So once again a Christian group has been discriminated against all in the name of preventing discrimination.
Last week the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a decision by The Law Society of Upper Canada to ban graduates from Trinity Western University’s law school from being licensed to practice in the province of Ontario.
As reported in the Globe and Mail the Criminal Lawyers Association, an intervener in the case, found the ruling not only fair but balanced in terms of religious freedom and equality. “The time has come to not accept at face value religious justifications for discriminatory conduct in the public sphere,” their lawyer said.
A release from TWU said the following: “This is the third appeal hearing for TWU’s School of Law in two months. Oral arguments were heard in Nova Scotia in April 2016, and in BC last week. Decisions are pending. No other provincial law societies have voted against approval of TWU’s future law graduates.”
A few things first: TWU has been consistently ranked as one of the best universities in the county according to Maclean’s annual ranking of post-secondary education. Maclean’s, as you all know, is a right-wing evangelical magazine that usually holds extreme views. Now stop laughing and we’ll move on.
TWU went through this same nonsense years ago with their teachers college. The licensing board for BC teachers said no graduate of TWU would be fit to teach because they had been indoctrinated with anti-gay rhetoric. Finally the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of TWU, saying no one can assume that someone will graduate from TWU screaming hate against any number of minorities. Besides, TWU does not promote hate.
About six years ago I wrote a story for the National Post about the school’s Ottawa based Laurentian Institute. Spaces are reserved for the best and the brightest TWU students, especially for those who see a career in government. I thought I would find a cadre of right wing fundamentalists poised to infiltrate government with their crazy ideas through stealth. Shame on me.
What I found were highly intelligent and likable young people whose main political interests in life were ending poverty, providing better childcare and retiring debt in the developing world. All expressed an interest in global ecology and some were believers in climate change. A few, horror of horrors, chose to intern with the NDP and the Green Party.
And yet the Law Society of Upper Canada in its wisdom, in its one-sided view of freedom, sees graduates from TWU as standard bearers of discrimination.
So what is TWU’s crime? The school has a moral code against sex outside of marriage. And marriage, to TWU, as it is to many Christians, and likely to many believing Jews and Muslims, as being the union of one man and one woman.
So using the logic of the Law Society of Upper Canada, no Catholic should ever be a lawyer because the Church opposes gay marriage.
In this country of ours we are slowly stripping a whole group of people of their basic rights.
This is not an isolated case: I know I risk repeating myself but this is part of a dangerous trend. We are constantly back on our heels: Christians protesting abortion regularly lose “club status” on university campuses. Gay-Straight Alliance anti-bullying groups were shoved down the throat of Catholic schools even though those same school had their own anti-bullying clubs.
In the data I found from school boards that keep such records of bullying incidents, the most abused students in high schools were overweight, or did poorly academically or had heavy accents.
The point of the Gay-Straight Alliances was never to tackle bullying but to make sure the Catholic Church knew its place in society. By the way, that well-known Catholic and illustrious former premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, promoted that whole bogus issue. Maybe it’s time the Church deny him the Eucharist.
This decision may very well get settled in the Supreme Court of Canada. But even if it ends up ruling in favour of TWU, look at the damage this unfair attack has caused. TWU has likely spent a small fortune on legal fees. All this negative publicity can’t be doing wonders for the school. And imagine the time wasted that could have been used to increase academic excellence.
A friend told me via Facebook that I should be patient and wait till this travesty works its way through the courts.
I’m sick of being patient. We’re supposed to have religious freedom in this country but it seems it only holds when it adheres to the secularist religion.
We are dealing with bigots. These people who constantly attack TWU are following a rigid form of bigotry that takes aim at Christians.
What kind of lawyers is Ontario producing when the fundamental right to disagree with the status quo is considered beyond the pale? Will it soon be okay to fire a Christian because Christianity may make a co-worker uncomfortable?
The final argument that those who oppose TWU will muster up is that gay marriage is now the law. For Christians the law is not the ultimate guide. When will that alone become grounds for harassment and expulsion from decent society?
Charles Lewis is a regular contributor to The Catholic Register and a board member of the Catholic Civil Rights League. He has been writing for 36 years. He was also the religion reporter for the National Post until January 2014.
About the CCRL
Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. The CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization with a large nationwide membership base. The CCRL is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
For further information:
Christian Domenic Elia, PhD
CCRL Executive Director