July 17, 2018

Made in Canada, eh? My Rights

Episode 2:

Today’s post comes from the pen of Dennis Maione. Dennis and I have been friends for over 25 years, from the days when we attended seminary together. He is a multiple author, including a book we reviewed here on Internet Monk, Pastor, has survived cancer twice, and was once spotted finishing an Ironman competition. For some unknown reason he lives in Winnipeg, which begs the question, “why?”. Here is his rather different take (you can google some of the others) on a recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada. As usual, your thoughts and comments are welcome.

My Rights – By Dennis Maione

This week the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that it was discriminatory for Trinity Western University to enact a morality code which effectively discriminated against anyone who would not conform to what they deemed to be a Biblical definition of marriage. While the court did not say that the morality code was, in and of itself, discriminatory, it was ruled to be contrary to the best interests of Canadian public life. This because it defined, and then mandated, who a Trinity Western student was allowed to have sex with: specifically, it prohibits sex between legally married people whose marriages do not conform to the definition of mariage that Trinity Western University deems to be Biblical. As a result, there will probably be no law school at Trinity Western University.

Of course, conservative Christians, and many other conservative religious groups, see this as an affront to their ability to practice religion within the public square. It is seen as a violation of the freedom of religion clause in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Inasmuch as I find it convenient to have my religious beliefs enshrined in a charter of rights , thus eliminating the fear of reprisal regardless of what I believe or what practices those beliefs engender, I am not going to raise a hew and cry. No protesting in the street for me. Why? Because the government does not owe me anything. Nor does society. In fact, the very scripture that I use to defend my right to believe what I do about marriage and about morality in general also says that as a follower of Jesus I am first and foremost beholding to God and after that my primary character trait needs to be one of humility. And while I would prefer that the morality of my culture would line up with all the beliefs I have as a follower of Jesus, it is naïve to believe that that will ever be so.

It has been argued that this ruling demonstrates an erosion of my rights. A subtle, or not subtle, stripping away of my right to believe and to practice my beliefs within the public square. What’s next, it is asked, will the government tell me what I can preach, whether I can go to church on Sunday, or whether I can say that some things are sin and others are not?

The answer to that question is two-fold. First, welcome to much of the world. While I don’t think that my plight is less important because others have it worse, this is a lot like folks in Winnipeg complaining about a day of of brown water when the community of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation have been boiling their water for 20 years because if they don’t they will die from deadly diseases due to water contamination. In the same way, Christians in Canada could look to China, or Cuba, or North Korea before they complain too vociferously about religious freedom.

Second, and more importantly, let’s look to our own Bible. My rights? I have the right to death because of my rebellion against God. And everything else, my life, my hope, my present, and my future, comes at the grace of God: not the will of society, not the edict of government. Oh yes, I also have the right to put everyone else’s needs before my own, whether those people are followers of Jesus or not. I do not have the right to define marriage for other Canadians. I do not have the right to define life—its beginning or end—for other Canadians. I do not have the right to impose my moral code on other Canadians. I have only the right to live in the grace that God has given to me and to put the needs of other people before my own.

Does this mean that I should just “sit down and shut up”? Of course not. As a citizen of this country and as someone who cares deeply about the people in it and the justice that we claim to want for everyone—both the majority and the minority voices—I have an obligation to speak. I must speak from my grounding in the world of God because that is where my voice comes from. But I should not be surprised when that voice is ignored in favour of other, sometimes more palatable, voices. But I’ll never stand, like an overwrought toddler, complaining that my rights have been violated. Because, as Jesus said and modelled to me, my right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness must always be subordinated to those of yours, no matter who you are or what you believe.

Comments

  1. Robert F says:

    There is an awful lot of “I’m nothing but a worm who deserves nothing but the judgment of God” theology in this. I don’t find it helpful when fundamentalists deploy such theology or language to keep a woman in an abusive marriage, and I don’t find it helpful when Christians use it to themselves acquiesce or advise other Christians to acquiesce in what they would otherwise consider an abusive relationship to government. I’m not arguing that what is described in the post is such an abusive relationship to government, and I’m not arguing for or against the justness or rightness of Canada’s laws regarding how Christian moral codes must or must not be accommodated in the public square; I am arguing against a kind of masochistic theology I believe is at the root of a lot of the disorder and dysfunction in Christian thinking and behavior now and down through the ages.

