therapist. This is recognized as professional conduct."

    It is absolutely established, professional conduct. The whole "remediation" thing is really disturbing, though. What's that all about? These types of professionals are taught that it is impossible for one to keep personal beliefs separate from work, but that one should remain "self-aware" and not allow it to hamper client services. Referrals may be necessary so that the client receives the best. I've never heard any suggestion that all professionals must be indoctrinated to believe certain things in order to be allowed to enter the profession, or graduate.

    It seems that in their capitulation to gays, these professions are actually abandoning the cores of their curriculum and practice standards. This is a dangerous trend that is being noticed by many in these fields. Mark my words: the work of many human service fields will be totally privatized if their ideological natures become too much for the public to bear.

  31. Little man
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    In any civil issue, someone has to take a stand. Julie Ward has a perfect case to fight off the homosexuality advocates. The school is going to get an "education" now. There are perfectly valid, secular, arguments against sexual homosexual (adjective) behavior. It is not illegal, but it is also not going to provide the complementariness of an opposite-sex relationship. Friendship is easier, but that is all it is - a friendship. Wonder why it is not fully satisfactory? (...not to mention the other guy can leave for another man, OR for another woman; homosexual sexual relations are more unstable, and is reasonable to understand why - no children are possible.)

  32. mcewen
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    By the way - her name is Julea. The fact that you all are trying to destroy the ethnicity of her name says a lot about how false your position is. I can't believe she would consent to that.

  33. Michael
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    If you are trying to become a counselor, a person who counsels and tries to make people feel better, you should have an open mind.
    You are not fit for helping people if you only help certain people.

    There is also the issue of her sanity.
    Belief in God is starting to be classified as a "Class B mental illness" and I should hope that a person who is giving me advice is sane and won't discriminate based on what an ancient book says.
    Would she murder a person if her "god" told her to?
    We can already see that she hates gay people because a god told her to.

  34. Barb Chamberlan
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    As a side note, I received a "please give us money" letter today from HRC. A gay frienemy probably signed me up. The letter was a boring read, nothing we haven't all heard before. They also sent me one of their dumb yellow and blue "=" stickers.

    I'll put all their material into their postage-paid envelop and mail it back to them so they'll have to pay for it. When I find out who signed me up I'll have to think of something special to send them :)

  35. TC Matthews
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Sweet.

  36. TC Matthews
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    "Belief in God is starting to be classified as a "Class B mental illness" and I should hope that a person who is giving me advice is sane and won't discriminate based on what an ancient book says."

    Interesting how far you will go Michael in denying people the right to believe and live as they choose.

  37. Louis E.
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Michael,same-sex sex is a "friends don't let friends" kind of vice.The ones who really "hate gay people" are the ones who give up on telling them to stop defending or engaging in same-sex sex,just as those who stop telling alcoholics to stop drinking or addicts to stop drug-taking are abandoning them,not "accepting" them,by telling them what they want to hear rather than what they need to.

    Anyone asking a counselor about same-sex sex should ALWAYS be told NEVER to do it!

  38. Spunky
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    Great analysis Mark Lawrence!

  39. Louis E.
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    Spunky,Mark Lawrence completely misses that the good of the client requires that the client be steered firmly away from gratifying any same-sex sexual attraction by which s/he may be afflicted.

  40. Matt
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    "Belief in God is starting to be classified as a 'Class B mental illness'."

    Oh, really? What is belief in the infallibility of man classified as?

    Counseling cannot be so simply defined as trying "to make people feel better". If my teenage son wants to stay up all night smoking cigars and watching porn, then acquiescing to his demands would make him feel better, right? Would that meet the standard of professional counseling?

    Counseling is guiding people to what is in their best interests. It inevitably requires a value judgment on the part of the counselor to determine what that is. To believe that guidance is possible in the absence of a worldview of some kind (any kind, rational or not) is absurd.

    It's like the old "don't legislate morality" argument. If you revoke all laws with a moral basis, there would be no laws remaining. All laws reflect someone's sense of morality.

    The question for us is, what is the standard of morality we should use in framing our legal system and more importantly, our societal mores? If you opt for a relative solution, then all laws have to be revised every so often because "the morality has changed". And even that's only true if a majority comes up with more or less the same opinion on the issue in question. Truly relative morality (we decide what's right on a case-by-case basis) requires that all laws restricting any behavior at all be abolished. Is that what we want?

    On the other hand, a worldview of an absolute standard of morality provides a stable framework on which to build a society. Does it let you follow every whim, impulse, or lust you might have with no consequence? No. Does it protect your life, liberty, and property? Yes. Is it perfect? No, and it needs some tweaking around the edges from time to time, but it's really the better of the two choices as a foundation on which to build.

  41. Mikhail
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    @Michael
    She does not hate gays, God hates them so she has the love and compassion to tell them the truth.
    In fact she didnt even do that, all she did was refuse to counsel a gay student, its not as if she took out a bible and started shouting "God hates fags and sends them to burn in hell", this is an obvious breach of first amendment rights.

  42. Ash
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Mark Lawrence: "Eastern Michigan's counseling program -- like many others -- requires its students to practice in ways that are consistent with the counseling association's ethics code, including requirements that bar behavior that reflects an "inability to tolerate different points of view," "imposing values" on clients or discrimination based on a number of factors, including sexual orientation."

    And none of this has anything to do with a counselor referring clients. You can tolerate different points of view, and yet acknowlege your inability to provide a specific service to a client system. I actually think the "tolerating different points of view" ethic is referring to when you have already begun giving services to the client (indeed, how can you know a client's "different point of view" before you have started engaging with them?) For example: if you are already engaged in counseling with a certain couple, you cannot impose your opposition to divorce on them.

    This young lady referring the clients to someone else actually protected the clients from having her views imposed on them. We're not talking about gay clients coming into a welfare to work agency, who need assistance in resume writing. We're talking about *couples* counseling, which is a very specific and specialized area. In fact, some counselors not only confine their services to opposite sex couples, but even restrict them to married couples. Their reasons for doing so may not be religious in nature.

  43. P. Edward Murray
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Michael,

    You go to your family doctor with a problem, he or she says that you need a specialist, now how is this different from this case?

    The young woman refused because it is beyond her expertise but did refer the couple to someone else..

    Also, "suing' in this case means sheer, unadulterated meaness in addition to proving that the gay couple has money!