Tennessee Governor Signs Bill Allowing Counselors To Refer Based On Counselor's "Sincerely Held Principles"

Previously, I posted a link to a Tennessee bill which gives permission to counselors to refer clients over conflicts with a counselor’s “sincerely held beliefs.”
Last week, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed the bill into law. His reasoning was summarized in a statement after he signed the bill:

The following is the Gov. Haslam’s statement on Senate Bill 1556 (http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/109/Amend/HA1006.pdf):
“Although Senate Bill 1556 has received attention for its perceived focus, my job is to look at the actual substance of the legislation. After considerable thought and discussion with counselors both for and against the bill, I have decided to sign Senate Bill 1556. There are two key provisions of this legislation that addressed concerns I had about clients not receiving care. First, the bill clearly states that it ‘shall not apply to a counselor or therapist when an individual seeking or undergoing counseling is in imminent danger of harming themselves or others.’ Secondly, the bill requires that any counselor or therapist who feels they cannot serve a client due to the counselor’s sincerely held principles must coordinate a referral of the client to another counselor or therapist who will provide the counseling or therapy,” Haslam said.
“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. 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.”
The bill was signed by the speakers on April 13 and transmitted to the governor for action on April 15.
The bill language is available at http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/109/Amend/HA1006.pdf.

While I appreciate the amendments requiring care in cases of homicidal or suicidal risk, I don’t support this bill. This bill allows discriminatory actions toward anyone, including religious people, based on a vague condition of a counselor’s conflict involving “sincerely held principles.” While I believe some conflicts could be so great that a referral would be the best course of action in the immediate situation, this bill points counselors in another direction. For mental health care to be fully integrated with health care, a value of treating all people is required. I don’t want a health care system where providers are allowed to delay care based on personal disagreements with patients. I do think providers should be allowed to decline performing certain treatments (e.g., abortion, hypnosis, EMDR, etc.) but I don’t think a referral based on personal disagreement should be the norm in health care.
 

Mark Driscoll's Vision For The Trinity Church Is Big, Big, BIG

Mark Driscoll has a God-sized vision for The Trinity Church and you can find out what God has revealed to him this coming Sunday. One thing for sure, the Vision includes essential ministry tools like an Airstream trailer, a yellow fire truck, and mid-century modern chairs.
Driscoll’s vision is really big. Listen:

The worship band should have this tune on the set list:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUP4dCucVnY[/youtube]
 

Plaintiffs File Response in Dicksons v. Gospel for Asia

Attorneys for Matthew and Jennifer Dickson filed responses (see below) to Gospel for Asia’s motions to dismiss and compel arbitration in the RICO lawsuit against leaders of GFA. According to the filing, the Dickson’s provided ample detail and a clear and compelling case against GFA. The response concluded:

Under a straightforward application of the pleading standards, the Court should find the Dicksons allege facts sufficient to support each of their claims. Their Complaint leaves no doubt as to the nature of their allegations, and it is nearly impossible to imagine that Defendants need even a shred of additional detail to prepare their defenses. Accepting the allegations as true, and drawing all reasonable inferences in the Dicksons’ favor, there is no question that all Defendants are liable for the misconduct the Dicksons allege under each of their four claims. The Court should therefore deny the motions to dismiss, and this case should proceed to discovery forthwith.

In response to GFA’s demand that the Dicksons enter arbitration, the plaintiffs said GFA’s demand was based on an invalid and unenforceable employment agreement. The plaintiffs concluded:

Defendants have entirely failed to carry their burden of proving the existence of a valid arbitration agreement. The arbitration language in the Statement lacks consideration and is helplessly vague. Moreover, the Statement is palpably irrelevant to the dispute the Dicksons have brought before the Court for redress: the deliberate misleading of tens of thousands of similiarly situated donors resulting in Defendants’ enrichment. Rather than allowing Defendants to evade responsibility for their conduct based on the happenstance of the Dicksons’ former and terminated status as “members” of GFA, the Court—following well-settled precedent—should deny Defendants’ motion in its entirety.

