Christians Can’t Be Lawyers if Not Pro-Gay? University Fights Discrimination Case at Canada’s Top Court

TWC-Campus

LANGLEY, British Columbia — A Christian university in Canada is being told not to go ahead with creating a law school because if they do, the graduates won’t be considered real attorneys due to the school’s Christian standards.

Although the case sounds ridiculous to most people, it’s going to Canada’s Supreme Court this week.

With an enrollment of more than 4,000 students, Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia is Canada’s largest and fastest growing Christian college.

For 55 years, they’ve been attracting students from all over the world. In 2012, the university decided it was time to add a law school.

But two Canadian law societies objected, arguing that the university’s Christian covenant discriminates against the LGBTQ community and therefore the school’s future law school should be denied accreditation.

University president Bob Khun says those claims are false.

“The reality is, gay students and lesbian students have been coming to Trinity. So suggesting that we’re precluding people from having this experience who self-identify as same-sex attracted or gay or lesbian is just not accurate,” Khun told CBN News.

“Basically, the fight comes down to this — a community covenant that students are required to sign that states they are committed to the person and work of Jesus Christ and that marriage is between one man and one woman,” he explained.

The covenant also asks students to refrain from sexual activity outside of traditional marriage.

Same-sex advocacy groups claim this means LGBTQ persons, including those who are married, can never be their authentic selves while attending TWU. They say no one should be forced to renounce their dignity and self-respect in order to obtain an education.

Attorney Earl Phillips says the case pits religious freedoms against equal rights.

“I think it’s a big important case and it’s really about what kind of society are we going to have in Canada,” said Phillips, the future executive director of the law school.

“I’m hoping that the court will say we have a society here that is open to a lot of different ideas,” he said.

Some Trinity Western students call the charges of discrimination ridiculous, including Muslim student Haya Fadda of Jordan.

Fadda, 24, came to the university specifically for its highly acclaimed linguistics programs. She says she did not face discrimination over her Muslim beliefs, and when they discovered she wasn’t eating the school’s regular chicken, the school took action.

“The second week, they got me Halal chicken and they started cooking me Halal meals, just for me, just for one person…so actually they care for you. They put your needs first,” Fadda told CBN News.

Phillips says the case has implications beyond the Christian community in Canada.

“If we are not allowed to have a law school because of what the community covenant says, I am concerned for everybody, whether they are of the Christian faith or no faith at all, fundamental freedom has been reduced,” he explained.

The school’s slogan this year is “For Such a Time as This,” and many say that’s not a coincidence as the future of the university’s law school and its students are now in the hands of the Canadian Supreme Court.

The case goes to Canada’s top court on November 30.

Trinity Western’s law school was originally set to open in 2016, but that date has since been pushed back to the fall of 2018.

The university fought nearly the same exact case in 2001 when it had to fight for accreditation for its teachers’ college.  The case was argued before the Supreme Court and the school won.

However, the Ontario Court of Appeals said that ruling should not be seen as binding in the high court’s current case, and the Canadian Divisional Court said public attitudes have shifted since that time and should also be taken into account as well.


Police Seal Off Church for Printing Bibles, Tracts

Authorities in Oran claimed the church had been used to "illegally print Gospels and publications intended for evangelism."

A church in Algeria’s northwestern town of Aïn Turk (15 kilometers from Oran city) has been closed down by local authorities.

The church, affiliated to the Protestant Church of Algeria (known as EPA, its French acronym), was sealed off by police on Nov. 9.

Authorities in Oran claimed the church had been used to “illegally print Gospels and publications intended for evangelism.”

The police notification also stated that the church didn’t have state approval. But the president of the EPA, Rev Mahmoud Haddad, denied any wrongdoing, saying the justifications for closing the church were “unfounded.”

“Firstly, this community is indeed affiliated to the Protestant Church of Algeria, which has been officially recognized by the government since 1974 and is accredited with both the Ministry of the Interior and the local government,” he said.

“Also there is no printing activity of Gospels or Christian publications inside these premises.”

He pointed to several “anomalies and falsehoods” in the notification, which stated that the church of Aïn Turk belonged to a man named “Rachid,” who serves there as a pastor.

“This is not the case,” said Rev. Haddad, who added that the accusations were “unjust and false.”

Youssef, a board member at Aïn Turk church, added: “I am very saddened by this injustice and persecution we are facing in Algeria. The notification of the Prefect is based on false motives.”

World Watch Monitor has reported extensively about intimidations and harassment faced by churches in Algeria.

In May, the human rights situation in Algeria was debated by the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The session was attended by the president of the EPA, and raised hope among the Christian community, which expected positive changes.

