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Tennessee has taken steps to protect the religious freedoms (a dog whistle that dropped to 10 kHz the first time it was used) of anyone who wants to call himself a counselor.

HB 1840, which is awaiting the governor’s signature, states in part

No counselor or therapist providing counseling or therapy services shall be required to counsel or serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the counselor or therapist; provided,that the counselor or therapist coordinates a referral of the client to another counselor or therapist who will provide the counseling or therapy.

It protects

any person, whether or not such person is licensed, registered, or otherwise regulated by this state.

I assume unlicensed persons = ministers, because you know how gay people are always lawyering up when their pastors refuse to help them as they struggle to figure out who they are or how to come out to their parents. Also – I’m guessing – the creeps at those make sure your pregnancy is a crisis centers.

Organizations such as the American Counseling Association and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy opposed the bill, but I’m sure there are licensed counselors in the Volunteer State who can’t wait to deny treatment to someone they find offensive. And since the bill doesn’t even contain an exception for a patient who is in crisis, they can refuse to do their jobs in a emergency without fear of repercussion. Thank goodness states like Tennessee are willing to protect hateful troglodytes from imaginary menaces by harming people who committed the heinous crime of being different, in order to gratify those voters who aren’t happy unless they’re certain the state is taking steps to make sure that someone, somewhere is being oppressed.

And talking of troglodytes, how about Jeremy Durham, one of HB 1840’s sponsors?

House Speaker Beth Harwell announced Thursday that she is moving Rep. Jeremy Durham’s office to the ground floor of a building across the street and that his access to committee rooms and the House chamber will be limited to when meetings are taking place. The move comes amid a state attorney general’s investigation into the Franklin Republican’s “pattern of conduct” toward women.

Interviews with 34 current and former lawmakers, lobbyists, staffers and interns included allegations that Durham made sexual comments and inappropriate physical contact with women working at Legislative Plaza, according to Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s memorandum to Harwell.

[…]
The allegations outlined in Slatery’s memo also say Durham used his position of power to:

  • – Obtain personal contact information from women.
  • – Initiate contact about non-legislative matters and try to meet women alone.
  • – Involve alcohol in his interaction with women.
  • – Make comments of a sexual nature or engage in inappropriate physical contact.
  • What a sterling example of humanity. If humanity were composed of Dick Cheney and puddles of sick that had learned to walk around and talk.

    Here’s an example of his earlier work to defend religious freedom.

    Durham’s colleagues also questioned previous behavior that included writing a letter on House stationery on behalf of a former pastor who pleaded guilty to child porn possession and statutory rape of a 16-year-old parishioner.

    The GOP, party of moral clarity.

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    • Mrs Tilton

      The GOP, party of moral clarity

      You’re being a little unfair here, I think. By this point, it must be very clear to everybody what the word “moral” means when Republicans excrete it from their mouths.

    • Nobdy

      He knows for a fact he’s never harassed anyone…

      I know for a fact that I’m not a sexual harasser but if they interviewed 34 people who said I was I’d take a long hard look at my behavior. One or two people might be lying or over sensitive (usually not but it happens) but 34? You’re nearing Cosby levels, bucko.

      The federal government needs to do more to protect women in government. It is very damaging to our democracy and gender equality when the few women who actually make it to government are sexually harassed or groped, and it seems endemic at the state level (it’s not great at the Fed level either, but seems less common there.)

      Women may have the vote but when women are voted into office (or employed by elected officials) they cannot constantly run the risk of being assaulted or demeaned. This kind of shit just cannot be tolerated in a just society.

      I mean the anti-gun therapy bill is horrible too, but let’s be honest, do you think therapists who are so reprehensible that they would want to engage in this kind of stuff were going to be helpful regardless of the law?

      If I were a gay person in crisis I wouldn’t want a therapist who needs to be restrained by law from doing evil towards me. The people who are really hurt by this are minors who parents send to be tortured by ‘therapists’ just because they are gay.

      • Thirtyish

        I know for a fact that I’m not a sexual harasser but if they interviewed 34 people who said I was I’d take a long hard look at my behavior. One or two people might be lying or over sensitive (usually not but it happens) but 34? You’re nearing Cosby levels, bucko.

        Yep. If one person points out a character or behavioral trait you don’t think you have, and it’s an anomalous thing, you can probably assume that person’s input is not dispositive. If multiple people point it out to you, the adult thing to do would be to start at least getting curious.

