Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Christian law school in Canada?

Canadian law school deans are opposing the creation of a new Christian law school at Trinity Western University because of the university's "community covenant" prohibiting homosexual conduct.


Vischer, Rob | Permalink

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"Ceteris Paribus"

To say that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is unlawful, is to say that every type of sexual orientation is permissible and thus it is unlawful to discriminate between acts that respect the inherent personal and relational essence of the human person, and acts that are demeaning because they do not respect the inherent personal and relational essence of the human person.

Posted by: N.D. | Jan 21, 2013 1:20:42 PM

Actually, as I read the community covenant, it (1) defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and it (2) says sex is reserved for marriage. Since Canada has same-sex marriage, the problem seems to me that it doesn't recognize Canadian marriage law. As long as gay and straight people both have the right to marriage, it does not seem discriminatory to require students and faculty to refrain from sex outside of marriage. (Unrealistic, maybe, but not discriminatory.) That would be holding homosexuals and heterosexuals to the same standard, which would not be discriminatory.


Posted by: David Nickol | Jan 21, 2013 7:46:28 PM


You say "every type of sexual orientation," and I just want to clarify that by definition, "sexual orientation" refers only to heterosexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality. There are only three.

Posted by: David Nickol | Jan 21, 2013 7:51:36 PM

David, a sexual attraction is not a person, nor is it a group of persons.

Posted by: N.D. | Jan 21, 2013 8:27:18 PM

When we discriminate between acts that are respectful of the inherent personal and relational Dignity of the human person, and acts that demean the personal and relational Dignity of the human person, we are discriminating between acts that serve for The Good of the person engaging in those acts, and acts that do not serve for The Good of those persons engaging in those acts.

Posted by: N.D. | Jan 21, 2013 8:36:56 PM

This is an interesting contretemps: whether a law school can teach that one existing civil law is unust. Put in a different context, we can ask whether a Southern law school circa 1820 could adopt a doctrinal position that slavery is wrong and unjust. In other words, do they have to adopt every existing law as good. Must lawyers believe -- or at least, be taught -- that no change in the civil law is permitted?

This is different from a doctrinal commitment to teach doctrines that contradict the existing lew as though the were actually the law currently in force. The school must accept that it does not have the power to teach that the law is different from what it actually is, however disagreeable they find it. But the other deans are proposing that a law school does not have the right to teach that some existing laws are bad law and unjust. They take the position that lawyers must as a matter of their duty as citizens teach their young charges to be unquestioning lap dogs.

Posted by: Joel Clarke Gibbons | Jan 22, 2013 8:10:46 AM