The recent Supreme Court of Canada decision to allow law societies to deny accreditation of a law school at Trinity Western University (TWU), a Christian institution, was a very good ruling. Our legal system must not be determined by anyone’s religious beliefs.
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that people have freedom of religion as well as freedom from religion. It also protects the LGBTQ community from discrimination. TWU’s mandatory covenant denies entry to those who have intimate relations outside of heterosexual marriage – that is a breach of Charter rights.
Allowing any religious school (whether Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, or others) to have a law school that trains students to be foot soldiers to topple the constitutional rights of Canadians is theocratic in nature.
The TWU’s covenant applied elsewhere might have some constitutional grounding, as religious institutions can have some control over what beliefs or behaviours they permit among staff or students. However, to do so in a law school is unacceptable. Graduating lawyers will work in the public arena and supposedly within the boundaries of the Charter.
This ruling does not discriminate against the rights of evangelical Christians. They can go to other Canadian law schools and become accredited lawyers without being told they must not follow their beliefs or refrain from going to church or observe the Sabbath.
Evangelical Christians are also permitted to establish their own law firms that can defend Christians’ beliefs in the courts (though they cannot demand that they win their cases without reasonable legal arguments).
Christians are not being persecuted here at all. This ruling, though, demands that they do not discriminate against others and deny them their Charter rights.
The Supreme Court has decided correctly with respect to fairness and justice under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and must be commended for doing so.