        • DAS

          When Republicans get curious, they just adopt a wide stance when they use airport restrooms.

          • DrS

            Which is extremely sad.

            Beds are much more comfortable.

            • so-in-so

              A public restroom better fits their conception of sexuality.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          all too often people use that kind of criticism as a badge of honor. and that “I know you are but what am I?” attitude isn’t limited to fundamentalist preachers and their ilk, either. we see that here in the lgm comment section fairly often

          • Thirtyish

            Right. I see that sort of reaction as a defense more appropriate for children (one would hope that adults are better than that and are more inclined to consider how their actions affect others, but it seems that well-adjusted humans are on the verge of extinction these days). There’s a reason we typically think of IKYABWAI as a playground taunt.

      • LosGatosCA

        The real issue seems to be the mass hysteria that has led to 34 non-religious women not recognizing that Jeremy’s deeply held religious beliefs require his sexual dominance be acknowledged by female submission to his mental and physical superiority.

        Looks like the liberal war on religious beliefs has enlisted 5th columnists even in red states like Tennessee. Strict constructionist interpretation of the Bible clearly establishes that Adam never had to be politically correct with Eve. So all the Satan worshippers should just take their subway tokens and hop on the 7 train to the queens – where their unnatural aspirations to dominate the truly religious will fit in.

      • cpinva

        it seems to be a commonly accepted thing in most state legislatures, which makes you wonder how much vetting is being done by the state parties?

    • ChrisS

      This discrimination masquerading as reverse religious freedom bullshit needs to be nipped in the bud. Hopefully it can make its way to the new liberal supreme court early next year.

      • CrunchyFrog

        I think it’s time we staffed the pharmacies of these red states with Christian Scientists. “Sorry sir, I cannot fill any prescription because of my sincerely held religious beliefs – as supported by the religious freedom laws in this state.”

        • so-in-so

          Make it at the only pharmacy the law makers insurance covers and its a deal.

          Otherwise you harm a lot of folks who didn’t vote for these creeps.

        • slavdude

          We could also recruit lots of JW phlebotomists to go there as well.

      • DrDick

        On the other hand, it is actually beneficial for LGBTIQ people, since they will be less likely to suffer abuse from these assholes. That said, all the licensed therapists who invoke this should lose their licenses immediately for fraud.

        • hen wen

          I strongly disagree with this. Being told “I can’t help you because I think you’re identity is evil” is abuse. That’s not even considering that codifying/normalizing discrimination against us in one venue likely increases it in others.

    • Thirtyish

      No counselor or therapist providing counseling or therapy services shall be required to counsel or serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the counselor or therapist

      So, in other words, the bill would work to invalidate the entire point of therapy. I would actually believe that’s a goal conservatarians have; many of these ignoramuses don’t even believe mental illness is a valid condition.

      • Nobdy

        The purpose of counseling is to inform social/religious norms in their view.

        Squishy liberals think that therapy should teach you to be happy with yourself. Conservative therapy teaches that you should change until the conventional authorities are happy with you.

        I find the view chilling but it’s not the same as therapy having no point for them.

        • Thirtyish

          Squishy liberals think that therapy should teach you to be happy with yourself

          There are many, many different modalities of therapy. “Teaching people to be happy with themselves” is not really what I would consider to be the primary aim of most therapies. “Helping people accept certain aspects of themselves and/or grow more comfortable in their own skin and lead more fulfilling/authentic lives” is more how I would put it. What you’re describing on the conservative side is not therapy at all, it’s a sort of “scared straight” attempt at rule/norm/status quo enforcement, which is the only kind of reflection/self-improvement authoritarians think is legitimate.

        • ThrottleJockey

          What if your natural self is “asshole”. Should “squishy liberals” teach you to be happy with that?

      • cpinva

        there are already state laws invalidating the whole point of being a pharmacist, why stop there?

    • ChrisS

      So could, say southern Baptists, discriminate against Jewish people because their religious beliefs think of them as baby-eating Jesus killers?

      • CrunchyFrog

        Well, that would be the start. If this continues we’ll soon see whites-only lunch counters reappearing in the south and the “New South” (i.e. Idaho, Utah, etc.). The Mormons have a theory that black skin is the mark of Cain, so finding a religious justification would be simple.

        It’s only a matter of time before they start arguing that “religious freedom” allows them to hire whites only, fire all non-whites, evict non-whites from white neighborhoods, etc.

