The false debate over Trinity Western

Defending TWU’s accreditation has less to do with religious rights than annoyance at gays

Trinity Western University students.

Trinity Western University students.

Last week a group of lawyers in Ontario—a province with publicly funded Catholic education—voted to refuse the accreditation request of a private Christian law school at the other end of the country. Some say these are godless times; I think they’re just confusing. Trinity Western University, the 52-year-old evangelical institution in Langley, B.C., has elicited national controversy for mandating that students sign a biblically inspired “community covenant” prohibiting, among other things, pornography, swearing, drinking, and any “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.” In other words, gays need not apply.

The law school, slated to open in 2016, has the support of lawyers in British Columbia and the B.C. government, but the Law Society of Upper Canada believes its sexuality policy is discriminatory. Ontario’s lawyers voted 28-21 against accrediting the school; the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society followed suit, refusing to accredit TWU unless it amends its covenant’s discriminatory requirements or allows students to forgo signing the covenant altogether. New Brunswick’s law society is scheduled to vote on the issue in June. The consequences for future TWU law graduates are great: they will not be able to article or practise law in provinces where their school is not accredited.

TWU’s covenant isn’t new, but its presence at a law school is particularly controversial. “If you’re going to teach the law,” says Douglas Judson, an Osgoode Hall law student in Toronto arguing against the law school’s accreditation, “you have a duty to propagate Charter values.” A duty: not a legal obligation. Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms may forbid government discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but TWU is a private, religious institution. It doesn’t have to toe the government line. Besides, there are all kinds of gay-friendly law schools out there, jam-packed with gender-neutral bathrooms and “safe spaces” for every letter in that constantly expanding variegated acronym—so why can’t the Christians have an accredited “safe space” of their own?

It’s simple: we shouldn’t accredit TWU’s law school for the same reason we wouldn’t likely accredit a medical school that treated homosexuality as biologically and psychologically disordered. Like medicine, ethics is a science too; and blind absolutism makes for bad science. Consider the following excerpt from the affidavit of Jill Bishop, a lesbian who attended TWU in the mid-2000s and now supports gay activist Trevor Loke’s constitutional challenge of the B.C. government’s decision to approve the law school. “I observed that the lens of evangelical Christianity was omnipresent. The effect of this was that people did not give opinions in class discussions that did not align with those values … I did not feel able to raise other perspectives on homosexuality. I felt a real risk of expulsion.” This is not exactly a good omen for an accredited institution devoted to the vocation of free thought. (Say what you will about loony leftism on the average secular college campus, but keep in mind that no student at York or UBC ever risked expulsion for refusing to uphold secular humanism.)

TWU president Bob Kuhn has so far framed the case against accreditation as anti-Christian bigotry, the obvious and familiar stance of the religious right. Less obvious and more interesting in this debate, though, is the apparent willingness
of otherwise liberal thinkers to champion the law school, not in solidarity with religionists, but out of sheer annoyance at the triumphalism of gay activists. In the Globe and Mail recently, Konrad Yakabuski, who is in favour of accrediting TWU, argues that gay rights activists in North America “are winning—just not fast enough for some fanatics, who seek to blacklist even those who object to gay marriage based on sincerely held religious or moral grounds.”

According to this philosophy, discriminating against gays is reprehensible if you’re an unthinking brute who is simply grossed out by sodomy: a Tucker Max type or some swashbuckling cast member of Duck Dynasty. But oppose gay marriage, or expel a gay married student from your law school for more refined reasons—because you are a man of God, or you read a compelling sociology study about the inviolability of the heterosexual nuclear family, and you can bask comfortably in your homophobia.

Luckily, things change. The recent public flogging of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich and the outright refusal by some to accredit TWU is not the work of PC fanaticism; it’s part of society’s slow but inevitable acknowledgment that there is no justifiable, ideologically sound reason for opposing gay rights. In other words, you’re not a conscientious objector. You’re just a jerk.

Yakabuski and his ilk aren’t bigots by a long shot. They’re merely short-sighted. In fact, we all are. There is a very good reason why TWU accreditation is such a divisive issue—why refusing to accredit a homophobic institution isn’t a given for many Canadians who would in a heartbeat refuse to accredit a law school which demanded, say, that women sign a covenant promising to obey their husbands, or stay silent in church (as the Bible clearly mandates).

