This bill is the brainchild of—guess who?—the Tennessee Family Action Council’s David Fowler, who claims he’s defending religious liberty. (Of course.) If our psychologists-in-training hate gay people as part of their religion, then God forbid that they are forced to associate with them in any way. Sen. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, is the sponsor. He's the guy who teamed up with Stacey Campfield to give us the "Don't Say Gay" bill.
“It would seem that there is almost a desire to see Christians driven from the field of psychology (and other counseling fields),” Fowler writes on his blog.
According to Fowler, whose bill is up in the Senate Education Committee, this is exactly the kind of thing our Founding Fathers were very clear about.
Pardon me, but I think this is the very problem that our Founding Fathers sought to escape: a state religion and leadership with the attitude that you could just leave if you didn’t like it. And they did.
They left to set up this country where the government could not force you to believe things you don’t believe or force you to say things to others (counsel) that violate your religious convictions. Today, we’re back to where we started except now the established religion is secular humanism and if Christians don’t like it they can leave.
We asked the Tennessee Equality Project's Chris Sanders what he thinks about the bill, and here is what he said:
The premise of the bill is the most troubling part of it—that religious people who go into counseling might want to use the law to protect them from having to help people who don't share their religious views. It has always seemed to me that the point of religion was not to find ways to use the law to protect oneself, but to find more ways to help others. So it's hard for me to get past the premise of the bill. Do I think it's designed to protect fundamentalists from having to help people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender? Yes, I do. But then, I'm not sure I'd want counseling from someone who thought it was his or her job to change my sexual orientation.