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Posted on Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 2:07 p.m.

ACLU asks court to side with EMU in case of former student who declined to counsel gay client

By David Jesse

The American Civil Liberties Union this morning became the latest organization to weigh in on the ongoing legal dispute between former Eastern Michigan University student Julea Ward and the university.

The ACLU, and its Michigan chapter, filed a brief with federal appeals court supporting EMU.

Ward sued the university after it kicked her out of the counseling program over her refusal to affirm a gay client’s relationship during a practicum. She said she believes homosexuality is immoral and being gay is a choice and therefore could not in good conscience counsel the client.

Despite losses in the lower courts, Ward and her attorneys, the Alliance Defense Fund, a legal organization that works to uphold the rights of religious college students and faculty, have asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District to step in.

The ACLU believes EMU should win this round as well.

“While counselors are certainly entitled to their own religious beliefs, EMU correctly took steps to prevent Ms. Ward from imposing those beliefs on her clients in the university’s training program,” said Daniel Mach, director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, in a press release. “EMU would be remiss if it allowed counseling students to discriminate against clients for any reason, including sexual orientation.”

But Ward said the university has violated her rights to hold beliefs.


Julea Ward sued EMU when she was dismissed from a counseling program after she refused to affirm a client's homosexual relationship.

Photo courtesy of ADF

“EMU officials expelled her for insufficient tolerance, for ‘condoning discrimination’ and for 'imposing [her] values’ because she refused to promise to verbally affirm homosexual behavior in hypothetical future counseling sessions and because she had expressed moral disagreement with homosexual behavior in classroom discussions,” Ward’s attorneys wrote in their court filing. “EMU’s disciplinary process featured state officials explicitly impugning Ms. Ward’s religious beliefs, even going so far as to engage her in a self-described ‘theological bout’ where they directly challenged her interpretations and understandings of scripture. ...

“Ms. Ward filed this civil rights action to challenge EMU’s unconstitutional policies and actions both facially and as-applied.”

EMU argued that it had the right to set the curriculum and dismiss Ward.

“This case challenges Eastern Michigan University’s firmly- established right to determine, implement and enforce a pedagogically-grounded curriculum of its choosing, even over an individual student’s religious objections,” EMU’s attorneys wrote in their response, which was filed last week. “Appellant’s arguments against that right are founded upon two mistaken premises: (1) that the pedagogically-based curricular requirements in question (i.e., those prohibiting student counselors from imposing their own values on a client, and from discriminating against a client on the basis of his sexual orientation) constitute a “speech code” that supposedly is applicable “at all times,” and (2) that she was disciplined for holding certain religious beliefs.


To view a few of the briefs filed in this case, download these files:

“The district court properly ruled against Appellant on both issues. First, it held that the learned and scientifically-based professional standards that governed Appellant’s conduct as a student counselor do not constitute a “speech code” because they do “not apply to non-academic student behaviors.” Second, it held that Appellant’s “dismissal was entirely due to [her] refusal to change her behavior, not her beliefs.

“Under settled U.S. Supreme Court and Sixth Circuit law, EMU had the right not only to determine the contours of its graduate counseling program curriculum, but also to dismiss a student who, after voluntarily applying to that program, and regardless of her beliefs, refused to adhere her behavior to that curriculum.”

The case is being closely watched across the nation. About a dozen organizations outside the main parties have filed various appearances, affirmations and/or briefs.

One of those is the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is supporting Ward’s positions.

“(The fund) is concerned that the lower court’s ruling in this case, if upheld, will greatly reduce protections for conscience within the Sixth Circuit,” the group’s attorneys wrote in their fling. “In particular, the district court’s decision would allow government entities to systematically disfavor exemptions for religious reasons while allowing exemptions for secular reasons, even values-based secular reasons. Under the facts of this case, such a wide-ranging ruling is not just wrong, it is entirely unnecessary.

“Indeed, refusing to allow students to refer clients for religious reasons could have the effect of excluding entire classes of people from the counseling profession solely because of their religious beliefs and practices.”

David Jesse covers higher education for He can be reached at or at 734-623-2534.


David Briegel

Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 2:42 a.m.

