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Leave it to my homestate of Tennessee to prove even more how there needs to be a clear, concise division between church and state. And that this state clearly has no clue how to differentiate the two. News has come in that there has been a push for legislation that would allow student counselors to refuse seeing LGBT people as it would contradict their faith, even though it’s their job. Here’s  more:

State Rep. John J. DeBerry Jr. (D-Memphis) brought the bill before the House. He earlier supported a “don’t say gay” bill, which would prohibit the discussion of so-called alternative lifestyles in state-run elementary schools. He said parents should choose how to educate their children.

David Fowler, former state senator, current conservative activist and president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, wrote the counseling bill and presented it to DeBerry. Fowler framed his thinking in an email to The Tennessean, claiming Christian counselors’ rights were increasingly limited by their clients’ problems and a political system that oppresses their beliefs.

DeBerry told The Huffington Post in an interview Wednesday that he supports Fowler’s point, despite a lack of activism on the topic from his constituents. He said political correctness is encroaching upon individual religious beliefs, and counselors are asked repeatedly to set aside their core beliefs and to instead follow a set of clinical rules. While DeBerry said he has no issue with these rules, he says counselors should have the right to remove themselves from the clinical procedure if they feel it implicitly affirms an “alternative lifestyle.”

 

Stories like this always enrage me because they want to guise religious freedom under the label of bigotry and hate. To say the least it is a very slippery slope that bills like this set in motion. If laws like this are enforced what’s stopping a mental health professional from saying they do’t want to treat someone from a certain  race/ethnic minority? Or gender. Or age. It is your job as a mental health professional to do your job and not do harm. That’s what you agree to when you take your first ethic and morality classes as a graduate student.

The last thing that those that are LGBT need when seeking help are professionals that are putting bias and hate guised as religious freedom in times when they need validation and understanding. How could you anyone consciously turn away someone threatening to harm themselves? Because that is what this law could lead to.

 

I know that ethics in psychological practice teaches that if you have some bias towards a group that you should own up to that and remove yourself from that situation but stipulating a law feels more like giving bigots a pass and the people that suffer are those LGBT. And the law contradicts the positioning of all psychological and psychiatric boards governing mental health practices that have emphatically expressed that there is nothing wrong with LGBT and our sexuality is in fact normal.

You already are aware that there are going to be people from all walks of life with various issues, ailments and possible disorders from all walks of life. They are not there for you to teach them your own religious views as they should be left at home when you’re agreeing to help guide and navigate through thee complex actions and behaviors of the human condition. If you feel you can’t abide by that because of your faith, then you should go become a preacher, minister, faith leader, and the like and stay out of the mental health field.

About the author

Sly Merritt has written 383 articles on this blog.

Sly Merritt has a BA in psychology/sociology. MA in clinical psychology. He's a flip flop wearing hippy with a peaceloving mindset. Even pacifists like him know when it's time to do all we can for LGBTQ equality. Sly's views are all opinions not advice.

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