Why Trinity Western Law School is Good For Canada

BarristerElaine Craig, an assistant professor at Dalhousie Law School wrote an article in the Globe and Mail on December 18 concerning the accreditation of Trinity Western University’s Law School. As a Vancouver lawyer and arbitrator and a committed Christian I have listened to the critics rage on since TWU made their application to the Federation of Law Societies to obtain the necessary approval.

The good news is that the Federation approved TRU’s application, quickly followed by the assent of British Columbia’s Ministry of Advanced Education. With these obstacles out of the way, TWU Law School will now move forward, much to the chagrin of Ms. Craig and others who have decried the establishment of a faith-based law school.

In her article Ms. Craig scolds the Federation for refusing to act in the interests of “equality and justice” by virtue of TWU’s Covenant which states that students, staff and faculty must “abstain from sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman”.

What she and others of her ilk ignore is that freedom of religion co-exists with the right to equality. However, in the case of private institutions, religious freedom trumps equality.

Section 41 of British Columbia’s Human Rights Code provides a specific exemption for non-profit religious organizations where the organization’s primary purpose is to promote the interests and welfare of an identified group, characterized by a common religion.

Ms. Craig also repeats the tired refrain that TWU’s Covenant is evidence of their anti-gay stance, when she knows the prohibition of sex outside of marriage applies equally to heterosexual couples.

In Ms. Craig’s world there is no room for divergent opinions and the accommodation of different beliefs, even though tolerance of opposing views is the centerpiece of a democracy. In her view, the curtailment of religious freedom is necessary in order to promote the beliefs of another group. Ironically, Ms. Craig is a strong proponent of human rights, so long as the rights are not of the religious variety.

The basic mission of religious law schools, of which there are many in the United States, is to educate students to be lawyers in democracies founded on Judeo-Christian principles. How can Christian ethics and morals be considered inappropriate?

TWU will undoubtedly lead the way in Canada “integrating faith and reason in the search for truth through a focus on morality and social justice”. (Taken from the mission statement of the University of St. Thomas School of Law, a Catholic school in Florida)

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

Gay to Straight Therapy Banned in Calfornia

DSC00476 - Version 2Controversial “gay conversion” therapy will no longer be used in California to treat children 18 and under who seek to change their same-sex attraction to heterosexual attraction.

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a Bill prohibiting state licensed therapists to engage in treatments intended to assist gay and lesbian kids to change their sexual preference, a law that comes into effect on January 1, 2013.

Proponents of the new law argue that therapies designed to alter a minor’s sexual orientation have been scientifically shown to be ineffective. Homosexuality as a psychiatric diagnosis was completely removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health in 1986, and in 2005 the American Psychiatric Association rejected the proposition that therapy could be useful for those who wished to “go straight”.

In 2007 Professors Stanton Hope from the prestigious Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois and Mark Yarhouse from Regents University in Virginia Beach joined forces in a study to test the APA’s theory that therapy was of no use.

Thirty-five of their original 98 participants dropped out almost immediately, leaving 65 research subjects at the conclusion of the study. The data was obtained through the organization called Exodus International, a Christian group whose mandate is to give homosexuals “freedom through Christ”.

Drs. Hope and Yarhouse published their results, finding that 23% of their group reported no change, 30% opted for celibacy, 20% embraced their orientation, while 23% reported they were “cured” with no harmful psychological aftermath.

However, critics say their lack of scientific rigour suggests their research is flawed and unreliable. Others say that their results do show behavioral changes, which are different from changes in sexual orientation.

What exactly is conversion therapy? It has been described as encompassing intrusive aversion treatments, drug therapy, Christian informed psychoanalysis, and spiritual intervention. Critics say the treatment brings on shame, grief, and anxiety causing patients to suffer depression and increased suicidal tendencies.

Critics of the new law have already filed lawsuits challenging the legislation on the basis that it breaches constitutionally guaranteed rights, such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. They say the law is a disgusting abuse of government powers and a tyrannical interference with parental rights, who alone should determine how to help their child.

Until the law is overturned, a result that I believe is highly unlikely, therapists who continue to practice “gay to straight” therapy will be disciplined for unprofessional conduct.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang