O Canada! Where Is Your Respect for Religious Freedom?

A case in Canada is being called a “watershed moment” for religious freedom for our neighbor to the north.

Trinity Western University, an Evangelical Christian school in British Columbia, has an ethics policy, a “community covenant” they call it, that forbids sexual relations outside of marriage. The Law Society of British Columbia and the Law Society of Upper Canada have refused accreditation to graduates of the school on the grounds that the school’s policy on sexual relations, based on orthodox Christian ethics, is discriminatory against LGBTQ persons (apparently, LGBTQ persons are the only persons in Canada who engage in sexual relations outside of marriage, for the law societies have nothing to say about the policy being discriminatory against sexually-active, unmarried heterosexual couples).

So, again, Christians are coming up against the lie that same-sex “marriage” would have no impact on them because marriage is a personal choice and why would it matter to Christians if gays want to marry each other. The goal, here, is not mutual tolerance, but acceptance of a lifestyle, even if that lifestyle is contrary to twenty centuries of Christian ethics. No matter. You must comply or close your doors.

I have to wonder how official acceptance of a particular sexual ethic has anything to do with the proper preparation of law school students to practice law, but the Law Society of British Columbia and the Law Society of Upper Canada are claiming that it is, in fact, impossible for those who embrace and commit their lives to an orthodox Christian sexual ethic to adequately practice law in Canada or to prepare others for practicing law in Canada. Apparently, acceptance of the gay lifestyle and “marriage equality” is essential to the qualified practice of law in Canada. That’s a pretty extreme position.

Well, say opponents of Trinity Western’s “community covenant,” the sexual ethics proposed by Trinity Western discriminates against LGBTQ persons (also against sexually-active, unmarried heterosexual persons, but they don’t seem to merit the same sympathy in Canada as gays). So, they are simply attempting to set straight Trinity Western by demanding that they surrender their tired-old ethics in favor of what we know is right and true today. In other words, they are demanding that an Evangelical Christian school abandon its Christian ethics in order to accommodate the sensibilities of their contemporaries. Golly, when has that ever happened, except in every century and in every nation the Christian message has been preached and lived?

Now, isn’t is reasonable to conclude that, because Trinity Western opposes same-sex “marriage,” and because same-sex “marriage” is legal in Canada, that Trinity Western’s students would be ill-prepared to practice law indiscriminately in Canada? Because, who ever heard of law professors, much less a law school, actively opposing a nation’s settled law? Oh, wait …

The consequences of this case are enormous, and that’s not an exaggeration. If Trinity Western loses, then every Christian university, every Christian school, every Christian charity, could be forced to either publicly support the gay lifestyle and same-sex “marriage,” as well as abortion, sterilization, contraception, sex-change surgery, capital punishment, immigration laws, limits on free speech (which are quite severe in Canada compared to the U. S.), and a whole host of other things that are legal in Canada but opposed to Christian ethics and/or sensibilities. Basically, the Canadian government could have full force to determine what Christian institutions are allowed to teach and what policies and practices they are allowed to adopt. It would, in effect, be the end of open and free, meaningful Christian ministry in Canada.

Canada’s high court has said it would rule on the case in 2018. Given the eagerness of some in the United States to apply international law and standards to American institutions, this case bears watching, and not only out of solidarity to our Christian brothers and sisters in Canada. It may well foretell the coming of more assaults on Christian institutions and ministries in the U. S.


Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

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