This article follows from my previous article in this series, “Redefinitions of religious liberty and anti-discrimination by Scalia and the ACA.” The American Counseling Association suggested that when Biblical Christian counselor Ms. Julea Ward referred an individual due to her religious convictions, that person suffered abandonment…yet the 6th Circuit Appeals Court denied that her client ever experienced this abandonment. What beliefs might an individual find in the mind of those who wrote the American Counseling Association’s 2014 Ethical Code, if that individual read the Ethics Board’s mind as the ACA read the mind of Ms. Ward’s client and found abandonment?
“It is morally wrong to make a decision based upon your sense of moral wrongness.”
This is perhaps the most confounding article of multicultural orthodoxy. At the point the ACA Ethics Board (or anyone else) says that it is wrong to make a moral judgment, from where does that wrongness come? If they say “moral judgments are wrong,” how do they make a judgment that a moral judgment is wrong without the conclusion of their argument, if accepted, disintegrating the moral authority with which they made such a judgment. Some might argue that this type of judgment might simply be aesthetic, that perhaps the ACA Ethics Board simply sees as ugly what they perceive as discrimination. But what would give an art critic the right to censor? Or would censorship require an authority, the kind of authority who if they generally invalidated moral standards would be nothing but a gadfly?
“There is nothing crueler than abandonment, so if you abandon your clients we’re going to exhibit our superior compassion by abandoning you.”
Despite ACA counselors practicing for five decades under ethical codes which engaged decision making to refer clients if there were a significant conflict of values between treatment goals of the client and counselor, the ACA Ethics Board has changed the meaning of referral to abandonment. The 6th U.S. Circuit Appeals Court ruling highlighted that in Ward v Polite which led to these ethical code changes, no client was actually abandoned. Yet the remedy the ACA Ethics Board proposes is actual abandonment of counselors with religious convictions, whether they be atheist, or Christian, Islamic, or Jewish. All three of these last religions including orthodox churches which condemn same-sex behavior. To put this in a worldly perspective, the Ugandan leader of the 87,000,000 member Anglican Communion this year led a vote that by 2/3 majority sanctioned the 100,000 member Episcopal Church of North America for performing gay marriages and allowing gay bishops. So basically, sixty million Anglicans from Uganda around the world would no longer be eligible to join the ACA. If abandonment is something that, to paraphrase Albert Ellis, the ACA cannot stand, then why would they exclude so many with whom they disagree.
“We’re not afraid to change our ethics code to shout down religious people because we think they’ll shout down gays…which, or course, has been unethical for twenty years.”
The ACA Ethics Code tackled this pressing issue that counselors might discriminate against LGBT’s decades ago when they forbid discrimination on the basis of how a person sexually identifies. For (at least) the past twenty years, no Christian, Islamic, or Jewish counselor may ethically go into a room and testify to a client about how they believe that client is going to Hell if they don’t hurry up and change their ways. Counselors who felt the need to testify in that way were effectively excluded (to use the ACA term, abandoned) from professional counseling decades ago.
“People who disagree with us think so rigidly that there can be only one explanation for their thinking.”
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kenney cast the deciding vote in this past year’s case overruling citizens and legislatures of the many states which voted not to issue licenses for gay marriage. He attributed the people’s resistance to the issuing of these licenses in their respective states to fear of gays. Would he have called those who refuse to issue marriage licenses to people who are already married bigamy-aphobic? To insist that only one motivation represents all occurrences of a belief or a behavior, and then to disqualify that belief or behavior by indicting the imagined motivation, represents a strange type of irrationality which combines Beck’s cognitive distortion mind reading with the genetic fallacy of critical thinking. Someone who says “anyone who opposes licenses for gay marriages must be homophobic” attributes to their opposition a neurobiological condition of fear, out of which they cannot reason, to excuse their own leaving the conversation without respectful consideration for those who diverge from their value, effectively dehumanizing their opposition as incapable of reason. Likewise, a toxic spouse might provoke her husband, and when he becomes impatient with her non-responsive personal attacks, she might leave with the words, “When you get this way, I can’t talk to you,” akin to a kind of Batesonian double bind in which the wife’s dismissal of her husband and leaving of the field would deprive him of the kind of respectful significance sought by those who work together towards a civil reconciliation.
