Monday, September 11, 2017

A bunch of spurious arguments in the TWU debate

There is a whole load of sanctimonious claptrap and posturing going in the arguments around Trinity Western University's proposed Christian law school in Langley, British Columbia.
TWU is a private university, established back in 1962 by the Evangelical Free Church, attendance of which involves, among other things, a "Community Covenant" obliging students not to engage in sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage. You get the general idea... The law societies of both BC and Ontario want to refuse to license the university's graduates, and court cases have, predictably enough, ensued. Some of the arguments being put forward, though - on both sides - seem pretty flimsy and spurious to me, although, given the parties involved, one has to assume that they have some legal validity.
For example, Trinity Western maintains that the law societies are discriminating against the religious freedom of its students because it forbids them to join together to express their beliefs. Not so: they can express their beliefs however they like outside of classes, but if they are to become lawyers serving the whole Canadian population then they need to follow the same educational secularism as everyone else does. Frankly, I'm not sure I would trust a graduate from such an institution to have unbiased and inclusive views on issues such as rape, abortion, homophobia, etc, and thereby serve the populace effectively and dispassionately.
On the other side, some same-sex advocacy groups are claiming that LGBTQ persons cannot be their "authentic selves" while attending TWU, and they they should not be "forced to renounce their dignity and self-respect in order to obtain an education". Also spurious: no-one is forcing them to attend TWU, and I would be surprised that any self-respecting would even consider attending such an institution.
I'm sure there are good arguments on either side of this debate, but these are not among them.

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