Fighting for TWU, and winning! Check out the latest on the fight for freedom of religion in Canada:
Watch my interview with John Carpay, the civil liberties lawyer intervening in court for Trinity Western’s law students. I've pledged to help raise money for his work.
The Law Society of British Columbia did the right thing – they voted to accredit the new law school of Trinity Western University.
But then a group of dissident B.C. lawyers objected. They wanted to ban graduates from Trinity Western, purely because of that school's “community covenant”. That conduct code – that students voluntarily pledge themselves to following — commits students to a modest lifestyle, abstaining from drinking and drugs, and to restrict sex to the confines of a traditional marriage.
It's that last point that irked a group of B.C. lawyers, who agitated for a province-wide vote to ban Trinity Western. They said by insisting on traditional marriages, Trinity Western was anti-gay, so they should be banned. Shockingly, that vote passed, with over 70% of B.C. lawyers choosing to blacklist the Christian school.
It's blatant religious discrimination. The Supreme Court of Canada itself has already struck down a similar ban on Trinity Western grads, that B.C.’s teaching profession tried to impose a dozen years ago for the same reason.
You'd think that lawyers who know about our Charter of Rights would be the last to discriminate based on religion.
What can we do? John Carpay, a civil liberties lawyer with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, is intervening in court on behalf of Trinity Western in Nova Scotia and Ontario. And he says if the university sues in B.C., he'll intervene there too.
John’s small organization can use our help – let's help him raise $5,000 to fight the good fight in Nova Scotia and Ontario. And if a lawsuit is begun in B.C., and he intervenes there, let’s raise another $5,000 for him too.
Click here now, to help fund John's fight in the two courts he's currently in. And we'll contact you if and when Trinity Western and John take up the fight in B.C., too.
No Christians Allowed?
Two Canadian law societies – secretive committees of lawyers in each province – have decided to blacklist all students from a Christian law school in B.C. called Trinity Western University (TWU), because of that school’s Christian student code of conduct.
None of those students – no matter how smart, no matter how hard-working, no matter how honest – will be allowed to practice law.
It’s anti-Christian bigotry that would be unthinkable if it targeted Black, Jewish, Muslim or gay students.
TWU’s law school is fully accredited, just like the University of Toronto or Osgoode Hall. But because its students live by Christian values, bigots at law societies across Canada have voted to ban its graduates from TWU from practicing law in their provinces.
It’s the modern equivalent of a “No Blacks Allowed” sign on a restaurant in the 1960’s in the Deep South.
Ontario’s law society voted 28 to 21 to ban any TWU students from working. In Nova Scotia, one single bigot was all it took: they voted 10 to 9 to ban these Christian students.
It’s a shocking attack on freedom of religion, that’s clearly contrary to the promise of freedom of religion in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You’d think law societies would care about that.
Law societies should be stamping out discrimination, not enforcing it.
There is no doubt that these secretive law societies are breaking the law. When anti-Christian bigots at the B.C. teacher’s college tried to do the same thing years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada smacked them down, saying anti-Christian discrimination is unacceptable in a modern society. Apparently these law society bigots think they’re above the law.
It’s bullying at its worst. These anti-Christian extremists in Ontario and Nova Scotia aren’t even punishing TWU. They’re punishing individual law students they haven’t even met yet, simply for choosing to attend a Christian law school.
What’s next? If they can ban lawyers based on the Christian views of their law school, can they ban individual lawyers who believe in Christianity too?
Ironically, these same law societies were up in arms about Quebec’s proposed Charter of Values that would have banned government employees from wearing ostentatious religious symbols, like Sikh turbans or Muslim veils. That idea was defeated in April’s Quebec election. But now the bigots at the law societies want their own Charter of Values – but only targeting Christians. It’s a national disgrace.
There is something deeply wrong when the people who are supposed to be guardians of our civil rights are the ones destroying them. Freedom of religion is so important, our Constitution even calls it a “fundamental freedom”.
The law societies in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, PEI, Newfoundland and Nunavut know this – they’ve voted to approve graduates from TWU. Not every law society is as bigoted as the ones in Ontario and Nova Scotia.
Sign the petition against anti-Christian bigotry in Canada’s law societies. We’ll send the petition to the hateful bullies in Ontario and Nova Scotia. And we’ll send it to the law societies that have yet to vote, to let them know we’re watching.
This isn’t just about Christian students at TWU. It’s about whether we allow our entire legal system to be hijacked by extremist bigots, who are keeping an illegal enemies list of religions they don’t like.
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
2(b) Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.