Dispatches from the Global Village
By Brian Stiller
Read the original Aug. 9 print version
Trinity Western University, a Canadian liberal arts university, planned to open a law school as part of its vision to prepare Christians to serve in public and civic life. It wasn’t long before their plan triggered the ire of provincial law societies. In the end, this case ended up before the Supreme Court of Canada which ruled that provincial law societies could refuse to admit TWU law grads from practising law. Their ruling was based on their objection to the university’s community covenant: it requires students to agree to abstain from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and woman.”
Why does this matter to Christians inside and outside of Canada?
First, it shows how a country’s top court can render a verdict in favor of human rights, biased against religious freedom. When the two ideas butt heads, religious freedom is the loser.
Second, it makes short shrift of the model that within a diverse society a plurality of ideas and beliefs can exist together.
Third, it keeps faith from being public.
Fourth, it assumes that Christian standards and beliefs for an institution are not essential to its identity, self-definition nor existence, but a preference.
Fifth, the decision is based on what the justices determined are “values,” neither defined nor included in the Charter: here they become what the court deems is implied.