cross and cloudsWritten by Don Byrd

A controversial bill in Tennessee is drawing fire from many of those it purports to protect. HB 1840 allows therapists and counselors to refuse service to someone whose conduct conflicts with the service provider’s sincerely held principles, including their religious beliefs. Now, many Christian counselors are speaking out against the legislation, which awaits the Governor’s signature, or veto.

Religion News Service reports on a number of individual counselors who oppose the idea of refusal *because* of their Christian faith. Here’s one example:

Delores Horsman is a certified Clinical Christian Counselor and director of the International Association of Christian Counselors. She says her organization does not have a formal position on the law, but they do have a position on providing service without discrimination.

“Our code of ethics does not eliminate anyone,” Horsman says. “If someone comes for counsel, our heart is to offer whatever kind of counsel we can whether we agree with them or not. We should still offer something.“

She adds that her faith factors into such situations: “As a Christian counselor, legislation has nothing to do with it. If a person with a fever comes to see a doctor, the doctor should try to help out, no matter who they are. Everybody needs to be loved, and as Christian counselors we have to find ways to love people.”

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has a deadline next week to either sign or veto the legislation.