By Mike Archer. Abbotsford lawyer and president of Trinity Western University (TWU) Bob Kuhn responded to a column recently [Change The Covenant] by challenging a number of the arguments and assertions in it as incorrect in fact and in law.
I would like to respond by pointing out that, rather than answering the challenge put before him by the column, and the statements relied upon to make its arguments by TWU student newspaper editor Lindsey Mayhew, Mr. Kuhn has sidestepped the issues and engaged in ad hominem attacks on those who disagree with him rather than attacking the arguments themselves.
Reports from within Trinity Western University appear to contradict Mr Kuhn’s bravado.
According to the Vancouver Sun‘s Douglas Todd:[excerpt] A solid portion of Trinity Western University’s faculty are said to be “embarrassed” by the media coverage the evangelical school is receiving over its ban on same-sex relationships.
Some faculty members at the Langley Christian university are asking why administrators are sticking to a “narrow” interpretation of Christian orthodoxy in regard to homosexuality. Most of its 300 faculty obtained their PhDs at secular universities, sources say; they’ve grown comfortable with sexual diversity.
[source] [excerpt] One rumour swirling among faculty is that the private school’s administrators are holding on to the conservative sexual standard to avoid alienating major evangelical donors.
In addition, veteran faculty has already seen how conservative leaders can turn high-profile confrontations with liberals into fundraising causes.
While Kuhn is quick to throw respected Abbotsford scholar, politician and educator John H. Redekop under the bus claiming he was not, nor is he, a faculty member at Trinity Western, his association with TWU is well documented and chronicled well beyond the small world of the Fraser Valley in such well-known institutions as the Montreal Gazette.
If Mr. Kuhn wants to distance himself from his confrere’s opinions it is none of my business but rather than trying to rid himself of such a bothersome argument in his case for religious interpretation of the law, he ought to answer the questions raised rather than kick his colleague to the curb.
Whether he was a faculty member, a representative of the university, a member of the inner circle, or a charter member of the star chamber he was a teacher at TWU, a recognized scholar across the country and, despite Mr. Kuhn’s apparent attempts to diminish his importance, a respected member of the Abbotsford and Fraser Valley academic community.
He has yet to answer the charge, implicitly made in the original column, that fighting Sharia Law while attempting to impose Christian Law is an illogical and difficult position to defend. And, with the good professor’s position out there for all to see, it seems a response to the intellectual challenge of its existence is called for rather than a semantic interpretation of Redekop’s position with the University at the time of writing.
With reference to the accusations made in both the opinion piece by Lindsey Mayhew and the Today Media column about an aging, out-of-touch group at the helm of TWU and, more generally, within the religious community in the Fraser Valley, Mr. Kuhn has failed to answer the charges by using a straw man argument, accusing Today Media of somehow objecting to ‘old people’ or ‘religious people.’
Neither accusation is warranted nor evident from the arguments made. It is neither old people nor religious people to whom I objected in my column. It would be witless for me to do so. Why would I object to old people? Religious people?
Rather than gathering the old, religious people of the Fraser Valley to his skirts in order to protect himself, Mr. Kuhn should be brave, step forward, and defend his arguments
What Mr. Kuhn fails to address is the charges laid at the feet of the representatives of the old and the religious. People, like him, who as spokespeople and leaders who have made such a mess of issues of social justice in the Fraser Valley – such as the Abbotsford Homeless Crisis – and the recognition of the rights of gays, lesbians, transgenders and others who may be Christian but unable to live up to TWU’s exclusionary and prejudiced covenant.
How is a school which openly chooses to eliminate, ignore or fight against the rights of some of god’s creatures by its very existence, supposed to produce lawyers who will abide by, defend and promote Canada’s constitution, Charter of Rights and basic belief that no one has any right to discriminate against any other Canadian citizen on the basis of race, creed, colour or sexual preference?
I will defer to the comment made by one of our readers, – “The Model Code of Professional Conduct for a Lawyer in Canada … says nothing about your covenant but it does say that rules of conduct should assist, not hinder, lawyers in providing legal services to the public in a way that ensures the public interest is protected. Your covenant stands in the way of that.”
As for Mr. Kuhn’s anger about my statement blaming the old, established and conservative religious community in Abbotsford for the horrendous, embarrassing and undignified Abbotsford Homeless Crisis, it is not the old or the religious who are to blame for the ugly human rights tragedy in Abbotsford.
It is those who claim to speak in the name of the old, the religious and the rest of the community who have systematically demeaned, injured, ruined, stolen from and assaulted the poor, the disabled, the mentally ill and the alcohol and drug addicted men and women of Abbotsford.
It is not, as Mr. Kuhn accuses me of claiming, the old and the religious who are to blame. It is their institutional and political representatives and messengers who bear that burden.
Mr. Kuhn and the old, white, male conservative power structure within TWU and across the Fraser Valley must take the advice of the young men and women about to replace them and those who advocate for the men and women who are being punished, injured, displaced, dispersed and ruined by the prejudices of a small group of men who claim to represent those of the Christian faith who populate this valley.
No one is following you anymore. No one believes in the outdated, prejudicial and hateful interpretations you have made of your doctrines. Too many people are dying on our streets of HIV, AIDS, Hep C and hatred.
It has to stop, and you have to put a stop to it.