        Have to give the right wing credit for their euphemistic skills. When the Serbs were doing their shit in the 1990s they invented the term “ethnic cleansing” to try to make it sound neutral – and soon that term picked up all of the negative connotations of the terms it was meant to replace. But “religious freedom” – boy, if the Serbs had been able to think of that one they might have fooled a lot of the media.

        • Bill Murray

          The Mormons have a theory that black skin is the mark of Cain,

          the LDS did not invent this, nor are they the only purveyors. Although in my remembering it is the mark/curse of Ham, not Cain, so maybe you are talking about something else

          • Lodger

            The Curse of Ham is also referred to as the Curse of Canaan, since Ham is meant to be father of the Canaanites.

            “Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.”

            I suspect this may be the source of the confusion.

            • Bill Murray

              Civil War era slave-pologists brought out the Curse of Ham for why blacks are OK to use as slaves

          • AttorneyAtPaw

            Cripes… At least Judaism and Islam limit the scope of their Curse of Ham to actual ham.

            • Woodrowfan

              and shrimp. not sure how they fit in. maybe Ham was really short.

              • Is okra on the list too? Because it might just be that JHWH is really against gumbo.

      • Thirtyish

        They’ll just continue their current habit of making up convenient excuses intended to explain away the racial implications of their religious beliefs while working overtime to discriminate against LGBTQ and feminist-inclined indivduals.

      • But of course.

        I hope someone is readying a test case. A Methodist therapist refusing to counsel a Presbyterian, frinstance.

        • AttorneyAtPaw

          Or a Unitarian Universalist refusing to serve a meal to a member of one of the rabidly anti-LGBT denominations that dream up these bills. “Fine, let’s see how YOU like it.”

      • Warren Terra

        My (lay, possibly wrong) understanding is that federal civil rights law – which supercedes this law, though if the Supreme Court were to say this law embodies the First Amendment that would be the deciding factor – prohibits precisely that sort of discrimination on certain grounds (race, sex, religion; also probably disability because of the ADA) but not other grounds (homosexuality, lifestyle, appearance, nonstandard gender identity). So, I don’t think so.

    • cs

      I’m still not clear on what effect the law has since in most situations I would think a therapist is free to turn away a client for any reason even if the reason is based on bias. Unless the therapist is a public employee, maybe?

      I saw that the linked article claimed that this was in response to a provision in the American Counseling Association code of ethics. But I don’t think a law can nullify a code of ethics (nor vice versa).

      • so-in-so

        I wonder what the result would be if the American Counseling Association revoked licenses/certification of any members who acted against their code of ethics?

        As noted above, I’d expect only religious counselors/ministers to make any use of this law, if even they would. Its basically signaling to the base that hating LGBT people is still A-OK in the state. Repubs like useless laws that are just symbolic.

        • Pseudonym

          From brief reading I think the ACA is an advocacy organization; it isn’t actually responsible for any licenses or certifications.

      • postmodulator

        I’m no expert, but don’t therapists turning away clients usually say “here is a therapist who can help you instead?” So that’s no good for the God-botherers either; they’d have to have a couple of therapists in their Rolodex who are not hate-filled monsters, which obviously violates Freedomitude.

        • ThrottleJockey

          The law specifies they must refer people.

      • DAS

        That’s kind of what I’m trying to figure out too.

        I actually kind of see the point of certain limited religious exemptions: for instance, my sister-in-law is an orthodox Jewish wedding planner who is religiously opposed to gay marriage. To require her to be so involved with a marriage, with which she disagrees, as to plan the wedding and reception would be an imposition on her religious freedom. OTOH, it is discrimination that we would not tolerate in other contexts (I hope): how is it ok to allow someone to say “I refuse to plan a gay wedding because I am religiously opposed to gay marriage” when we certainly would not accept “I refuse to plan an interracial wedding because I am religiously opposed to interracial marriage”?

        Of course, in my sister-in-law’s case, the solution isn’t hard: if she primarily markets her services within her religious community, it would be unlikely she’d get any gay-marrying clients. Wouldn’t you imagine a therapist who is opposed to homosexuality would similarly operate within a context where his/her patients would be limited to people with similar values?

        In the case of this law, if a therapist is opposed to birth control or homosexuality, who is going to actually make that therapist council someone who is not sure about his/her sexuality, “go ahead, be gay”? If the therapist is counseling his/her clients to get into “pray the gay away programs”, is the therapist going to sue his/her clients for religious discrimination when those clients leave for another therapist? I guess a therapist working for a medical group or hospital could be fired for failure to provide adequate counseling should a therapist not appropriately counsel, e.g., closeted gay people on how to come out of the closet. But why should a “gummint interference in the free market is bad” Republican be opposing the right of an employer to let go of an employee who isn’t doing his/her job?