 
Documents:
Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ Claims
Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Compel Arbitration

Q & A With Jackie Quinn, Director of Communications at Mercy Multiplied

Last Sunday, Jennifer Miller’s article posted on Slate.com about Nashville-based ministry Mercy Multiplied raised concerns about religiously based residential treatment for women. Miller interviewed several former residents who told troubling stories about their time in one Mercy’s four residential facilities. Specifically, the former residents said they were discouraged from taking medication for mental illness, and said the program encouraged the removal of demons as a means of ridding residents of their emotional pain and problems. Calling themselves survivors, they said they were harmed by their time in the ministry.
To find out more about Mercy’s point of view, I contacted Jackie Quinn who is Director of Communications at Mercy Multiplied. The following is a Q&A with Quinn (one question also has a response from CEO Christy Singleton) which covers some of the key concerns raised by the Slate article (my questions are in bold print, following by Quinn’s replies).
Throckmorton: Do you have a direct response to the Slate article?
Quinn: Mercy is not responding to the Slate article.
Are Mercy’s counselors licensed by the state?
Counselors are not required to be licensed by the state; however, about half are licensed or pursuing licensure. Here are the credentials for counselors as found on our website under Program FAQs:

Each counselor at Mercy is required to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in social work, psychology, counseling or a related field. 80% of our counselors have master’s degrees.

What kind of graduate degrees are held by your counselors? Are they in counseling or ministry or both?
(In response, Quinn gave me a list of degrees held by 15 counselors. In summary, five have MA or MS degrees in counseling, with two having a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. The remaining master’s degree titles are social work (MSW), clinical mental health counseling, education with a concentration in clinical counseling, human services counseling, counseling and human services, professional counseling and family ministry.)
Do all girls go through Nancy Alcorn’s 7 step model?
As stated on our website under Program FAQs, “Trained counselors lead residents through the program curriculum,” Choices That Bring Change, so yes, all resident go through this curriculum (below is the full excerpt from our website):

Our Christian-based program curriculum, “Choices That Bring Change,” is the result of our three decades of ministering to girls in crisis and combines biblical principles of healing and unconditional love with best-practice clinical interventions, as outlined in Ditch the Baggage by Nancy Alcorn.

Trained counselors lead residents through the program curriculum, helping them explore issues of faith, forgiveness, family, overcoming abuse and past hurts, and general life principles. In addition to the curriculum, program resources feature internationally acclaimed teachers such as Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, Joyce Meyer, Dave Ramsey, Andy Stanley and Charlotte Gambill. Residents participate in both individual and group counseling on a weekly basis.
Are girls ever asked to let Jesus reveal a past trauma?
Our counseling procedures do not permit the use of restored memory therapy or other imagery techniques designed to evoke memories.
Let me be more specific. Do counselors ever indicate to girls that Jesus has revealed a past trauma to either the girl or the counselor? This could be theophostic type counseling or some similar approach.
Mercy counselors do not use theophostic counseling or restored memory therapy or any technique like you are describing in your question.
What is Mercy’s position regarding the use of medication to treat mental and emotional problems.? Is medication discouraged for girls who are depressed or anxious?
Regarding medication from the website under program FAQs:

Although we are not a medical facility, some of the young women who enter our program have medical issues that need to be managed. To that end, our homes employ medical staff, and we provide adequate medical care for residents – including care from outside professionals who are called upon to help on a regular basis, as there is not a physician on staff.
Mercy does not discourage the use of medication. In fact, Mercy values the role medical intervention and pharmaceuticals have in helping young women struggling with depression, anxiety and other psychiatric conditions. Mercy staff follow directions from outside physicians with regard to medication as it is not our place to make medication determinations. The overwhelming majority of our residents are on some kind of medication during their stay at Mercy some of which they have in place before coming and some of which is prescribed after they come into the program. As is common in therapy and counseling, when a young women progresses through processing pasts hurts and trauma, she may find that certain medications do not seem to be needed anymore. However, this is something she would handle with the outside physician she sees and not determined by Mercy staff.