    • Burro (Mule) says:

      Wheee!! Worm-theology is the worst argument Christians can put forth to protect anyone against the encroachment of the State, because if Christians have no actual rights except to suffer under God’s Providence, even fewer rights have the unbaptized or even better, the unregenerate (as the ruling party defines that term).

      The Republic of Virtue is our homeland now, and we’re all Manichaeans, due to precisely this theology. Politics becomes nothing more than the raw exercise of power and the only response possible is The Resistance®. There is no, indeed, there CANNOT BE!, any communion between the bigots and the woke, or between the swole red-pilled and the man-jawed feminists with their no-T soyboy enablers.

      Any masochistic theology can easily become sadistic theology.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Do you mean Citizen Robespierre’s Republique of Perfect Virtue?
        So Perfect it justifies any atrocity whatsoever to bring it about?
        Always beckoning so Virtuously from the other side of the “Regrettable but Necessary” Reign of Terror?

      • Robert F says:

        @Mule — We agree? Really?

    • Could it be because Judiasm and Christianity have always been the slaves’ religion?

  2. Trinity Western U wanting a law school on their terms is something as a Christian I’ve been opposed too.

    The assumptions are that other law schools in Canada won’t:

    a) put out students who will do charity law like evangelicals will

    b) welcome evangelical Christians into their law schools

    Law school curriculum is uniform across the country.

    I think Trinity Western wanting a law school was about wanting big bucks. Law schools aren’t expensive for universities, require no special space or equipment but a law school dazzles donors.
    The reality is Canada’s law school applicants have been dropping for a myriad of reasons, and evangelicals are not barred from any law school in the country. A married gay or lesbian would not be accepted at Trinity Western.
    That makes no sense, if you are going to teach our laws, uphold them, including our Charter.

    There is no such creature as a Christian lawyer, doctor, mechanic etc. There are lawyers, doctors and mechanics who are Christians – believers, followers of Jesus Christ and many lawyers , doctors and mechanics who didn’t go to a Christian school in Canada shine in their faith and in their practise.

    Evangelicals who want a Christian education can do their undergrad work at Trinity.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      There is no such creature as a Christian lawyer, doctor, mechanic etc.

      There are, but they’re ALL as incompetent in their profession as you can get.
      They only thing they know how to do is hit you up with the Four Spiritual Laws.

  3. john barry says:

    As usual I am confused. Does this Trinity College receive any government money or support via grants, etc? The Trinity Policy may be offensive , it might be wrong in the secular, popular Canadian society but is it a “right” for a married homosexual person to attend a private institution who does not approve of the person’s lifestyle? Is it unlawful to be not only offensive, culturally “wrong” or in the minority if it is a part of religious belief, teachings and historical norms of a religion? Would the graduates of the law school have a different understanding and practice of the law and even if they did would not the secular legal marketplace insure their economic failure? This is not Sharia Law School is it or teaching a different law but a faith based private institution trying to observe a basic foundational belief in their college culture.

    This is not a public sector, open to everyone place, it is a place that you must effectively chose to go and be accepted. No, the government does not owe us anything except to acknowledge that certain rights including the right to religious freedom comes from God not the state. The First Amendment is not to protect the state from religion but religion from the state.

    So a homosexual married person in Canada who wants to go to Trinity and demand Trinity change their religious belief, enforced only on their campus and college culture can effectively shut down a college because they do not agree with the moral and religious beliefs of the college?

    Is the college tying to enforce marriage laws to all Canadians or just want attendees of their college to follow their religious beliefs?

    I will not , I repeat will not use the overused example of this being the camel’s nose under the tent, I will not use that over worn phrase unless I can come up with something better, which I cannot not. Bring in the camel and put up the tent.

    I think it was in England when a pub singer was arrested for racism for singing Every One was Kung Fu Fighting when 2 people walking by the pub heard him sing the great song by Carl Douglas and the song was a fairly big hit sometime in the 70’s or early 80’s. I think that was when they were putting up the tent in England and waiting for someone to bring in the camel, which I think the camel in completely in the tent of England now.

    • Robert F says:

      The First Amendment is not to protect the state from religion but religion from the state.

      It’s to protect the private citizen’s religious preferences and practices from the religious preferences and practices of whomever wields state authority, wherever those are different.

      • Christiane says:

        ‘protection from’

        as in:
        ‘stay out of my bedroom’; ‘stay out of my doctor’s office’ . . . . .