The answer is in the passage of time. Moral outrage is also a dish best served cold; the NBA’s outsized condemnation of allegedly racist L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling is ample proof of this. Racism and sexism wound. But homophobia only rankles, because acceptance of gays in the West, and the legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Canada, are still brand new realities.

So while Trinity Western University’s prohibition against same-sex intimacy is technically just as immoral and discriminatory as the sexist, hypothetical policy I invented above, it doesn’t sting, repulse, or offend in quite the same fashion. Its teeth haven’t had a chance to sharpen over time. When they do, though, I doubt that those who apologized for TWU will be proud of themselves. What we need then, in order to recognize how misguided it is to accredit this law school, isn’t bigger hearts, but better foresight: the foresight to see ourselves through the eyes of our grandchildren.




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The false debate over Trinity Western

  1. Great article. What I find interesting is that TWU is at least in part run on public funds. They hold several grants from SSHRC and NSERC and have four Canada Research Chairs. Weird to thing gays and lesbians cannot apply for publicly funded jobs. The sooner this blight changes the better

  2. “If you’re going to teach the law,” says Douglas Judson, an Osgoode Hall law student in Toronto arguing against the law school’s accreditation, “you have a duty to propagate Charter values.”

    It is presumed Mr. Judson hasn’t reached that point in his constitutional law class where s. 2(a) of the Charter is studied. I’m also somewhat confused by the notion that it is incumbent on a law professor to “propogate” Charter values, unless “propogate” includes opposing baseless expansion of rights categories because there is no analogous “value” associated with such expansion. Mr. Judson apparently thinks it appropriate to punish the innocent (TWU law grads who want to be admitted to the Ontario bar) for the sins of their professors (insufficient fealty to the fetish of Charter rights). He’ll make a fine lawyer.

  3. Amazing that Canada is having so much trouble with the word ‘equality’.

    • Just to be clear, Emily – equality for who? Gays, or Christians?

      • Section 15.

        Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

        Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

        • So both groups, then? Freedom from religious discrimination is explicitly spelled out, and gay rights have been “read in” and accepted as covered under the above.

          How, then, do you propose we balance the rights of gays and the rights of Christians in this instance? Or were you just on here to make one of your flippant remarks?

          • The Charter is quite clear. The fault is your own.

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          • I made a response to Emily’s “The Charter is quite clear. The fault is your own” comment. It was every bit as sensible as her response – moreso, in that I treated her flippant nonsense as if it were serious – and yet someone at Maclean’s chose to remove it. Would the censor care to explain why?

      • Is there a law school that’s actively refusing to admit practicing Christians? One that is only admitting gay folks?

        • Technically, TWU is refusing to admit ANYONE who is engaging in sexual activity outside of a heterosexual marriage. So there are, on the basis of sheer numbers, and our society’s tendency to engage in premarital sex, probably more straight people being turned away due to their sexual practices than there are gays. That’s basic statistics.

          The Charter protects the right to religious freedom, does it not? And some law societies are refusing to accredit a religious school, are they not? So unless the law societies have clear proof that the education that law students will receive at TWU is substandard (not just that their chosen school’s admission policies are odious) then those law societies will be discriminating against the school’s graduates on the basis of their stated religious beliefs. I do believe that’s as much of a Charter infringement as the one being committed by TWU. Two wrongs do not make a right.

          Thus, Emily’s facetious comment was not clear at all (though, knowing her as I do, I admit I knew full well what she MEANT to say; I was just yanking her chain and apparently rattled yours in the process).

          • That’s a ridiculous argument.
            What if TWU refused to admit ANYONE engaged in sexual activity outside of same-race marriage? Because more same-race couples are turned away than interracial couples(statistics!) the practice would be non-descriminatory?

          • Lenny – that first paragraph was meant to be facetious, in the spirit of Godless’ own comment. The serious part of my comment is the second paragraph. The Law Societies refusing to accredit the school, on grounds other than academic merit, are being every bit as bigoted in their approach as TWU is – only difference is who is being targeted (Christians rather than gays). Neither is in the right on this.

          • Your argument appeared to be that the equality of Christians was being denied because a school that refuses gay people based on Christian values (or, if your prefer, requires its students to adhere to Chritian mores as a prerequisite of admission) was not being accredited by LSUC.

            For that logic to hold, there would have to be an accredited school that is denying Christians admission (or requiring students to adhere to a gay lifestyle).

