Trinity Western University: “We know it will be messy”

“Some have asked, ‘Wouldn’t it be easier to just make the Covenant voluntary?’ Of course it would. But this question misses the point.”

by Amy Robertson

My boss is from the U.S. We see a few things a little differently—the name of a winter hat and the last letter of the alphabet, for example. (Just for the record, “toque” and “zed.”) A couple of weeks ago, he made a connection I never would have: the relevance of Canada’s national anthem to Trinity Western University’s law school journey.

Read the latest insights into the TWU case in the Jul/Aug Faith Today.
Read the latest insights into the TWU case in the Jul/Aug Faith Today.

God keep our land glorious and free—what an amazing line!” he said.

I’m not sure I’ve ever appreciated a fresh perspective so completely.

I’ve probably sung and heard “O Canada” thousands of times in my lifetime—yet I rarely think about the words. They’re powerful, aren’t they?

Freedom is what made Canada great from the very beginning. So much of what we’re privileged to enjoy as Canadians comes from freedom. It means we can expect our elected officials to represent our interests. It means we can speak our minds without fear of being arrested—and so can our neighbours, even if they see things differently. It means we can expect to shape our own future.

I was born long after the World Wars. I don’t have any grandparents or uncles who died for my freedom. It could be easy for me to take my freedom for granted. But I look at my neighbours in other countries who don’t enjoy the freedoms I do—and I just can’t.

Freedom is worth protecting. That’s why Trinity Western University is going to court.

Many have focused on the theological and social issues behind our law school journey—and we admit there are a lot (and they’re complicated). The definition of marriage. Same-sex relationships. Equality. The rights of a private religious organization to engage in the public square.

Some have asked, “Wouldn’t it be easier to just make the Covenant voluntary?” Of course it would. But this question misses the point.

The point is that in Canada, government institutions don’t tell citizens what to believe and how to practice their faith—or lack of faith. Whether the majority agrees with our Community Covenant is irrelevant. It defines us as a religious community, and our beliefs about marriage are a core part of that. Changing our Covenant because a few law societies don’t like it would be to deny the freedom upon which our country was built.

“God keep our land glorious and free.”

We’re not taking this journey just because we want to open a law school. We’re also taking this journey because we believe in freedom—for everyone. We know it will be messy, and that there will be some pain along the way. But it will be worth it—because it is right and just to ask the courts to continue to honour the freedoms we’re guaranteed in the Charter.

I work on a team of men and women who also believe in freedom. Some days are rewarding. Other days are just difficult. Telling our story to a world that largely doesn’t understand who we are and why we’re doing this is surely one of the greatest challenges I have ever undertaken. It’s also one of the greatest privileges. Sometimes I think, “Me, Lord? Really?”

Then I hang on tight. Because I think freedom will be worth the ride.

Amy Robertson is the associate director of media and public relations at Trinity Western University. Read the EFC’s response to the latest ruling in the TWU case. Read our interview with TWU President Bob Kuhn.

8 thoughts on “Trinity Western University: “We know it will be messy””

  1. What unique threat do LGBT students pose to the TWU community that Muslim and Pagan students don’t? Why does the Covenant target sexual “sins” but ignores so many other, more potential detrimental deviations from scripture?

      1. If they weren’t some sort of threat, why would they be forced to sign a covenant that restricts their freedom to practice sexual relations as they wish?

        The threat is obviously implied.

        1. As I read it, TWU isn’t using the covenant to “force a restriction” on someone who is unwilling to submit to it. It’s the community being clear and transparent about their shared values, so that newcomers to the community recognize what’s expected. People who aren’t willing to adhere to the stated values while studying there are free to study elsewhere, and graduates are free to advocate alternative values after graduation. I’m no expert on other religions, but I could easily imagine a Buddhist school where students are asked to be celibate during their studies for example. Would that be a fair comparison?

  2. God has United Truth with Freedom . What God has United no man can Seperate . Therefore take a stand for truth and enjoy the freedom and honour God even if it means suffering .
    With prayer .

  3. “Freedom is what made Canada great from the very beginning.”

    Right, like the freedom for European-Christian colonizers to discriminate and culturally oppress First Nations’ populations?

    If you’re going to cite history to make your point, it’s important to make sure that you understand the implications of what you are saying.

  4. “Freedom is worth protecting. That’s why Trinity Western University is going to court.”

    Should LGBTQ students not have the freedom to attend TWU without having to sign a covenant that restricts their own freedoms?

    freedom |ˈfrēdəm|
    the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint: we do have some freedom of choice | he talks of revoking some of the freedoms.

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