As other Canadian bloggers have noted, the Canadian Association of University Teachers has taken it upon themselves to investigate Christian universities which require faculty to sign a doctrinal statement. According to this National Post article, CAUT claims that "An institution that includes or excludes teachers on basis of a faith test is antithetical to what a university is supposed to be" and that it wants to let the public know the "realities of the institution." This is obviously a witch hunt. Although no one at the universities in question has complained, CAUT appears to take it as a foregone conclusion that the academic freedom of scholars is necessarily compromised if they teach at faith-based institutions which require adherence to a doctrinal statement, that financial pressures keep them from doing even-handed work, and that, as a result, their scholarship may be presumed to be of doubtful quality.
Ironically, CAUT's position appears to rest on a predetermined conclusion that doctrinal statements force employees to reach predetermined conclusions. As James McGrath put it last week, signing a doctrinal statement "essentially forces you to choose between following the evidence where it leads and keeping your job" (see the comment thread for additional nuancing). What CAUT has apparently not done is inquire whether this is a necessary function of a doctrinal statement.
For my part, I don't find that a Christian confession has the effect of specifying which conclusions one is or is not allowed to reach. I view the creed, or doctrinal statement, or what have you, as a framework, a starting point, part of the preunderstanding that everyone necessarily brings with them when they encounter a text. Update: I've tried to discuss how this can work in relation to Historical study of the Bible here.
I am required to affirm a doctrinal statement every year. If I could not agree with the doctrinal statement I would not have applied for the job. If I ever stop agreeing with it, my job will be on the line. The decision was and is voluntary. Some institutions may brandish their doctrinal statements or hire an underground thought police; mine does not. I do not think that, in my day-to-day work, adherence to a statement of faith determines the outcome of careful investigation any more than other social, financial and other pressures may prejudice the work of scholars in "secular" institutions.
Update: See part 2 here.