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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Why Jews should support a Christian law school

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Michael Taube

A slew of writers and pundits have recently attacked Trinity Western University’s proposed law school. CJN columnist Adam Goldenberg even suggested Jews, and anyone “who truly cares about religious freedom,” should oppose it because this post-secondary institution prohibits same-sex relationships on campus.

I disagree with them. Hence, let’s examine some reasons why Jews should support a Christian law school. 

Trinity Western is a small, privately funded Christian liberal arts university based in Langley, B.C. People of different faiths, including Jews, have attended classes and earned degrees in the arts, humanities, business, nursing and theology.

It’s true that Trinity Western supports traditional Christian principles. However, there are no compulsory religion classes, seminars or church attendance.

There are strict guidelines in the university’s Community Covenant Agreement against theft, plagiarism, alcohol and tobacco consumption, and illegal drug use. Students must also agree to refrain from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”

This last point has driven many liberal secularists up the wall. 

In 2001, the B.C. College of Teachers declined Trinity Western’s teacher training program because it supposedly prohibited “homosexual behaviour.” This dispute went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. In an 8-1 decision, the judges ruled in favour of Trinity Western because “the concern that graduates of TWU will act in a detrimental fashion in the classroom is not supported by any evidence.”

The ruling made sense at the time. It still makes sense now.

Trinity Western is a private university. It doesn’t receive taxpayer funding, and therefore isn’t required to follow the same guidelines that public universities do. They set their own parameters, design their own programs, and admit as many students as desired.

Meanwhile, the university’s application process contains no restrictions against race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. Gay people can apply to Trinity Western. They’ll likely be accepted if they meet the academic requirements. The only thing that’s prohibited are same-sex relationships, which have absolutely nothing to do with post-secondary education.     

In my opinion, any gay or straight person who disagrees with Trinity Western’s support of traditional Christian principles shouldn’t fill out an application form. 

We live in a democratic society, and this private university has the right to set their own guidelines. Liberal secularists seem to believe they have the God-given right to dictate the terms and conditions a university must follow - or else. 

Guess what? They don’t. 

Fortunately, students have the freedom to choose the institutions of higher learning they wish to attend. If they don’t like Trinity Western’s guidelines, there are other Canadian universities to choose from.

That’s why this malicious attack on Trinity Western’s proposed law school is baseless. Similar to the B.C. College of Teachers’ complaint, there’s no proof that graduate students would ever act in a detrimental fashion against their clients. 

Those who presuppose the actions of a nonexistent law school are therefore acting in a prejudicial manner. They’ve rejected the very tenets of religious freedom they claim to be defending.

Canadian Jews should understand this position wholeheartedly. 

Some families belong to synagogues to teach their children about Jewish history and values. Others attend private Jewish schools, and private post-secondary institutions like New York’s Yeshiva University, to enhance aspects of Jewish learning.

As well, Leviticus 18:22 clearly states, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Deny it if you wish, but traditional Jewish and Christian teachings have some striking similarities.

Does any of this prove observant Jews would act in an adverse manner against other people? Absolutely not, and the same principle follows for observant Christians.  

That’s why Jews should support a Christian law school. It helps defend religious customs, religious traditions - and yes, the religious freedom that binds Judaism and Christianity.

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