Michigan, "Sinful" People Need Counseling Too!

  • By: Susan V
  • Target: Michigan State Senate and Governor Rick Snyder

Just when do counselors get to decide which "sin" is worse than another or that one particular “sin” should deprive a person of counseling? Disturbingly, when could happen soon now that Michigan's House has passed the Julea Ward Freedom Of Conscience Act.

The Act was named for a graduate student kicked out of Eastern Michigan University’s counseling program for refusing to “affirm a client’s gay orientation,” because of “what the Bible says.”

It passed the House even though a federal district court dismissed the suit Ward filed against the University, ruling that the college “had a right and duty” to enforce accreditation rules of ethics and that Ward's freedoms had not been violated.

Ward had only been expected to change her behavior - not her beliefs. But now Michigan is trying to change more than beliefs. If the Act passes, says Think Progress, it would “compromise the integrity of all counseling programs in the state.”

Tell Michigan, "Sinful" People Need Counseling Too!

We, the undersigned, believe that the Julea Ward Freedom Of Conscience Act is discriminatory and unkind. Some would call it “sinful.”

We agree with those who say that the ethical standard of counseling exists for a reason and treating gay clients as this Act would allow could add to the stigma and pain some deal with already. It could cause many great harm.

Since the basis of Christianity, the excuse used by Ward for refusing to affirm a client’s gay orientation, is that “all have sinned,” does it make any sense that a counselor would be allowed to choose which sin or sins should deprive a client of  assistance? Certainly all who seek and need counseling are “sinful” in one way or another. As activist Wayne Besen pointed out “counseling should be about the client, not the self-serving needs of the therapist.”

Think Progress says “Michigan lawmakers have made clear this year how little concern they have for gay citizens.” And this law does nothing to negate that statement. Please reconsider your thinking and your votes on this Act.

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