Opposition to Trinity Western Law School because of anti-homosexual rules


Janet Epp-Buckingham

As reported in the Vancouver Sun, the Council of Canadian Law Deans oppose Trinity Western University’s (TWU) proposal for the country’s first religious law school because of the university’s long-standing requirement that faculty and students abstain from homosexual relationships.

According to Trinity Western community covenant, any sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman could lead to disciplinary measures that include expulsion.

Bill Flanagan, president of the Canadian Council of Law Deans, considers this a “matter of great concern” because “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is unlawful in Canada and fundamentally at odds with the core values of all Canadian law schools.”

According to Douglas Todd at the Vancouver Sun, Jonathan Raymond, President of TWU, responded to Flanagan’s concerns in a Nov. 29th letter in which Raymond said that forbidding homosexual relationships and sex outside marriage is “consistent with federal and provincial law.” Raymond noted the Supreme Court of Canada ruling in 2001 which stated that a religious school can be exempt from indictment for homosexual discrimination.

Attention regarding TWU’s position on homosexual relationships will no doubt increase scrutiny in other areas for this evangelical Christian university. Flanagan even questioned whether TWU fosters real intellectual freedom because the faculty are required to agree to particular Bible-based standards instead of open inquiry.

Janet Epp-Buckingham, associate professor at TWU and one of the leaders in developing the law school proposal, remains positive that TWU will eventually receive accreditation for a law school.

In a previous article for this site that detailed the motivation for establishing a Christian law school at TWU, Epp-Buckingham explained that faith is often and unhelpfully left out of the classroom. Students of faith are often advised by Christian lawyers to “keep your head down and your mouth shut” when entering secular law schools because if you do otherwise, as evidenced here, the powers that be will not be pleased.

How TWU and the Council of Canadian Law Deans move forward on this issue in the coming months will be a good indicator of the current role of religion in the Canadian public sphere. A conversation that is certainly worth following.


  1. @Deaner, please do not give us the “Jesus never mentioned homosexuality” line. Jesus spoke clearly on sexual immorality. The key here is that he told the woman “caught in adultery” (John 8: 1-11) to “go and sin no more.” I can give you at least six scriptures that expressly condemn same-sex relationships. Revelation clearly states that unrepentant sinners, including the “sexually immoral” will find their place in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). Homosexuals and lesbians are not exempt from this.

    The evidence for the destructive homosexual lifestyle from psychiatry, medicine and science is overwhelming. The current rate of HIV infection for bisexual and homosexual men in the USA (2% of the population) is now at 63%, and climbing; up from 58% in 2008. That is 44 times higher than the rate among heterosexuals. The Centre for Disease Control & Prevention state that anal gonorrhoea, anal cancer, syphilis and other disabling health issues are continually rising among MSM (men who have sex with men). So much for “safe sex” education. GBLTs as a group (3.8% of the total US population) suffer from more disabling health problems, more addiction problems and more mental health issues than any other identifiable group, even in countries like Denmark or Canada, where they are fully protected from any kind of discrimination. Data for GBLTs over 65 is practically non-existent, as 50% of homosexual men die before the age of 50 and 50% lesbians die before the age of 48, including those in long term “monogamous” relationships. How many homosexuals or lesbians do you know over 80? God will not bless such relationships, nor is He obliged to hear the prayers of so-called “gay Christians” who continue to practise sexually deviancy while attending “gay friendly” churches that bless same sex unions. Mark my words, those churches will be judged because of their abandonment of scriptural teachings on this issue, and by blessing those unions that will ultimately lead to the damnation of the couple involved. Homosexuality is still an abomination in the sight of God, and this will not change.

    Read Romans 1:27.

    There are thousands of ex-homosexuals & lesbians who have found true freedom in Christ. They stand together in their declaration that the “gay” lifestyle is an outright lie. Yet their voices are ignored by governments and societies that continue to bring in laws that empower homosexual activists to literally persecute those who dare to publicly disagree with them.