        I guess in general, other than being a dog-whistle (now at 5 KHz, so even those of us losing our high frequency hearing in middle age can here it), what is this law even supposed to accomplish?

        As to the issue of professional codes of ethics, what does happen if a law or an order opposes a code of ethics? I’ve always thought of this in terms of torturing: what happens if the military tells a military doctor “help out in this ‘enhanced interrogation’ or we give you a dishonorable discharge” but the doctor knows that if he does so he stands to lose his license. If he follows the order and loses his license can he sue the military and/or the AMA? If he doesn’t follow the order and gets dishonorably discharged or worse, can he sue for the damages caused by that discharge?

        Alas, for better or for worse, the major professional associations decided to play along with Bush & CO on torture rather than forcing the issue.

        • Just_Dropping_By

          As to the issue of professional codes of ethics, what does happen if a law or an order opposes a code of ethics?

          In the legal profession, compliance with a code of professional ethics is no defense to laws that compel contrary behavior, or at least that was my takeaway from all the CLEs I attended years ago on the effect of the USA PATRIOT Act on attorney-client privilege/work product doctrine.

        • AMK

          To require her to be so involved with a marriage….

          People can demand equal access to public accommodations, but nobody can demand that somebody work for them. Shocker—in the real world, there are plenty of racist people in business who will find excuses not to work for blacks or gays or Jews or whatever. But that’s what they do: find excuses. “Oh well that sounds great but my roster of clients is full at the moment etc etc.”

          • Warren Terra

            But that behavior is of course illegal.

            • Lurker

              It may be illegal but it will be extremely difficult to prive.

              Even worse is the fact that such a professional may do substandard work intentionally, and it will be impossible to prove that it was malicious.

            • Jordan

              Wait, is it? For some of those things like public accomodations and employment and housing and whatnot, sure.

              But not in general, I don’t think.

        • I’m almost interested in how one reaches the conclusion that wedding planning is in anyway equivalent to health care services. Almost.

          • DAS

            That is indeed central to my point.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Yes, your SIL’s case is a more interesting example. Unlike the case of wedding planners, etc I can’t really begin to fathom how this TN law addresses even a real issue.

          There was a case back in ’08 that featured a California OB-GYN practice that was sued by a lesbian patient because they referred her to a different practice for artificial insemination because they had religious objections to same sex marriage and families. That was a more interesting conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty.

          • alex284

            “sexual liberty,” because of course she wanted to be inseminated while having a lesbian orgy at the clinic.

            “It’s against my religion” is not a “Get out of jail free” card. Businesses, even doctors, should have to follow the law.

        • alex284

          I know that the courts will never decide on this issue, so I’m talking about this outside of the legal context, but…

          How do you know that your SIL’s “objection” to “homosexuality” is religious in nature? Because that sounds ridiculous to me and I’ve managed to get to this point in life knowing many religious people who are homophobic but never meeting one who convincingly showed that their homophobia was derived from religion.

          Consider:

          1. Did SIL somehow make it to adulthood without absorbing any homophobia from American culture, study her religion, pray, and meditate, and come to the completely unbiased opinion that homosexuality is immoral? Because there are Orthodox Jews who don’t think homosexuality is immoral (so such a position isn’t *required* by the religion), and I also kind of doubt she never let her mind be tainted by all the homophobia around her. Usually “I’m religiously opposed to homosexuality” means “I’m homophobic and I’m using my religion as an excuse.”

          You know, like how segregationists used to say that integration is against their religion, and at some point the rest of society had had enough of that argument and decided that antidiscrimination laws should apply to everyone regardless.

          2. What does it mean to be opposed to homosexuality? Homosexuality is a quality that can’t have a moral dimension. It’s like being “religiously opposed” to ducks; you can oppose them all you want, they still exist and they can’t be held morally accountable for being ducks because they’re just ducks. And people will be gay whether there is religious opposition to their sexuality or not.

          3. Why does “moral opposition” mean “I can’t do my job if my clients are gay”? What I’m hearing is:

          a) I don’t like gays.
          b) ????
          c) Therefore, I can’t do my job if they are the clients.

