Trinity Western University is a private Christian school in western Canada. It plans to open a law school in September 2016, but has faced intense opposition because its students must agree to a code of conduct prohibiting "sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman." Opponents claim that this code excludes gays. As a result, the British Columbia Law Society voted to deny accreditation to the school.
Now the Nova Scotia Supreme Court has ruled that Trinity Western's code does not discriminate against students or undermine the quality of their training. The code does not ban gays or anyone else—it simply asks them to pledge not to have sex while students at the school. The judge who issued the ruling stated that people have a right to study among others who share their faith. Denying this right is a violation of religious freedom.
There is value in Christian community which many in the secular world do not understand. (Tweet this)
In David Brooks's latest New York Times column, he discusses the rise of secularism in our day. Quoting an author who argues that secular morality is built around the individual's reason, choice, and responsibility, Brooks notes that humans are more than reasoning creatures. We are governed by our emotions and subconscious impulses as well. Religion speaks to the mind, but also to the heart.
And it provides an innate community which secularism struggles to duplicate. Brooks: "Secular individuals have to build their own communities. Religions come equipped with covenantal rituals that bind people together, sacred practices that are beyond individual choice. Secular people have to choose their own communities and come up with their own practices to make them meaningful."
Collaboration is essential to personal happiness, but also to global peace. In Joseph Nye's masterful work, The Future of Power, the former dean of the Kennedy School at Harvard advocates "smart power" as the future of effective global relations. (Read Nick Pitts's article on The Future of Power's leadership implications.) "Soft power" employs persuasion and diplomacy; "hard power" uses military and financial coercion. Now we are in an era of "smart power," using technology to advance global collaboration. Non-state actors such as al-Qaeda and ISIS are not susceptible to soft or hard power, but cultural groups working together can accomplish what militaries and governments cannot. Nye says of the U.S., "even the largest country cannot achieve the outcomes it wants without the help of others."
Collaboration is at the heart of the gospel. (Tweet this) The church is a body with many members, a vine with many branches. But here's the catch: unity for unity's sake doesn't accomplish much. When we are unified in our passion for Jesus, in love with him and therefore with each other, his Spirit works through us to do together what we could never do alone.
The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has affirmed the right to Christian community. Now let's show the world its value. Jesus prayed that we would be one so the world will believe the Father sent the Son (John 17:21). How will you answer his prayer today?
Publication date: February 4, 2015
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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