May 1, 2017
To: All Benchers, Law Society of British Columbia
We urge you to accept the resounding and unanimous defence of freedom issued by the B.C. Court of Appeal. Please prevail upon the B.C. Law Society to withdraw its appeal from the Court’s Trinity Western University decision.
It is not illegal for any citizen to believe that union between one man and one woman is uniquely sacred in the eyes of God. It is not illegal for citizens who share a common religious belief to associate together in a church community such as Trinity Western. It is not illegal for any church community to provide higher education for its members, including a legal education, as the Trinity Western church community has done.
It is a violation of citizens’ basic freedoms for any government agency to punish the peaceful legal conduct of honourable men and women by excluding them from full participation in our public justice institutions, as the Law Society proposes to do.
For centuries, lawyers have defended the freedom of citizens to pursue their peaceful private ends without constraint by public authorities. The freedom to adopt religious beliefs at odds with those of governing authorities is an important component of the freedoms enjoyed in Canada. We are dismayed to find any Canadian citizen being punished by a society of lawyers for a peaceful religious belief simply because that belief dissents from the views of another social group.
True secular equality demands that no social group may impose its religious views upon another or suppress the free association of those whose religious views differ from their own.
The church community at Trinity Western University should be free to assert the peaceful religious belief that a union between one man and one woman is sacred in God’s eyes without suppression of that belief by any public authority. The church community at Trinity Western University should be free to peacefully associate together with those who share their beliefs, and to provide education for their members, free of any suppression of their association by public authorities.
You need not agree with any specific religious views to champion the freedom of religion and of association for which our forebears sacrificed and fought. Those freedoms are important bulwarks of democracy because they permit a focus of loyalty capable of challenging the otherwise supreme power of civil authorities.
Imposing barriers to the practice of their livelihood against the Trinity Western church community simply because their beliefs don’t meet with the approval of some other social group contradicts Canadians’ hard-won freedoms of religion and association. Please champion freedom by moving that the Law Society of British Columbia withdraw its appeal of the British Columbia Court of Appeal decision in the Trinity Western University case.
The Democracy Defence Initiative,
Per: Stephen C. Woodworth (519) 404-4062 www.democracydefence.ca