A new Constitution, passed in February 2016, established freedom of religious worship. Article 36 states that freedom of religious worship is guaranteed in compliance with the law. But in practice, a number of churches were ordered to cease all religious activities on the grounds that they were in breach of a 2006 law which regulates non-Muslim worship.

Moreover, EPA international partners planning to visit churches in Algeria have seen their visa application denied


9 Christians Shot to Death Execution-Style in Ambush

The Tuesday night incident is the latest in a series of deadly attacks carried out by suspected Fulani herdsmen on indigenous Christians.

Why aren’t they reporting these news reports on the murder of Christians?

Nine Christians were shot dead by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria’s central Plateau State on Tuesday night, Nov. 7, 2017, as they returned from a weekly village market.

Four more were injured during the incident in the Riyom Local Government Area (LGA), which happened at around 7:30 p.m.. Seven were killed instantly, two died later in hospital.

The victims’ names were:

Daniel Shom
Dachollom Shom
Emmanuel Gyang
Daniel Niri
Felix Gwom
Reuben Danbwang
Sunday Danbwang
Dagam Danbwang
Bitrus ‎Chunwang.

Some of them were part of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN), others the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA).

According to a villager, Maria Joseph, who witnessed the attack, the victims were returning from the Makera market in a Volkswagen Golf when they were ambushed and shot at the Diyan junction near Gako village.

She added that the assailants were a combination of Fulani and soldiers, who later jumped into an Opel Vectra and zoomed off.

The driver of the Golf, Samson Dagwom, who pretended to be dead, said the attackers were all in tattered clothes and were haggard in appearance. While he was lying down, he said he heard them speaking in English and Fulfulde (the Fulani language).

Other local sources said some of the assailants were wearing army uniforms, but an army spokesman denied what he said were “unthinkable” allegations. Captain Umar Adam said the army had launched an investigation and would make public its findings as soon as possible.
Tension and emotions are high in Diyan, Gako and other neighboring communities, as they mourn the death of their loved ones.

The nine victims were buried in their village, named Rim, in a mass grave Wednesday afternoon (8 November).‎

CAN and others condemn killings

The state chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Soja Bewarang, sent his condolences to the families of those killed and called on security officials to “keep a closer and diligent watchful eye on Riyom, Barakin Ladi [the neighboring LGA] and other hotspots in the state”. He also advised the federal government to do more to prevent further attacks on Christian communities in the state by Fulani herdsmen, a call echoed by a state Assembly member.

“We have been under siege. Some weeks back, Fulani herdsmen complained that one of them was killed, which we didn’t know about, and they said they were going to attack this community, and now they have taken the laws into their hands and truly attacked,” said Daniel Dem, representing the Riyom constituency in the state’s House of Assembly.

“If somebody comes out clearly before the STF [Special task Force] and said he is going to attack a community and the people were later ambushed after a week and killed, the person who gave the threat should be arrested and interrogated. The leaders of Fulani in Riyom should be arrested and interrogated by the Defense Headquarters. Enough of these mass killings!”

The Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, said the killings were an assault on people living in their own ancestral lands.

A federal lawmaker representing Riyom LGA, Istifanus Gyang, said the attack was likely motivated by a quest for land occupation and territorial annexation, which he said was being carried out with “ruthless banditry and brutal slaughter”.

According to the Chairman of Riyom LGA, Emmanuel Jugul, most of the people in the local communities of Mahanga and Gweba have been displaced from their homes, after they were forcefully taken over by Fulanis. He called on the federal government to intervene to avert a national crisis.

“You can imagine that there are villages that indigenous [people] cannot go,” he said. “Today, a native of Riyom cannot go Mahanga because they will be killed by the Fulani people. Fulanis are saying that they have captured the place. Are they fighting [a] jihad? Why should they be talking about capturing communities?”

The Tuesday night incident is the latest in a series of deadly attacks carried out by suspected Fulani herdsmen on communities dominated by indigenous Christians.

The recent upsurge has shattered the relative calm regained by Plateau State, which has witnessed the deadliest sectarian violence in Nigeria’s recent history.

But many denounced the passivity of the army. On October 14, attackers believed to be Fulani herdsmen descended on one village, burnt over 30 houses and destroyed farmlands, despite a dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed by the governor. Moreover, a member of the community said that following the imposition of the curfew, the soldiers had gone around the houses in the community and mopped up all the weapons the villagers had to defend themselves, thereby making them even more vulnerable to attackers.

A recent report, published by the International Crisis Group (ICG), said the response to the crisis at both federal and state levels has been poor.

“The government typically deploys the federally controlled police, and sometimes the army, to areas reporting attacks or clashes. These forces, poorly deployed in rural areas, often lack logistics for rapid response, especially across difficult terrain,” the report said.