The ACA Ethics Board has noted that social justice circles moved from homophobic to heterosexist, though it admits no mistake nor does it discontinue the use of homophobic. The word heterosexist comes from root words which represent differences, and seeing things through a lens of sexual differences; plainly spoken from its root words, the word would mean applying differences to sexist ways of seeing things, thus inverting rigid homosexist ways of looking at the word. Of course that’s not what it’s meant to suggest. Neither is it meant to suggest what would appear obvious, that differences in sexuality must be separated in order to have a language of words which differentiate one sexual thing from another; do people call artists colorists if they’re not monochromatic, or does it go without saying that an artist discerning one color from another is a necessary and good thing? If a bisexual or homosexual person had their sexuality lumped in together with heterosexuals to avoid any perception of difference, would they feel like their sexuality was sufficiently represented? Or do they find it significant that they are attracted to different people than those who identify their sexuality differently, to the point they want (at least some) people to know?
Yet by using the term heterosexist with its pejorative association with the word sexist, the social justice types imply their defiant liberty to change the meaning of words, to the point that no one knows the meaning of words, and to the point that people are afraid of the pejorative association risked by using words, so they resort to silence…a strange end for a counseling association to seek. The ACA Ethics Board laments the institutionalization of “heterosexist” messages which oppressively do not promote transgenderism, etc., as though their words homophobic and heterosexist are not institutionalized messages which seek to promote their own political objectives and oppress by exclusion those who would not promote transgenderism. What if people who support gay marriage licenses stopped using the dehumanizing word homophobic and the meaninglessly insulting word heterosexist and instead replaced them with the word Yahweh-aphobic? At least this would respectfully describe the fear from which Biblical Judeo-Christians proceed.
“Your disgust disgusts us.”
Positive psychologist Jonathon Haidt who earlier this year authored The Coddling of the American Mind detailing the cognitive distortions exhibited by “social justice warriors” researched the emotion of disgust. He identified it as an emotion that can indicate when a moral decision is being made. Yet this is an emotion specifically identified in the ACA Ethics Board’s published explanation of their 2014 changes as being an unacceptable emotion by which to motivate a referral. Consider this: an ETHICS board finds it unacceptable that its organization’s members should be motivated by the very emotion which indicates process the difference between right and wrong. Where is Bob Slydell from Office Space to ask, “What would you say it is…you do here?”
“To ensure everyone has unrestricted access to counselors, we’re going to prevent some people from being counselors.”
It is truly curious how the ACA Ethics Board suggests that the solution to prevent some people from feeling abandoned is to prevent Biblical Christians from becoming counselors, thereby decreasing the number of available counselors. By the math, fewer available counselors will increase the likelihood that some people will go without counselors, especially in underserved rural areas, ergo making more likely their being abandoned by the ACA, not just in feeling but in fact. The ACA Ethics Board may be okay with this kind of abandonment as long as gay clients feel better about being understood, although the overrepresentation of Biblical Christians among black counselors who are already a minority in the ACA suggests black clients would bear the brunt of this “anti-discrimination” in their increased sense of both religious and racial disconnection from typical white counselors.
“We think it’s wrong that you surrender your autonomy, to a higher power who sets rules which are not responsive to the concerns of its church members, and ignores heavy hearts regarding care for gays. So without consideration for your heavy hearts regarding care for your souls, we’re going to set rules for all counselors which are not responsive to the concerns of those who don’t pay us, and take away your autonomy.”
“We’re the American Counseling Association’s Ethics Board, and you may associate as a counselor if you don’t act like an American and freely speak, or freely exercise your religion.”