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Why You Should Care about This Canadian Supreme Court Ruling against a Christian Law School

By Sarah Kramer posted on:
June 18, 2018

To anyone who has uttered the sentence “If [insert unfavorable event] happens, I’m going to move to Canada”: If you value freedom, you may want to reconsider.

Recently, the Supreme Court of Canada dealt a blow to religious freedom and freedom of association, ruling that law societies in Canada may deny accreditation to a proposed Christian law school simply because it dares to operate according to its religious beliefs.

The proposed law school at Trinity Western University would have asked students and faculty to follow its “Community Covenant” based on biblical views of appropriate sexual behavior on campus, as many religious universities do. But the law societies in British Columbia and Ontario claimed that this covenant is discriminatory – and denied accreditation to Trinity Western.

ADF International allied lawyers represented multiple groups in the Trinity Western cases, and they submitted written filings and oral arguments to Canada’s high court.

In 2016, the British Columbia Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Trinity Western, acknowledging that the university has the right to operate consistently with its religious beliefs. In its ruling, the appeals court stated that this case is a clear example of how “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.”

But in 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed to hear the case, as well as a similar case out of Ontario, and reversed, with two justices dissenting.

“Religious universities and schools should be free to operate according to the faith they teach and to which they adhere,” said ADF International Executive Director Paul Coleman. “We are deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision. Freedom of religion and association is not only essential for faith-based organizations, but for the functioning of democracy itself. Following this ruling, that vital freedom is now in jeopardy.”

This ruling is just one example of how religious freedom has increasingly been stripped away in Canada.

But if you think this threat is isolated north of our border, think again.

What happens in international courts does not stay in international courts, and American courts often look to international rulings to make decisions. ADF International is hard at work to make sure that countries across the world respect our God-given rights and uphold religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.

The ADF International team will continue working to defend religious freedom at the highest international levels. Will you partner with us to defend religious freedom worldwide? 


Sarah Kramer

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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