About medication, is this a change in policy or belief since the 2008 video of Nancy Alcorn (see video below) saying that you don’t medicate demons?
The belief about medication does not reflect a change in policy or belief. Mercy has always had that stance and belief.
Can you help me reconcile your statement about medication and the sermon in 2008 where Nancy Alcorn says “Jesus did not say to medicate a demon.”
I was not working at Mercy in 2008, so I checked with Mercy’s Executive Director, Christy Singleton, who was working here, for a response. Here is her response:

As you likely have discovered in your research, Nancy is from a Charismatic background, and the video you reference from 2008 was filmed during a worship service in which Nancy was speaking to a Charismatic congregation. Ever since Jesus taught his disciples to overcome the evil of the world, often referenced as “demons” or “demonic forces” in English translations of the Bible, Christians from many traditions have been rejecting evil, praying against evil forces, praying against the devil, and asking God to relieve them from oppression of demonic forces, or demons. Mercy follows in this same Christian tradition of rejecting all forms of spiritual darkness. (This is not just a Charismatic stance; witness any Methodist confirmation or baptism and attend to the liturgy.) Certainly, in a Charismatic church, you would expect to hear the term “demon” or “demons” to reference the evil Christians are to reject. In this video, Nancy was addressing a Charismatic congregation and speaking about spiritual issues. That being said, Nancy’s statements are not incompatible with our stance regarding medication, nor has Nancy ever been against medication when medication is warranted.
Simply put, Mercy does not discourage the use of medication. In fact, Mercy values the role medical intervention and pharmaceuticals have in helping young women struggling with depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric conditions. Mercy staff follow directions from outside physicians with regard to medication. In fact, the overwhelming majority of our residents are on some kind of medication during their stay at Mercy; sometimes the medication was in place before attending our program, and sometimes the medication is prescribed after they come into the program. In many situations young women graduate from our program still on medication. It is important to note that every case is different. As is common in therapy and counseling, when a young woman progresses through processing pasts hurts and trauma, she may find that certain medications do not seem to be needed anymore. However, this is something she would handle with her physician and is not determined by Mercy staff.

The clip of Nancy Alcorn talking about removing demons and not medicating them is below and full sermon is also embedded below.
[youtube]https://youtu.be/7o9HDXqBl0c[/youtube]
Full sermon:
[youtube]https://youtu.be/-r-PEFhZ3uE[/youtube]

Pay to Pray? Seven Mountains Dominionism on Marketplace Intercession

I just came across this 2010 blog post on Os Hillman’s Marketplace Leaders website. Hillman defends the idea that people should be paid to pray for businesses in the same way consultants are paid.

Imagine if all corporations had a director of corporate intercession as a paid position. I am pleased to tell you that in at least one case, this is already happening. Darlene Maisano is a full-time intercessor for the marketplace and a paid intercessor for several businesses. She is paid as a consultant would be paid. She sits in business meetings, quietly praying and “listening.”

Hillman wrote we need to get over the idea of prayer being free.

The idea of compensating intercessors by paying them for their time is something that is still in its developmental stage and may represent a new and unusual concept to us. However, we need to move past the roadblock of thinking that it’s inappropriate to pay people to pray and realize that those who are spending time praying for a business need to be compensated in the same manner as any other person who is working on its behalf.

If taking dominion over the mountain of business required paid prayers, I suspect that dominion over the mountain of government would require appointed prayers — a Prayer Czar — who of course would be paid at taxpayer expense.

Mercy Multiplied Is Subject of Slate Exposé

Mercy Multiplied (formerly known as Mercy Ministries) consists of several in-patient facilities which claim to assist young women recover from abuse, eating disorders, and various other mental and emotional conditions. On Sunday, online magazine Slate revealed unflattering and disturbing results of an investigation of the ministry through the eyes of several former patients.
If the reports are true, then Mercy Multiplied should be shut down.
These stories reminded me of the 1990s controversy over repressed memories and especially the Philadelphia area counseling center Genesis Associates. Former Mercy girls told Slate they were led to believe they had been sexually abused and involved in sex trafficking via imagery techniques. They claim that in counseling sessions girls were told by their counselors that God had reveal certain past abusive events. Residents were urged to cast out demons and refuse needed medications.
There seemed to be some similarities to the demon trials described by Mark Driscoll.
This morning, I asked Mercy Multiplied’s Director of Communication Jackie Quinn for a response to the Slate article but did not get a response.
One cannot know if these allegations are true or wide spread but it does provide a cautionary tale to people who are considering counseling to avoid these kind of techniques. I hope Mercy Multiplied will address the possible use of visualization techniques where false memories might be implanted.
From the mid-1990s, here are some clips of Genesis Associates from the documentary Divided Memories.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWoxGEr0nmw[/youtube]
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waBha5AOAyI[/youtube]
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZckrmKCzlU[/youtube]