            There are three LSUC accredited law schools in BC, and I don’t believe any of them bar Christians or require homosexuality.

          • Godless: forget your imaginary “gay university” scenario and address the actual facts of the story – namely:

            The TWU graduates, if refused admission to the bar on the basis of the school’s covenant, are being punished for their choice of school – NOT on the basis of their academic achievements or ability. They presumably chose the school on the basis of their faith; thus, if their school is refused accreditation on the basis of its acceptance policy (one that is completely legal, if odious) they are being discriminated against, in a tit-for-tat political game.

            Prove that the school’s standard of scholarship is lacking, and you have grounds to refuse accreditation. But on the basis of an ethical disagreement over a Charter-protected right? No. That is clear-cut discrimination on the basis of religion. It is no different than discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. As I said before, two wrongs don’t make a right.

            Bear in mind, too, that no one is being denied outright the chance to study law; they are only being told they can’t study at TWU. Happens at every law school in Canada, albeit for different reasons. Most, if not all, students interested in studying law will apply to a number of schools. Many students will be accepted at more than one school and will have to choose. Those who choose TWU will open seats at other schools. Fewer fundamentalist Christians choosing the other schools gives the rest of the pool a better shot at acceptance at the university of their choice.

            And let’s face it – if TWU were to simply drop its covenant, without changing its underlying philosophy or faculty, the only LGBT students who would go there would either be those who would sublimate their sexuality to their faith anyway, or those who fall into the in-your-face activist category, looking for confrontation.

            Lawyers talk about ethics, but – as most non-lawyers are all too aware – most of them really don’t have any. Any side will do as long as it pays – so where’s the payoff in this instance? Maybe they are simply afraid of the impact lawyers with moral convictions might have on their profession.

            So in short, yes: if the LSUC denies accreditation to TWU on the basis of its discriminatory admissions policy, then the LSUC is in turn discriminating against its graduates on the basis of their faith. They might want to go take another look at s. 15 of the Charter.

          • Godless: Your “point” is beside the point.

            As you point out, there are multiple law schools in BC. TWU isn’t denying anyone the right to study law in BC – just at their school. I don’t like their policy, but freedom of religious expression IS a Charter right. And having all the fundamentalists in one school opens additional seats in other schools that these students would otherwise have filled.

            The LSUC, on the other hand, is the sole body licencing lawyers in Ontario. If they refuse to accredit TWU, then they are punishing TWU’s graduates for the school’s admissions policy. The refusal has zero to do with academic qualifications of the applicants and 100% to do with their religious affiliation. Does the LSUC believe in the selective, politically correct application of s. 15 of the Charter? It clearly believes the rights of gays take priority over the rights of the religious.

            Or is it that a profession notoriously lacking in ethics are fearful of admitting to its ranks those who apparently have some?

            Check my record on this site – I am very much a believer in gay rights and equality for all. I don’t like TWU’s policy at all. But they have a right to their beliefs, and while I don’t like them, I will defend their right to have them. And isn’t that what lawyers are supposed to do?

  4. Of course, to be intellectually honest, Emma and her ilk are no doubt awaiting the Law Society’s next step of barring devout Muslim’s from any Law School from practicing law in Canada entirely. After all, the views held about homosexuals by both Christians and Muslim’s is the same….with the exception that Christians don’t demand the death penalty of gay folks.

    As for your comment “keep in mind that no student at York or UBC ever risked expulsion for refusing to uphold secular humanism”

    No, but Jewish students at York (and many other Canadian Universities) are at risk of physical harm simply because they are Jewish. And it isn’t the Christian students who are the threat.

    • “Some” Christians, James. The United Church allows gay marriage, and the Anglican Church of Canada is actively considering it. We don’t all march in lock-step.

      (I’ll let the Muslims speak for themselves on this point.)

      • Keith,

        I am an athiest, and I support same-sex marriage. I am also a supporter of the concept that people are allowed to have views that differ from my own. I will often criticize them, or even make fun of them…..but I would never try to stop anyone from speaking their piece.

        I find censorship far more abhorrent than any views one may hold; no matter how deluded I think they may be. What has been decided in the case of Trinity, is simply another case of lefties trying to punish those with whom they disagree. Emma can try to justify the decision using whatever argument she wishes, but I think it’s pretty clear she believes in her own rights, but isn’t too concerned about the rights of others’.

