Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Marcia Walden - another religious right story of lies

One of the most effective strategies of religious right organizations is to take an incident which looks like Christians are being discriminated against because of lgbt equality and push it hard in the media before the truth is discovered.

And usually the truth turns out that the situation is a bit more complicated than the "innocent Christian vs. intolerant homosexual agenda" scenario set up by these groups.

We've seen this in the recent case of the British couple who were turned down as foster parents.

And now to fight ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Family Research Council is pulling out an old case - that of Marcia Walden.

From FRC's blog:

Marcia Walden, a licensed counselor in Georgia, explains why she was fired after referring a homosexual client to a colleague. Marcia referred the client to another colleague because offering counseling services would conflict with her Christian beliefs on homosexuality. Under ENDA legislation currently before Congress, Christian employers and employees across the nation would experience similar attacks on their Constitutional right to freedom of religion, speech and association.

FRC features a video of Walden tell her story. I won't embed that video because I think it's unfair. The purpose of the video is to gain sympathy for Walden. However appealing to emotions masks the fact that in this case, there are two sides to the story.

This is the real story according to court documents:

Walden's employer, Computer Science Corp had a contract with the CDC to provide counselors. Walden was counseling a CDC employee who told her about the problems she was having with her relationship with another woman. The employee had gotten emotional because it was a very sensitive situation involving a child in the relationship and forgery in order to steal credit.

It was then that Walden informed the CDC employee that her religious beliefs precluded her from providing counsel. Walden then sought another counselor to handle the client's referral.

Now even though the client was satisfied with the new counselor, she felt "judged and condemned" by Walden. She also felt that Walden's body language - her nonverbal communication - indicated disapproval of her relationship.

After an investigation, Walden's supervisor suggested another way she could refer clients to another counselor without mentioning her "personal values." Walden was specifically asked if she could tell clients in seeking same-sex relationship advice that she didn't have relationship counseling experience. Walden refused. Apparently Walden wanted to tell clients that her personal values precluded her from counseling them.

And this is the rest of the story via Pam's House Blend:

  • The CDC later requested Walden's removal from the contract.
  • With no other counseling positions available in the Atlanta area, CSC laid Walden off and noted that she would preserve her benefits if re-hired by CSC within a year.
  • Walden refused to pursue further employment with CSC, believing that the inclusion/diversity policies made it hostile toward Christians.

So Marcia Walden's case is not about her being fired because of her Christian beliefs, but rather she handled duties. When people come in for counseling, it is generally a sensitive situation and they should not be made to feel like they have done anything wrong. Walden chose to express her beliefs in an unprofessional manner and was penalized for it.

By the way, the courts agreed because Walden lost her case.

But as we have seen on so many occasions with so many other cases, she lives on as a religious right cause celebre.

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1 comment:

Mykelb said...

In other words, Walden was unprofessional, using her buybull based belief system instead of science to assist in her scientific duties. The court didn't go far enough. She should have also had her license to practice revoked by the State.