      • Klasie Kraalogies says:

        Exactly. JB’s definition of the 1st Ammendment places the church above the State.

        As an American he should know the background of the 1st Ammendment. It is not a “one-way wall”. I refer to Jefferson’s elucidation in the famous 1801 letter to the Danbury Baptists.

        • john barry says:

          Klasie, As an American I thought I did know. Jefferson was responding to the Danbury Baptist who were afraid of the actions of the Federalist Party and the state government in favoring a state sanctioned religion. They were more worried about a state government action than the Federal. Jefferson who had high regard for the French Revolution and its treatment of religion by the state was trying to assure the Ct. minority religion that the wall would protect them from the establishment of a state religion.

          The Supreme Court seized upon the “wall” to render decisions partly because Jefferson was certainly well versed in the 1st Amendment. The wall is to protect religion from the state and not to enforce the establishment of any one religion over another in government action. The state was not to enforce or hinder religious belief . The Federalist were deeply skeptical of the Jefferson Bible belief of Jefferson. The Danbury Baptist were worried about the upholding of the first amendment.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      They are private, but as they are registered as a charity, they receive massive tax breaks, thus they are indirectly supported.

      • Michael Bell says:

        Most private education institutes receive some public money directly.because they offer a service of benefit to some citizens. Here is the breakdown of TWU revenue in 2014.

        Receipted donations $10,585,806 (13%)
        Non-receipted donations $1,678,153 (2%)
        Gifts from other charities $2,766,601 (3%)
        Government funding $1,054,643 (1%)
        All other revenue $64,151,418 (80%)

        Gov’t funding was 1% of revenue. Receipted donations of 10.5 million would have resulted in tax credits to the donors to the tune of about 3 million.

        • Klasie Kraalogies says:

          So maybe the tax breaks aren’t massive, equating to about 3% of the budget. So if one includes that, their budget is about 4% government derived.

          For a publicly funded university like the U of S, that figure is just over 70%.

    • Iain Lovejoy says:

      No-one was arrested for singing “Kung Fu Fighting”: a man was arrested because a couple alleged they were subject to racist abuse while he was performing and they claimed he incited it. He was released without charge due to lack of evidence. The Daily Mail and the Sun are the Fox News of British newspapers.
      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-13218522
      Having read the Canadian Supreme Court judgment, the true facts of the matter are that TWU wanted to open a law school and applied for accreditation from the Law Society of British Columbia, which regulates these things. (Law students wishing to become lawyers require the requisite qualification from an accredited law school.) LSBC refused accreditation because TWU require students studying at TWU to sign a charter agreeing not to engage in sex outside heterosexual marriage throughout the duration of the course, including off campus in the privacy of students’ own homes. The LSBC decided that this discriminated against LGBT students who wanted to attenf the course (since homosexual marriage didn’t count) and was therefore contrary to Canada’s charter of fundamental rights, and refused to grant accreditation accordingly. The court case arose because TWU sued the LSBC to try and force the LSBC to reverse their decision and grant their law school accreditation. The Canadian Supreme Court decided the LSBC was entitled to refuse TWU accreditation if TWU’s charter meant gay students would be prevented from attending.
      https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/17140/index.do
      The kindest interpretation of the article above would be that the author doesn’t understand the basis of the decision, or is simply confused. Otherwise, what the author wants is for Christians to have the right to persecute non-Christians in the name of religion. We Christians live in societies alongside people who do not share our beliefs. The “right” TWU wants is the right to shun non-Christians, or those who do not share their particular beliefs, and bar them from otherwise purely secular services or facilities over which Christians of their particular persuasion happen to have control.

      • Michael Bell says:

        “The kindest interpretation of the article above would be that the author doesn’t understand the basis of the decision, or is simply confused. Otherwise, what the author wants is for Christians to have the right to persecute non-Christians in the name of religion.”

        I am sorry, but I didn’t get that from the article at all.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > I am sorry, but I didn’t get that from the article at all.

          Agree.

          I feel the article is actively acknowledging: “We Christians live in societies alongside people who do not share our beliefs”

        • Iain Lovejoy says:

          You are right, sorry. I misread his quoting of “conservative Christians” that it was persecution as his own views and the later passages as a sort of sorrowful acceptance of such “persecution” rather than a statement that it wasn’t really persecution at all.
          I should read things more carefully before shooting my mouth off.