        • Yup. Those lefties want to force their views on others – make them abide by covenants prescribing how they conduct their private lives, and forcing Law Societies to accredit them. Oh, wait…

        • My point, James, is that you tarred all Christians with the same brush. It’s an “all you people” statement – “all you blacks”; “all you gays”; etc. We AREN’T all the same. I’m a Christian [Anglican] who supports gay marriage and would like to see my church start to allow marriage of gays (and many other Anglicans are actively engaged in just that debate right now).

          It irks me when people try to pigeonhole others solely on the basis of one aspect of who they are – be it their skin colour, sexuality or declared faith.

          • Well, Keith,

            We’ll forgo for the moment you are putting words into my mouth, that I have never said, and simply ask,

            “Does it irk you that one group of people is demanding group think from another group of people on the basis of their religious beliefs?”

            This was just a petty act carried out against a group of people who are actually following their faith. This will no doubt go to a higher court, but whatever the outcome, it is a disgrace that the “gay lobby” and their flunkies demand groupthink under punishment of exclusion.

            How’s that for a twist?

          • On that point, I agree with you (see my other comments – esp. to Godless lawyer).

          • That’s because the fundamentalists who amount to about 11% of the entire of the Christian body claim to the only truth and the rest of Christianity has it all wrong. Unfortunately, they also claim to represent ALL of Christianity and the mainstream folks don’t say anything to the contrary so all we hear from are the noisy, loud fundamentalists.

    • “No, but Jewish students at York (and many other Canadian Universities) are at risk of physical harm simply because they are Jewish.”

      Ok, but that’s not a matter of school policy, is it? Apples and oranges.

      • I never said it was a matter of school policy. After all, what school would enact a policy needlessly, when so many of the professors engage in the very activities which are so threatening to Jewish students?

        Having Jewish kids receive “eviction notices” or living through the week-long anti-semitic hatefest known as “Israel anti-apartheid” week isn’t policy at Canadian schools, but it goes on just the same.
        I have a University degree…..and in my time at this particular University, it was pretty clear it wasn’t the gay students or Muslim’s students who were at risk of physical harm, or threats of censorship. It was the Christian and Jewish students who were most at threat; oddly enough, by gay and Muslim students.

        There are many cases of Left-wing “progressives” trying to silence dissenting views…but there are ZERO cases of Conservative students trying to silence anyone.

    • You’re obviously having trouble understanding this story – the only party interested in barring students is Trinity Western.

      Scary stuff regarding Jewish students though, James. Could you provide some statistics on the injured and dead due to being Jewish at a Canadian University?

      • Technically, I guess you’re right; the Law Societies are refusing to accredit graduates.

      • Trinity is not barring any students. they are asking ALL students to abstain from premarital sex. True, they believe in marriage as 1 man and 1 woman….but no where does it say that gay students could graduate.

        As for the threat to Jewish students….might I recommend you don a yarmulke and take a stroll through U of T during the weekly festivities described above. You’ll see it first hand.

  5. Emma, I’m an atheist lawyer living in British Columbia, and I support the BC Law Society’s decision to accept TWU law grads, and it has nothing to do with “sheer annoyance at the triumphalism of gay activists.” Given the seriousness with which you take your position, I wish you’d not reduce my position to a mere triviality. TWU was created by provincial statute to serve a particular religious community. The students there share some beliefs in common, including the belief that sexuality belongs between married men and married women. That belief is a charter-protected, and also permitted under the BC Human Rights Code.

    Regardless of what the various provincial law societies choose to do, the law school has the permission of the BC government to open in 2016, and graduate students in the spring of 2018. Ontario and Nova Scotia have chosen to tell each graduate, sight unseen, that they cannot practice law in their province, because they choose to attend a school with a religious affiliation, and which requires its students to agree, while they are there, to live by that religious code. By virtue of that choice, they are unwelcome in a provincial law society that features all manner of rogues and reprobates, bigots and charlatans, and which broadly reflects the society from which it is drawn.

    That strikes me as an act of discrimination. The barrister’s oath already requires would-be lawyers to uphold the rights of all. Isn’t that enough?

    You’ll be pleased to know that King Adbulaziz University in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has no community covenant that forbids homosexuality. Their graduates (the school only opened in 1433 AH, so it’ll be a couple of years) are welcome in Ontario. So are graduates from Notre Dame, Brigham Young, Regent University, Baylor, Boston College, Liberty University and Bob Jones University, all of which have the same or similar community covenants.

