There’s a new class you have to ace if you want to graduate with a masters degree from the counseling program at Augusta State University: Religious Cleansing 101.
That particular academic requirement came as news to 24-year-old Jennifer Keeton, who only found out about it after university officials threatened to expel her … for being a Christian who follows Scripture.
When it came out, in quiet classroom discussions and private conversations with fellow students, that Jennifer holds to the biblical conviction that homosexual behavior is wrong, administrators informed her that thinking that way was “unethical” and “incompatible” with what counselors are supposed to think (at least, counselors who graduate from Augusta State).
But those same administrators were ready with a re-education plan, designed to help wrong-thinkers like Jennifer get back on the right track. The plan includes mandatory “diversity sensitivity training,” attending a parade promoting homosexual behavior, remedial reading, more interaction with students acting out their homosexual impulses, and the writing of enough papers to prove she has voluntarily changed the deepest convictions of her soul.
And, just to underscore how important tolerance is for students who want to be counselors, Augusta officials told her that she could either agree to the plan and renounce her old beliefs or lose both her place in the program and the credits she’s completed there, stating, “failure to complete all elements of the remediation plan will result in dismissal from the Counselor Education Plan.”
Now, keep in mind that Jennifer hasn’t been picketing any events or staging any demonstrations. She never made fun of anyone or put anybody down. So it’s not her actions that are being punished, but her words and her beliefs. Indeed, just the fact that she is a Christian.
That’s why she’s being persecuted, and why, on July 21, lawyers for the Alliance Defense Fund filed a complaint and a motion for preliminary injunction against Augusta State on her behalf to keep the school from imposing and enforcing its discriminatory and unconstitutional policy.
“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,” says ADF Senior Counsel David French. “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.”
The Alliance Defense Fund is pursuing several cases very similar to this around the country, and God has been granting the attorneys in our Center for Academic Freedom wonderful success.
Please be in prayer for courage and faith of students across the country who will return to their campuses this fall to face the kind of “politically correct” oppressions that Jennifer has encountered. May God strengthen them to stand boldly for the Truth.