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UPDATED: BMO & 72 Corporations Launch Assault on Religious Freedom

Updated February 12, 2015: Since we first made readers aware of the 72+ corporations which are uniting to oppose a Christian law school in Canada, many of you have taken action. We have heard of people cancelling their personal and corporate bank accounts with BMO and others following up with specific corporations they do business with (see attachments for two examples of letters to BMO from ARPA readers). It only took one day of this article being posted and ARPA received a call from CocaCola, asking why their logo is included below (we were happy to explain why it should concern them). The momentum is only growing. 

    1. On March 4, Canadians are being encouraged to move their money from BMO and send the bank a loud and clear message that their efforts against Christians will not go unnoticed. 
    2. A website called www.CorporateDiscrimination.com has been launched by the Institute for Canadian Values which profiles what BMO and the Legal Leaders for Diversity are doing. Stay tuned to that site for developments.
    3. Members of Parliament, Senators, and ordinary Canadians are speaking up. Read Senator Don Plett’s powerful speech in the Senate here. Attached to this article are two other letters that our readers have submitted. Please give them a read and consider doing the same – also to your local branch.  

We are very thankful to see that people are taking action. Please don’t stop! Follow the ongoing developments at the website above, spread the word, call the corporations you do business with, and continue to pray that God will keep our land free. 

 

In a direct challenge against efforts to start a Christian law school, some of Canada’s largest corporations are joining forces to do business only with others who share their narrow views on “diversity.” The Bank of Montreal has headed up the charge, first with a letter to the Ontario Bar Association challenging Trinity Western University’s efforts to start a Christian law school. But they have gone much further than advocacy. According to the Institute for Canadian Values, on October 9th BMO contacted their legal suppliers stating that “BMO requires the law firms with whom we do business to disclose the diversity statistics of their associates, partners and management committee as part of our External Counsel Selection Program.” The Institute for Canadian Values adds, “The bank is starting with legal suppliers and going from there. If their standards are not compatible with the bank, they will be dropped. Beyond that, the bank is intent on its employees reflecting its “inclusiveness” as not just tolerating others but “reflecting” the values of the clients.”

Even more concerning, BMO is part of a group of 72 massive corporations which have agreed to be “legal leaders for diversity.” Sobeys, Ford, MNP, Kellogs, Deloitte, RBC, UPS, and many others have agreed to 17 ways of promoting this radical secular agenda which shows little tolerance for Christians who publicly uphold God’s standards of holiness. You can find more documentation from BMO and Legal Leaders for Diversity here. And you can find a letter from these corporations, also challenging the accreditation of TWU here.

Because ARPA’s mission is expressly political, we will not be organizing a boycott against these corporations. However, we believe it is important that our readers see that the issues we are dealing with (such as our legal intervention for TWU’s law school) has consequences which extend into many parts of life, and this is just beginning. Spread the word! Check out the documentation linked above and then contact the organizations you see listed that you do business with. For example, here is the contact information for BMO’s board of governance.

As well explained in this article, there is a direct link between religious liberty and economic liberty. Don’t buy the lie that the public square or the economy is value-neutral. 

Further reflections (added 26 Nov. 2014):

The attack on the Trinity Western law school puts Canada at a crossroads. The fundamental freedoms (freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of association) and the equality rights of an entire community – all supposedly protected by our Charter of Rights and Freedoms – are undermined by those who refuse to recognize TWU graduates as qualified professionals.

These Charter rights are becoming meaningless. If we can say that religious freedom means the right to believe what you want to believe, but you will suffer negative consequences at the hands of the State for attending a religious school, then what is the point of the protection?

If we can say that we enjoy freedom of expression, but that if we express a Biblical principle on sexuality, we will be ostracized and marginalized, then what is the point of the protection?

If we can say that we have the freedom to associate with like-minded individuals for a common and peaceful cause, but that if that association happens to be religious in nature then it won’t be recognized by the State, then what’s the point of the protection?

And if we can say that we enjoy equality before the law without discrimination on the basis of religion, but that that some types of people are just a little more equal than others, then what’s the point of the protection? From a legal perspective, the assault on the TWU law school is a massive assault on the liberty and freedom of all Canadians.

What are the implications of this case for Christians in particular?

The implications of the arguments against a Christian law school are huge. The resistance to TWU is fundamentally an attack on the doctrine of the communion of saints. The communion of saints spans all times and places, but it manifests most clearly in the local church. The Belgic Confession Article 28 states that all Christians must be part of community – there is no such thing as a Christian who goes it alone.

So, how does the refusal to recognize a Christian law school translate into such an attack?

If a communal lifestyle agreement in which members of a body hold each other accountable to a standard that is different than whatever is fashionable today, if such an agreement is not okay for a law school, what about a Christian day school? In fact, we see some intense pressure on our Christian schools in Manitoba to do exactly this – to conform their school behaviour policies after secular humanist “community covenants” while labeling Christian moral teaching as a form of bullying.

And if our confessional elementary and secondary schools aren’t safe from State censure, and we can’t apply our faith to our professional lives (as lawyers, doctors, teachers or nurses, etc.), how long do you think it will be before our churches are targeted? Membership in the true church just might become more costly than you think. After all, when you profess your faith in front of the congregation, you promise to govern your entire life according to God’s Word. This is a community covenant as well! All of our schools, institutions and professionals are at risk of marginalization here.

We can’t emphasize this point enough – the principles being advanced in this case (and supported by a majority of Canadian lawyers, and now 72 of the largest corporations in Canada) says that each and every Christian who belongs to a community that holds its members to a Biblical standard of holiness, does NOT belong in a so-called “tolerant” Canada. Law and politics have consequences in other spheres of life, like the marketplace, as this story exemplifies. When the church and Christians remain silent in the political sphere, there will be consequences in the private sphere. 

Freedom of Religion, Trinity Western University Email Us 

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