By: Wilmot Proviso on April 30, 2016
Another state has taken a brave stand against the forces of LGBT political correctness: This week, Tennessee signed into law a major religious freedom act that allows therapists to refuse clients if their lifestyle and life goals violate their “sincerely held belief(s).” According to BuzzFeed (via WND), Tennessee’s Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, signed the bill into law Wednesday, allowing therapists and other mental health professionals to refuse clients without fear of being sued.
The law was bitterly protested by LGBT groups as well as the American Counseling Association.
However, Haslam said that the law was necessary to protect the deeply held convictions of therapists as well as the mental health of their patients.
“I believe it is reasonable to allow these professionals to determine if and when an individual would be better served by another counselor better suited to meet his or her needs,” Gov. Haslam said in a statement.
“The substance of this bill doesn’t address a group, issue or belief system. Rather, it allows counselors — just as we allow other professionals like doctors and lawyers — to refer a client to another counselor when the goals or behaviors would violate a sincerely held principle.”
However, LGBT forces aligned against it, with one online petition calling the bill “hateful.” (I’ve never quite gotten how calling someone “hateful” for religious beliefs that might, at worst, slightly inconvenience them isn’t hateful itself, but this is just me.)
The petition claimed that “the lawmakers behind this bill don’t care about professional standards or truly helping those in need. Instead they are focused on forcing their personal religious beliefs into other people’s lives. Now innocent people seeking mental health care will pay the price it it passes.”
Let’s dissect that bit of nonsense.
- First of all, this bill does not enable anyone to deny emergency care to anyone.
- Secondly, if you’re forcing someone who is a therapist to work with a client to attain life goals that run counter to their religious beliefs, isn’t that forcing your religious beliefs on them?
However, I can see arguments against those, particularly from LGBT individuals who might be reading this article. Or, perhaps you’re an atheist or a polyamorist, or someone else who might be affected by this bill.
Let me speak individually to you, then: Even if you disagree with everything I’ve said thus far, wouldn’t you prefer it if your therapist came straight out and told you he didn’t believe he or she could give you the care you deserve?
A relationship with one’s therapist is one of the most intimate, long-lasting professional medical relationships that a person can have. Given the amount of influence that therapist would have over my life, I would want to know whether they had a deeply held belief that something in my life I had no intention of changing was sinful or morally wrong.
Sadly, that line of reasoning won’t work on political correctness types. It’s not about respecting their beliefs, but rather forcing their beliefs on everyone else. You know, just like they’re accusing the supporters of this bill of doing.