Free Church Law School collides with PCness

One of Canada’s finest universities is in the Evangelical Free Church education constellation.  Trinity Western University in British Columbia serves 4000 students from over 30 countries in 42 undergraduate and 16 graduate programs.  Five times in the past decade Canada’s most widely-read newspaper has given it an A+ for quality of education–an unparalleled recognition.gavel

In 1996 after being denied certification for the teachers it graduated, TWU launched a long and expensive court battle.  The rub the British Columbia Teachers’ College objected to was its student code of conduct which forbade “homosexual conduct”.  In 2001 Canada’s Supreme Court handed TWU’s opponents a stunning defeat.

Deja vu.  Now it’s TWU’s law school and law graduates that are under attack.  Here is the latest from President Kuhn.

May 6, 2014

Dear EFCA Friends,

We’re sending you this message today because we have an important update about the TWU School of Law. Trinity Western University has come under fierce public attack for standing up for our right to uphold evangelical Christian values, including the biblical definition of marriage. We believe the recent decision by Ontario’s Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) to ban TWU School of Law graduates from articling or practicing law in Ontario, and the Nova Scotia Barristers Society’s (NSBS) decision not to approve the TWU School of Law unless the University alters its religious beliefs and practices, have dangerous implications for all Christians and religious organizations in Canada.
 
We believe that the LSUC and NSBS decisions, which were made despite approvals from the BC Ministry of Advanced Education and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (whose approval has been followed by law societies in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, PEI and Newfoundland), are in contravention of the law. Therefore, Trinity Western University will commence legal proceedings in Ontario and Nova Scotia to defend the rights of Canadians to express religious beliefs without being excluded from the public marketplace.
 
In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in TWU’s favour for the right to grant teaching degrees. Canadian law requires that all Supreme Court of Canada decisions be respected and followed. Further, section 3.1 of the 2005 Civil Marriage Act itself makes provision for Canadians to uphold their own religious views concerning marriage, given the fact that many religions are opposed to same-sex unions. (Watch our frequently asked questions video news release to learn more about these legal challenges.)

In addition to the challenges in Ontario and Nova Scotia, on April 14 a Petitioner represented by Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby commenced a lawsuit against the BC Minister of Advanced Education to challenge the province’s December 2013 approval. TWU will apply to be added as a Respondent to this litigation so that it has opportunity to present arguments to the BC court.

As well, some BC lawyers are seeking to overturn the decision of the Law Society of British Columbia—which, after thorough consideration, voted 20-6 to approve the TWU School of Law. A special meeting for all BC lawyers, as well as students articling in the province, has been called for June 10. Many of you know lawyers in BC, and I encourage you to share the details of this Special General Meeting, which will be linked by telephone and held in 13 locations across the province.
 
 Most importantly, we’d like to ask for your prayers as we now face legal proceedings in BC, Ontario, and Nova Scotia—a long and costly prospect that can only move forward by the grace of God and on the prayers of His people. Thank you in advance for standing with our University and with TWU students and alumni, who are making an impact in their communities at home and around the world.

In His Service, and Yours,

Bob Kuhn
President, Trinity Western University
president@twu.ca | 604.513.2021

Pray for our friends north of the border that God may once again grant them favor in the courts so that Canadians might not exclude Christians from practicing certain professions due to prejudicial opinions about what it means to follow Jesus.