Re-education: It’s Not Just for Tyrants Anymore

When we wrote the Manhattan Declaration last fall, we warned about “the decline in respect for religious values in the media, the academy and political leadership.”

An example of this decline is on display currently in Georgia. Jennifer Keeton, who is a 24-year-old studying for a master’s degree in counseling at Augusta State University, has been threatened with expulsion.  The grounds for the threatened expulsion are not poor grades or misconduct – they are Keeton’s beliefs.

Specifically, they are Keeton’s beliefs about the morality of homosexuality. In written assignments and classroom discussions, Keeton has said that people’s sexual conduct is “the result of accountable, personal choices,” and not “a state of being.”

These statements caused officials to question “her ability,” I’m quoting now, “to provide competent counseling to gay men and lesbians.” So they gave her a choice: participation in a re-education plan or expulsion.

That word “re-education” may bring to mind for you, as it does for me, what happened in Vietnam and in China after the Communists took over. And frankly, it should bring it to mind. Keeton would need to do remedial reading, complete with written assignments on how the reading affected her beliefs; she would also be required to “work,” and I’m quoting, “to increase [her] exposure and interactions with gay populations,” including but not limited to attendance at Gay Pride parades.

All that’s missing is working in the rice paddies.

Keeton’s case isn’t unique: last year, Eastern Michigan University dismissed a student from its graduate counseling program for refusing to “change her religious beliefs about homosexual behavior.” Like Keeton, Julea Ward was ordered to enter a “remediation” program designed to change her beliefs about same-sex relationships.

In both cases, there was no evidence their beliefs interfered with their ability to counsel others – the concerns were, at most, theoretical.

What’s more, homosexuals are a tiny minority of the people needing counseling services. Keeton and Ward could have spent decades counseling people without the issue ever coming up.

Yet, their beliefs about homosexuality have become the sole criterion by which their fitness to be counselors is being judged.  The word for this: ideology.

In the Manhattan Declaration we pointed out that the trampling of religious liberty is being led by people who insist that there is some right to engage in immoral sexual practices. We also pointed out that “a growing body of case law” has chipped away at religious freedom. Again, these two cases act as confirmation: Julea Ward lost in a Federal District Court case. While her lawyers are hopeful of prevailing on appeal, it’s far from assured.

These cases and others like them are stark reminders of why we called the Manhattan Declaration a “call of Christian Conscience.” Contrary to what our enemies say, Christians aren’t out to impose their beliefs on anybody – it’s the other way around.

More and more, in order to participate in public life, Christians are being told to render to Caesar that which belongs to God. So please join us, that we might take a stand together, that this is something we will never do.

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  • Joe DeVet

    It appears “re-education” is still for tyrants, but in this case the tinhorn type which populates academia.

    The key word in this post is “immoral”. As politically-incorrect as it is, I do believe we lose the argument currently raging in public discourse if we don’t find a way to articulate what, I hope, most people still know in their hearts. That homosexuality is a disorder, and that homosexual acts are contrary to nature.

    If this is not true, then the appeal of the gay agenda to a civil-rights justification for their form of “love” and for “gay marriage” will not be stoppable.

    And it must be stopped, for goodness sake.

  • lkeebler

    I pray as Christ is, as He promises, so too the Church remains always.

    Book of Psalms 17:1-15
    1 Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry; give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit. 2 From you let my vindication come; let your eyes see the right. 3 If you try my heart, if you visit me by night, if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me; my mouth does not transgress. 4 As for what others do, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent. 5 My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped. 6 I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me, hear my words. 7 Wondrously show your steadfast love, O savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.

    8 Guard me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, 9 from the wicked who despoil me, my deadly enemies who surround me. 10 They close their hearts to pity; with their mouths they speak arrogantly. 11 They track me down; now they surround me; they set their eyes to cast me to the ground. 12 They are like a lion eager to tear, like a young lion lurking in ambush. 13 Rise up, O Lord, confront them, overthrow them! By your sword deliver my life from the wicked, 14 from mortals – by your hand, O Lord – from mortals whose portion in life is in this world. May their bellies be filled with what you have stored up for them; may their children have more than enough; may they leave something over to their little ones. 15 As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.

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