UPDATE: Victory in B.C.!
Today (November 1, 2016) the B.C. Court of Appeal unanimously upheld the constitutional right of Trinity Western University to open a law school. The Law Society of British Columbia had voted to ban any graduates from TWU’s law school (which hasn’t even opened yet!) from practising law. The law society was brazen: they were banning TWU grads because the university official supports Christian values, including a student “covenant” by which students agree to live a moral life — no gambling, no drunkenness, no extramarital sex, etc. So the law society banned all TWU lawyers — as did law societies in Ontario and Nova Scotia.
Today’s B.C. ruling couldn’t have been clearer: Christians have the right to their own values and beliefs, even if others (including gay rights activists) don’t like them. Here’s a key line in the ruling: "Indeed, it was evident in the case before us that the language of “offense and hurt” is not helpful in balancing competing rights. The beliefs expressed by some Benchers and members of the Law Society that the evangelical Christian community’s view of marriage is “abhorrent”, “archaic” and “hypocritical” would no doubt be deeply offensive and hurtful to members of that community.”
In other words, there is no counterfeit human right not to be offended — and even if there was, Christians could be offended by the law society’s words!
You can read the whole ruling here.
Our friend John Carpay of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has been an intervenor on the side of Trinity Western University since the beginning, fighting this fight in all three provinces where it’s been to court. We’ve done our best to help crowdfund some of his costs.
If you haven’t yet contributed, please click here!
Ezra speaks with John Carpay about the latest win for Trinity Western University. John and Ezra explain how Canadians can help the law school ensure every citizen's right to free association and religious liberty.
Ezra speaks with John Carpay about some bad news: The Ontario Court of Appeals agreed with liberals and gay activists and sided against Trinity Western, a Christian college
John Carpay joins Ezra to discuss the latest happenings around Trinity Western University.
Justice Centre's Factum at the ONCA and BCCA:
Ezra at Trinity Western University with some allies.
BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Ontario court upholds discrimination against Trinity Western University law students
The Ontario Divisional Court just issued its ruling in the case of Trinity Western University’s proposed law school.
As you know, anti-Christian bigots at the Law Society of Upper Canada voted to ban any graduates from that school from practicing law in Ontario — in advance, without even meeting them, without any complaints against them.
The Divisional Court sided with bigotry. Their ruling was laughable — you can read it here. They claimed they weren’t being anti-Christian — after all, Trinity Western University could still go ahead and operate a law school! It’s just that their graduates couldn’t work in Ontario. Here’s what they wrote, in paragraph 121:
If TWU wanted to operate its law school for purely religious purposes, it would be content to proceed with its view of the proper law school but with the full knowledge that its students would only be automatically eligible for membership in the Bar of some Provinces, while not of others.
This is outrageous.
As you know, we have committed to helping our friend John Carpay of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. Just last week, we sent him our latest cheques — totalling $12,000. Obviously this ruling must be appealed.
This battle is going to go all the way to the Supreme Court. We’ve got to help make sure that John has the money to fight it all the way to the top. Will you please join with me in contributing to his costs to appeal this outrageous Ontario decision?
Please click here to help. As long as Trinity Western and John keep fighting for us, we’ve got to stand with them.
It’s outrageous: Christian students, who choose to live a Christian lifestyle — to impose certain moral values on themselves, not on other people — are being banned from practicing law. I have never heard of such brazen anti-Christian bigotry in modern Canada.
I said we’d try to raise $1,000 to help his costs, and I’d kick in the first $50. Well, we did it — that is, you did it! Today I put a $1,200 cheque in the mail to John’s Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms! Here’s a picture of the cheque:
Thanks for your help — I love John, and I love supporting his fight. We’ve sent a series of cheques to him over the past two years, and we will keep doing so to support his public interest law firm. Freedom isn’t cost-free — but helping a noble lawyer like John is a small price to pay.
If you haven't chipped in yet, please do so by clicking here. Let’s see if we can’t top up this cheque by another $800 — to make it an even $2,000.
Fighting for TWU, and winning! Check out the latest on the fight for freedom of religion in Canada:
Watch my interview with John Carpay, the civil liberties lawyer intervening in court for Trinity Western’s law students. I've pledged to help raise money for his work.
The Law Society of British Columbia did the right thing – they voted to accredit the new law school of Trinity Western University.
