It’ll be a good thing… they said.
It’s about tolerance.. they said.
Religious rights will never be infringed… they said.
Built into the original legislation for the Canadian recognition of Same-sex unions (back in 2005) was a provision to safeguard the preservation of religious freedoms. Meaning, privately-held religious beliefs concerning marriage should not cause any private person/group to be in any way sanctioned by the government of Canada. Here’s the quote:
For greater certainty, no person or organization shall be deprived of any benefit, or be subject to any obligation or sanction, under any law of the Parliament of Canada solely by reason of their exercise, in respect of marriage between persons of the same sex, of the freedom of conscience and religion guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the expression of their beliefs in respect of marriage as the union of a man and woman to the exclusion of all others based on that guaranteed freedom.
The problem with this paragraph is that it limits the FEDERAL Government from sanctioning such people. That said, it does nothing to protect anyone from being sanctioned by other levels of government.
Obviously, even the most cynical anti-theist needn’t fear the Canadian legal system of being over-run by dogmatic fundamentalists (at least, not religious fundamentalists), since it has — at best — a modest presence of Christians of any stripe.
Even so, not long after the first (very reputable) Christian College announced the opening of a law school, some provinces are already blocking their graduates from practicing law.
Did you catch that? Graduates from a Christian law school are being specifically excluded from practicing law in certain provinces.
At issue, is one policy the school has concerning student behaviour. It is the university, founded in 1962, and listed in the Globe And Mail (Canada’s national newspaper) with an A+ rating for quality of education every year since 2005 is a privately-funded, and explicitly Christian University.
This Private, Christian university, whose academic credentials have never been questioned are now in the hot-seat precisely because of their Christian beliefs. It presently offers 42 bachelor’s degrees, 17 graduate degrees, as well as adult degree-completion programs.
Expecting Christian conduct of their Christian students (as Harvard once did) is boilerplate stuff. It would actually be more surprising if they lacked such a policy.
One clause in the 5 page document was singled out for particular attention. Because “the Gay Mafia” (to quote Bill Maher) chafes at anyone failing to adopt our newly-minted sexual orthodoxy. It really ISN’T about “Tolerance” at all; it’s about social engineering. Here’s a brief description of the document.
TWU, based in Langley, B.C., describes itself as a Christian university “rooted in the evangelical Protestant tradition.” Students are expected to abide by a “Community Covenant Agreement,” which 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.” The Bible, according to the text of the community covenant, is “the divinely inspired, authoritative guide for personal and community life.”
The covenant is five pages long, and includes rules and principles that students are expected to live up to. They range from avoiding pornography to refraining from smoking. And this: “According to the Bible, sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman, and within that marriage bond it is God’s intention that it be enjoyed as a means for marital intimacy and procreation.” Students are effectively promising to abstain from behaviour that violates that belief. The university considers it “vital that each person who accepts the invitation to become a member of the TWU community carefully considers and sincerely embraces this community covenant.”
A Privately-funded Christian University has continued to operate under the same traditional values it had at its founding. Although I personally think the smoking rule, for instance is unnecessary, and hard to argue from scripture, it isn’t my call. Everyone obviously have the choice to apply to this PRIVATE school or not… including anyone who would be offended by these policies.
Notice the purpose of the covenant is that — for the duration of their studies — they voluntarily accept certain limitations of their freedoms. These are limitations put on yourself, by yourself, and not on anyone else. It’s called self-discipline, Sparky. That used to be a good thing. (I expect Basic Training has its own version of such self-restraint.)
This is, at its heart, an anti-religious witch-hunt. Period. The bullies and bigots initiating it are at least as self-righteous and hypocritical as the people they congratulate themselves for opposing.
Is this India? Do we have a caste system now? People who don’t share your beliefs are untouchable and unemployable?
Enough is enough.
For more background, enter “Trinity Western University” in your browser, or visit these links:
Trinity’s Reaction to Ontario Law Society’s decision.
Society that HAD accepted Trinity Grads, will re-visit decision.