Last week I wrote about the Canadian Association of University Teacher’s (CAUT) witch-hunt directed toward faith-based institutions. In short, they believe that a university whose staff members sign a statement of faith is incapable of fostering an environment of academic freedom. Case in point: CAUT conducted a ‘random’ investigation of Trinity Western University and placed them on a black-list.
ChristianWeek has published a recent article on the same matter. CAUT representatives were interviewed and asked for an explanation.
James Turk, a CAUT executive, explained that it is not bias or anti-Christian discrimination or sentiment that motivated their investigations. As evidence of CAUT’s good faith, he states,
If a fundamentalist Christian were barred from working at a university because of their religious beliefs, we'd be every bit as outraged.
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Mr. Turk is referring to Evangelicals when he references “Fundamentalist Christians.” I make this inference because CAUT’s investigations took place at Evangelical schools, not fundamentalist schools. Although, in fairness, perhaps Mr. Turk is aware of the differences. But, it is important to be clear.
Most of the Evangelical Christian community in Canada self-identifies as “Evangelical” and not as “Fundamentalist Christians”.
The term “Fundamentalist Christians” has, decades ago in regard to Canadian Evangelicals, been recognized as a pejorative label which often insinuates a narrow-mindedness and negative rules-based approach to religion. It is not an accurate portrait of who we are or what we believe.
If CAUT wants to demonstrate good faith and respect for Canada’s Evangelical community and their institutions, they should start using the appropriate language and terminology. This will go some distance toward facilitating any discussion that might take place.
On that point, Mr. Turk, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d be happy to walk this through with you.