If distinction could protect a school from LGBT activism and government overreach, Trinity Western University would be immune. According to its website, TWU, in Langley, British Columbia, Canada, is “consistently ranked among the top two universities in Canada for Educational Experience by the National Survey of Student Engagement according to Maclean’s magazine.” TWU is also the only university in Canada to achieve an “A+ in quality of education for seven consecutive years” in “The Globe and Mail’s 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 Canadian University Reports.”
But in the current climate, political correctness trumps academic excellence. A few weeks ago John Stonestreet, writing at BreakPoint, reported on the devastating decision of the Supreme Court of Canada to effectively shut down the TWU law school: “The Supreme Court, in essence, ruled that religious groups aren’t free to impose their own beliefs on themselves, at least when it comes to LGBT issues.”
The court was reacting to TWU’s community covenant, very typical of Christian schools, which requires employees and students to reserve “sexual expressions of intimacy for marriage” which is “between one man and one woman.” As Stonestreet points out, the court ruled that
… a mandatory covenant is not absolutely required to study law in a Christian environment in which people follow certain religious rules of conduct, and attending a Christian law school is preferred, not necessary.
Got that? Canada’s Supreme Court took it upon itself to decide what studying law in a Christian environment requires. It and the law societies, not the actual members of the community, know what’s required to maintain a “Christian environment.”
TWU President responds
A DNA friend who serves on the TWU governing board pointed us to an article by TWU president Bob Kuhn, “Canada Attacks Religious Freedom.” Here are excerpts.
Earlier this month the Supreme Court of Canada told Trinity Western University, which I lead, that it could not open a law school. Accrediting a school that upholds traditional Christian teachings on marriage could send the wrong message to Canadians who disagree with Trinity’s beliefs, we were told.
This isn’t about the quality of our educational programs. Our researchers hold millions of dollars in grants. Many members of our faculty have been recognized as 3M Teaching Fellows, Canada’s most prestigious award for excellence in educational leadership. We are consistently ranked one of the best Canadian universities for educational experience, according to the National Survey of Student Engagement.
Trinity simply is being punished for asking its faculty and students to observe traditional Christian teachings on marriage through a community covenant. …
[The court] ruled that making Trinity’s faith-based community standards mandatory could harm the dignity of members of the LGBT community who attend Trinity. The majority of the court concluded that this potential dignitary harm to future LGBT law students was “concrete,” while the infringement on Trinity’s religious liberty from refusing to accredit its qualified law program was “minimal.”
I was struck by the language of “dignitary harm,” the court’s notion that “making Trinity’s faith-based community standards mandatory could harm the dignity of members of the LGBT community who attend Trinity.” This is the same “dignity” language used by US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in Obergefell, the decision that legalized same-sex marriage in the US.
LGBT and the Sexual Revolution
Darrow Miller and I are writing a book which includes a chapter on sex and the sexual revolution. Here’s an excerpt:
For many, sex has become the core of their identity, a kind of pseudo religion. The fragmentation of sex, marriage, procreation, and the male-female binary has left the natural family on life-support. Because the family is so central to determining a person’s sense of their identity, as well as the primary means through which cultural norms are passed down from one generation to the next—including, most basically, religious and worldview assumptions, young adults are increasingly adrift, hungering for something to fill the void. Sexual identity, and the communities associated with those identities, fill that void for many. Young people increasingly are told that their sexual desires not only must be acknowledged and affirmed, but they define them as human beings. To claim that some sexual practices are wrong or immoral, is not merely unloving, but “dehumanizing.”
This is why Mary Eberstad argues that the Sexual Revolution is not merely a social or political movement, but a religious one. The god is sexual desire—and it is a jealous god. It tolerates no dissent, labeling anyone who would challenge it hateful and bigoted.
Adherents of this new religion increasingly turn to the State, passing laws and regulations that target dissenters. The new religion entails a new morality, one that inverts Judeo-Christian sexual morality. Salvation is found in sexual desire and unbounded sexual expression. Evil is sourced in the old Judeo-Christian sexual morality.
Judeo-Christian sexual ethics as wicked
In a June 2017 interview published by Rolling Stone Magazine, tech millionaire Tim Gill, a major funder of the LGBT movement, openly revealed his strategy: Promote the passage of SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) laws in order to “punish the wicked.” The morality of the sexual revolution defines those who adhere to a Judeo-Christian sexual ethic as wicked or evil. Eberstad further explores the contours of this new religion:
Abortion on demand becomes the equivalent of a central sacrament and a communal rite… Saints include Margaret Sanger, Alfred Kinsey and Gloria Steinem… [and] it is a missionary faith, with scores of progressive charities and international bureaucracies carrying the sexual revolution, sexual autonomy, and the pseudo-sacraments of contraception and abortion to the unenlightened around the planet.
This religious zeal also helps explain why the revolution has advanced so rapidly, particularly over the last 20 years. For its champions, it isn’t merely a push for sexual license, but for basic human rights.
As Christians, we speak of all human life has having innate dignity because people are made in God’s image. The sexual revolutionaries have been wildly successful at capturing public imagination through crafting and promoting a narrative. As part of that, they’ve essentially co-opted this deeply moral Christian language of human dignity and applied it to sexual behavior. In today’s postmodern fog, to question the morality of homosexuality, or transgenderism, is to cause “dignitary harm.”
Christians need to speak out on this question of dignity. All people have dignity. Not as a matter of what we do, but of who we are. To link human dignity to our sexual behaviors (or any actions or behaviors) is a dangerous game. Who defines which actions or behaviors confer “dignity” on an individual?
- Scott Allen