I want to keep this blog light-hearted and fun but sometimes a girl just has to speak her mind. A news story out of Ypsilanti, Michigan has this redhead’s blood boiling and has actually annoyed me so much I need to write about it : )
Before delving into the nitty-gritty let me pose a scenario for you to mull over…
You’re a parent and your daughter or son has expressed feelings of confusion and has said that he or she feels they may be gay. You son or daughter has started to experience bullying at school and seeks the advise of the high school guidance counselor. Unfortunately, the high school counselor has made it well known that she doesn’t approve of homosexuals and has admitted she cannot counsel lesbians, gays, bisexual or trans-gendered youth without expressing her disapproval. Would you want your son or daughter seeing this counselor for crucial advise that could impact the course of their life? My guess is no. You would want a counselor that can hold back any negative judgement in a safe and professional environment that doesn’t leave your child feeling lesser-than.
There have been so many preventable suicides recently involving gay youth that it hurts my heart. These deaths could be prevented if these kids felt like they had someone to talk to openly and honestly. In some cases the high school guidance counselor could be the only person they feel they can turn to in a time of crisis.
Now to the news… Last year Eastern Michigan University student Julea Ward was dismissed from her Masters program, a program that would help her become a high school guidance counselor, because she refused to counsel gay students. Julea feels the ‘gay lifestyle’ is immoral and recommended another counselor be used in the session. The *publicly funded* university reviewed her decision and decided that she did not meet the requirements for the program (failure to tolerate different points of view) as all Masters students are expected to manage any discomfort and act professionally.
There are so many careers in the public service sector that require this ability…Doctors, firemen, policemen, drug and alcohol abuse counselors, nurses, social workers…All of these professions deal with a variety of people, from all walks of life, and whether or not they morally agree with the person they are assisting, they are required to provide a service as taxpayers – who are a varied and eclectic bunch themselves – pay for their salary. I mean have you heard of many drug counselors that morally APPROVE of using intravenous drugs? No, of course not. They have problems with drug use but are able to see past that in order to assist the user in their time of need.
In knowing all of that, do you think the firing of Julea Ward was just? All jobs have requirements and if you are unwilling (not unable!) to meet those requirements you get let go. Now, what if I told you that she is suing her former university for infringing upon her constitutionally protected right to religious freedom. This student is arguing that the school acted improperly because she is unwilling to change her behaviour due to her religious beliefs as a Christian. This civil suit is blowing my mind, especially now that the Michigan Attorney General’s office is publicly supporting the student . This is the same Attorney General’s office that kept Assistant District Attorney Andrew Shirvell employed after he created a homophobic and hate-filled blog devoted to smearing the name of the University of Michigan’s Student Body President.
For those that don’t know I am atheist and do not take kindly to ANY religious group expecting special status because of their beliefs. No where in what I’ve read is the university asking this counselor to engage in lesbian behaviour, stop being a Christian, agree that gays should be allowed to legally marry, march in a gay pride parade etc…If you have a problem with homosexuals, feel they are going to hell and are unable to withhold judgement in your career as a counselor…. Then maybe being a counselor isn’t right for you? As an alternatively you could get your degree from a private, Christian school that shares your beliefs and holds policies you’re comfortable with.
This issue has been very polarizing and many religious groups are up and arms. In my opinion this has nothing to do with whatever Church she attends on the weekend. This woman was attending a PUBLIC school with very clear guidelines on what it takes to remain in the program and she failed to meet those guidelines. One commentor made the point that she would be better suited as a youth minister or adviser within her Church system – which I completely agree with. She would be in the private sector — not preaching hate on my tax dollars — and would be fully within her right to judge gays and lesbians all she wants far away from my pretend, future kids.
Before you make up your mind about who is in the right or wrong, play around with different scenarios, switch up the beliefs and roles and see if you come to the same conclusion. I do, everytime.
If you’ve read this far, congratulations! I’m interested in all of your comments so make sure to leave them in the comments section below.