  4. Christiane says:

    I love the stark contrast drawn between:

    “I’ll never stand, like an overwrought toddler, complaining that my rights have been violated”

    and

    ” as a follower of Jesus I am first and foremost beholding to God and after that my primary character trait needs to be one of humility”

    One often wonders about the ‘whiners’ among fundamentalist-evangelicals in the States who get push-back when they go into the public square and tell members of the public that they are hell-bound. Especially if we do know that Christian people in other parts of the world are getting massacred in their Churches. Something about that ‘whining’ seems petty in comparison with real persecution, sure.
    But then again, is Christian ‘humility’ really understood among fundamentalists? I don’t know. But all that malevalent finger-pointing they do does not bode well for having the humble heart of a sinner upon whom God has looked, no. And sure, the whining is childish and small and rather pitiful in light of what the rest of the Christian world is witnessing to in their service to others and their real sacrifice. As always, the impression that the whiners give is not that of Christian witness, but more the pouting stance of children who did not get their way.

    Good post. Good to see someone confront the ‘whiners’. Will it change anything? I don’t have an answer, but I am thankful for the courage shown.

    • senecagriggs says:

      Christiane, if I may ask –

      “One often wonders about the ‘whiners’ among fundamentalist-evangelicals in the States who get push-back when they go into the public square and tell members of the public that they are hell-bound. Especially if we do know that Christian people in other parts of the world are getting massacred in their Churches. Something about that ‘whining’ seems petty in comparison with real persecution, sure.
      But then again, is Christian ‘humility’ really understood among fundamentalists? I don’t know. But all that malevalent finger-pointing they do does not bode well for having the humble heart of a sinner upon whom God has looked, no. And sure, the whining is childish and small and rather pitiful in light of what the rest of the Christian world is witnessing to in their service to others and their real sacrifice. As always, the impression that the whiners give is not that of Christian witness, but more the pouting stance of children who did not get their way. ”

      Are you bigoted against Evangelicals?

      • Michael Bell says:

        Someone raises a valid point and you ask if they are a bigot?!? And you wonder why your comments get deleted?

        • senecagriggs says:

          Mike if you attack Evangelicals for being unloving, whiny and lacking compassion in an unloving, whiny, lacking compassion way, I’m going to point it out.
          ___
          BTW, I know EXACTLY why comments get deleted, they are firmly against the liberal, narrative flow of this blog. I’m not afraid to call a spade a spade. Never have been.

          • Michael Bell says:

            “I know EXACTLY why comments get deleted, they are firmly against the liberal, narrative flow of this blog”

            Lots and lots of people make comments that don’t agree with me and that I don’t agree with. Yet yours are the ones that get deleted. It would seem to me that your premise is incorrect.

            Here are the commenting guidelines as set out in the FAQ section. If you are finding your comments are being deleted, you will likely find your reasons below.

            Michael Spencer: Comments are welcome. Sometimes comments are held in moderation, but not most of the time.

            I moderate assertively. I delete comments that are irrelevant, too long, off topic, selling things, pimping blogs and especially those that reject the Christian profession of other posters.

            A primary commenting rule is to not engage in attempts to convert other Christians to your tradition or away from their own.

            If I announce a policy in a particular thread, I will moderate assertively according to that policy.

            Comments that denigrate the discussion itself or participants in the discussion will not be posted.

            You do not need to be obnoxious, mean or profane to be placed on moderation or banned. If your comments consistently are obstructive to the conversation, I will moderate accordingly.

            I have no problem banning commenters that offer no positive contribution to the discussion. I have a large audience and I moderate so they can have a civil discussion. I do not have any commitment to absolute free speech on my blog. I have worked hard for the success I have in this medium, and I do not share it or allow others to denigrate or manipulate it. You may participate, but I do not sponsor wars, slander, threats or pointless arguments.

            I am not a perfect moderator, so if you want to accuse me of being hypocritical or inconsistent, I already agree with you and it doesn’t matter. You won’t win the comment war.

            Chaplain Mike: Michael [Spencer] was a little more aggressive than I am in confronting commentors, putting them on moderation, and banning them. I am learning how to do this moderating thing, and I ask that IM participants be patient with me.

            I welcome diverse points of view. The IM auditorium has seats on the right, in the center, and on the left. Why would I want to be part of a discussion that only includes people who agree?