    God loves us all, but He will not tolerate unrepentant sin.

    1. Any verses from the Bible have no place in law for a nation of fairness, liberty & diversity. If you choose personally to denigrate the principles of equality in law due to religious beliefs, that is your right, but to establish a school of law teaching such aberrations is an affront to the Charter of Rights & freedoms.

      1. @Bart Vincelette:

        “Any verses from the Bible have no place in law for a nation of fairness, liberty & diversity.” Really, Bart? Just imagine if Christians simply forgot about “love your Enemy, do good to those who persecute you”, then? You should thank God that those who are bound by the Holy Spirit are bound to pay attention to ALL the Bible, and not just the parts that MERE culture can approve. Whether you understand it or not, the Bible actually defends you far more than you, evidently, defend it. But take such principles of restraint away from our context, in the shifting ignorance of culture, itself, and Canada wouldn’t know up from down. To paraphrase Jesus, “you don’t know what you are asking”.

      2. I agree with Bart. This is nothing less than hate mongering and has absolutely no place in a law school, especially given the fact that it is in direct conflict with Charter guarantees. You are all aware, I take it, that the Charter is the supreme law of Canada, right? Not all Canadians share your religious views and bible-thumpers have no place in our courtrooms.

  2. The focus that the church seems to have on homosexuality is astonishing, given that Jesus never said one single solitary word on the subject in the Gospels. Do they also ban students who are greedy or gluttonous? (Things actually labelled as sin as well, in other words.)

    1. I think the church historically and today in the moral realm has a focus on marriage as the exclusive area for the sexual act. And TWU is not “focusing” on homosexuality either. Homosexual acts are not the only ones students are asked to refrain from.

      The idea that a private institution cannot set standards for those who voluntarily associate with it is contrary to our basic rights of free association and the establishment of non-governmental associations.

    2. Deaner– If the issue of sexuality is the one area “in which the world and the Enemy are attacking” the Church (paraphrasing Martin Luther) , then Christians have really no alternative but to push back on the issue, regardless of whether WE look like the ones who are obsessing. It is actually the culture that is obsessing about sex. As regards Jesus, the clearest indirect reference to homosexuality is in His use of the city of Sodom to highlight the waywardness of Capernaum. Jesus clearly uses Sodom as a literary foil, in effect, citing its sins as patently obvious, and using the city’s infamy to highlight Capernaum or Bethsaida’s own resistance to the Gospel. If Jesus wasn’t opposed to homosexuality, then why would He so clearly articulate that “Sodom would have repented” had his ministry been there? People have no reason to repent unless they are living in a manner contrary to God’s leading.

  3. The headline even for this “Canadian Christianity” article is ambiguous. “Anti-homosexuality” would have been better. Nothing in Trinity’s rules is against homosexuals as people, but only asks students to commit themselves not to engage in homosexual activity, among other activities forbidden.

  4. Well the Law Deans are somewhat hypocritical in that they are trying to stop a new law school while churning out boatloads of law graduates, many of whom find they can’t find work in an over saturated workplace. And honestly, if you don’t like the Christian rules of the campus (which is a very good institution) , don’t go. That said, this is the worst possible time to build yet another law school, secular or Christian. The profession of law is changing and demand for junior lawyers at both small and big firms is on the wane as clients insist quite rightly on paying for experience while outsourcing or computerizing routine simpler legal work. Yet, at the same time we’ve had two new schools (and existing school increasing their enrollment) open up against a backdrop of rising unemployment for law grads and increasing tuition. In the USA, things are incredibly dire right now in the junior ranks of the profession thanks to an overabundance of graduating law students (many are working a minimum wage non-legal jobs with massive student loan debts). I wouldn’t wish law school on my worst enemy right now and if Trinity really wanted to graduate happy, employed, influential students they should start an engineering or medical school.