Barry Bussey, Vice-President of Legal Affairs for the Canadian Council of Christian Charities discusses recent opposition to a Canada's first openly Christian law school.  The following is an excerpt of a full article.

EXCERPT:

The hypersensitive response over Canada's first openly Christian law school at Trinity Western University (TWU) has led to a demand that law societies across Canada not allow TWU law graduates to practise law – because of the religious belief of TWU concerning marriage. In essence, a religious test to determine one's suitability to practise law.

A law school seemed like the logical next step in the evolution of programs offered at TWU, a Christian university in Langley, British Columbia. Given that Canada espouses to be a multicultural society where diversity is celebrated, one would have thought that TWU's application would have been met with a general consensus that a Christian law school would only increase Canada's diversity scale. However, that was not to be the case. Despite the fact that there are 18 secular English common law schools in this country with no Christian alternative, the prospect of having one Christian law school caused a level of opposition and rancour not seen in Canadian legal history-and it is not over yet.

Christians have been in the business of running universities for a long time – at least since the 6th Century.[1] Although secular law schools may not acknowledge it, they are the beneficiaries of a Christian heritage.[2] In light of that history it seems odd, therefore, that a Christian university would have to face such hostility.

The opposition is coming from very influential legal quarters. The Canadian Council of Law Deans (CCLD),[3] the Canadian Bar Association,[4] law students, and major newspapers such as The Globe and Mail,[5] were among the detractors. Yet despite all of that opposition, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (FLSC) gave "preliminary approval" for the law school to go ahead.[6] Only a few days later the British Columbia government gave its approval.[7] Amrik Virk, the Advanced Education Minister, noted that after the government's review, the TWU law school proposal "met the degree program quality assessment criteria for private and out-of-province public institutions."

With both the FLSC and the BC Government on side what possibly could go wrong? Plenty, it seems. First, activists are threatening to take the matter to court; and second, attention is now turning toward the provincial law societies whom activists are pressuring to refuse licenses to TWU law graduates; further, there is a blatant attempt to prevent the future TWU law dean from being permitted membership of the CCLD.[8] I take the position, as will be outlined below, that by demanding the law societies to acquiesce to their demands, the opposition's animus against TWU has raised the ante to such a degree that we now have legal professionals calling into question the very rule of law. This is because the constitutional protection of religious freedom requires the approval of TWU law school. However, the opposition is prepared to run roughshod over religious freedom in the quest for the dominance of equality rights.

Read the full article:  http://www.cccc.org/news_blogs/barry/2014/01/27/will-lawyers-in-canada-soon-face-a-religious-test-the-hypersensitive-response-over-canadas-first-openly-christian-law-school/

 

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