JohnB, Or a Bush or Ms Palin?

Olan Owen Barnes

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 10:44 p.m.

I can not find what she was asked to do. I think it is the duty of A2 dot com to supply that. Was she supposed to affirm to the client that it was OK to be gay? BTY I have a degree (MA) from EMU in Guidance and counseling.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 8:32 p.m.

How about the ACLU quit butting into other people's business and just go away? Far, far away... Now. Just GO!

John B.

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 10:10 p.m.

Sure, we could have them do that, and then see if Mr. Mubarek is still available to lead us into a wonderful future.

Dog Guy

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 7:42 p.m.

The comics won't display today, so I greatly appreciate the chorus of comments from Ann Arbor's herd of independent thinkers.

John B.

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 10:08 p.m.

Once again, I wish I knew what you were trying to say.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:54 p.m.

As one dog guy to another and to outdoor: there are many cases where the ACLU defends a conservative or unpopular decision because that's who they are - it's in their name - CIVIL LIBERTIES number one being our precious First Amendment rights to spew whatever you feel like in public, no matter how silly or ignorant. Thus, that's why they defended the KKK's right to adopt a highway with those same signs as every other group gets to post along a highway in Missouri a few years ago. No one is telling Ms. Ward she has to believe something different. But she chose to go to a university that has a clear non-discrimination policy and chose to pursue a profession that decades ago agreed to not mistakenly claim that homosexuality was an illness. If Ms. Ward wants to inflict her religious beliefs on patients, there are religious schools that do uphold her values. She could pursue pastoral counseling that way. For young LGBT youth who are struggling, I hope not. But she has an American right to do that. But not at EMU.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:13 p.m.

So what is the best result for the client? Having a counselor who is opposed to his beliefs or having the counselor recuse themself and finding one that is a better fit? What if she had know she would be kicked out of the program and took on the client and gave ineffective advice or subtly told the client, he was a deviant? In 1942, the government thought the Japanesse-Americans should be put in camps. Would you propose counselors who thought the Japanesse-Americans should stand up for there rights, should be expelled? America is about diversity of thought, so we have decided that if you do not believe a certain way there is no place for you?

David Briegel

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:43 p.m.

DFSmith, I defended a Christian's right to practice their faith as does the ACLU. Your ilLogic seems rather odd. And you really think that Jesus would preach hate and intolerance? Again, a rather unusual take on Christianity. Anti-Christian bigotry is a myth. Your thoughts seem to prove that fact. Outdoor, It is not the govt. It is the "professionals" whose profession she wants to join. But she wants to decide the rules! Inmates/asylum ring a bell?


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:32 p.m.

This is about due process. EMU has a process to opt out of seeing a client. She followed the process. Do you think she is the only person ever to opt out? Why was she actually kicked out? I always thought the ACLU was formed to represent individuals and groups that are supressed by the government. Ms Ward followed the process, invoked her right not to see an individual, who she thought she could not effectively counsel, and was expelled. This is about the government saying, If you do not blieve in what we tell you to believe, you cannot pursue your choosen career. Does not that seem like government abuse? Do we really want a system where the government tells us what we can and cannot think?


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

No, we don't want a system where the government tells us what we can and cannot think. However, EMU is not the government. The Courts, on the other hand, are part of the government and Ms. Ward is asking them to tell the school what to do. You've got things backwards. She can believe whatever she wants, but she doesn't have the right to impose her beliefs upon the school. Do we really want a system where students get to dictate the course requirments for their degree?


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:09 p.m.

I agree with EMU. I realize religious beliefs run deep .... but if you choose to go into a profession you have to do the required program and courses. You can't just pick and choose parts of the curriculum because you don't agree with them. EMU stand your ground!.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.

Doctors who refuse to perform abortions should not go into the profession, then?


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 1:20 p.m.

Again and again and again, organized religion sucks 90% of the time. Plain and simple. I'm sick and TIRED of hearing about it.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 12:23 p.m.

