Is Trinity Western University a canary in the coalmine?
Bob Kuhn, president of TWU certainly thinks so. On November 30 and December 1, TWU will bring their arguments before the Supreme Court of Canada to defend their right to be a faith-based, accredited law school in Canada.
Kuhn says “the very essence of religious freedom in Canada” is being threatened.
I agree with him.
Beliefs At Risk
The Supreme Court’s hearing is about whether or not law societies in Canada can refuse to recognize graduates from TWU based on its Christian beliefs.
At the core of this case is the issue of whether people of faith have protection to hold their beliefs.
In 2001 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled, in reference to religious freedom, “The proper place to draw the line is generally between belief and action. The freedom to hold beliefs is broader than the freedom to act on them.”
Sixteen years later the freedom to hold beliefs is now at risk.
On the surface the issue is Trinity’s Community Covenant – something every student applicant must agree to. Included is a commitment to reserve sexual intimacy to marriage of one man and one woman. That commitment is deemed to be LGBTQ unfriendly.
However, that’s not why the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC-Ontario) is battling TWU.
The LSUC says that it rejects TWU not just because of their position on marriage, but because of the school’s “distinctly Christian” environment. In its written argument filed with the Supreme Court of Canada, the LSUC highlighted every part of the Community Covenant it found discriminatory.
The first two highlighted words were “Jesus Christ.”
TWU’s Community Covenant Agreement states that the school’s “core values, curriculum and community life are formed by a firm commitment to the person and work of Jesus Christ as declared in the Bible.”
Law Societies are so bothered and offended by a school committed to Jesus Christ that they would exclude graduates of a law school from the practice of law.
They do all of this in the name of diversity and inclusion.
The outcome of this hearing will determine the boundaries of what religious organizations can do under their own roof.
APPLICATION: A challenge such as this is won or lost not just in the courtrooms of Canada, but also in the media and in the court of public opinion. If this post informs and resonates with you please share it. Leave a comment below.
Sunday, November 26 has been declared a National Day of Prayer for religious freedom in Canada. Make time to pray.
Related Articles – Freedoms At Stake – Prince George Citizen
The Supreme Court heard from an unprecedented list of interveners at what was termed “a landmark hearing.”
“This coercive imposition of the majority view is a straightforward breach of freedom of religion.” Albertos Polizogopoulos, on behalf of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.
Others argued that corporations and organizations such as TWU do not enjoy the right of freedom of religion because they are not human and do not have a conscience.
Opponents of the school insisted the covenant hurts LBTGQ individuals and cannot be allowed because it is a barrier to a legal education.
“The covenant offends modern concepts of equality and privacy.” Alan D’Silva, Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Earl Phillips, executive director of the proposed law school said afterwards, “We are pleased the Supreme Court afforded us the opportunity to have our case heard. We are confident they will decide in favor of a truly free, diverse and pluralistic Canadian society.”
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Well-written, and on point. I agree, and we are praying as a church this morning.
I agree, I am praying….shared
Thanks Bob for calling us to pray over this very important issue for us in Canada. Well written!
Great blog, Bob. Very timely. May God keep our land!
Thank you for sharing this article, I was not aware that this was a current issue. I have shared with my circle of prayer warriors………………….
I’m not a lawyer – but, isn’t the right to religious freedom, still part of the charter?
Doesn’t that make this discrimination against religion, in general? Which religion will they “ban”, next?
It’s almost a guaranteed way to make the school close it’s doors, if it’s programs aren’t “valid”.
How does religion make these students any less qualified?
So, now, what the courts might decide is that one group is more important over another.
In today’s society, religions seem to be “easy pickings.” This is a form of “legal bullying”…
Why must everyone be “taught” to accept the same thing – and if you don’t comply, you’re wrong?
If we’re an inclusive society – then why are we now considering “shunning” this aspect?
Loved the message ..loved the debate that is meaningful Christianity based dialogue. So refreshing..instead of debating money..the effect on our youth’s values and core values will be sadly distorted. Please keep it coming. Kind regards in God’s name Vicki Skene
I agree and I am rating and believing God will prevail. He has dominion from sea to sea…..God bless u
We need to stand up for what we beleive in, and if we don t then the bullies will triumph !
Thanks Bob … just drove by TWU on our way to Vancouver. Praying …
We need to stand for freedom.
Thanks Pastor Bob for making us aware of this issue. It’s certainly worthy of our prayers.