            The main things that tick me off are:

            Those who only care about spouting their opinions and don’t listen to others,
            Name-calling, hitting below the belt, or questioning someone’s salvation just because they disagree on some point of theology or interpretation,
            Those who try to hijack the comment thread and lead it away from the point of the post in question,
            Those who refuse to heed the warnings of the moderator.
            I want to reinforce what Michael said above: “I do not have any commitment to absolute free speech on my blog.” This is not a place for people to say anything they wish. Like life, you may not think the rules are fair or get applied consistently all the time. And you’ll be right.

      • Christiane says:

        Hi Senecagriggs,

        I’m confused by evangelicals (some, maybe many) these days, but ‘bigoted’ I hope not. Some members of my mother’s family were evangelical missionaries and her cousin became ill overseas, refused to leave and stayed until he had to return for medical care, but it was too late, and I honor him because he stayed for the right reasons, but I’m sad he died as a result, yes. I know about other evangelicals who have served overseas . . . David Miller did and now he is having surgery and we all hope he will be all right, but still, please pray for him. I know about the Stams family, relatives of a friend of Wade Burleson’s, who were beheaded in Asia (their little baby daughter was hidden by peasants and saved, thank God.

        Seneca, I’m Catholic, and we can’t ‘not’ respect the sincere faith of others, because that is something that would be a sin if we did that.
        But my observation does ring true: all that ‘whining’ seems petty when I think of the Stams, and of my mother’s cousin, and of Lottie Moon . . . . I think you know the story about her life in China. There are SO MANY evangelical people who have sacrificed for the missions financially and who have served in the missions, and why would I belittle any of that as they do this for the love of Christ???

        The whining, the finger-pointing . . . . all that just doesn’t cut it for me. I’m as judgmental as the next one and I hate that quality in myself. I think this post does put some light on the difference between the ‘whining’ and those who serve in humility, and I’m glad, because the contrast is something so remarkable that you can’t look away. The world notices it also. I call it ‘pharisee-itis’. And we are all guilty of it sometime if we are honest about ourselves.

      • Rick Ro. says:

        Tossing around the bigotry word for effect, eh, Seneca? Well, if you read Christiane’s post a little more closely you’ll see she’s clearly confronting FUNDAMENTAL evangelicals, not evangelicals in general. Fundamentalists of ANY stripe deserve confronting.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Especially if we do know that Christian people in other parts of the world are getting massacred in their Churches. Something about that ‘whining’ seems petty in comparison with real persecution, sure.

      In the words of the prophet Alfred Yankovic:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwvlbJ0h35A

  5. Burro (Mule) says:

    Why the animus against Winnipeg? It’s a Great City.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Winnipeg is Canada’s Cleveland. I assume these are tropes whose origins are not lost in the mysts of time.

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        Is it? I don’t know Winnipeg from Timbuktu, but Cleveland has a top-tier symphony and art museum. Yes, these are leftovers from Gilded Age philanthropy, but still… I enjoy talking about burning rivers as much as the next guy, but Cleveland’s popular image is not actually merited.

        • Michael Bell says:

          Winnipeg is home the very fine Winnipeg Philharmonic Orchestra, birthplace of Burton Cummings and Randy Backman, of the Guess Who, and the latter of Bachman Turner Overdrive. It is the home of one of my favourite musicians, Steve Bell (no relation). It is nicknamed Winterpeg, because “on average there are twelve days of the year that can reach a wind chill below ?40 °C or ?40 °F”.

        • Rick Ro. says:

          –> “…but Cleveland’s popular image is not actually merited.”

          Maybe not now, but at one time…LOL…

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > Cleveland’s popular image is not actually merited.

          I agree, but these stereotypes persist – it is not difficult to find examples.

          I live in a city where the population in the CBD has risen ~18% in 10 years, and one still hears the “will the last person to leave turn out the lights” jokes. As well as being referred to as the “city of churches” [when city of closed churches or churches converted to apartment buildings is more accurate].

          It is interesting how some of these things stick, especially for people over 60, as if whatever was true when they were in there 30s or 40s became indelibly persisted – or at that point they simply stopped paying attention anymore.

          • Richard Hershberger says:

            See also: Pittsburgh. Entirely different from the stereotype. I lived nearby about twenty years ago and was surprised at how happening a place it was. It is on my list of cities I would live in, were personal lifestyle preference the only consideration.

    • I always wondered what residents of that city thought of that song…

  6. Stbndct says:

    Fundamentalists are whining. How about the progressive liberal whining ? Perhaps it makes for a better discussion to not label it anything but whining.

