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Conscience protections sought for Nebraska psychologistsis
Catholic News Agency ^ | 6/17/09 | Catholic News Agency

Posted on 06/17/2009 3:26:37 PM PDT by bdeaner

Responding to concerns that psychologists might be required to counsel homosexual couples about strengthening their relationship, Catholic leaders in Nebraska are asking for conscience protections for psychologists who refuse to treat or refer clients because of religious or moral convictions.

Speaking during a licensing rules hearing before the Board of Mental Health Practice, Nebraska Catholic Conference executive director Jim Cunningham proposed a “convictions of conscience” rule for psychologists. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that he warned that Catholic Charities in Omaha and Catholic Social Services in Lincoln might have to stop hiring licensed counselors and psychologists if they are not protected by the law. The Lincoln agency provides about $100,000 in free mental health services.

While most ethics codes for professional counselors and psychologists permit refusing to offer services based on ethical convictions, the codes generally require the professional to provide a referral for the client.

Cunningham said that even referrals could be a violation of conscience.

Edward Stringham, a Lincoln psychologist, said that the lack of a moral exemption could require a psychologist who believes homosexual relationships are immoral to counsel homosexual couples on improving their relationship.

According to the Journal Star, Stringham pointed to a 2001 federal court case which supported an employer who fired a counselor who refused on moral grounds to provide relationship enhancement counseling to a lesbian.

This is cause for legitimate concerns, Stringham said.

James K. Cole, who represented the Nebraska Psychology Association at the hearing, said that conscience exemptions could allow any provider to discriminate against virtually everyone as long as they claim a conflicting moral or religious belief.

The conscience clause is already part of a proposed rule change for counselors. Its compromise language was worked out between the Nebraska Catholic Conference and the Board of Mental Health Practice this winter.

The Nebraska Catholic Conference has also argued for conscience protections for social workers and marriage and family therapists.


TOPICS: Activism; Catholic; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: catholic; communistgoals; conscienceprotection; gramsci; moralabsolutes; nebraska; psychology

1 posted on 06/17/2009 3:26:37 PM PDT by bdeaner
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To: bdeaner

No doubt counselors who advise them “to go and sin nomore” will need to be protected from ruinous lawsuits.


2 posted on 06/17/2009 3:29:10 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: bdeaner

Is this a ‘solution’ in search of a problem?

How many gay couples are getting turned away from marriage professionals?

And who would want to or demand to be treated by someone who does not practice in that area? (I’d like to see one of those sessions... “Bruce refuses to play ‘catcher’ when it’s his turn- so I gave him such a pinch” )

Or is it ‘back door’ legislation- i.e. once they can force psychologist to treat gays its not such a leap to force doctors to euthanize elderly or perform abortions


3 posted on 06/17/2009 3:39:16 PM PDT by Mr. K (physically unabel to proofreed (<---oops))
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To: bdeaner

Not knowing which way the conscience clause will go is a large reason why I am not working in my field.


4 posted on 06/17/2009 3:47:51 PM PDT by altoinprogress
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To: Mr. K
Is this a ‘solution’ in search of a problem?

That's what I was thinking -- are there gay couples who want marriage counseling from a professional who doesn't think they should be married?

5 posted on 06/17/2009 4:16:27 PM PDT by lgwdnbdgr
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To: lgwdnbdgr; Mr. K

I think you both underestimate the gay & lesbian lobby. They will use union tactics — e.g., send someone into a therapist who is a known Catholic, for example, just to put their license in jeopardy. I have no doubt they will do this, if they can.


6 posted on 06/17/2009 7:12:32 PM PDT by bdeaner (The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? (1 Cor. 10:16))
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To: bdeaner
True.

And remember this. The doctor who took over Tiller's business is in Bellevue, Nebraska.

Lots of darkness there.

7 posted on 06/17/2009 8:17:34 PM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: redgolum
The doctor who took over Tiller's business is in Bellevue, Nebraska.

Very interesting! Never would have made the link, myself.
8 posted on 06/17/2009 8:30:24 PM PDT by bdeaner (The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? (1 Cor. 10:16))
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