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03/23/2009

If an atheist counselor took on church law, that would also merit a mention

by Jeremy Hooper

This is a letter that was sent to Vermont's Times Argus:

As a professional marriage and family counselor for many years, I strongly oppose the 'genderless marriage' bill, S.115. It grants no additional rights to anyone (civil unions did that), yet it guts current marriage law. It radically redefines the cultural consensus of six millennia of recorded history. Are we so arrogant as to think we finally have arrived at enlightenment and therefore have the right to jettison the historic definition of marriage-between one man and one woman? And think of the children. Whenever possible, every child should have a mother and a father. Not all will, of course, but isn't that the model we should support rather than undermine?
Oppose same-sex marriage [Times Argus]

Okay, so this person presents themselves as a professional who, through his studies, has decided that the logic-leap between equal rights and "will gut current law" is a chasm worth bridging. But what does the writer, Andy Selle, fail to tell you? Well, let's check out his bio:

Andy Selle has been counseling people in need for over twenty-five years, starting with his training at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation. In 1997 he founded Christian Counseling & Mediation, a non-profit ministry of biblical counseling and conciliation, where he now serves as the Executive Director and counselor. He is also an ordained minister in an evangelical Presbyterian denomination, and is active in various Christian groups. Over the years, church and community leaders have expressed their trust in his counsel and have referred many clients to him. He regularly preaches and gives seminars in various churches around New England and elsewhere.
Andrew H. Selle [CCandM]

Yes, that's right -- he's a Christian-based counselor who, among his list of services, also lists a statement of faith that says that his work is based in Jesus, the Holy Trinity, resurrection, and judgment. He also says that his organization believes in "the eternal punishment of the lost," and states that this Bible is the "final authority in all matters of faith and life." His profession comes with professed tenets.

Now, his is a fair enough gig, as gig go. He of course has every right to marry his counseling with his faith, serving the needs of those other faith-based folks for whom gay is a deal breaker. But his commitment to evangelical Christianity is not a minor footnote that should go without mention. It's not a mere adjective that can or cannot be included before his role as a professional counselor. Faith-based is clearly a crucial part of Mr. Selle's job title! And if he's going to publicly weigh in on matters of public (i.e. not just Christian) policy, then he owes it to his fellow citizens to fully reveal his motivation.

In this nation's equal marriage debate, we already see way too much church-state marriage going on. That's why we see it so important to address these sorts of things, no matter how minor. Everyone has an opinion, and we (thankfully) live in a country where all are free to express the same. But when talking about the civil rights of a viable minority sect, it is not wrong for us to place a premium on science that is based in objective research rather than personal belief. Separating the two is imperative for the good of fair law, fully represented children, and yes -- the protection of ALL children.

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Your thoughts

"...cultural consensus of six millennia of recorded history..."

Translation: the Bible is a historical book and the earth is 6,000 years old. The bias is obvious.

Posted by: Dirk B. | Mar 23, 2009 2:37:44 PM

I think I'll send him an email and ask if he includes 1 Timothy 2:11 as part of his counseling regimen.

That's the verse where Timothy essentially says that women are to remain mute, that he will not submit to a woman, or be taught by a woman.

Just those two or three verses tell you that Timmy Boy was a first class misogynist.

Posted by: Tony P | Mar 23, 2009 2:48:59 PM

Has anyone sent this information to the Times Argus yet? It might get published and do some good to undo what Mr. Selle has done and, if they are like some papers, get him banned from further letters to the editors for misrepresenting himself.

Posted by: JT | Mar 23, 2009 11:14:55 PM

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