    • Perhaps because there’s no biblical warrant for the fundamentalists to be whining about what they’re whining about? The Bible never promised social dominance or the right to impose your views about God and morality on those who don’t share them. You also weren’t promised the respect and admiration of the world. So why whine?

  7. I’ve been suffering yet another round of moral whiplash from the conservatives and fundamentalist christians in north america. Here in the U.S. they’re quoting Romans 13 about obeying the law of the land to justify taking children from parents (with apparently no system to later reunify them), but in Canada they oppose the government applying the law of the land because it might prevent them from establishing a large and profitable institution.

    From the outside, this looks like they value money and institutions and power and influence more than they value most vulnerable of our fellow human beings. From the outside it’s been an awful long time since anyone saw a display of humility and grace from these folks in the public sphere.

  8. john barry says:

    It seems to me that Trinity College was not out finger pointing or telling people they are going to hell, they were just there with their rules of admittance

    It is bad enough, for the college they are already in Winnipeg, perhaps Cleveland is purgatory?

    Again, what was the compelling reason for a homosexual married person to want to attend this particular private college. Could a Islamic college have a policy for men having beards and women dressing modestly?

    Again , the camel is in Canada and the neck is under the tent

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      They are in Langley, BC (part of the greater Vancouver Metro Area).

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Seems to me, by my understanding that: Could a Islamic college have a policy for men having beards and women dressing modestly? Yes. **BUT** a chartered LAW SCHOOL could not – you need to accept everyone who might qualify to perform legal services – at a law school. Which seems like a reasonable distinction.

      Much of the discussion about this ruling dropped the detail of what was being asked for.

  9. The actual case is really interesting. It’s an argument not over whether TWU can have their code of conduct (which is unchallenged directly), but whether law societies can choose to no accredit their law school due to them having their code of conduct. Except you need 100% law society accreditation to be a law school, presumably so people don’t spend years at your school only to discover they can’t actually practice law, I guess? This is where the public good (vs pure freedom) comes in, which law societies appear to trusted in some capacity with guarding?

    Also, it isn’t new – there was a case like this on their teaching program a few years ago, which they won. The fact that the results are different seem to have a lot to do with the specifics of how this branch of education work and the accreditation and purposes thereof?

    It’s worth reading about the particulars before letting people paint this simplistically, I think.

    What I found somewhat troubling were defenses based on the notion that the code of conduct isn’t enforced. That’s not better, that’s actually worse. If you’re going to have something like it with the potential to make some people feel more singled out than others or that can be used as a weapon, demonstrating fair enforcement is really crucial!

    • Michael Bell says:

      Thank you for the clarifications Tokah.

      I think that the teaching case did cover very similar ground.

      The previous case was in 2001. Gay marriage became legal throughout Canada in 2005. I think that their has been a shift in attitude in Canada towards not tolerating discrimination against LGBTQ, and this is reflected in the decision.

      • That makes sense, Mike. I don’t presume to understand the cultural shifts of anyplace I haven’t lived, but it fits the arcs of how these things go.

        I’m still living through wonder of my mom coming to the point of suggesting I pray about if it would be okay if I had a girlfriend, followed up by input on what kind she’d like me to have. *laughs* I know we’re both the same people who knew each other a few decades ago, but gosh have we transitioned to different places! Young Tok would be in disbelief.

    • There are LGBT students at Trinity Western U btw.

      British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Ontario law Societies refused accreditation, while 6 provincial societies granted it. BC court of appeals ruled for Trinity, as did NS, giving their okay as long as there was no evidence of harm. Ontario stood firm. (This is a provincial socieity jurisdiction area, the plans for the law school seeking accreditation were given a green light by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and the BC Ministry of Advanced Education.)
      The BC Ministry of Advanced Education withdrew it’s approval.

      From the Ontario Court of Appeal:

      “This limitation is of minor significance because a mandatory covenant is not absolutely required to study law in a Christian environment in which people follow certain religious rules of conduct, and attending a Christian law school is preferred, not necessary, for prospective TWU law students.”

      This was about equal, non-discriminatory access to the bar, a non-merit barrier to the bar, and about a public interest profession that requires open access.
      To date, all 23 law schools in Canada are in public universities. Canada has a glut of law grads for a number of reasons, there is currently no demand for more lawyers in the Canadian marketplace, tuition is prohibitive and wages haven’t budged.

      Trinity Western U isn’t hurting – it has 40 undergrad and 17 grad programs.

