BC's Trinity Western University Capitulates, Sort of

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lagatta4

Yes, while I certainly don't agree with everything Magoo says (except about cooking and cats) , "religious freedom" is being used to intimidate many women, especially minority and racialised women. I have some horror stories from my secular Maghrebi and Levantine friends, who are not at all of the "feminists for imperialism" coterie, far from it. Being harassed by fundie neighbours.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I think that the "tell" as to what's going on is the fact that (and I'm using the U.S. as an example here) not filling a birth control prescription is considered "freedom of religion/belief", but simply purchasing and using birth control is NOT equally regarded as "freedom of religion/belief".

When others can tell us what we must or must not do, based on their own personal beliefs, I feel like it's time to walk that back.

Rev Pesky

Another interesting thing about the TWU case is that there's no way any court would allow them to carry out the penalty for breaching the 'no sex' pledge.

It would have been instructive if someone had openly gone back on their 'pledge', and had declared they were in a sexual relationship without the benefit of marriage, and without the benefit of an opposite sex partner. I would have loved to see TWU try and have that person tossed from classes. Like I say, I doubt any court in this country would allow them to carry out the penalty.

The new NDP government in BC has the right to close the TWU  law faculty, and also to rescind the  'university' designation. It will be interesting to see whether they do.

Mobo2000

RE Post 102 -- Yes, agree the evolution of "religious freedom" is curious and a little alarming.   Here's Jagmeet:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/jagmeet-singh-stands-against-hate-...

Jagmeet:  

"Once we say it's OK to hate someone based on their religion, we're also opening the door to hate based on race, gender, sexuality, and more," Singh said in a statement.  "It's important that we stand united against all forms of hate."

To me this is a somewhat vacuous but basically well intentioned statement with some truth to it.   But is there a distinction to be made between hating a practitioner of a religion and hating a particular religion, or all religions?   

The militant atheist position has a right to be expressed, and I do think there is a sort of blurring of the lines going on in popular culture around this, on both left and right.   And the current imperial conflicts in the middle east makes this more difficult, as the effect of progressive criticism on religious practices, particularly with Islam, can increase public support for more imperial wars.   The Christopher Hitchens effect.  

RE: TWU, apologies for the tangent, and I do appreciate the detail on the relevant issues here.  

 

Rev Pesky

from Mobo2000, addressing a quote from Jagmeet Singh:

"Once we say it's OK to hate someone based on their religion, we're also opening the door to hate based on race, gender, sexuality, and more," Singh said in a statement.  "It's important that we stand united against all forms of hate."

To me this is a somewhat vacuous but basically well intentioned statement with some truth to it.   But is there a distinction to be made between hating a practitioner of a religion and hating a particular religion, or all religions?   

There is a basic difference between religion and the other things Mr. Singh pointed to. Religion is a personal choice. Those other things aren't. Not that I suggest hating someone because of their religion, but certainly one should be able to be critical of it. 

And the fact is that many adherents of religion engender hate and distrust of other religions. I remember from my youth, a church service in my small home town, right here in Canada, when the Reverend made part of his sermon a look at John Kennedy running for president, and worrying about having a Catholic as president of the USA. 

You might wonder why the prospect of a Catholic in the top office of another country caused such concern, but that's religion for you.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
You might wonder why the prospect of a Catholic in the top office of another country caused such concern, but that's religion for you.

I seem to recall that Jack Chick, of those ubiquitous, evangelizing "Chick Tracts", had quite a bee in his bonnet about Catholics.  I think he generally referred to them as "Papists".  I guess the idea is they owe fealty to the Pope rather than directly to Jesus.

But I've heard it suggested that while an atheist believes that all religions are false, most faithful believe all but one are.

NorthReport

Why don't the BC NDP just revoke their university charter and put an end to this festering blight on our education system.

Over to you Melanie Mark

Rev Pesky

From North Report:

Why don't the BC NDP just revoke their university charter and put an end to this festering blight on our education system.

Couldn't agree with you more on this particular subject. That 'university' charter was granted by the BC government (can't remember whether it was the Liberals or Socreds) as a sop to the voters of the Bible Belt. There is absolutely nothing in it for the NDP to continue to support a 'university' that violates the most basic of human rights. 

​Unfortunately I doubt the BC NDP has the jam to do anything about it. I would love to be proven wrong on this...

Unionist

Supreme Court just voted 7 to 2 for gays and against God. Fuck you, Trinity Western!

Rev Pesky

I have to say this is a great victory. We should thank the Law Societies who fought this. It makes it clear there are limits to religious freedoms. 

Note the difference between this decision and the recent US Supreme Court decision allowing the religious to discriminate. That decision is going to haunt the USA for a long time.

NorthReport

Thanks Unionist. This is indeed good news and has been an embarassment for BCers for some time now.

6079_Smith_W
cco

Rev Pesky wrote:

I have to say this is a great victory. We should thank the Law Societies who fought this. It makes it clear there are limits to religious freedoms. 

It didn't even do that (though I wish it had). TWU is still free to keep the "No gays allowed" sign on the door. What the ruling says is that they can't force provinces (whose beliefs that gays are human are non-religious and, as such, traditionally subordinate to religious views) to hire their graduates.

CBC wrote:
Janet Epp Buckingham, a TWU professor who helped develop the law school proposal, said she was saddened by the ruling.

"We feel that this is a loss for diversity in Canada," she said. "Canada has traditionally upheld values of diversity for a broad array of religious views. So we're very disappointed in the way the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled today."

Andrew Bennett, director of the religious freedom institute at the Christian-based think tank Cardus, said the ruling could have broader implications for other professions such as medicine, and for other religious schools.