But then a group of dissident B.C. lawyers objected. They wanted to ban graduates from Trinity Western, purely because of that school's “community covenant”. That conduct code – that students voluntarily pledge themselves to following — commits students to a modest lifestyle, abstaining from drinking and drugs, and to restrict sex to the confines of a traditional marriage.
It's that last point that irked a group of B.C. lawyers, who agitated for a province-wide vote to ban Trinity Western. They said by insisting on traditional marriages, Trinity Western was anti-gay, so they should be banned. Shockingly, that vote passed, with over 70% of B.C. lawyers choosing to blacklist the Christian school.
It's blatant religious discrimination. The Supreme Court of Canada itself has already struck down a similar ban on Trinity Western grads, that B.C.’s teaching profession tried to impose a dozen years ago for the same reason.
You'd think that lawyers who know about our Charter of Rights would be the last to discriminate based on religion.
What can we do? John Carpay, a civil liberties lawyer with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, is intervening in court on behalf of Trinity Western in Nova Scotia and Ontario. And he says if the university sues in B.C., he'll intervene there too.
John’s small organization can use our help – let's help him raise $5,000 to fight the good fight in Nova Scotia and Ontario. And if a lawsuit is begun in B.C., and he intervenes there, let’s raise another $5,000 for him too.
Click here now, to help fund John's fight in the two courts he's currently in. And we'll contact you if and when Trinity Western and John take up the fight in B.C., too.
No Christians Allowed?
Two Canadian law societies – secretive committees of lawyers in each province – have decided to blacklist all students from a Christian law school in B.C. called Trinity Western University (TWU), because of that school’s Christian student code of conduct.
None of those students – no matter how smart, no matter how hard-working, no matter how honest – will be allowed to practice law.
It’s anti-Christian bigotry that would be unthinkable if it targeted Black, Jewish, Muslim or gay students.
TWU’s law school is fully accredited, just like the University of Toronto or Osgoode Hall. But because its students live by Christian values, bigots at law societies across Canada have voted to ban its graduates from TWU from practicing law in their provinces.
It’s the modern equivalent of a “No Blacks Allowed” sign on a restaurant in the 1960’s in the Deep South.
Ontario’s law society voted 28 to 21 to ban any TWU students from working. In Nova Scotia, one single bigot was all it took: they voted 10 to 9 to ban these Christian students.
It’s a shocking attack on freedom of religion, that’s clearly contrary to the promise of freedom of religion in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You’d think law societies would care about that.
Law societies should be stamping out discrimination, not enforcing it.
There is no doubt that these secretive law societies are breaking the law. When anti-Christian bigots at the B.C. teacher’s college tried to do the same thing years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada smacked them down, saying anti-Christian discrimination is unacceptable in a modern society. Apparently these law society bigots think they’re above the law.
It’s bullying at its worst. These anti-Christian extremists in Ontario and Nova Scotia aren’t even punishing TWU. They’re punishing individual law students they haven’t even met yet, simply for choosing to attend a Christian law school.
What’s next? If they can ban lawyers based on the Christian views of their law school, can they ban individual lawyers who believe in Christianity too?
Ironically, these same law societies were up in arms about Quebec’s proposed Charter of Values that would have banned government employees from wearing ostentatious religious symbols, like Sikh turbans or Muslim veils. That idea was defeated in April’s Quebec election. But now the bigots at the law societies want their own Charter of Values – but only targeting Christians. It’s a national disgrace.
There is something deeply wrong when the people who are supposed to be guardians of our civil rights are the ones destroying them. Freedom of religion is so important, our Constitution even calls it a “fundamental freedom”.
The law societies in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, PEI, Newfoundland and Nunavut know this – they’ve voted to approve graduates from TWU. Not every law society is as bigoted as the ones in Ontario and Nova Scotia.
Sign the petition against anti-Christian bigotry in Canada’s law societies. We’ll send the petition to the hateful bullies in Ontario and Nova Scotia. And we’ll send it to the law societies that have yet to vote, to let them know we’re watching.
This isn’t just about Christian students at TWU. It’s about whether we allow our entire legal system to be hijacked by extremist bigots, who are keeping an illegal enemies list of religions they don’t like.
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
2(b) Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.
Freedom of religion is a fundamental freedom in the Canadian Charter of Rights. We demand that those law societies that have succumbed to the ugly campaign of religious discrimination immediately rescind their bigoted rulings, and that other Canadian law societies welcome the TWU law students in the spirit of Canadian tolerance, pluralism and the freedom of religion guaranteed in our Constitution.