Canada, Gay, Law Schools, Religion

Is It Bigoted To Oppose This Christian Law School?

If a private school wants to bar its students “from sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman,” it is an awful school to party at, but nonetheless probably within its rights. As expected, this new school has drawn protests of its obviously pretextual commitment to chastity in order to bar homosexual students.

Or to “not bar” homosexual students, I guess. How about “ban” homosexual students? That works better.

Putting aside the prevailing law, the question facing the powers-that-be is whether or not a school with such a bias should be certified to teach the next generation of lawyers and jurists. And amid the controversy over that proposition, the new bugaboo in the media is whether or not it’s actually just as bigoted to assume that a school with this policy cannot produce competent lawyers and jurists….

The phenomenon of religious education isn’t new, nor is the phenomenon of religiously-affiliated law schools — à la Georgetown — but the latest crop of religious schools have a much more pronounced ideological bent than these traditional programs. Instead of providing a legal education moderately informed by religious values, schools like Pat Robertson’s Regent University School of Law just churned out right-wing ideologues to fill posts in the Bush administration with disastrous results. Less lawyers than apparatchiks as it were.

Enter Trinity Western University in British Columbia. Trinity Western is all about imposing its will on the students, asking them to sign a Community Covenant Agreement that forbids homosexual conduct along with lying, gossiping, and drinking alcohol. Enjoy law school with Ned Flanders!

Anyway, Trinity Western is trying to get accredited in Canada, and that’s kicked up another hornets’ nest. In this case, a nest of those crazy Asian giant hornets.

The Council of Canadian Law Deans has publicly denounced the Covenant as “fundamentally at odds with the core values of all Canadian law schools” in a letter circulated to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. They believe that the Covenant, in and of itself, is discriminatory against gays, lesbians and bisexual students.

Indeed. The Community Covenant could also be construed to prohibit cross-dressing, and we know how fundamental that is to the core Canadian culture:

An editorial published this week defended the law school by accusing the school’s critics of anti-Christian bigotry.

But one of the signs at a protest in Toronto Friday points to a bigger problem: “Their grads on the bench? No Thanks!” it read.

Which judge does the protester wish to bar? Christians judges? Conservatives? Jurists with traditional values?

Focusing on one sign is a red herring to lure readers into accepting the underlying premise that everyone who opposes accreditation for Trinity Western, including the Council of Canadian Law Deans, is out to get Christians. It’s a common trope in conservative media that usually kicks up around this time of year in the form of the “War on Christmas.” It’s called anti-Christian bigotry.

First, it’s not bigotry. You see, victims of bigotry tend to get disenfranchised or beaten to death, not told, “maybe a school founded on principles at odds with prevailing law should not be handing out law degrees.” There was an anti-Christian bigotry in the past, and it involved lions and gladiators, two elements conspicuously lacking from the complaints doled out on talk radio. Trinity Western can teach whatever it wants, but no one has to bestow the gift of accreditation upon it.

Second, there is substantive discrimination at play here, and that’s the real problem the deans have with Trinity Western. Trinity Western is proposing a 1L class of 60. That would, if the school received accreditation, increase the population of law school grads from accredited institutions in B.C. by 60 each year. In a very real way, the B.C. legal market for homosexual graduates will be compressed:

Make no mistake about it; TWU’s proposed law school will discriminate against homosexual persons by imposing a queer quota. If you are straight and want to be a lawyer, you can get into all of the current spots in Canada’s law schools plus the additional 60 that TWU proposes to initially create. If you are queer, you can forget about those extra 60 spots — unless you accept that you have to lie by signing a covenant and concealing your sexual orientation. We stopped thinking of this as a legitimate demand a long time ago.

Mr. Kay’s solution is to tell homosexual students to go to one of the other law schools. That is precisely what Jews were told in the 1940s and 1950s. Stick to your own kind. It is appalling that a columnist in a national newspaper would parrot that sort of perverse thinking after all of the progress that we have made as a nation. Canada should move forward, not backward — as should its legal profession.

Adding a new bottom-feeding law school to churn out graduates who couldn’t get into the established Canadian law schools is bad enough as it is, but accrediting a school that skews the market of law grads to the detriment of homosexuals is downright discriminatory.

In other words, Christian and conservative lawyers are fine, but it’s not anti-Christian or anti-conservative to say that a school that openly and notoriously jacks the market shouldn’t get a seal of approval, no matter how much the conservatives love to play the victimhood card.

B.C.’s Trinity Western University Ready To Fight for Law School Accreditation
Editorial: Critics of law school at Christian Trinity Western University are also being bigots [The Province]

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