I wonder why she wouldn't be allowed to just say "I'm sorry, because of my religious beliefs, I cannot counsel you on a same sex relationship. There is another counselor who would be better for you."? That's the way the rest of the medical profession works. A christian doctor won't perform an abortion, so if a woman wants one she'll seek another doctor. An atheist doctor wouldn't integrate prayer with treatment, so a christian patient would seek another doctor. A vegetarian nutritionist won't include meat in the diet plan, so if you want that you seek another nutritrionist. A muslim doctor would not encourage moderate alcohol consumption, so you'd see someone else. None of these medical professionals is required to "affirm" the patient lifestyle, just be honest and refer. Was she refusing to refer? If not, then EMU is wrong.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:34 p.m.

No, you're missing the point. People choose to go into health care. They choose to enter a specialty knowing that people will come to them looking for certain services. If a doctor objects to performing abortions, I hear ophthalmology has very little night call, and no one asking them to do abortions. Ms Ward chose this profession. No one held a gun to her head. She chose to attend a state-supported school. Again, no gun held to her head. She wants to change everything around her to suit her beliefs, rather than having examined those beliefs and considered that there are people she might be counseling with whom she might not agree. I'm sure there are counseling programs available in self-proclaimed "Christian" colleges that would not require her to challenge her beliefs or open her mind in any way. Instead, she chose to enter a profession whose own code of ethics requires that she treat the patient's needs instead of her own, and she chose to attend a public school whose curriculum and model she was free to examine ahead of time. I don't have any sympathy.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:43 p.m.

Meg and rrt911 - you're missing the point. The issue isn't whether a conservative Christian doctor would voluntarily perform an abortion, its whether the doctor would get fired for refusing to perform the abortion for religious reasons. You both know that he or she would not get fired. You also know that an atheist doctor would not get fired for refusing to counsel his patient to pray. You also know that a vegetarian nutritionist would not get fired for refusing to counsel her patient to eat meat.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 1:22 p.m.

Since when do doctors "encourage" alcohol consumption? Don't even try this one. they may indicate that a glass of wine or an occasional beer is fine and won't hurt you, but I can't ieven magine one that encourages you to drink. Please.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 12:34 p.m.

You're actually wrong in, oh, every example you gave. I've worked in abortion clinics a long time. I'm a Catholic. Most of the providers I worked with identified as Christian. I've known several physicians who considered themselves atheists or agnostics, who had no problem telling the patient that prayer has been helpful for some patients. My nutritionist when I was pregnant is vegan. She helped me create a wonderful meal plan with meat. Are there a lot of physicians of any religion who encourage nondrinking patients to take up alcohol consumption? The difference, and what Ms Ward and you are both missing, is that in every case, it's about the patient. As a provider, my care is not about me or what I believe. It's about the patient. I made my choice when I chose to become a health care provider: I chose to care for my patients. She chose herself. That's fine, but at least she can take responsibility for it.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:52 a.m.

Dear Julea, Many of us support you, what you did in this situation was fair too all parties. You are the one being discriminated against. I graduated from EMU in 1982 and have given them thousands of dollars over the years, they call each year for money. They will never get another dime from my bank account. Good day and good luck in your fight, hold your head high and God Bless !

Matt Cooper

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:28 a.m.

Bottom line is that you don't get to voluntarily apply to a program of higher education, accept the terms of that education, agree to uphold the standards of that program and that institution, agree to abide by a student code of conduct, and then attempt to change the rules of the program to suit your own personal mores. If you don't like the curriculum or the expectations of the program, you are free to leave. Goodbye, Miss Ward. And good luck in your future endevours.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:36 a.m.

Surprise surprise.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:51 a.m.

Seriously I agree with the ACLU and I also thinks she needs a new career path. These are not the kind of people the world needs or wants as social workers/counselors. We need kind, caring, empathetic, listening, and tolerant people, who are willing to work with clients to help them. She does not at all sound like that type of a person. Peace, Love and Freedom.

David Briegel

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:34 a.m.

Outdoor, So, the Constitution and the Bill Of Rights are radical liberal documents? No conservative values expressed in those documents? Then why does every conservative run around with a Constitution in their pocket swearing that Liberals don't support it?? You really need to think about that one a lot more! The bottom line on this case is this. Do we really want the inmates to run the asylum?


