As I've shared, the Tennessee governor this week signed a bill allowing therapists asserting religious conviction to refuse services to LGBT citizens. 

And isn't it the point that no professional association should, with the embrace of the Law, make any move that tends to isolate or to stigmatize any citizen-group based on innate characteristics? I cannot imagine our not realizing how dangerously wrong these 'religious exceptions' are, were the target-population of these laws Jews ("Christ-Killers"), Hispanics ("Mud-people"), according to white supremacist religious groups, others. 

This is not simply about LGBT citizens. It is about principle, what we want Law to do in a Good Society, about the nature of Law itself. 

The problem with being at all cavalier about any one minority group's targeting-for-discrimination under Law is that state legislatures are wholly time-bound and fairly well whimsical, and subject to pressure from all quarters. Precedents are used to create more, and more unfairly restrictive, laws. People would ask, What was the precedent? This is such a precedent. If you tell me that Jews could never be so-targeted under Law, that blacks could not, at best you're being rather pollyannish about state governments, about American history.

And ultimately, the responsibility for a proper legal understanding and playing out of equality should never have to rest on the shoulders of targeted minority population individuals alone or even primarily.

Equality under Law requires that Law, and not happenstance, not individual will alone, be the ultimate guarantor of fair treatment.



Views: 126

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on April 29, 2016 at 4:43am

The pastoral counselor cannot discriminate under law... if ...s/he's acting under the auspices of, and offering that s/he counsels on the basis of a licence and a degree earned outside a religious institution. If I am a priest/counselor and I offer my counseling services based in any way on the psych-counseling degree and training I earned at, say, Rutgers, I am obliged to follow the state and federal laws and professional standards attendant to the work, even if my counseling is done in a building owned by a religious institution.

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on April 29, 2016 at 5:06am

When acting in that capacity strictly, s/he's not bound by state/federal equality/anti-discrimination statutes/regs. 

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on April 29, 2016 at 5:28am

I can understand that.

Comment by JMac1949 Today on April 29, 2016 at 11:35am

"...Also of what professional licenses mean.  So pastoral counselors can discriminate, but licensed therapists?..."

Federal laws prohibit discrimination in commerce, Medicaid and Medicare.  Enforcement is another matter.  Unless you're applying for Medicare/Medicaid compensation, professional certification doesn't fall under federal law. State licenses are covered by state laws and state constitutions.

As a certified ordained minister of the Universal Life Church (available on-line for only $17.95) I am licensed to legally perform marriages and funerals in most states Australia, Canada, Ireland, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom; but not in parts of Tennessee: "As a result of a 2015 Attorney General's opinion requested by Republican State Senator Todd Gardenhire, many Tennessee counties will no longer accept Universal Life Church...."

Seems like the Bible Thumping bigots in Tennessee want to have their cake and eat it too.  Regardless of the Tennessee AG's opinion, I expect that I could sue in Federal Court and overturn that "legal" opinion.  These "laws" are unconstitutional on their face, but that doesn't keep idiots from pandering to bigotry and unfounded fear to elect opportunistic bat-shit crazy Tea Party pols to state office.  Such is the dark side of democracy:

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on April 29, 2016 at 1:56pm

I got the same ministerial certification when it was just $10.


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