Posted on Jul 23, 2010 by Tom Gilson
Based on events alleged to have taken place at Augusta State University, Augusta, Georgia.
DISGUSTA, Ga. — Attorneys with the National Uncivil Liberties League (NULL) filed suit against Disgusta State University Wednesday on behalf of a counseling professor told that her beliefs are unethical and incompatible with the prevailing views of the counseling profession. The professor, Dr. Julia Charrington, has been told to stop sharing her beliefs with others and that she must change her beliefs to remain on the counseling program’s faculty.
NULL senior attorneys underlined the seriousness of the situation: “Our dearest American liberties are at risk if we won’t let professors impose their anti-religiousness and pro-homosexuality on students against their will.”
Disgusta State ordered Charrington to undergo a re-education plan, in which she must attend “diversity sensitivity training,” complete additional remedial reading, and write papers to describe their impact on her beliefs. If she does not change her beliefs or agree to the plan, the university says it will remove her from the Counselor Education faculty.
Other professors learned of Charrington’s views on religion and homosexual conduct, specifically that:
- Homosexuality is an unrestricted good
- Freedom of sexuality trumps freedom of religion
- Sexual behavior is by no means a matter of accountable choice
- Persons are not born male or female; they become that way by of social conditioning; and especially
- Persons who disagree, especially those who disagree for religious reasons, must not be allowed to enter the counseling profession.
“A public university professor shouldn’t be threatened with termination just for insisting that students drop all their moral values and religious beliefs, but that’s exactly what’s happening here. Simply put, the university is imposing thought reform,” said NULL, through a spokesman-woman-person-whose-gender-had-not-been-quite-socially-settled-yet. “Allowing students to hold their own religious beliefs should not be a precondition for employment at a public university. This type of zero-tolerance policy is in place at far too many universities, and it must stop.”
The re-education plan assails Charrington’s beliefs as inconsistent with the counseling profession and expresses suspicion over her “ability to demonstrate multicultural competence in counseling, particularly with regard to working with non-gay, non-lesbian, non-bisexual, non-transgender, and non-queer/questioning (nGnLnBnTnQ) populations, as well as religious populations.” The plan requires her to take steps to change her beliefs through additional assignments and additional “diversity sensitivity training.” It also orders her to “work to increase exposure and interactions with non-gay populations. One such activity could be attending the Non-Gay Pride Parade in Disgusta.”
In her defense, Charrington offered the example of Augusta State University, also in Georgia, where—allegedly—her beliefs are not only tolerated but actually required. “If what I’ve been hearing is true, Augusta State has a grand tradition of believing what I believe, and even requiring students to believe the same,” she said. “It sounds to me like they’ve set the standard for barring students’ freedom of religion. If it’s true they can do that, then it’s manifestly unfair for Disgusta State not to let me insist that all students here think only the things I say they must think!”
In case you missed it: yes, if reports linked here are true, there is what appears to be a real story behind this satire. Jennifer Keeton’s alleged experience is too similar and yet quite the opposite of the fictional Dr. Charrington’s.
Also at First Things: Evangel