He said the Supreme Court has affirmed and advanced an "imagined conflict" between sexual and religious identities.

"This is not a question of religious identity, it's not a question of sexual identity. It's a question of fundamental freedoms, and also about the freedom to live your faith publicly," he said.

Bennett's still free to live his faith publicly, continuing to not be gay and to tell gays they're going to hell. He's even free to maintain his straights-only classrooms. The religious right to discriminate has not in any way been infringed. He just doesn't get to force provinces to treat TWU's diplomas the same as those from universities that tolerate gay students. As usual, in the religious mind, this counts as oppression.

Bravo to the Supreme Court. I really expected this ruling to go the other way.

progressive17 progressive17's picture

Nice to see some people still take Part 1 of the Constitution Act (1982) "The Charter" seriously. I sure do!

Rev Pesky

cco responding to my post:

Rev Pesky wrote:

I have to say this is a great victory. We should thank the Law Societies who fought this. It makes it clear there are limits to religious freedoms. 

to which cco replied:

It didn't even do that (though I wish it had).

From the CBC story, quoting the decision:

A B.C.-based evangelical Christian university has lost its legal battle over accreditation for a planned new law school, with a Supreme Court of Canada ruling today saying it's "proportionate and reasonable" to limit religious rights in order to ensure open access for LGBT students.

So, yes it did limit religious ffreedoms.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
So, yes it did limit religious ffreedoms.

Only if we define religious freedoms as the right to tell others how to live, in order to please God.

If we define it as an individual's right to believe as they wish and act accordingly, how does this ruling infringe on anyone's freedom??

brookmere

Rev Pesky wrote:
So, yes it did limit religious ffreedoms.

Only in the sense that religious institutions are not immune from the consequences of policies that would be illegal if practiced by secular institutions. In plainer language, religions cannot get away with anything just because they're religions.

6079_Smith_W

Kind of like those bakers thinking they should have the "freedom" to not serve gay customers. It isn't a freedom, but rather discrimination of others, with their religion held up as an excuse.

 

NorthReport

It's important how and who gets put on the Supreme Court.

BC's Trinity Western University capitulates and their present students, nor their future students, will no longer have to sign a covenant.

NorthReport

Trinity Western University's community covenant no longer mandatory 

https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/trinity-western-universitys-com...

NorthReport
quizzical

just unspoken and unsigned now. they want their lawyers. ends justify means has kucked in.

NorthReport

Yea, this is, in TWU’s opinion, their route to getting their law school back on the front burner. I don’t think they are quite there yet however and hopefully these Law Societies that opposed the TWU Law School will continue the pressure on them until such time as they completely stop with their dumb-ass discrimination

NorthReport

dp

NorthReport

Trinity Western Covenant Change Good, But Not Far Enough, Critics Say

Evangelical university maintains it’s always been welcoming to LGBTQ2S+ students.

 

However, faculty and staff will still be expected to sign and adhere to the covenant, which remains a foundational document of the university.

“Faculty and staff are long term members of our community, and our legislated mandate is to provide higher education to all comers from a Christian perspective and point of view,” he said, adding Trinity Western was founded by the Evangelical Free Church, which, unlike some other Christian denominations, does not recognize or perform LGBTQ2S+ marriages.

“In order to do that, we need to have, consistent with our mandate, professors and staff who carry out that mandate.”

That worries Margot Young, law professor with the University of British Columbia, who specializes in constitutional and social justice law.

“I think that’s concerning from the perspective of somebody who teaches at a law school that the teaching of inclusivity and human rights will be framed by a Biblically based paradigm that condemns the full sexual diversity of humans,” she said.

While Young stops short of saying TWU shouldn’t have a law school, she says the school’s paradigm, and the basis of the law school in that paradigm, “makes me doubt how well they’re going to be able to achieve the kind of inclusive, diversity-celebrating legal education we should all aspire to give our law students.”

That being said, Young added there is a lesson for all Canadian law schools in the six-year journey Trinity Western University has taken towards obtaining a law school, which is currently on hold.

“Some of the evangelical Christian students were saying they didn’t feel comfortable in the other law schools, and that’s why they welcomed a school that was going to be framed in a way that was consistent with their evangelical Christian religious precepts,” she said.

“This is a reminder to all law schools to consciously construct a learning environment and a social environment within their school that is respectful of and that values diversity, and all forms of diversity: religious, in sexual orientation, gender. That’s a continuing mission for all of us.”

Vanessa Singleton, a second year law student at Thompson Rivers University and incoming president of OutLaws, a LGBTQ2S+ law student advocacy group, says Trinity Western’s decision regarding the covenant is a step in the right direction — but it doesn’t go far enough if faculty and staff still have to sign.

“TWU is trying to save face a little bit here and do something that looks like a good thing, but they’re still kind of doing the same thing behind the scenes,” she said.

“I think that’s a normal thing to happen when it’s a really big institution, they get all this negative media around what they’re doing. And then their reaction is to do something really quick to try and cover it up, because they put all this money into building a law school and they don’t want to lose a bunch of money on this either, probably.”

https://thetyee.ca/News/2018/08/15/Trinity-Western-Covenant-Change-Good-...

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
However, faculty and staff will still be expected to sign and adhere to the covenant, which remains a foundational document of the university.

I'm certainly not agreeing with it, at all.

But I think that Catholic School teachers in Ontario (at least) have been subject to similar for as long as I've been around.  Has that changed?  Can a Separate School Board teacher live with her lesbian partner now?  Or even her heterosexual partner now?

cco

Ontario's Catholic schools are specifically enumerated in the constitution. As many reasons as we all can think of to change that, it doesn't seem likely to change soon, nor does it convey a constitutional duty upon law societies to give equal treatment to all other forms of bigotry.

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