Critics have slammed a decision to punish a Christian university in Canada for its sexual ethics policy, describing it as an attack on religious freedom.
Judges in the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against Trinity Western University (TWU) over its ‘community covenant’, which requires students to abstain from sexual intimacy outside of biblical marriage.
The ruling concerned two societies refusing to accredit graduates from TWU’s planned new law school, on discrimination grounds. This was despite other professional courses operating successfully for years, TWU said.
On Friday, the Supreme Court voted 7-2 to limit religious freedoms, striking down an earlier ruling that went in favour of TWU.
Earl Phillips, the Executive Director of TWU’s proposed School of Law, said that all Canadians should be disturbed by the ruling.
“Without question, the Trinity Western community is disappointed by this ruling.
“However, all Canadians should be troubled by today’s decision that sets a precedent for how the courts will interpret and apply Charter rights and equality rights going forward.”
‘Obliteration of religious rights’
President of Campaign Life Coalition, Jim Hughes, described the decision as “an obliteration of religious rights”.
“Trinity Western, like any other private institution, is entitled to hold its religious views including those on the biblical understanding of sex and marriage.
“Tragically this decision states that there is no room for religious diversity in the public sphere”.
And speaking for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, President Bruce J Clemenger said he was “deeply concerned” the infringement of religous freedom had been “deemed reasonable”.
“In a society of deep pluralism, there must be room for a Christian university to remain faithful to its purposes and contribute to the public good.”