Selective Education

From "The Star":

A decisive legal victory in British Columbia (Canada) has put an evangelical Christian university one step closer in its bid to secure recognition for its proposed law school. The Appeal Court of B.C. released a decision in favour of Trinity Western University on Tuesday, describing efforts by B.C.’s law society to deny accreditation to the school’s future lawyers as “unreasonable.”

The legal dispute centres around the university’s community covenant that bans its students from having sexual relations outside of heterosexual marriage ("to abstain from 'sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman'").

In a unanimous decision, a panel of five judges said the negative impact on Trinity Western’s religious freedoms would be severe and far outweigh the minimal effect accreditation would have on gay and lesbian rights.

“A society that does not admit of and accommodate differences cannot be a free and democratic society, one in which its citizens are free to think, to disagree, to debate and to challenge the accepted view without fear of reprisal.This case demonstrates that a well-intentioned majority acting in the name of tolerance and liberalism can, if unchecked, impose its views on the minority in a manner that is in, itself, intolerant and illiberal,” says the 66-page judgment.

COMMENT

In my opinion the court has confused two different types of "freedom;" freedom of speech and freedom of action. The ruling states that citizens should be free to think, to disagree, to debate and to challenge the accepted view without fear of reprisal. This is an admirable desire, one that all modern democrats should espouse. However, to argue the case for an action is not the same as carrying out the action.

For example, one could put forward the argument that the theft of a rich person's goods by a poor person in a country where there is an unequal distribution of wealth should not be considered a crime. In England, you could publish such views in a national newspaper and you could not be prosecuted for doing so. However, should the person who proposes such a change in the law be a poor person and should that person, prior to any change in the law, steal the wallet of a rich person, he or she, if caught doing so, would be, quite rightfully under the law, charged with having committed a crime.

In a society, which claims to be liberal, where it is illegal to discriminate against people in certain situations, it should not be illegal to be intellectually against such legislation or to voice an opinion on the matter (as long as there is no direct incitement to violence against person or property). However, acting prejudicially, rather than just talking about doing so, could still be regarded as a crime without society losing any credibility for being liberal. The judges involved in this particular case are defending anarchy not liberalism.

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