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  • Court Hears Case on Religious Freedom, Sexual Orientation Nondiscrimination Policies

    Last week a federal appeals court heard arguments in an important religious freedom case known as Ward v. Wilbanks. The case illustrates how sexual orientation nondiscrimination policies can impose government burdens on religious and moral conscience and create serious civil society conflicts.

    Julea Ward was a student in the graduate counseling program at Eastern Michigan University. She claims that she was expelled from the program after she conscientiously objected to counseling a potential client seeking assistance regarding a homosexual relationship.

    According to Ward’s attorney:

    Rather than allow Julea to refer a potential client to another qualified counselor—a common, professional practice to best serve clients—EMU attacked and questioned Julea’s religious beliefs and ultimately expelled her from the program because of them.

    Ward also refused to undergo a “remediation” program that, she states, was designed to “change her ‘belief system’ as it relates to counseling about homosexual relationships.”

    Her attorney says that Ward “would have gladly counseled the client herself had the topic focused on any other matter.” However, Ward realized that she “could not affirm the client’s homosexual relationship without violating her religious beliefs regarding extra-marital sexual relationships.”

    Cases like Ward’s illustrate how nondiscrimination laws and other state-imposed burdens can transform “culture wars” into “conscience wars.” To ease such conflicts, public officials should protect religious freedom and respect moral conscience on highly controversial issues such as sexuality.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Court Hears Case on Religious Freedom, Sexual Orientation Nondiscrimination Policies

    1. Bobbie says:

      GOVERNMENT CONTROL of the people, for the people and by the people IS THE ENTITY OF AMERICA that is to run without discrimination, racism, bias, favoritism! The freedom of the people has every right to hire whoever they want using whatever measure they want to establish a productive service and to where no role of government is to compromise that FREEDOM!

    2. Stephen says:

      Sounds like another liberal "reeducation" program. There won't be any death camps folks, no mass graves, no bodies, they'll just lock you into a chamber until you learn to love and accept big brother.

    3. R0nin says:

      I'm glad the appeals court will hear the case. We need to put an end to institutions requiring people to give up their freedom of religion in order to force them to adopt the proscribed Liberal's belief system codified in political correctness. This is highly unconstitutional, but the liberals in charge of most of our institutions do it anyway.

      Unfortunately, depending on which appeals court this is, they may not make the correct application of the law here. This could easily need to go several more rounds to be decided. Too many courts and judges are willing participants in this movement to do an end-run around the Constitution in order to impose their liberal ideology on our country.

    4. Tammy Rainey says:

      I'm happy to agree to give both sides what they want – grant LGB/T people equality under the law, AND in the same breath protect freedom of conscience in cases like this where there is a ready alternative. do it as a package deal, win/win (and see which side cries foul first!)

      • Bobbie says:

        I don't get it Tammy? Grant "people" equality under the law that have "specific identification" isn't granting equality, it's appeasing a specific identification with more rights because of that identification. what kind of person would apply for a job they refuse to do or unqualified by the job's requirements and make a fuss about it by exposing personal behaviors as being discriminated? Obviously just to cause trouble or they wouldn't have applied. It isn't fair to the business to accommodate the employee. either you want the job to do the job required or you find a job somewhere else that's more suitable for you and the business. just seems people want "attention" and "sympathies" and to be singled out by government label. I think that falls under the word selfish.

    5. Colleen says:

      This case does not reflect religious discrimination. EMU never suggested Ward not practice her religion, they only only asked that she does not allow her values to get in the way of doing her job. EMU would have the right to dismiss an atheist student who refused to ethically counsel Christians. Their decision to dismiss Julea Ward shows their anti-discrimination stance, not a belief that LGBTQ students should have MORE rights than others, just equal. I would be offended if a Christian student could not receive counseling when they are in need.

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