New Brunswick votes to uphold accreditation of controversial Christian law school

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      Another twist has developed in the ongoing saga of Trinity Western University's quest for law-school accreditation across the country.

      The Law Society of New Brunswick voted Friday (January 9) that it would uphold its June decision to accredit the school. At a special general meeting held on September 13, law society members had voted to revoke accreditation of the law school based in Langley, B.C.

      The motion to rescind the decision failed to pass after a vote by secret ballot resulted in a 12-12 tie.

      Meanwhile, TWU is taking the Law Society of British Columbia to court for reversing its decision to accredit the school.

      Alberta, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, and the Yukon have accredited the school, in addition to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. However, Saskatchewan has put its decision on hold, in addition to Manitoba. Ontario and Nova Scotia voted against accreditation.

      The proposed law school by the Christian university, the first of its kind in the country, generated national debate about religious versus LGBT rights. The school requires students to sign a covenant which prohibits any sexual relations outside of opposite-sex marriage. Consequently, critics state that this convenant discriminates against same-sex relationships. Same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada in 2005.

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      Jan 9, 2015 at 2:41pm

      It comes up again and again when people are talking about this, that denying them acceptance to any/all law societies violates their Freedom of Religion and honestly it doesn't. That's a "talking point" put forth by them so that they can attempt to claim the moral high ground, which they don't have.

      A Law Society refusing to accept members with a law degree from TWU does not in any way limit the Right of Freedom of Religion for those students who attend TWU. They are still free to believe whatever they like, regardless of how intolerant or bigoted those beliefs are.

      What they're looking for is the Right Not To Be Judged For The Things They Believe, which isn't a right that actually exists. The Freedom of Religion doesn't come with the Freedom To Not Bear Any Consequences For Those Beliefs.

      You want to have policies that are intolerant to members of the general public than don't be surprised when the general public don't respond favourably to that intolerance.

      Like it or not it is a type of religious privilege when we (those of us who don't share those beliefs) are supposed to not pass any value judgements the moment we hear "it's my religious belief" or "it's against my religion".

      I don't care if you're a bigot because you're an asshole and a redneck or you're a bigot because you believe god told you to be one, in the end all that matters is that you're a bigot not your rationale for why and you'll be judged (and should be judged) based on that bigotry.

      Lord Chancellor

      Jan 9, 2015 at 9:35pm

      "They are still free to believe whatever they like"

      Freedom of religion is not about belief; the charter protects freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression in a separate spot. Freedom of religion is hollow if it does not allow people to enact their religion.

      This is all about excluding people who do not share certain political opinions. The charter is not written in stone, nor are the Human Rights Acts or Codes. In a free and democratic society, one is allowed to be a member of a profession and hold political views contrary to the majority. However, we all know that isn't how it works in Canada. So, perhaps we do not live in a free and democratic society. Further, we don't really know what many people think on this issue, because if you speak your mind in Universities, you can be suspended, expelled, if your mind isn't "appropriate."

      Also, all Universities/Colleges impose "codes of conduct" on their students. If this is about how it is inappropriate to bind students to a code of conduct, I could get behind that. But it isn't. It's about one group wanting its code of conduct to prevail, horrified at the idea that there might be some diversity in codes of conduct. The people might prefer the "wrong one!"

      Codes of conduct are what prohibit students from telling certain sorts of jokes while students, not the criminal law. This is simply dirty politics from a constituency that has legitimate historical grievances. The solution to historical maltreatment of LGBT people is not contemporary mistreatment of religious people. If LGBT people wanted to start a University where people had to be in a committed, same-sex relationship in order to attend, would any LGBT people think that is immoral? I would fully support that, but I support TWU, too.

      Uh, yes.

      Jan 10, 2015 at 1:18am

      "If LGBT people wanted to start a University where people had to be in a committed, same-sex relationship in order to attend, would any LGBT people think that is immoral?"

      @Uh, yes.

      Jan 10, 2015 at 8:41am

      So it would be immoral for LGBT to organize meetings, education courses, and create a 'safe space' where only LGBT people are admitted? Would it be immoral if we did the same for the benefit of women? If the Knights of Columbus want to hold a meeting where only Knights of Columbus are admitted, is that immoral?

      Uh, yes.

      Jan 10, 2015 at 7:19pm

      @@Uh, yes. :

      Read the quote again. "...wanted to start a University..."

      We are talking about a University here, a Law School, publicly funded. Not a private club.


      Jan 12, 2015 at 12:34pm

      I wish there was a way to not frame this as a decision by a Christian school. It is a decision by a particular school with some homophobic policies. Not all Christians are homophobes. Not all homophobes are Christian, either.


      Jan 12, 2015 at 5:18pm

      Thank goodness the Law Society of New Brunswick didn't fall victim to the prejudices and bigotry that apparently is the norm for the Law Society of British Columbia.


      Jan 13, 2015 at 8:04am

      RUK and others. Don't forget that opposition to homosexuality is a cornerstone of other religions, not just Christianity. Islam is very opposed to homosexuality of any sort and they would excluded from full participation of the organized part of the religion, although I suppose that if they were actively trying to 'convert' to heterosexuality they would be tolerated. What I'm trying to say is that if you support freedom of religion then you have to be tolerant of anti-homosexual beliefs. Just calling it homophobia is simple-minded. In the case of TWU they are also against sex outside of a heterosexual marriage as well. It's part of the Christian religion, regardless if you find it repulsive or not.