BC Court of Appeal upholds religious liberty in TWU case

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Ottawa, Ont.— A five-judge panel of the B.C. Court of Appeal unanimously ruled on Nov. 1, 2016, in favour of Trinity Western University (TWU) in its legal challenge against the Law Society of British Columbia. The Law Society had sought to deny accreditation to future alumni of the Christian university’s proposed law school because it argues that TWU’s “community covenant” that students are required to sign discriminates against members of the LGBTQ community. The court emphasized that the effect of refusing to accredit future TWU law school graduates would be a “severe” impact on the freedom of religion of TWU students and professors, and that “members of that community are entitled to establish a space in which to exercise their religious freedom.” The court noted: “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.” Bruce Clemenger, president of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada stated, “This judgment is a strong affirmation of Canada’s religious diversity and the right of everyone to contribute to Canadian society without compromising their religious beliefs.”—The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

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