    Graduates from Saudi Arabia, who are permitted to have four wives, and in whose home country homosexuality is punished by execution, are welcome in Ontario and Nova Scotia, but not evangelical Christians from the Fraser Valley. Ontario and Nova Scotia ought either to get down to work and ban Notre Dame grads, or else they ought to trust in their barrister’s oath, and step down from the moral high ground that they have occupied so recently and sit in so un-handsomely.

    • Don’t waste your time, Damon,
      The folks who cite the Charter behind such obviously discriminatory decisions as described by Emma, don’t actually believe in the Charter. They cherry pick what rights they demand, while refusing the same rights to others’ which whom they disagree.

      You have to remember, Liberals and Lefties don’t actually want people with a different world view to have their say…………..they much prefer to censor and discrimate against them. Why have a debate you may lose, when simple ostraziation works so well.

      • Ostracization (sp?)

    • We are trying to eliminate religious schools, not create more.

      Education doesn’t require religion, and what people do in their private lives is up to them.

      • Emily wrote:
        “We are trying to eliminate religious schools”

        Clearly, if Emily ever uses “Charter rights” to bolster any future argument, remember this line she wrote and know that she is a lying hypocrite.

        • It’s hardly original with me, James.

          ‘Separation of church and state’ is a centuries old concept.

          • So your problem with religious schools is that they receive state funding?

          • There needs to be one publically funded school system for everyone, accredited by the state. Religious ‘schools’ are a private matter….and I for one don’t want to support child abuse.

          • Well now THERE’S a hate-filled statement – equating religion with child abuse. Can’t say as I’m surprised; you are easily the most bigoted anti-Christian posting on here. What I find amusing is that you claim to be against religion because of the damage it does while being incapable of seeing how your blind hatred and invective puts you in the same class as so many of those you despise.

            I know you have referred to religious instruction as indoctrination – but so is much of what occurs in state schools; it’s just your preferred brand.

            (BTW: I too am against religious schools – esp. those that are state-funded; wrote a paper on it in university – but my reasons are, ironically, less ideologically motivated than yours.)

          • Richard Dawkins said it first. I and many others agree with him. Deliberately lying to a child using fairy tales is abuse.

            A ‘Comparative Religion’ course should be mandatory in all schools. Not belief in one religion.

            Math, science, literature, geography etc is not indoctrination, it’s education.

            Why would I feel hatred about any of this? It’s a fantasy, a folk tale….like Zeus, Odin and Horus.

            I’m not ‘anti-christian’, I’m anti-religion. ALL religion.

          • So basically, you are saying that YOUR belief system is the only valid one. And as for your anti-religious stance, there is, in your comments, an especially zealous hatred for Christianity. That, plus the topic at hand, is why I labelled you anti-Christian.

            I’m guessing, then, that you think telling kids about Santa and the Easter bunny are likewise “child abuse”?

          • Atheists don’t have a belief system. That’s what the word ‘atheist’ means. Non-believer.

            I probably sound anti-christian on here because we don’t have a lot of muslims or hindus or jews posting.

            None actually, that I know of. But I regard all of them as equally crazy….not to mention primitive.

            Interesting you equate your own god with the Easter bunny and Santa though.

          • Atheist means you don’t believe in a deity – not that you have no beliefs.

            Everyone has a belief system. If you believe there is no God or gods, and that the world is completely scientifically explainable – that’s a belief. If you think democracy is better than rule by dictatorship – that’s a belief. If you prefer rule of law to anarchy – that’s a belief. The way you put all those beliefs together to form your world view is a belief system.

            And you (implicitly) made the equation between Santa, the Easter bunny and God by talking of fairy tales. But I notice you didn’t answer my question.

            But apparently, you would teach that all who believe in religion are crazy. Is that not indoctrination?

          • No belief in a deity…..yup that’s it. That’s atheism.

            Science is not a belief.

            Opinions are not a belief system either.

            Neither are wishes.

            Santa, the Easter bunny and ‘God’ are all fairy tales.

            If your neighbour believed in Zeus, preached Zeus, sacrificed to Zeus…..no doubt you’d consider him crazy.

            Same with Odin, Horus and Jesus.

            You know all this Bram….you just like to talk to me.

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          • We have separation of church and state in this country James. It is not personal to me.

