Clergy Participation in Court-Ordered Counseling
psalaman at UKY.EDU
Fri Jan 25 15:28:26 PST 2002
If a state "credited" spiritual counseling but not secular counseling,
would it not be unconstitutionally discriminating in favor of religion? At
least one court has held that court-ordered alcohol treatment cannot be
limited to AA. Also, assuming such discrimination would violate the
Constitution, would it not follow that the state would have no legitimate
reason to monitor counseling to ascertain its religious or non-religious
Actions for malpractice are designed primarily to protect patients. On
this view, a patient who chooses spiritual counseling, knowing that an
action for malpractice will not lie, is not subjected to an involuntary
burden. Of course, ascertaining whether the counseling is pastoral or not
would call for some monitoring, albeit by way of discovery. But this
problem must already exist in jurisdictions that do not allow malpractice
actions against pastoral counselors, unless I'm missing something.
At 07:56 AM 1/25/2002 -0700, you wrote:
>Does the analysis change if the state credits spiritual counseling by
>clergy as opposed to secular counseling by clergy? To what extent can the
>state monitor whether the counseling is spiritual or secular? As you
>know, some courts have held that if the counseling is secular in nature
>(e.g., secular marriage counseling), the cleric can be held liable for
>malpractice or breach of fiduciary duty, whereas if it is spiritual he/she
>cannot be held liable under those theories since there is no legal
>standard for good spiritual counseling.
> >>> davideguinn at YAHOO.COM 01/24/02 04:41PM >>>
>It strikes me that this is simply a variation on the various charitable
>choice laws and programs. It simply allows religious providers
>(clergy/couselors) to provide social services.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Rick Duncan" <conlawprof at YAHOO.COM>
>To: <RELIGIONLAW at listserv.ucla.edu>
>Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2002 1:53 PM
>Subject: Re: Clergy Participation in Court-Ordered Counseling
> > I agree with Paul. The state's interest is in ensuring
> > that the person receive counseling and treatment. The
> > viewpoint of the treatment (secular or religious)
> > should be a matter of private choice, not governmental
> > coercion. At a minimum, it should be *permissible* for
> > the state to allow the patient to determine whether to
> > seek religious or secular counseling. The private
> > choice feature of the law ensures that the govt. is
> > neither endorsing religion nor coercing religious
> > participation.
> > Cheers, Rick Duncan
> > --- Paul Salamanca <psalaman at UKY.EDU> wrote:
> > > This provision strikes me as reasonable, and
> > > consistent with the Religion
> > > Clauses. It wouldn't require a person to seek
> > > pastoral counseling; it
> > > would simply permit it. It makes a lot of sense
> > > from a free exercise
> > > perspective.
> > >
> > > At 10:03 AM 1/24/2002 -0700, you wrote:
> > > >I just noticed that the Utah legislature is
> > > considering a bill that would
> > > >allow clergy to participate in court-ordered
> > > counseling. Any thoughts on
> > > >the constitutionality of this? The text follows.
> > > >
> > > > 78-3a-122. Court-ordered counseling.
> > > > If a person is ordered by the court to
> > > participate in counseling as
> > > > part of a program or treatment plan, the person
> > > may be counseled by a
> > > > member of the clergy, subject to reporting
> > > requirements prescribed within
> > > > the program or plan.
> > =====
> > "Do you not think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs the storm."
> > --President George W. Bush (quoting John Page)
> > "When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred;
>middle things are gone." -C.S. Lewis
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