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:12 a.m.

Don't forget the declaration of independence!! I'm pursuing happiness right now.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 12:58 a.m.

Why does Ms. Ward feel she is so entitled to a degree from EMU? It is EMU's degree to grant and not Ms. Ward's prerogative to dictate the terms on which the degree is granted, her beliefs notwithstanding. If I want a law degree from the University of Michigan, I need to follow their requirements. If I don't like the curriculum, what is being taught, or how it is taught then I have the option to leave and get a degree elsewhere. Do we really want the Courts dictating to Universities what the requirements should be for a law, medical or any other degree.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 12:50 a.m.

My feeling is that if Julea Ward won't accept/respect the polices of a graduate program at a public institution, then she can attend a private institution which has "values" more in alignment with hers. Perhaps Bob Jones University has a counseling program that would suit her better.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 10:37 p.m.

@ Nate - Conservative Christians are certainly welcome, but they need to abide by the rules of the program. Just like an atheist, Buddhist, agnostic, Muslim, B'hai, or Jew needs to abide by the rules. If a student can't do that because of religious beliefs, then s/he needs to go to school elsewhere. Nothing about running someone out of town because progressive's about following the rules of the program. That's all.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:34 p.m.

Conservative Christians need not apply - you're absolutely right, public institutions are no place for them. Who's next? Who else should we run out of town with our progressive ideals? This is kind of exciting!


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 12:35 a.m.

EMU did the right thing in kicking Ms. Ward out of the program. It's a free country and she's free to choose to believe whatever she wishes, but she mustn't be employed in the counseling profession when she has proved that her religion will interfere with her ability to perform her professional duties. Ms. Ward would do well to remember that the same book which most likely informs her opinion also supported slavery and subservient roles for women. It's always sad to see an educated person be so ignorant.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 10:49 p.m.

I am actually pleasantly surprised at the ACLU in this case . Although once a member I quit when they seemed to be going way overboard on advocating for even hate speech, their backing of the nazis in skokie being an early example of such, with similar stances locally. I am astounded that a particular regular on this site hasnt weighed in. Some cognitive dissonance going on,? or maybe he/she is just on the road.

Patricia Cockrell

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 10:20 p.m.

It is sad to see an African-American woman unable to grasp this concept of anti-discrimination against gays particularly since the situation begs comparison to the civil rights struggle. Throughout American history there have been many instances where the church, for example, has been on the wrong side of justice and that includes many churches that ignored the wisdom of integration because their church preached against equal rights when they should have been all about justice. The whole notion that some of us are better or more deserving of fairness and respect than others of us is abhorrent to the teachings of Christ, as it was abhorrent to the Founding Fathers.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:32 p.m.

Oh give me a break...

Dog Guy

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 10:09 p.m.

Once again, we tax parasites of state universities and other public sinecures align with the ACLU in being tolerant of anything but something different from our way of thinking. Decades of hiring only safe clones have kept us in power and wealth. It is a wonderful system. If you don't like it, you can shut up, pay your taxes, and venerate us as we chant our mantra: Science, Science, Science.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 9:57 p.m.

David, Give me 1 example where the ACLU stood up for a conservative value.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:56 a.m.

Conservative values to me seem cold and uncaring. So why would anyone stand up for them.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:52 a.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Good Night and Good Luck


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 10:58 p.m.

gotta love google.... <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 10:52 p.m.

they supported the right of nazis to march in skokie illinois...a communityof many holocaust survivors.. and they've weighed in behalf of local synagogue harassers ( who call themselves left wing but are quite the opposite, given what they advocate. not your standard conservatives i admit but certainly not liberals either. I quit the ACLU because of this.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 10:29 p.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Patricia Cockrell

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 10:28 p.m.

What an odd comment. it sounds like you have a list of &quot;conservative&quot; values that does not include standing up for equal rights under the law.(?)


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 9:55 p.m.

Shelly, There is a procedure at EMU to refer clients to a different counsler. Ms Ward followed the procedure but EMU expelled her anyway. Everyone takes this as a Gay rights issue. In the real world, a counselor who did not see certian typs of clients would go out of business. This case is about being politically correct. What was it the British Prime Minister said about to much political correctness? I was killing the culture.

