Christian university defends itself amidst media frenzy over morality pledge
LANGLEY, British Columbia, January 30, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Trinity Western University (TWU) will stand firm in its plan to open the country’s first Christian-run law school, despite efforts by the Canadian Council of Law Deans (CCLD) to kibosh the proposal, all because the university requires students to pledge to adhere to Christian morality, including in sexual matters.
“We believe that the Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2001 settled the issue that TWU’s policies are not a barrier to accreditation,” TWU wrote in a media statement to LifeSiteNews.
In 2001, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the BC College of Teachers could not refuse to approve TWU’s application for accreditation of its teacher education program based on its disagreement with the university’s “Community Standards” pledge.
TWU stated in its media release that a code of conduct is “normative” for every institution.
“They act as a framework for participation and for ensuring an optimal learning environment. Every major organization has a code of conduct. Every university has one, and students who wish to go to a particular university voluntarily agree to it.”
The CCLD has said that TWU’s “community covenant” is “fundamentally incompatible” with the core values of Canadian law schools and the social values of diversity since it allegedly discriminates against gay, lesbian and bisexual students.
TWU’s “community covenant” is a solemn pledge made by all university members to, among other things, “voluntarily abstain” from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.” The pledge also asks that university members abstain from gossip, slander, lying, cheating, stealing, pornography, and drunkenness.
TWU’s pledge does not at any point mention the words ‘homosexual’ or ‘gay.’
Critics have pointed out that the TWU’s “community covenant” applies to all staff and all students, regardless of sexual orientation and that any student, whether gay or straight, who does not wish to abide by TWU’s code of conduct is free to attend another university.
John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms called the CCLD’s characterization of TWU’s rules “misleading”.
“Nobody is required to abide by these rules, unless a person voluntarily submits to them,” he wrote in an editorial.
Carpay slammed the CCLD’s views on “free society,” arguing that they “should know that a free society tolerates a wide range of opinion on all topics, including sexual morality. No law compels anyone to agree with [their] opinions about sex and sexuality, nor [are they] compelled to agree with Christian teaching about sex and sexuality.”
“For [the law deans] to suggest that all Canadian law schools must comply with one, single government-enforced ideology about sexual behaviour is the opposite of a free society. The imposition of one world view on all institutions is the hallmark of totalitarianism,” he wrote.
Establishing a law school has been part of TWU’s “strategic plan” for many years, the university’s website states. School officials say the plan “fits well with the University’s mission to develop Godly leaders for the marketplaces of life.”
The School of Law at TWU, to open in September 2015, will train students to “see the profession of law as a high calling in the life of service.” The program will aim to develop “servant leaders who believe in and demonstrate a different concept of professionalism than the current marketplace promotes.”