      This was an issue that needed to be debated.

  10. Dennis Maione says:

    Looks like I’ve managed to facilitate some great discussion. Just a note: I am not advocating “worm theology” nor am I trying foster a “sadistic” or “machoistic” relationship to the state. I am valuable for I am seen as such in the eyes of God. My point is that my rights as a child of God are not within the realm of society to withhold or to give out. One of the downsides to democracy is that I will frequently not get what I want or what is convenient for me. These are not rights they are preferences. Should I advocate for my preferences? Of course. Just like everyone else should. But it is not “worm theology” to say, “There are much more important things to worry about and fight for than my rights as a Christian.”

    • Rick Ro. says:

      Yeah, I didn’t get the “worm theology” critique of what you were saying either. That didn’t come across to me, anyway.

      Loved your perspective, btw.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Agree, I also did not see “worm theology”, simply an adult recognition of one’s place in the great convoluted story that is human society.

        Nice post.

    • Iain Lovejoy says:

      Just wanted to say sorry for misunderstanding your article in my comment above.

    • Robert F says:

      Combine this I have the right to death because of my rebellion against God with this my right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness must always be subordinated to those of yours, no matter who you are or what you believe (does that what you believe include what you do?) and, in my view, you have the makings of the kind of theology that prevents sound self-respect to those in direst need of it, and facilitates abusers of all kinds, whether state or private. Perhaps my characterization of it as worm theology was inexact, but it is still a tremendously deleterious theology that has wrought much evil mischief throughout history an into the present.

      • Dennis Maione says:

        Robert, I acknowledge that a blind submission to abusers is a terrible thing and I would never council an individual to accept abuse where walking away was an option. However, I still believe my comments to be valid. My life is not so valuable that I would take yours to save my own. But, more importantly, I would hold up the example of Jesus. As Paul says in Philippians: “though [Jesus] was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.”

        I cannot find anything remotely, let alone tremendously, deleterious in this and would challenge you to find examples of evil mischief which have been wrought from the kind of humility and self sacrifice that Jeuss showed.

        • Robert F says:

          I would say that the justification of every form of slavery and forced servitude in human history has been the result of a religious teaching (and not just Christian religious teaching) that the “right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” of some people (classes as well as individuals) should always be subordinated to that of others.

          I would add that to stand in protection of ones own value as a person against the unjust diminution of it by another or others requires one to undertake a most profound self-emptying that is entirely Christ-like.

          I apologize for any personal offense I may have given you in my comments. I don’t question that your intentions are honorable, but I do believe the theology you express is wrongheaded and has played out badly in history.

  11. After the reading up on the particulars about this, I did have a daydream I wanted to share with you all, though! I saw a fantastical alternative universe, where TWU prioritized all the things they seem to want: sexual purity and having the first law school of their kind at the same time. Looking at how that dovetailed with the law as decided by the supreme court, imagine that instead of giving up the law school, they took a path of asceticism! In this world, TWU amends their code of conduct (at least for the law school students and faculty) to simply specify no sex whatsoever, for anyone.

    The perspective this might give heterosexual christian students about their LBTQ+ brethren would be immense. It wouldn’t illuminate the long term loneliness fears, but would make many other parts of the experience more clear. They might experience the many ways in which it isn’t about the sex, but rather then innocent and casual behaviors that hypervigilant enforcers see as leading to sex or indicating potential sexual relationships, and also the resultant privacy invasion that follows and disturbs even an innocent life. It’d give practical experience as to how celibate partnerships work and the challenges they have in private and the public square. Being able to, on fairly equal medium term ground, share their struggles, might dispel notions that folks that aren’t straight are inherently more sexual than hetero folks. The lack of ability to rush marriage to legalize sexual or physically intimate relationships might give at least a taste of that pang the gay christians have when they realize it isn’t just self-control and potential loneliness now, but rather a seemingly endless treadmill of the same, what life looks like without hope of an off ramp.

    Graduates and veteran teachers at such a school might be the best placed people to be really supportive in practical ways to the queer conservative christians they meet in the future. Having put their money where there mouth in terms of the importance (or lack thereof, in this case) of sex and been on potentially the wrong end of a very judgemental culture, they would have the ability to speak in less academic ways and to proactively support celibate partnerships personally and as part of a greater body of believers. They might also be much better support to long term singles of any orientation and open to a greater variety of mutual suport options that are not based around couples. When they speak on their sexual ethics, no matter WHAT they turn out to be, they might remember asexuals sneering at them for finding their school time hard and be more measured in how they communicate their ideas.

