Georgia Student Told To ‘Lose Christianity or Face Expulsion’

Yet another attempt by the liberal education system to force Christians to accept homosexuality as “good” and “normal”.

A lawsuit against Augusta State University in Georgia alleges school officials essentially gave a graduate student in counseling the choice of giving up her Christian beliefs or being expelled from the graduate program.

School officials Mary Jane Anderson-Wiley, Paulette Schenck and Richard Deaner demanded student Jen Keeton, 24, go through a “remediation” program after she asserted homosexuality is a behavioral choice, not a “state of being” as a professor said, according to the complaint.

Also named as defendants in the case that developed in May and June are other administrators and the university system’s board of regents.

The remediation program was to include “sensitivity training” on homosexual issues, additional outside study on literature promoting homosexuality and the plan that she attend a “gay pride parade” and report on it.

The lawsuit, filed by attorneys working with the Alliance Defense Fund, asserted the school cannot violate the Constitution by demanding that a person’s beliefs be changed.

“ASU faculty have promised to expel Miss Keeton from the graduate Counselor Education program, not because of poor academic showing or demonstrated deficiencies in clinical performance, but simply because she has communicated both inside and outside the classroom that she holds to Christian ethical convictions on matters of human sexuality and gender identity,” the law firm explained.

ADF Senior Counsel David French contended a public university student “shouldn’t be threatened with expulsion for being a Christian and refusing to publicly renounce her faith, but that’s exactly what’s happening here.”

“Simply put, the university is imposing thought reform,” he said. “Abandoning one’s own religious beliefs should not be a precondition at a public university for obtaining a degree. This type of leftist zero-tolerance policy is in place at far too many universities, and it must stop. Jennifer’s only crime was to have the beliefs that she does.”

Keeton’s own e-mail response to the faculty members who allegedly were pressuring her to adopt a pro-homosexual belief system defines the dispute.

“At times you said that I must alter my beliefs because they are unethical. … other times you said that I can keep my beliefs so long as they are only personal and I don’t believe that anyone else should believe like me. But that is just another way of saying that I must alter my beliefs, because my beliefs are about absolute truth. ….. in order to finish the counseling program you are requiring me to alter my objective beliefs and also to commit now that if I ever may have a client who wants me to affirm their decision to have an abortion or engage in gay, lesbian, or transgender behavior, I will do that. I can’t alter my biblical beliefs, and I will not affirm the morality of those behaviors in a counseling situation,” she wrote.

Faculty members had demanded she “attend at least three workshops … which emphasize … diversity training sensitive toward working with GLBTQ populations.” They also wanted her to “develop” her knowledge of homosexuality by reading 10 articles and increasing her exposure to homosexuals and lesbians by attending “the Gay Pride Parade.”

Among the alleged violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments are viewpoint discrimination, compelled speech, equal protection and freedom of speech, it said.

“By conditioning Miss Keeton’s continued enrollment in the ASU school counselor masters degree program on her waiver of rights to speech and free exercise of religion … by requiring that she alter her beliefs and speech, and that she … commit to affirm in a hypothetical future context the ethical propriety of transgender and homosexual identification and behavior by others, as well as other values and behaviors she now disapproves, and which violate her religion convictions, defendants have imposed an unconstitutional condition on Miss Keeton,” the complaint alleges.

“The First Amendment never permits the government to penalize beliefs in this manner,” the complaint said.

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