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Commentary

No Christian Law Schools Allowed!

Fri, June 15, 2018   |   Author: Peter Vogel   |     

Freedom of religion is a basic human right enshrined in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We are free to go to any church, cathedral, mosque, or temple we want—or none at all. We are free to associate ourselves with any religion and even start new ones. We are free to establish institutions based on these religions such as professional organizations and schools—at least we have had this freedom until now…

The freedoms of religious people—especially Christians—to practice their religion, were dealt a blow today by our Supreme Court. Trinity Western University (TWU), Canada’s largest Christian university, has been working on expanding its offering of faculties to include a law school. They have worked on this goal for many years but, when the time came to have the school accredited, significant roadblocks arose. The whole matter was eventually taken to the Supreme Court.

To give a little background, Trinity Western University has a covenant that students of TWU must agree to. Students who sign this covenant promise to abide by biblical ethics, including standards of sexual behaviour. They agree, while students at TWU, to abstain from premarital sex, adultery, and homosexual acts.

Adherence to these biblical ethics is by no means universal in Canadian society today. Many Canadians would not sign a covenant that commits them to these standards. Most Canadians don’t. Students who are uncomfortable with TWU’s standards are free to choose another university. This is part of our freedom in Canada.

Having the freedom NOT to attend a particular institution is as important as having the freedom to go to an institution of one’s choice—with all of its rules and standards.

While you might not want to go to a church or school that has rules and conditions for becoming a member or student, should you be allowed to prohibit someone else from attending a church or school of their choice? Should you be allowed to prohibit a group from setting the standards that they choose to adopt?

In this judgment, Canada’s Supreme Court has effectively disallowed personal choice, academic freedom and religious freedom for aspiring law students. It did not tell TWU to remove its covenant for current programs, but it quashed the possibility for TWU to open a law school respecting the terms of its covenant. Instead of basing its decision on specific rights enumerated in the Charter and presumably violated by TWU’s covenant, the Supreme Court majority referenced its judgment on its perception of the Canadian public’s changing social values.

This is a terrible precedent. It MUST be appealed, first to God Almighty, declared by our Charter to be supreme (even over the Supreme Court). Next, it must be appealed in the court of public opinion. Any legal options open to Parliament must be pursued. We must recognize that the nine Supreme Court judges are fallible and unjust decisions must be challenged.

For cases like this one, CHP Canada has long promoted a Judicial Review Committee. This committee would evaluate every decision of the Supreme Court based on its constitutionality.

We in CHP have been closely following this case from the beginning and are concerned about the rights both of freedom of religion and freedom of association in Canada. Both have taken a major hit today.

Christians have founded many important institutions in this country, including grade schools, high schools, colleges and some of our most well-respected universities. Their value is well-recognized and they have benefited both secular and religious Canadians. The expansion of these institutions like TWU ought to be applauded by our government, which benefits from the high moral standards taught to the students who are enrolled.

Christians ought to be involved in all aspects of society—this includes politics. This is why the Christian Heritage Party was started. ‘Christian thought’ ought to be applied to politics, just as it ought to be applied to the study of law. While the freedom to study law at a Christian law school in Canada has been egregiously impeded, the freedom to be involved in a Christian political party still exists. We must exercise this right to the fullest extent possible and protect our heritage of freedom. If Christians had more consistently exercised this sacred right and duty in the past, we might not have lost this important case today.

This case has very serious implications for future decisions of the courts. Why? Because judges at every level, including the Supreme Court, are selected from the ranks of experienced lawyers. By making it more difficult for young Christians to pursue the study of law at an institution that honours their beliefs, this judgment has effectively closed the doors to many future Christian judges. The inevitable result will be courtroom decisions that ignore, not only Christian moral values but, the rule of law. Without the rule of law, justice and freedom will eventually disappear.

Please pray for wisdom and grace; this loss is a terrible disappointment to TWU and also to prospective students—young Christian Canadians whose opportunity to study law at a Christian law school in Canada has been taken from them.

All Canadians who value their Charter freedoms should be concerned as they see the severe curtailing of these freedoms. Now is the time to align yourself with a political party that actively seeks to defend Canada’s heritage of freedom, justice, and the rule of law.

Join CHP Canada today. Do it before this right is also taken away by our Supreme Court.



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