Canadian Donna Lindquist wants to be an elementary school teacher, and she believes the training she is receiving at Langley's Trinity Western University (TWU) will qualify her to teach in the British Columbia school system.
But there is a problem. Last June, the province's accrediting agency denied TWU's application to fully certify its teacher-education program. Although the academic program passed muster, the British Columbia College of Teachers (BCCT) determined the school's policy on homosexuality to be "discriminatory" and "contrary to the public interest."
Using religious freedom arguments, TWU, a Christian school 20 miles east of Vancouver, appealed the decision to the British Columbia Supreme Court. The case is being heard this month.
Lindquist, who has completed her third year of the five-year program, has joined the challenge so that arguments about individual rights and freedoms will be advanced as well. "This is an opportunity for me to stand up for what I believe, and for a good institution," she says.
TWU expects students to conform to "community standards" that prohibit extramarital sexual relations. But according to the BCCT, school standards referring to "homosexual behavior" as a "sexual sin" discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
In a report to members, the BCCT explains that "labeling homosexual behavior as sinful has the effect of excluding persons whose sexual orientation is no more separable from a person than color." And the BCCT also is concerned that students steeped in a TWU world-view will be unable "to support all children regardless of race, color, religion, or sexual orientation within a respectful and nonjudgmental relationship" once they become teachers.
This reasoning troubles Lindquist. ...1
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