PA Primary News: Donald Trump's PA Delegates Disclosed #NeverTrump

In Pennsylvania tomorrow, GOP voters will be confronted with a choice of John Kasich, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Ben Carson. They also will be asked to vote for delegates to the GOP convention in Cleveland.  The ballot doesn’t spell out which candidate each delegate has committed to vote for at the convention. Some will remain uncommitted and others might be persuaded to switch, making PA delegates very popular between now and the GOP convention.
Political website PoliticsPA published a list of delegates who are pledged to Donald Trump. For those #nevertrump PA readers, this could be a handy help going into tomorrow.
Review the list.
Trump has 41 delegates in 15 districts committed to him.
According Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, Donald Neuhaus has pledged for Trump in the 14th District. He also has a handy list. One wonders where he got it.
Here is something more official from the Trump campaign.
PA for Trump

Gospel for Asia Denies RICO Allegations, Moves to Dismiss Suit, and Asks Court to Compel Arbitration

In court filings Monday, Gospel for Asia denied all allegations of wrong doing, asked the court to compel the plaintiffs Matthew and Jennifer Dickson to enter into arbitration to settle their dispute and/or to dismiss the suit.
In February, Matthew and Jennifer Dickson brought sued GFA alleging fraud and mismanagement on behalf of themselves and the class of GFA donors. On Monday, GFA’s lawyers responded with denials, a motion to dismiss the suit and a demand that the Dicksons enter arbitration. The GFA legal response included signed agreements by the Dicksons while they were GFA employees which included a clause stating they wouldn’t sue over disputes but rather enter arbitration.
GFA’s response concludes:

Defendants [GFA leaders] pray that arbitration be ordered, or, alternatively, that judgment be entered that Plaintiffs take nothing by this suit against any of the Defendants, that class certification be denied, that all relief prayed for by Plaintiffs in this action be denied, and that Defendants be granted such other and further relief, at law and in equity, to which they may be justly entitled. DATED: April 15, 2016.

GFA’s motion to compel arbitration
GFA’s motion to dismiss the suit
GFA’s brief supporting motion to dismiss
GFA’s response to the complaint
The original complaint Dicksons v. Gospel for Asia
 

Yesterday John Wilsey Was On Line of Fire Talking About David Barton and American Exceptionalism

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary historian and professor John Wilsey was on Michael Brown’s radio show Line of Fire yesterday talking about American Exceptionalism and David Barton.
You can listen to it here. He was on from 25:00 to 49:00.
Specifically he mentioned my book with Michael Coulter, Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President as a factual response to Barton’s The Jefferson Lies.
Wilsey pointed out how Barton is often correct on certain points of history but has a pattern of omitting key elements, thereby making his claims false and misleading. Wilsey’s illustration was Barton’s citaton of Virginia’s 1782 law on manumission. That law allowed slaves to be freed but Barton failed to disclose in his first book that those slaves could be freed by their living owners. In other words, emancipation was legally allowed after 1782. Barton claims Virginia law didn’t allow private emancipation of slaves which he says hindered Jefferson from freeing his slaves. This is contradicted by Virginia law and the example of other slave owners in Virginia at the time.
I would have preferred for Brown to disclose to his audience that Barton’s initial appearance on the Line of Fire was riddled with errors.
However, I am glad Brown had Wilsey on to address even if briefly Barton’s historical misadventures.
Wilsey’s newest book is American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion. I believe readers of this blog will find it interesting and helpful.

David Barton Says Adolescence Is Unbiblical Like…

Ted Cruz Super PAC president and history advisor David Barton has a problem with adolescence since the concept isn’t in the Bible. Watch:
[youtube]https://youtu.be/W_n9Is_2OrY[/youtube]
Let’s take our middle school kids and put them in the military (but no gluten free meals!). Feel safer?
Let’s see, what else isn’t real?
Airplanes. Space travel. Lanyards. America.
Hard Cider. Cars. Computers. Cell phones. Celiac Disease. Antibiotics.
Neuroscience. Glasses. Little League. Wednesday night church. Asphalt.
Wallbuilders.
Anybody want to add to the list?