            I am neither ‘left’ nor ‘Marxist’….nor do you know what those words mean.

        • One would hope not! Can you imagine?

      • Education may not “require religion”, but in this country, it has traditionally welcomed it. Religious schools are specifically permitted under s.29 of the Charter, and in the provincial educational and human rights statutes of each province. When you say “we are trying to get rid of religious schools,” please don’t include me in your company.

        • Publically funded with taxpayers dollars? No. We want to end that.

          Ont has a historical leftover with separate RC schools that people want eliminated.

          • “We want to end that.” Could you please elaborate on who this “we” group is composed of.

          • ‘We’…..most of the people in Ontario.

            Oh….and the UN.

    • While the Supreme Court decision might be overturned a bigger challenge faces the bar society. Since Ontario does not bar graduates from US schools with covenants from practicing they can be demonstrated to be treating a domestic school differently than a Canadian school and then they become liable….if they ban the US schools then under NAFTA they would also be liable as lawyers are a protected profession under NAFTA. On the whole this decision is going to cost the bar association a lot of cash before they have to back down.

    • Damon –

      You’re incorrect. Graduates of the Universities you mention would be subject to at least as strict a process as a TWU grad (in fact, stricter, because TWU grads could be called to the Bar of British Columbia and qualify to transfer their practice to Ontario under the Federation of Canadian Law Societies National Mobility Agreement).

      Other than the 7 Ontario Law Schools, only the following have LSUC accredited Common Law Programs:

      Dalhousie University (NS)
      McGill University (QC)
      Thompson Rivers University (BC)
      University de Montréal
      University of Alberta
      University of British Columbia
      University of Calgary
      University of Manitoba
      University of Moncton
      University of New Brunswick
      University of Saskatchewan
      University of Victoria

  6. “I observed that the lens of evangelical Christianity was omnipresent. The effect of this was that people did not give opinions in class discussions that did not align with those values … I did not feel able to raise other perspectives on homosexuality. I felt a real risk of expulsion.”

    It’s one thing to include a religious viewpoint in discussions of non-religious subjects. It’s another thing altogether to suppress other viewpoints. Even if such viewpoints aren’t being openly and actively suppressed, the above comment makes it pretty clear that the overall milieu is NOT one of open and honest discussion. It certainly can’t make for well-rounded graduates.

    I’m of two minds, though, about the lack of accreditation. It feels a bit like the students are being punished for the actions of the school; after all, it is the school – not the students – who imposed the covenant. Yes, the students signed on – but what if a student did so because it was the only law school that accepted his/her application, so the student just signed the thing and played along to get the degree? One may want to question the wisdom of that decision, but given the reputation the legal profession has, it seems a bit hypocritical of them to ban a student from becoming an accredited lawyer based on an ethical choice that does not break the law.

    In short, I absolutely disagree with TWU’s imposition of the covenant, but am not completely convinced refusing accreditation is the appropriate response unless it can be shown that the education received is in and of itself substandard.

  7. Emma gives us this “Like medicine, ethics is a science too….” and thus invites laughter. Oh yes, ethics is basd on empericism, testing, measuring, peer review, statistics, etc etc. The reverse being true, “politically correct ethics” are imposed at all other universities, so why not one university where politically incorrect ethics prevail?

    Fact: There is no “liberal” university anywhere, where the question of “what is homosexual behavior” could be explored scientifically. None. If a professor tried to do it, he or she would run the risk of severe sanctions, because someone what accuse the prof of ‘allowing me to feel uncomfortable,” which is a violation of the Campus Code. Similarly no student could embark upon such an exploration without incurring the same risk. Therefore, there is no “science” in the exploration of gay behaviors. In the 1970s, the psychiatric profession simply shut down the debate due to political pressure.

    The ban on fundamentalist-Christian lawyers is discriminatory because it assumes that their faith prevents them from carrying out their duties. There is no empirical evidence of this, but even that’s irrelevant. No lawyer has the duty to accept every client who comes through the door. Only when the lawyer agrees to represent the client does a code of conduct come into play.

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    • “The ban on fundamentalist-Christian lawyers…”
      That’s imaginative. While TWU certainly bans students who don’t observe “fundamentalist-Christian” decrees, I’m not aware of any Canadian Universities which ban Christians of any variety.
      Maybe you can correct me.

    • I’m not sure what you mean. There is quite a lot of research being done on homosexuality. I don’t think you can support the claim that there is none being performed.

