Tried, Convicted, Condemned

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I was checking out the local paper this morning while waiting for my overnight guests to appear for breakfast. My eye caught an opinion article on the Editorial page. The article, the subject of which is covered in other places like,, concerned Ontario and Nova Scotia’s rejection of graduates of the Trinity Western University Law program. The school is on a level with other prestigious schools in Canada but because it has a moral code that students are required to adhere to, the law societies in these two provinces have decided that any graduates from the school will not be allowed to practice law in either of province. Trinity’s law program hasn’t even been officially launched yet, but both provinces have made their prognostications as to the quality of its graduates—a quality that could only be enhanced by graduates who have been exposed to an honour code.

The argument, according to the CBC report, is that graduates from the school would not be able to fairly represent all segments of society since they are adherents of the moral code that their alma mater requires. It’s an empty argument. Taken to its end it would mean that a sober lawyer couldn’t adequately represent a drunk, or a male advocate couldn’t adequately represent a female defendant—just because they are different.

Of course, though this particular expression might be new, prejudice and persecution of believers who take a stand for their faith is not. Peter, writing to the believers of his day who had suffered for their faith, encouraged them to persevere.

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name…So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good” (1 Peter 4:12-19).

Many of those believers considering a career in law will take a second look at whether or not they should attend Trinity Western. If they do decide to pursue their studies there, they go into the program with the full knowledge that they will not be able to practice law in at least two Canadian provinces. Who knows what other provinces will follow the shameful lead of Ontario and Nova Scotia? Personally, I would hope that at least a few of these believers would embrace the challenge and stand up for what is right at whatever the cost. In doing so they follow Jesus’ example and Peter’s instruction.

Heaven knows we could use a few morally-upright Christian lawyers in the system! As for a country that prohibits people from working freely in legitimate professions because of their religious beliefs—well, maybe we need to rethink whether we are really all that different from those countries that we so often criticize because of their constant violation of human rights.


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