    In immediate benefits, trans and intersexed students would have no reason to fear being suddenly reclassified or considered the wrong gender for rules enforcement, and you could make the whole situation pretty gender blind!

    Pipe dream, I know, and it wouldn’t help with the more existential struggles, but it is quite a world to imagine, isn’t it? =)

    • Burro (Mule) says:

      Been there. It’s an interesting place.

      In the 1980s I spent two years with an fundamentalist/evangelical mission that FORBADE any sexual/romantic attachments of any kind. All conversations with the opposite sex were subject to a rigid five minute limit. If you didn’t like it you could leave.

      Actually, this ruthless ascetism kind of advantaged those who had a homosexual orientation, in that as long as they didn’t scare the horses or awake suspicion, they could pretty much indulge as they saw fit.

      • That’s wild! I don’t see romantic orientation and sexuality as exactly the same, but yes, it sounds like it has a giant homoromantic loophole in the logic and thus pretty inequitable even before you get to the issues with things there weren’t groups for doing in each gender. (And obviously folks in the middle like me would mess it up hardcore.)

        Did your experience there change how you see the world at all?

        • Burro (Mule) says:

          Not really. My views on gender have always been so abstract and Platonic (in the philosophical sense) that I seriously doubt anything in the cislunar sphere could modify them.

          As for homosexual activity in general, it’s one of the passions to which the flesh is heir. People were tossed out of the mission for homosexual breaches of the policy as well as heterosexual and I don’t remember anyone considering the one any worse than the other.

          Of course, this was back before the whole sexual landscape became so politicized that lifting your eyebrow in opposition to “gay marriage” became morally equivalent to selling the body parts of immigrant children ritually sacrificed to the genius of Donald Trump on the black market.

          • There’s a reason Platonism never survives in the wild in pure form, Burro. 😉

            • Burro (Mule) says:

              Platonism and ‘wild’ are mutually exclusive, which is kind of the point of Idealism in the first place. ?

  12. Klasie Kraalogies says:

    In case anyone is wondering, here is the full tect of the case:

    https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/17140/index.do

  13. Rick Ro. says:

    –> “Because, as Jesus said and modelled to me, my right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness must always be subordinated to those of yours, no matter who you are or what you believe.”

    That is, perhaps, the most difficult thing to accept as a Christian. Unless I’m mistaken, he never once said, during his final hours, “Hey, in case anyone hasn’t noticed, I’m being unjustly crucified here!”

    Does that mean that *I* want to be unjustly crucified? No. I don’t even want to give the HINT of being unjustly crucified. And yet, if I’m truly modeling Jesus and being a bearer of his image, I must come to the conclusion that my will must bend to others, even those who might seek to harm me.

    Oh, I don’t like that. Not one bit.

    • Particularly if you have been taught that Jesus Went Through That So You Won’t Have To.

    • On a side note… Jesus noted several times that He was being tried unjustly and that there was no basis for the charges against Him. But He did NOT complain, demand His rights, or call on His disciples to rescue Him by force either.

    • Robert F says:

      Rick Ro., How do you think that plays out for the wife who is being beaten by her husband? Should her will bend to his? More pertinently, what if you were a wife being beaten by her husband, and somebody told you that, as unfair and unjust as it is, your will must bend to his, even though he truly seeks to do you, and has done you, harm? If you don’t think that you would follow that path, if you would fight back by getting out (and I hope you would), then the rule you’re setting out is not an absolute one, applicable in every situation or case, and there are other cases in which it is not applicable too.

      • Rick Ro. says:

        Only the Sith deal in absolutes. 😉

        • Robert F says:

          Yeah, for instance if you’re an undocumented Central American woman (who happens to also be a follower of Christ) who has been separated from her child in the U.S. by the authorities, and you hire a lawyer to bring the government to court so that you can regain custody. Oh, there are a million and more exceptions to this particular rule, because I’m never solely my own, I belong to others and others belong to me, and in my role as their protector I may have to use every means at hand to protect them, and to protect myself as well because they need me. It’s not simple, not reducible to any simple rule; reality is hardly ever that way.

  14. senecagriggs says:

    The louder he talked about his integrity, the faster we counted our spoons. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

  15. john brry says:

    Finally , I find where’s Waldo, between Ralph and Emerson,.