By Jessie Legaree. I would like to address some of the comments made in “Response to Bob Kuhn”. Mr. Archer, I am not part of the “old, white, male conservative power structure”. I am a young female, but I support Trinity Western University (TWU) amidst its legal challenges.
Mr. Archer, I signed the Community Covenant six times as an undergraduate and graduate student at TWU. In one year, I will graduate from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and begin my legal career in British Columbia. Mr. Archer, it was at TWU that my calling was affirmed to serve humanity through advocacy. It was at TWU that I saw servant leadership in action. It was at TWU that I saw a deep love for humanity. I did not see the kind of Trinity Western that you so negatively portray in your editorial.
Mr. Archer, I intend on building my legal career on the premise that all people are created in the image of God and are equal before Him. My beliefs on sexual morality and marriage are private. I imagine this is the same for any Sikh, Muslim, Jewish, Christian or Atheist lawyers whether or not they believe in traditional marriage. Members of law societies across Canada take an oath to respect the law and uphold the rule of law. I will do both.
It is in respecting Canadian law and upholding the rule of law, that I find myself supporting TWU. The independent legal opinions offered to both the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and the Law Society of British Columbia are clear: the Supreme Court of Canada has already ruled on this matter and a shift in social values does not change that. It is on precedent that the Canadian common law system depends. TWU is not breaking any laws. With respect to this particular issue, the same legislation that made same-sex marriages a civil right, the Civil Marriage Act, also states that it is not against public interest for members of the TWU community to hold a traditional view of marriage as being exclusively between one man and one woman. It goes further to state that no organization or individual is to be punished or have public benefits withheld because of that view of marriage. Mr. Archer, why can’t TWU have the right to hold a traditional view of marriage?
While my identity is built on God’s Word, it would go against the essential Biblical principle of free will to impose it onto other people. I chose to attend TWU because it shared my religious values. It is of importance, Mr. Archer, that the Canadian justice system is rooted in Judeo-Christian values. It is within a framework of these values that we have freedom. This includes freedom of religion, expression and association.
It is because of this freedom that I can live without fear. Others who attend TWU because of its Christian principles should be entitled to live without fear that society will punish them for seeking out a Christian education. No one should live in fear.
Trinity Western was created as an arm of the church to educate individuals of a similar faith in integrating their faith with vocation
When it was established over 50 years ago, despite being open to anyone who agreed to respect its values, TWU was not designed expressly as a ministry to the public. Trinity Western was created as an arm of the church to educate individuals of a similar faith in integrating their faith with vocation. Now, TWU has various professional schools, including Schools of Business, Nursing, Education, Human Kinetics, Graduate Studies, and Arts, Media and Culture.
You may not understand this, but being a Christian is not always easy, Mr. Archer. We experience tragedy, we make mistakes, and we struggle with how to integrate our faith in a secular world. The Church is not a social club for fellowship, but rather an institution that must stand for truth as revealed in the Bible, regardless of how uncomfortable that may be. At the same time, it’s complicated, and Christians do not have all of the answers. We are all works in progress as we seek to love the world we live in and follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
There is nothing new about Christianity clashing with culture. Christ was nailed to the cross for it. Just this week at least 400 families of Iraqi Christians fled their homes rather than be forced to convert at the hands of the Islamic State. If TWU were to change its covenant because of public pressure, it would betray its identity as a Christian institution. Should it have to “convert” in order for its graduates to be accepted by the law societies?
What kind of nation do we want? I understand your disapproval of the covenant, Mr. Archer, but even though I am not a member of the “old, white, male conservative power structure” I want a nation that continues to value the freedom of all of its citizens.
Jessie Legaree is a JD Candidate at the University of Toronto and graduate of Trinity Western University (BA, MA – ’10, ’14)