Trinity Western University is a private institution located outside Vancouver in Langley, B.C. Operated under the umbrella of the Evangelical Free Church of Canada, Trinity Western resides in the “bible belt” otherwise known as the Fraser Valley. What began as a Christian College in 1962 has morphed into a fully accredited university – as of 1985, Trinity has been a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. With 157 acres of campus, residences for close to 1000 students, 42 under graduate and 16 graduate programs – Trinity enrolls over 3000 students a year.
Ponder one little catch – Trinity Western has no interest in gay students. Last year Trinity sought approval to open a law school. A requirement for all students and faculty is their signature on a promise to steer clear of behaviour compromising “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman” Same sex marriage legal in Canada, grounds for exclusion at Trinity.
A decade ago Trinity ran into problems when the B.C. College of Teachers refused to recognize Trinity teaching graduates. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled no evidence existed to prove Trinity teachers would discriminate – they said that in balancing religious and equality rights – “the proper place to draw the line is usually between belief and conduct”. Since no evidence of misconduct existed – Trinity could school anti-gay teachers.
Trinity Western has recently been granted approval to open a law school. Starting in 2015, 60 students will enter the program each year – a three year course promising at least 50 anti-gay lawyers setting up shop come 2019. By 2024 about 300, and so on, and so on.
The prospect leaves me gloomy – I don’t want a future full of close minded, rigid thinkers. I know Trinity graduates are a drop in the bucket – for every Trinity grad, thousands upon thousands of liberal thinkers exist. I also know Trinity isn’t unique – hundreds of institutions bent on religious bias churn righteous zealots out every year.
I’m not too happy with Canada at the moment. Canadians are supposed to call bullshit on injustice. Our federal government forbids employees to say “bless you” in the work place if someone sneezes (for fear it might offend non Christians) yet allows an accredited institution to discriminate against basic human rights.
Trinity Western University