There is for the moment good news in the Julea Ward case against Eastern Michigan University. I wrote at length about that case for The Christendom Review, here. Briefly, Ward was expelled from EMU's counseling program for refusing to engage in counseling which affirmed a homosexual lifestyle. In the course of deciding whether to expel her, the faculty gave her the option of undergoing a reeducation program to change her religious views, which they regarded as incompatible with professional counseling practices. Federal District Court Judge George Sheeh rendered summary judgement in favor of EMU, meaning the case would not even go to trial. Now, the Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit Court has overruled Judge Sheeh and returned the case for a jury trial with a stinging opinion.
A university cannot compel a student to alter or violate her belief systems based on a phantom policy as the price for obtaining a degree…. That [Ward's] conflict arose from religious convictions is not a good answer; that her conflict arose from religious convictions for which the department at times showed little tolerance is a worse answer.
Ward was willing to work with all clients and to respect the school’s affirmation directives in doing so. That is why she asked to refer gay and lesbian clients (and some heterosexual clients) if the conversation required her to affirm their sexual practices. What more could the rule require? Surely, for example, the ban on discrimination against clients based on their religion (1) does not require a Muslim counselor to tell a Jewish client that his religious beliefs are correct if the conversation takes a turn in that direction and (2) does not require an atheist counselor to tell a person of faith that there is a God if the client is wrestling with faith-based issues. Tolerance is a two-way street. Otherwise, the rule mandates orthodoxy, not anti-discrimination.
The EMU case will not be the last case in which advocates of the homosexual rights agenda attempt to impose their views as orthodoxy. Eternal vigilance being the price of freedom, as it is, we can be thankful for the ADF, which is representing Ward. Now the case goes to trial, and it bears watching. (Question: Will Judge Sheeh be conducting the trial? How could one find out?)