On June 15, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) upheld the decisions of two provincial law societies to deny membership to graduates from Trinity Western University (TWU) Law School. The decisions of the Supreme Court and these law societies are based on their belief that TWU’s community covenant (that includes a commitment to sexual intimacy only in the context of heterosexual marriage) is discriminatory towards LGBTQ people.
Especially for a Christian denomination that has such a high value regarding the integration of faith and education in our national landscape, this week’s decision from the Supreme Court felt significant. Personally, it added to the feeling within me that our culture slowly and increasingly challenges the framework of our faith.
The SCC decision is deeply complex and nuanced, and was not unanimous. Nevertheless, the majority decision has raised concerns about religious freedom and diversity that require wise discernment and calm vigilance.
With this in mind, we particularly appreciate this commitment from our partner, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada President, Bruce Clemenger:
“We will continue to seek a robust pluralism that includes the participation of religious institutions and communities in public life, that promotes respect and tolerance of all including religious minorities, and affirms the contributions of religious institutions and communities to our society” (from a June 15 EFC press release).
Christians most certainly differ in their responses to questions of religious freedom, human rights, and LGBTQ inclusion. For many, the potential implications of this SCC decision evoke tensions and even fear. Pursuing a robust pluralism will require a long-term commitment to respectful and constructive engagement in the public sphere that avoids anxious rhetoric, and demonstrates a confident Christian commitment to the good of all.
I therefore ask you to join me in two ways. First, let’s pray. Please pray for our country’s leaders that they may have wisdom as they make decisions that have an impact on all citizens. Pray for our church leaders as they discern how to speak about this issue right now in a way that is edifying for their members and a witness in their communities. And pray for our church members that they may engage in respectful and constructive dialogue and rest assured in their knowledge that God is at work.
Second, be reminded that as a Reformed tradition we set ourselves to the engagement of our faith in the public square.
Canadian Ministries Director