David Briegel

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 9:50 p.m.

Rusty, That fictitious &quot;war on Christianity (or Christians)&quot;. I call it the Christians War Against Sanity! The Martyr Complex!! And, if anyone threatened a Christian's right to practice their faith in their home or place of worship, the ACLU would be the first to defend their rights. Yet so many hate the ACLU.

rusty shackelford

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 9:27 p.m.

I always find it amusing when people who arbitrarily discriminate against others pretend the world is victimizing them for doing so.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:57 p.m.

Psychology is a science. There are standards of treatment that are part of that science, and hundreds of professionals work together to ensure that those standards reflect the latest studies and theories. If you are not prepared to adhere to those standards, you can't responsibly be a psychologist. You can do damage to a patient by refusing to treat him/her because you don't believe in his/her life choices. It's no different than a doctor refusing to treat an injured man because he's wearing a turban on his head or a cross around his neck. She was the primary contact for this patient, and her refusal to treat this patient based on her own personal bias shows that she is unfit to practice the science. What's amazing to me is that this case has lasted so long.

Bertha Venation

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 9:18 p.m.

Right on, Rusty!

rusty shackelford

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 9 p.m.

In regard to your last point: that's because wealthy anti-gay hate groups have continued to fund the legal battle to try to make a point.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:54 p.m.

I'm a little confused... What does it mean to &quot;...affirm a gay client's relationship during a practicum.&quot;? What was Ms. Ward being asked to do?


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:49 p.m.

Two things. First of all, I was under the understanding that counselors could refer their clients to another counselor if for some reason they felt they were not able to counsel them well. Why couldn't she simply do that? Secondly, is it wise for counselors to affirm all relationships which their clients may have? If so, then abusive relationships must also be affirmed, to which I can't imagine anyone agreeing.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 12:39 a.m.

You're comparing apples with oranges my friend.

rusty shackelford

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:58 p.m.

No, people wouldn't agree. That's because a gay relationship is not the same thing as an abusive relationship. Is that actually hard to understand? Or do you think gays are as bad as abusers?


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:55 p.m.

What I don't understand is why would anyone need to &quot;affirm&quot; a personal issue with a public institution employee...seriously? Are there heteros and bi's that also seek affirmation from a school employee? If so, I'd say these &quot;young&quot; people need a lot more than a school counselor...


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:46 p.m.

The NASW code of ethics and most other codes from other professional counseling associations are against her on this one. She is obligated to adhere to those code of ethics under the Public Health Code.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:42 p.m.

Yes, she shouldn't impose her beliefs, but does that mean she has to 'affirm' the relationship? Going to a counselor is not about gaining the counselor's approval. It's about getting some perspective and achieving on your own self-acceptance. Could she not counsel a person without 'inflicting' her beliefs?

Matt Cooper

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:19 a.m.

Southpaw: Another point to consider here is that to &quot;affirm&quot; is not in any way the same as to &quot;agree&quot; or to &quot;condone&quot;. &quot;Affirm&quot; simply means acknowledge. Secondly, you stated &quot;Going to a counselor is not about gaining the counselor's approval. It's about getting some perspective and achieving on your own self-acceptance&quot;. This is very true, however, how difficult would it be for someone to go to a counselor to gain some self-acceptance when the very person counseling them has made it clear that she or he cannot accept, validate or &quot;affirm&quot; their clients lifestyle? Miss Ward is free to have and to hold whatever beliefs she chooses. As has been made clear, she was not expelled from EMU's program for her beliefs, but rather for her refusal to 1. Adhere to the student code of conduct., and 2. Change her behavior, not her beliefs.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 12:47 a.m.

Well, I think we can be sure that not every public institution has the rigor to weed out like EMU does. I am glad for EMU that they do ask those hard questions, and present difficult cases to force people to really think about or reveal the 'what if' scenario. Hopefully all colleges can do as good a job, for the sake of the unsuspecting fragile souls entering those counselors offices.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 11:19 p.m.

