To the Editor,
I have great admiration for Gerald Veldhoven’s concern for justice and fairness for all human beings as reflected in his commentary LGBT Discrimination at a BC University. The issues he raises are important and certainly there is great debate surrounding them. In his eagerness to drive home his point, however, he makes three errors in his article:
First, his article contains inaccuracies. His commentary seems to suggest that Trinity Western University’s (TWU) membership in the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada is a new development. Actually, TWU has been a member since 1984. In addition, Veldhoven seems to suggest that the University has recently opened a law school. In fact, TWU has applied for, and received, permission and recognition from both the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education and The Federation of Law Societies of Canada in order to open a new law school and admit its first class in the fall of 2015.
Second, his article contains errors in argument. Mr. Veldhoven points out that TWU requires that its students agree to live their lives according to traditional Christian values including a commitment to reserve sexual intimacy for within a traditional marriage between one man and one woman. He goes on to argue that this expectation would lead graduates of TWU to be discriminatory in their dealings with others of differing views and practices, notably gays and lesbians. If this were true then one would expect that TWU nursing and education graduates, for instance, would be known for treating gays and lesbian with disrespect and discriminate against them in the workplace. There are no complaints of discriminatory treatment of gays and lesbians by TWU grads that I am aware of. Why would Mr. Veldhoven assume that the proposed law school would produce graduates who behave differently than graduates from other programs at TWU?
Third, his article argues that the rights of some are more important than the rights of others. Mr. Veldhoven puts forth the argument that the rights of sexual minorities should trump the rights of religious minorities. He suggests, for instance, that it is inappropriate for Crandall University, an intentionally Christian university in Moncton, N.B., to expect that its employees live their lives in keeping within the sexual mores of historic Christianity, the teachings of the Bible as we understand them, the teachings of Crandall’s sponsoring denomination the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches (a network for 450 churches in the Atlantic region which owns and operates the University), and the majority of Christians worldwide.
The challenge with his view is that if our society does not permit Crandall University to expect that its employees, part of whose role is to model their Christian faith, follow a generally accepted Christian view of sexual morality then we have put at risk the principle of freedom of religion upon which our county was founded and which finds expression in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
To clarify, Crandall University is not “against” anyone. We are simply “for” traditional marriage. Crandall University is a caring and loving community that welcomes all students who wish to live and study in an intentional Christian setting.
I would like to invite Mr. Veldhoven to visit Crandall University and get to know the university he has written so judgmentally about in this and other articles. He may be surprised by the warmth and love he experiences.
Bruce Fawcett, Ph.D.,
President and Vice Chancellor