          For example, how many times have we heard a Christian baker or whatever say they can’t make a cake for gay people because homosexuality is against their religion, but then they don’t have a problem making cakes for nonbelievers, as if not accepting Jesus Christ as your savior is totally A-OK with the Christian religion. That (b) is oddly specific but never explicitly stated.

          You make it seem like SIL’s job is just an extension of her religious practice, which, OK, more power to her. But at the point where she’s accepting money for services she’s providing, where she (I assume) expects the law to help her in enforcing contracts with clients and vendors, etc., she’s in the public sphere and I don’t see why an exemption should be made. Why should gay people’s tax dollars go to support her business when she doesn’t want to follow the rules?

          I’m sure your SIL is a lovely person, but your argument sounds like “My aunt is really nice and she’s religiously opposed to integration. The law should allow her bus line to remain segregated in order to respect her religious beliefs.” Um, no, homophobia is wrong, we live in a pluralistic democracy, and homophobes (even the really nice ones that we like) shouldn’t get their way.

    • AMK

      Somebody needs to send some Wiccans or Satanists or whatever the people who sacrifice chickens are called these days down to Tennessee and Mississippi to open some restaurants/flower shops/counseling centers and then deny service to white Christians based on sincerely held religious beliefs. That’s a SCOTUS case I wanna see.

      • Randy

        I’m sure there are plenty of people who can tell you that it’s happening right now, everywhere, because Christians are such a beleaguered minority in America these days (especially the white ones). If you press them for an example, the most you’ll get is the waitress at Denny’s who didn’t beam delightfully at them when they left a Chick tract instead of money for a tip.

        • njorl

          Christianity is beleaguered. All of their faiths seem to have been infiltrated and coopted by hateful, greedy bigots who never read the gospels.

          • Woodrowfan

            it’s almost like NAZI Germany. Christians are FORCED to wear symbols that identify them as such, such as crosses on necklaces, or little Jesus fish on their cars!

      • Steve LaBonne

        The Satanic Temple (humanists doing cod-satanism in order to fuck with the God-botherers) does great work, but sadly they can’t be everywhere at once. Shoot them a few bucks to help out!

    • pianomover

      Can I have my “sincerely held belief” that isn’t religious protected also?

      • Thirtyish

        It’s not “sincere” unless it meets the approval of white conservative evangelicals.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      No counselor or therapist providing counseling or therapy services shall be required to counsel or serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the counselor or therapist; provided,that the counselor or therapist coordinates a referral of the client to another counselor or therapist who will provide the counseling or therapy.

      I’m generally opposed to these various “religious freedom” bills because I don’t think that they actually support religious freedom. However, the quoted language seems pretty unobjectionable to me. Real therapy isn’t like baking a cake or filling a prescription for at least two major reasons: (1) it’s an ongoing, psychologically “intimate” relationship (which is why many states criminalize sexual relationships between therapists and patients); and (2) it’s necessarily heavily intertwined with the therapist’s own moral and philosophical judgments. Thus, while I think it is possible to be morally neutral in filling a prescription, I’m not particularly convinced that a therapist can be morally neutral in serving a patient, unless that service is limited to writing prescriptions based on objective criteria after listening to the patient recite their symptoms.

      • C-.

        • Pseudonym

          One-eyed smiley emoticon?

          I guess the “tell” is that this freedom only extends to sincerely held religious beliefs and not, for instance, mere moral or philosophical judgments.

      • DrS

        A therapist who believes in theories that have been shown to be massively damaging should not be allowed to work as a therapist.

        If I go in for a knee surgery and the surgeon uses an outdated, physically harmful treatment that leaves me with more issues than when I started, it is malpractice no matter if the reason why he did it that way was ignorance or that some higher power told him that arthroscopes are the tool of the devil.

        Same too with therapy. If you aren’t able to provide real therapy, then you shouldn’t be a therapist.

        • njorl

          Take it down a notch to “counselor” then.
          I know the military uses a lot of suicide prevention counselors. There are fewer professional requirements because they need so many people doing the job. If they get too picky, more people die. The business about turning away people in crisis with just a recommendation for another counselor would never fly in that situation, but redirecting people who are no longer in crisis might be for the best.

          It would be great if we had enough people with real training in psychology and a commitment to professional ethics to do all of the counseling we need, but we aren’t anywhere near that. I hate that we have to rely on so many religious counselors with the baggage they bring, but we really have no choice right now.