      • I think when Avanti prefaces a statement with “fact” it means “I’m now going make an entirely evidence-free assertion that I pulled from my backside”.

  8. If we allow a ‘Christian school of law’, then there will be a ‘Christian school of medicine’, a ‘Christian school of engineering’, a Christian school of dentistry’….etc.

    Followed closely by a Jewish school of law, a Jewish school of medicine etc….and then a Muslim school of law and a Muslim school of medicine…then we’ll work our way through Hindus and Buddhists and Jainists and Zoroastrians…….

  9. Point, set, match. Bravo!

  10. “…students sign a biblically inspired “community covenant” prohibiting, among other things, pornography, swearing, drinking, and any “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.” In other words, gays need not apply.”

    No, gays who intend to be sexually active need not apply.

    For that matter, heterosexuals who intend to be sexually active need not apply either.

    • including married ones, which ends THAT particular canard.

  11. The discriminatory factor is that you are taking a tightly controlled and limited profession and making 60 extra spots that realistically only go to devout Christians. The Ontario law society is an independent group, but it considers itself required to act in accordance with the Charter so it couldn’t realistically have any reached another conclusion.

    • Not sure I follow your logic. It sounds like you’re saying anyone who declares themselves devout Christians should be refused admission to the bar.

      It’s not like they have a quota of only X number of lawyers are admitted each years, and they are required to parcel off a segment of that quota specifically for “devout Christians”.

  12. Great article too! I find it interesting that for a country that prides itself in democracy and freedom. In general, it really doesn’t matter if you’re LGBTQAS, black, have a physical disability, white, Islamic, Atheist, Christian, yellow or green – what I care about is that you do a good job representing me in the court of the law.

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  14. In granting TWU accreditation, the B.C. Law Society is giving public endorsement to TWU’s practice of discriminating against members of the LGTBQ community and, further, granting legitimacy, in the public sphere, to TWU’s Christian view that homosexuality is wrong. This public endorsement is not in the public interest. Worse yet, this is a detriment to our society’s gruelling, long-fought battle to recognize the human rights of all members of the LGTBQ community and their right to be treated equally. The decision to accredit TWU was wrong: http://wp.me/p4A1wz-4

    • True…..Anonomous lawyer,

      Only a lawyer could argue the same point using two different viewpoints. Doublethink much?

      Better get your sneakers on….I think an ambulance just went by

    • Freedom of religious expression is a right guaranteed under the Charter. TWU is a religious institution. I don’t agree with their covenant, but it is within their rights.

      One of the fun things about our laws, and our multicultural society, is that one person’s right can conflict with that of another.

      As I explained to Godless Lawyer, above, there are multiple law schools in BC; no one, therefore, is being denied an education on the basis of their sexuality. They are merely being told they won’t receive that education at TWU, unless they follow the religious covenant. Ods are, at least some students choosing TWU and its covenant will also have been accepted at one of the other schools; by choosing TWU they open an avenue for a wait-listed student at the school they turn down. So, mathematically, TWU is still giving more opportunity to LGTBQ than they would previously have had.

      Also, the school is not outright rejecting gays; they are putting the exact same restrictions on the heterosexual community. The lone exception is in respect to married gays.

      But really – knowing the prevailing attitudes of both students, staff and faculty at TWU, how many LGTBQ community members would WANT to attend, even if the covenant is lifted?

      Conversely, the provincial Law Societies are the only sanctioning bodies in their respective jurisdictions. So while TWU is not preventing anyone from getting a law degree elsewhere, the law societies that refuse to accredit TWU’s law school solely on the basis of the covenant are completely barring its graduates from practicing law in their jurisdiction. This barring appears to have zero to do with the quality of academic instruction the graduates will receive, and everything to do with their religious affiliation. That’s a significant difference.

      Lawyers are supposed to defend the rights of others; certain law societies appear to have decided that the Charter-protected right to religious freedom is one they will flout unless the religion conforms to THEIR beliefs. Their actions, being an absolute bar, are far more discriminatory than that of TWU’s covenant.

      I would have thought that would be abundantly clear to any lawyer. Maybe we have a different ground for concern: Based on the actions of the law societies who have refused accreditation – and on your and Godless’ positions on this – it would seem we should be questioning the quality of education being provided at our current law schools, rather than looking to open more.

