Does British Columbia Hate Christianity?

College of Teachers Persecutes Christians at Trinity Western University

Michael Emmanuel

It appears amongst the Canadian provinces, the worst one to be a Christian in is British Columbia. I have come to this conclusion because of the number of times stories of outrageous persecution have come out of the province.

 In retrospect, it seems too long ago to be relevant that in 2002 Chris Kempling, a high school counselor, was suspended from his school by the British Columbia College of Teachers for daring to write against homosexuality being introduced into the curriculum. Despite his charitable attitude and reasoned social scientific position, Kempling was defamed for making “derogatory comments” and being “discriminatory.” But this was only the beginning of the litigations to come out of beautiful B.C.

 This wasn’t the first time the College of Teachers made the news for persecuting Christians, and it wouldn’t be the last. In 1996, the group attacked Trinity Western University’s right to have an education program. The accusations are now a familiar one: Trinity Western’s abstinence covenant was discriminatory against homosexuals and would lead graduates to be discriminatory. Never mind that the abstinence policy is equally discriminatory to heterosexual premarital relations. In 2002 the B.C. Supreme Court upheld Trinity Western’s right to have a teachers college since, according to Trinity Western’s Dr. Saffold, “People cannot be arbitrarily penalized or barred from participating in public life simply because they hold religious views.”

 Despite this victory for Trinity Western, it seems the same abstinence covenant would bring the school back under fire when the school submitted a proposal to establish a school of law to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada in 2012. The Federation delegated the right to accept Trinity Western law students to the provincial law societies. The Law Society of Upper Canada in Ontario voted against approving the law school this spring, and the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society conditioned acceptance on the grounds students could opt out of signing the covenant. Currently the Law Society of British Columbia is undecided but is supposed to hold a final referendum by the end of October. Once again, the accusations were that Trinity Western’s students would be discriminatory in their practice of law because of their faith positions.

 These stories are starting to become familiar, though. It was the events transpiring in Nanaimo B.C. that took things to a whole new level.

On May 5th 2014, the Nanaimo town councilors voted 8-1 to revoke approval of the “Beyond You” Leadercast event, sponsored by Chick-fil-A, to be held in the town convention centre. The event was to be a daylong conference on leadership, including speakers like Laura Bush and Desmond Tutu, and was entirely taxpayer funded. Why did this event on leadership have to be banned? Well, Chick-fil-A came under media fire in 2012 when owner Dan Cathy made public statements upholding traditional marriage. The Nanaimo councilors didn’t want to associate themselves with that viewpoint even if in the form of allowing a conference sponsored by a business owned by the man. Councilor Jim Kipp claimed banning the event was no worse than banning an organized crime ring since, the Christian view of marriage should “almost be a criminal point of view in this day and age.” Despite the fact the event had nothing to do with homosexuality or Christian view of marriage, the councilors denounced the event as “hateful.”

Activist and news pundit Ezra Levant caused the story to go viral when he posted footage of the council meeting online. After 4,300 people signed and submitted Levant’s petition at www.TheRealBigots.com, the Nanaimo City Council released a statement of regret that its resolution had been, “perceived as being directed at or discriminatory against Christians.” Note, this was not an apology for calling Christian beliefs criminal and comparing Christians to terrorists, but simply regret that these statements were perceived as discriminatory. Since then Levant has raised funds to sue the city for its obvious Charter violations.

 This last story takes the cake though.

Just earlier this month, Bethany Paquette, a graduate of Trinity Western, applied for a job at Amurak Wilderness Corp. and was rejected for being under qualified. Only, the rejection did not end there. Olaf Amundsen, supposedly the company’s hiring manager, followed the rejection by saying, “Unlike Trinity Western, we embrace diversity, and the right of people to sleep with or marry whoever they want.” Amundsen continued that he blames Christianity for having destroyed his Norse culture and way of life. Paquette sent a response defending her right to believe free from discrimination and ended the email with, “God bless”. Outraged, Amundsen retorted that if he met God, he would have sex with Him. Paquette is bringing a suit against Amurak to the BC Human Rights Tribunal.

I have a hard time convincing people that Christians are not free in Canada. I mean, how could I argue something like that as I write for a Christian based media publication at a Christian university where I am free to worship God according to the way I believe and to share that belief with others? But these stories demonstrate that Canada is not the bastion of freedom we like to imagine it is. Christians have been asleep at the switch. And the progression of