Home CommentaryOpinions One step forward, two steps back

One step forward, two steps back

by Tiffany Lafleur February 26, 2013
One step forward, two steps back

Image via Flickr.

There are many things that we Canadians can be proud of: we are peaceful, we have maple syrup, we have hockey. However, perhaps one of the most fundamental things that makes us Canadian is our openness and our acceptance. As a nation, we stand on firm beliefs that every individual is created equal.

Trinity Western University, a private Christian school in British Columbia, is challenging that belief.

The school requires all students and faculty to sign a pledge that they’ll refrain from any homosexual conduct. This means that gay or lesbian students who are married wouldn’t be admitted. The pledge is footnoted with a quotation from the New Testament.

In my opinion, this is a disgusting, discriminatory act and shouldn’t be allowed. Not only does this go against the fundamental principles in the Charter of Canadian Rights and Freedoms, but it goes against what many Canadians are proud to stand for: integrity, objectivity, and equality for all.

On top of this affront to the Charter, the university is currently trying to open a law school.

As outlined in the Global Issues Series, published by West Academic Publishing, “the lawyer is the guardian of the rule of law, the ideal that all people stand equally before the law and neither expect nor receive special treatment from it.”

If lawyers are supposed to be the guardians of the law, then how can a law school get away with blatantly discriminating against homosexual people? If it’s ‘okay’ to reject someone based on their sexual orientation, is it also ‘okay’ not to hire people based on gender or race?

If the government just stands by and lets Trinity Western go on with their pledge, it will set a dangerous precedent.

As outlined in the Charter, every Canadian citizen has these fundamental rights: freedom of conscience and religion; freedom of opinion and expression; freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association. To deny even one of these fundamental rights to anyone on the basis of having a different opinion, or in this case a different sexual preference, is wrong.

Along with wanting to ban homosexual behaviour on their campus, Trinity Western also wants their students and faculty to refrain from drunkenness, use of profanity, dishonesty, abortion, involvement in the occult, premarital sex, adultery, pornography and, ironically, harassment. This is all clearly outlined in the General University Policies.

The presence of such a school in Canada is unacceptable. The Department of Justice has a clear explanation of why we need and have laws and what they are used for: “Laws are also aimed at ensuring fairness. By recognizing and protecting basic individual rights and freedoms, such as liberty and equality, our laws ensure that stronger groups and individuals do not use their powerful positions to take unfair advantage of weaker groups or people.”

If it is written in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as in the justice system, then there is no conceivable way Trinity Western can legitimize their ban on homosexuality. Not only does the sexual orientation of an individual in no way impact their work ethic or skill, but stripping a person down to their sexuality deprives them of who they are and what they can accomplish.

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