  15. Next up, all religious private high schools and primary schools have to be mandated to teach values that conflict with their religious beliefs. “Freedom of religion” is specifically worded in the Charter. Gay “rights” are not. They are just “read in” by judges with an ideological bent appointed by politicians. Me thinks the writer is again biased toward the equality clause, while ignoring the freedom of religion and conscience clause by calling everyone who doesn’t support gay marriage “jerks”. Isn’t that bigoted? Isn’t this kind of opinionated name-calling that the so-called “victims” love to point out to religiously-minded people to not do?

    • There is no such thing as a ‘gay right’. All Canadians are equal under the law. Your sex is irrelevant.

      You are free to practice any religion you like, but you can’t force it on other people.

      • But apparently,

        You can force poeple to disregard their religion

        • No one is doing that. Again you are easily confused.

  16. Wow, this article and the comments in support are shocking to me.

    The Law Society’s actions prevent the graduates of TWU from plying their trade, not for anything they have done, but because the Law Society disapproves of the philosophy of the school that taught them. This has ZERO to do with acts of discrimination against anyone. Unless I missed the memo, one can still believe pretty much anything one wants to believe in Canada including things others would think are reprehensible.

    Liberalism eats its own. The “tolerance” it trumpets quickly gives way to intolerance for all who disagree with the politically correct consensus of the day. Underpinning that consensus is absolutely nothing but a bald exercise of power. Teitel’s views are correct because she says so, and she can muster enough similar minded lackeys to force those views on everyone else.

    I am a lawyer who believes that sex should be reserved for marriage between a man and woman. If that makes me a “jerk” in Teitel’s eyes, so be it. But if I have to fear losing my ability to practice law as a result of that belief, we have really entered into new and frightening times in a country that supposedly champions freedom of belief.

    • LOL and if you believe that’s what’s been said here….you’re a lousy lawyer.

      • “You’re just a jerk.” “You’re a lousy lawyer.”

        The politically correct crowd: plenty of invective, no arguments.

        • Well either you’re a bad lawyer, or you’re not one at all…..because nothing like that has been said here….and if you can’t understand ‘plain’ English…..legalese will wipe you out.

          • Try arguing a point for a change, instead of just attacking your opponent.

            “Another” is absolutely right. The Charter guarantees freedom of religion. TWU is a religious institution. No one is forced to attend there; no one is being denied an education by refusing to sign their covenant. Sure, they won’t be able to attend TWU, but there are other schools – schools which will now have available the slots that would otherwise have been filled by those at TWU.

            On the other hand, the various law societies are the only gateway into the practice of law in their jurisdictions. Those that refuse accreditation on the basis of the school’s charter, rather than on the academic program, are in fact discriminating against TWU’s graduates on the basis of religious affiliation. The law societies are denying them the right to earn a living in their chosen profession because of their religious affiliation – and for no other reason.

            The LSUC and NSBS are therefore engaging in the kind of Thought Police behaviour one would expect from a theocracy – not from groups whose job it is to uphold the laws of a multicultural society. They have given the middle finger to s. 15 of the Charter. Apparently, they believe their religious bigotry trumps the Charter. And they ignored the SCC’s decision on the same essential facts in another case involving TWU: http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/2001/2001scc31/2001scc31.pdf

            Maybe, instead of worrying about TWU, we should be worrying about the quality of lawyers being turned out by our current law schools, if this is any indication of their understanding of Canadian laws – or of equality.

      • OK Macleans censor – why is Emily getting a free pass at name-calling and nastiness while others are getting taken down? “Lousy lawyer” here; Christians are all child abusers further upstream. Who is she paying off?

        • You’d do better if you weren’t always arguing against yourself.

          • ?????

            I thought you made no sense before, but this is possibly the least sensible yet.

          • You don’t know what you think….on any given topic….and it shows.

  17. This is ignorant. “Sexual immorality” in this context is not targeting gays as much as liberals would LOVE to believe. In Christianity, premarital sex and adultery are also forms of sexual immorality which are not condoned. However, unlike other religions, Christians do not commit themselves to murdering such people. Instead, they accept them into their churches to share their faith with them. Not to mention, this is a religious, private institution and the rights of this Christian institution are under attack by morally permissive dweebs. If you’re gay, go to any other school and be happy that you are free and TOLERATED. Stop whining to be accepted. If you were in the middle east, you’d be murdered.

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