So if you say your religious beliefs forbid a black and white couple from marrying, you think a person should be granted a degree in counseling from a PUBLIC institution? She could easily say take your black and white co-mingling butts to another counselor. She has a JOB. Her beliefs do not matter. If her beliefs interfere with her JOB, she needs a new career or 21st century beliefs. She reminds me of Dr Laura who tells women not tog get divorces, all the while being a divorced woman, she tells them not to pose nude, while her naked body is paraded all over the internet. She calls herself a Dr, yet her degree has nothing to do with giving advice.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 10:53 p.m.

Cash, I see your point, rereading it. Her argument is that she feels she ought to be able to impose her beliefs on her clients? Maybe she should go into theology instead.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 10:39 p.m.

Southpaw....that accusation was from HER attorney.

Bertha Venation

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 9:14 p.m.

Apparently, she could not.

rusty shackelford

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:50 p.m.

Not to be over dramatic, but here's an example that in fact occurs all the time: say a gay teen had to run away from home because his father caught him having sex with another teen boy, and started abusing him. What if he were to be assigned to this case worker?


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:41 p.m.

EMU was correct in their decision. Tolerance is required and there is no place in a public institution for such intolerance. It is unfortunate that some try to cloak their intolerance by disguising it as religion. EMU should not have to continue to waste funds defending itself on a case which has already been proven in their favor.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

What is &quot;unfortunate&quot; is that some people try to cloak their intolerance for conservative Christians as progressive idealism. You're right, there is no place in a public institution for intolerance. If Ms. Ward were a conservative Muslim this wouldn't even be an issue.

Bertha Venation

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 9:13 p.m.

VERY WELL said, Bill!

Basic Bob

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:37 p.m.

Obviously there are numerous rights we need to consider. Laws can't cover every instance of unique situations. I agree with the ACLU that we should have a judge decide how to apply the constitutional rights. In any case, I would hope that it wouldn't be decided by which party holds the keys to the state government, or rallies the most rabid supporters.

John B.

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 10:31 p.m.

...or by which party appointed the majority of the judges....

David Briegel

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:31 p.m.

Christians love to ask, &quot;what would Jesus do&quot;? Do you think He would preach hate and intolerance? Will there ever be a cure for pseudo-Christian bigotry?


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:22 p.m.

Characterizing Ms. Ward's opinion that a homosexual relationship is morally wrong as &quot;hate&quot; is itself a hateful and intolerant act.

rusty shackelford

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:24 p.m.

The ACLU has often stood with religious objectors when there are legitimate issues of conscience. This is not one of those.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:50 p.m.

Wow, what's it like up there? It must be hard work deciding whose issues of conscience are &quot;legitimate&quot; and whose are not.


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:24 p.m.

I see if you say anything that has some morality to it, then your comment gets removed from this liberal press. So go ahead and remove this one also and I will cal the ACLU!


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:21 p.m.

"Indeed, refusing to allow students to refer clients for religious reasons could have the effect of excluding entire classes of people from the counseling profession solely because of their religious beliefs and practices." It's called breaking the pattern of abuse...

rusty shackelford

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:26 p.m.

Good point. And since when is telling gay people their existence is immoral a core religious practice? Continuing this appeal cheapens cases of real religious discrimination.

Bertha Venation

Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:17 p.m.

If Ms. Ward cannot keep her own religious beliefs to herself, then she should be in a different field of study. With the issue of teen and LBGT bullying and suicide, is THIS REALLY who we want counseling our youngsters?? (Young being under 50 in my case!).


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.

Doctors who refuse to perform abortions should find a different field of study?


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:11 p.m.

This case drives me crazy. If the PROFESSIONAL diagnostics of your profession do not match your religious beliefs, then you need a new career. Imagine a science teacher teaching the world is flat because of his religion despite the evidence to the contrary? He would rightfully be fired.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:56 p.m.

Yeah! And imagine a Catholic doctor refusing to perform an abortion because of his religious beliefs - oh man, fire that guy! You know what I'm sayin? You're on a roll, Johnny! Clean em' out!


Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 8:24 p.m.

Well, sort of depends on which part of the country... See Texas Board of Education