Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Dangerous Precedent Indeed

This article on caught my eye because it is the second case in one year in which a Christian student attending a public university counseling program has sued their school over discriminatory dismissals or practices. In both cases, the students refused to counsel homosexual students citing their belief that homosexuality is immoral.

I’m going to step out onto a scary precipice here and say that both of these girls need to determine if their legal crusades are about being right or about being righteous, a consideration that I have been called to consider in my own life recently. I think where some Christians seem to get it wrong is that we sometimes feel the need to “protect” our purity from the world and its inherent evil as if it can be stolen from us (or as if we, too, are not sinful). I Peter 1:22-25 says that we are granted purity by Jesus’ redeeming blood upon our profession of faith which we are to then, in turn, use to reach all those who need the gospel. Instead, we isolate ourselves from the things we deem unholy and erect walls around our faith communities in an effort to keep “them” out. But this is not the message of the gospel that we are meant to be spreading. How are we to be salt and light in the world if we refuse to eat with the sinners (Mark 2:15), or are passing judgment on the woman at the well (John 4:7)? Are we trying to be right about what we think we’re supposed to do (or not do) as Christians? Or do we want to follow Jesus’ infallible and righteous example? But I digress…

What would one of these young ladies do if a homosexual Christian came to them seeking counseling? Are they turned away before the reason for seeking counseling is even disclosed based solely on their lifestyle? A flat out refusal to counsel a fellow image-bearer before understanding the presenting concern does not reflect the grace and mercy that we are shown for the countless ways in which we fall far short of the glory of God every single day. Counseling a person who self-indentifies as a homosexual is not the same as condoning, permitting or otherwise promoting the homosexual lifestyle. Christian Counselors are quick to assume that the only problem a homosexual can possibly have is being a homosexual and that every problem in their life is a direct result of choosing this lifestyle. Are liars treated with the same hands-off abhorrence? What about those addicted to pornography? Thieves? Is a homosexual man who witnesses a brutal murder in need of counseling for PTSD or homosexuality first?

So while I do not agree that these women need to “change their minds” about the immorality of homosexuality as the article indicates, I do believe that at least a modicum of sensitivity, respect and humility are warranted on their part. These types of judicial rulings are NOT the kind of precedent that our small representation in the big world of secular counseling needs if we are to thrive. By refusing to counsel homosexuals exclusively on the basis of their chosen sexual orientation, Christians feed into every stereotype and fear that secular licensing agencies have in licensing professional counselors who are so busy waving their Christian flags with such vehemence and vigor that they have forgotten for what (and for whom) that flag stands.

1 comment:

  1. I have to agree. I have been involved in too many Christian circles that are so set on protecting their Christian identity, that they make ME want to hide from them. The Christian walk is not about a list of do's and don'ts, but it is about a relationship with the Creator of the universe. The very same One who came to die for us because of our sin. I think it is important that while we may not agree with a person's lifestyle, we still have to show the same compassion and love for that person that Christ showed for us. There may come a time when we may need to speak with a client about their lifestyle, but that needs to be done out of love, not righteous judgment.


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