AFFIRMING THE PROTECTION OF RELIGIOUS MISSIONS FOR PRIVATE COLLEGES
April 1, 2015
I wish to affirm the religious freedom that private colleges and universities in both Canada and the United States enjoy,recognizing that this right has been questioned most recently in regards to the issue of human sexuality. I believe the right for religious institutions to hold to biblical standards of sexuality without being discriminated against is protected in the constitutions of Canada and the United States.
There are two very recent decisions that have affirmed the right of faith-based colleges and universities to hold to biblical standards on human sexuality, particularly as it relates to sexual orientation, without negative consequences.
One, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court has ruled, on grounds of Canadian constitutional protections of religious liberty and freedom of conscience, in favor of Trinity Western University Law School recognition. The decision overturns denial of recognition by the Nova Scotia Barrister Society on the basis of Trinity's "unlawful" community covenant affirming biblical sexuality standards.
Two, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (regional accrediting body) affirmed that Gordon College's accreditation is not at risk because they have petitioned the federal government with respect to a religious exemption on matters related to sexual orientation. One of the core functions of accrediting bodies is to ensure that institutions are being faithful to their missions, and the American Higher Education Act specifically protects religious missions. Accreditation affirms academic excellence and fidelity to mission. Considering and respecting religious mission is a natural fit in this process.
While respecting the diverse nature of our North American society, including views on human sexuality, it is absolutely essential that religious colleges and universities be able to hold to their respective mission statements, theological tenants, and community life standards. without prejudice. This is a basic Canadian and American right!
Larry J. McKinney
Higher Education Consultant