          • Gee Suss

            Do you have any evidence that:
            – religious freedom was the reason people weren’t getting involved and
            – now there will be a wave of counselors volunteering since their religious freedom is now protected?

            This is obviously all hogwash. No one started clamoring for this “protection” until gay couples were no longer invisible

          • alex284

            I know the military uses a lot of suicide prevention counselors. There are fewer professional requirements because they need so many people doing the job. If they get too picky, more people die.

            If they’re not picky enough, people die.

            “I just can’t tell my parents I’m gay. I want out. I have the pills here to end it all.”

            “Oh, wow, gay. Jeez. Well, I guess you don’t have to worry about going to hell for suicide because you’re going there anyway. In for a penny, in for a pound, you know what they say!”

    • ThusBloggedAnderson

      My Twitter feed’s reax was, “this is going to get someone dead.”

      They may be right.

      • so-in-so

        I assume someone suicidal who gets turned away?

        • ThusBloggedAnderson

          yep. suicidally depressed people aren’t the ones most prone to say, oh good you have rejected me for who I am and now I will wait three weeks for an appointment with this other person, k thx. as a rule.

      • DrS

        Someone’s going to commit suicide that could have been prevented because they will not be able to get the intervention they need even when they are at a place that should be exactly where it should happen.

        Dollars to donuts that he’s pro-life too, right? What’s more pro-life than encouraging preventable suicide?

        • so-in-so

          If you view “pro life” as code for “controlling others” it is much less at odds.

    • Pseudonym

      Looks like this post broke the sidebar, by the way. Is there an extra </div> in it?

      • Thanks, I thought I’d zapped them all.

    • efgoldman

      While we’re in the Tennessee leg, rooting around their obsession with the s** word, there’s this.

      The letter from Education Committee Chairman Dolores Gresham, R-Somerville, and Government Operations Committee Chairman Mike Bell, R-Athens, expressed their “disapproval and dismay at the lack of leadership at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville regarding the events of Sex Week. This inaction is unacceptable.”

      It also contains the warning: “Certainly the university must understand that Tennessee taxpayers are not anxious for their legislature to appropriate new funds to this university when they see abuse of moneys being used for this purpose.”
      [snip]
      Meanwhile, Sex Week on the Knsoxville campus continues with its series of forums, workshops and speakers organized and planned by a student committee and funded from student activity fees but no taxpayer funding. It was first held last year, when legislators forced UT to withdraw university funding.

      (emphasis added)

      Yup, plenty of sexytime.

      I’m old enough to remember when Republiklowns weren’t all perverts.

      • I’m old enough to remember when Republiklowns weren’t all perverts.

        Yeah, well I’m old enough that it wasn’t until I saw that bit about “abuse of monkeys being used for this purpose” that I thought there was anything worth reporting going on.

        Goddamn bleary eyes.

        • efgoldman

          Goddamn bleary eyes.

          But funnier.

        • Origami Isopod

          “abuse of monkeys being used for this purpose”

          Well, yes, spanking is considered abuse these days.

    • galanx

      No counselor or therapist providing counseling or therapy services shall be required to counsel or serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the counselor or therapist

      If I were employed as a therapist by any institution, public or private, in Tennessee, I would announce that I am refusing to see any Christians, Jews, or Muslims on the ground that the misogyny and homophobia of Abrahamic religions will lead to goals, outcomes, or behaviors which will conflict with my religious beliefs. Then I would kick my shoes off, open the sports page, and wait for the Bahais, Buddhists (non-sexist ones), and Nones.

      And threaten to sue my bosses if they tried to make me work with anybody else.

    • Jake the antisoshul soshulist

      We should call it the “I Don’t Have To Do My Job Act”.
      If it said moral belief, I would have less objection. But, the
      law specifically assumes that any moral objection has to be “religious”. Or that moral objections that are not religious don’t count.
      If I worked for a media production company that was hired to make
      promotional material for the NRA, would my moral objection to the
      NRA give me the right not to do my job? I am pretty sure my boss would say no. And I am pretty sure the Tennessee Legislature would also say no.

    • steeleweed

      If a counselor is opposed to a patient on religious grounds, his/her assistance would be worthless anyway.

      • alex284

        If a counselor is systematically providing worthless assistance, maybe they shouldn’t be a counselor anymore?

    • Woodrowfan

      therapists could already find an excuse (my schedule is full, etc). What this law allows is the therapist to say to the patient “I will not help you because I think you’re a filthy sinner.”

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