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#1 Christian University in Canada May Not Get Law School b/c of Homosexual Activism
08-09-2014, 02:58 AM
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
US religious institutions need to look north, to our much more PC neighbors. This is a portent for what is coming here.
Christian University in Canada Wages Lonely Battle for a Law School
For Bob Kuhn, president of Trinity Western U., a fight over a proposed law school represents an even bigger issue for Canadian colleges: the right of faith-based institutions to exist when their beliefs conflict with those of society.
The president of Trinity Western University, a private, evangelical institution here, says he anticipated some opposition from the "usual suspects" to his university’s proposal for a law school. Instead, the move has sparked a highly charged national debate over the limits to freedom of religion when it comes to gay rights.
The controversy centers on Trinity Western’s requirement that all students, professors, and staff members sign a covenant to uphold socially conservative beliefs. Without making specific reference to gays, the statement describes a biblical view of marriage as between a man and a woman. The statement of faith is similar to ones at American Christian colleges like Wheaton College in Illinois and Bob Jones University, but it’s highly unusual in Canada.
Critics contend that the pledge, which would apply to future law students, amounts to discrimination against gay students and question how a new law school would be able to produce graduates able and willing to uphold Canada’s law allowing same-sex marriage.
"Law-school admission should be based on merit," says Trevor Loke, an openly gay Christian who hopes to apply to law school in the coming years. The 25-year-old, who is commissioner of Vancouver’s parks, is suing British Columbia for its decision to approve Trinity Western’s law school, arguing that its consent is unconstitutional and that the university’s admission policies, notably requiring the signing of the covenant, effectively reduce the number of seats available to him.
Mr. Loke’s lawsuit is just one of several that have been spurred by Trinity Western’s bid. And while a number of provincial law societies have said they would recognize a Trinity Western law degree, others have decided to essentially bar potential graduates from practicing in their regions.
Despite the opposition and a legal bill of $1-million and climbing, the university has vowed to press ahead. "We are not pretending it is the popular thing to do, but it is, we believe, the right thing to do," says Mr. Kuhn, who has received hate mail related to the controversy. "To be cowed by popular opinion at this point in time would be the coward’s way out."
The heated debate seems distant from the well-manicured campus of low-rise buildings located on a former dairy farm in the agriculture-*rich Fraser Valley. At Trinity Western, faith-based activities blend seamlessly into the daily rhythm of the campus. Along a main pedestrian walkway, banners cite Scripture readings. At 11 a.m., chimes ring out to signal weekly chapel services.
Trinity Western stands out in a country that is much more secular than the United States. Christian Higher Education Canada, an association that represents Christian colleges, reports that a mere 16 percent of Canadians attend church regularly, compared with 40 percent of Americans.
Founded in 1962 as a junior college with support from the Evangelical Free Churches of Canada and America, the university now enrolls about 4,000 students, 7 percent of them from the United States, and has graduate programs in business, nursing, and biblical studies, among others. It has long aspired to start a law school, which would be the first private one in the country, with the goal of turning out lawyers to work in rural areas and small towns.
In December, British Columbia’s Degree Quality Assessment Board and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, the professional body that approves new law schools and oversees national curricular standards, gave a thumbs up to the law degree. Both said that questioning the faith statement was outside their mandate.
Yet the deans of Canada’s 23 public law schools unanimously condemned Trinity Western for its faith statement, arguing that "discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is unlawful in Canada and fundamentally at odds with the core values of all Canadian law schools."
With the regulatory approvals, the public debate over the law school roared into high gear, generating a national discussion with opinions dueling in social media, in newspapers, and on television.
Further complicating Trinity Western’s bid is its need for accreditation by provincial law societies, which are the equivalent of state bar associations in the United States. The law societies are an integral part of the legal-education system by their provision of mandatory internships or "articling" before a graduate is admitted to the bar. The university had expected accreditation to be a relatively uncontroversial exercise after the academic approvals, but it has been an acrimonious affair. Trinity Western has filed lawsuits against Ontario’s Law Society of Upper Canada, which in April refused to grant accreditation because of the covenant, and against the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, which voted to recognize the law school only if it exempted law students from signing the covenant or amended it "in a way that ceases to discriminate."
Closer to home, British Columbia’s law society gave a green light to the law school. But in an unusual move, lawyers in British Columbia in June voted overwhelmingly for a resolution asking the law society to reverse its endorsement of Trinity Western’s application. The governing board has a year to act on the request.
Meanwhile, Mr. Loke’s case is expected to be heard in December. "I’m hoping it will set a precedent that basically says that segregation has no place in this country for any reason," he says...
08-11-2014, 10:17 AM
Canada is run very differently than the US, in a lot of ways.
I never understand why any student would want to go to a school that has such a strict code of conduct-I knew people who went to Wheaton and to Liberty, where they had to sign statements that they wouldn't listen to unapproved music or view R rated movies. And Bob Jones University has such an extreme code of conduct, requiring women to wear dresses/skirts (and length requirements), dating to be chaperoned and the University censors the internet usage of it's sudents. But if they want to pay for it, so be it. I would oppose public funding of any place like that.
If the gay student wants to attend law school, why does he care if one law school has such a code? He doesn't have to go to that one. According to the article, every other law school in Canada does not have such rules.
08-11-2014, 06:32 PM
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
In regard to religious universities, students who are true believing Christians have a relationship with God and with their churches that already precludes R-rated movies and Miley Cyrus. So going to a school with the same restrictions makes sense to them. Think of these colleges like an HOA: the goal of the HOA is to keep your property value high and keep the riff-raff and pollution out. As a result, you get to live in a fairly safe place with manicured lawns and homes that are not painted neon green. There is a sense of peace and security. The religious school is the same way: it's a safe zone where the pornographied landscape of the general culture is kept out. For a young girl who is not ready to be a drunken hook-up for any guy that happens to be around at the time , the religious environment offers a place where she can actually study in peace (without having to deal with a roommate coming in drunk or having sex on the bunk above hers) and where she can meet young men and get to know them as people (without worrying about missing a period or having chlamydia). For girls who are serious about marrying and living a Christian life, this environment makes sense.
As to the homosexual who is so threatened by a single school that might not accept him because of where he chooses to put his body parts, I can only say that Canada is almost entirely full of places that will welcome him with open arms. There are plenty of "liberal churches" that will happily take him in and tell him that he can "marry" another male in their chapels. My guess is that this homosexual belongs to an activist group that is trying to prevent the presence of religion in any part of the legal sphere. After all, someone from this college might eventually be a family court judge that has to sit through his "divorce" hearing. I can understand his paranoia, especially if he and his guy have used some Third World woman's body and some college girl's eggs to produce children for themselves and are fighting over custody. That is the fear underlying the fight against this school.
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