Guest Post: Is This Christian College Being Bullied?

Gordon College

Standing up for religious freedom and God’s design for human sexuality these days comes at a price, as one Christian college president recently learned.

LindsayphotoMeet D. Michael Lindsay, President of Gordon College, a Christian liberal arts institution located in Wenham, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1889 as a missionary training school.

President Lindsay, a scholar in his own right as well as a Pulitzer-nominated author, stirred up an unexpected tempest for his school by signing on to a July 1 open letter to President Obama, along with other religious leaders from various churches, organizations and social relief agencies. The letter urged the President to include a hiring exemption for religious organizations in an anticipated Executive Order (EO) related to government contracting and homosexuality. Many religious institutions contract with the federal government to provide various goods and services such as disaster relief, and they were rightfully concerned that the EO might require them to compromise their religious beliefs as it relates to hiring homosexuals.

The EO, which President Obama issued earlier this week, does require government contractors to hire homosexuals. But as it turned out, the EO left in place a previous hiring exemption for religious organizations ordered by President George W. Bush. Many religious leaders, including Lindsay and the other signers of the letter, had feared the Bush exemption would be repealed, and indeed, had asked Obama to include a robust exemption in his order.

All’s well that ended well, right? Not for Lindsay and Gordon College.

Just signing the letter put Lindsay and Gordon College on the radar screen of those who deem obedience to Scripture’s teaching on marriage and sexuality an act of bigotry.

In nearby  Salem, Massachusetts, the mayor, after hearing of the letter and apparently researching the college’s website, cancelled a city contract with the college to manage the city’s theatre facility, noting that the college’s code of conduct for teachers and students forbids homosexual practice.

Then the Boston Globe interviewed the college’s accreditation agency, which announced it was going to review the college’s policies and “decide if the institution is meeting our standards.”

That’s ominous. A school’s accreditation is its lifeblood. Without it, the school can’t attract students, and if you can’t attract students, you’re out of business.

President Lindsay explained, in a letter posted on the college’s website, that his sole intention in signing the letter to President Obama was “to affirm the College’s support of the underlying issue of religious liberty, including the right of faith-based institutions to set and adhere to standards which derive from our shared framework of faith …”

There was a time in this country when such sentiments would prompt praise, not provoke criticism, when such sentiment were the foundations of colleges and universities, not their potential demise.

We applaud and support President Lindsay’s principled stand for religious freedom. His experience, however, should serve as a warning to Christians in our increasingly “post-Christian” America that standing up for the Gospel and for the religious freedom necessary for its propagation now comes with a cost.

If you want to know more about your religious freedom rights, please download our free resource, “Religious Freedom: Protecting How We Practice Our Faith.”

Bruce Hausknecht, J.D., is a judicial analyst for Focus on the Family

Sign up for my weekly e-newsletter

Leave a Comment

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Your view on homosexuality is becoming a litmus test. Fail the test and face the wrath of the tolerance(?) leaders in government, business, and so-called churches. Will Tony Dungy, a great Christian leader, survive? Phil of Duck Dynasty survived. Chick-fil-a seemed to benefit initially for a godly stance. Others have not survivied and many live in fear and keep silent. 
Arnold Farquar More than 1 year ago
Don't accept government money and then you can do what you want.  It's really quite simple. 

If someone gives you money, they can set the rules. If you don't like it, DON'T ACCEPT THE MONEY. 
Steven Yuan More than 1 year ago
Interesting that this is near Salem, where now the witch hunt is now toward anyone that doesn't promote or believe the politically correct way regarding homosexuality.  This is also similar to McCarthyism, just instead of Communists, it is Christians.  Then again, this is also the same as the persecution of the Puritans and Pilgrims in England or Europe for not promoting or believing the politically correct way regarding divorce.  History just keep repeating itself.
John F Nice Jr More than 1 year ago
We are certainly seeing Bible prophecies coming true.  We have come to a time when mankind desires to follow their own sinful lusts and are intolerant of any other point of view.  Read Genesis 14 and Luke 17.
Ralph Conti More than 1 year ago
Come to a time?  When has it ever been different?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kudos to the President (Lindsay, not Obama)  Perhaps Gordon may consider Hillsdale Colleges example.  They declare their independence from govt intrusion by refusing to accept govt money.  Period
Ralph Conti More than 1 year ago
Why should a legitimate school worry about accreditation?  My school comes under very close scrutiny as a routine matter.  As for the theater, the city administrators have the same right to opinion that the school administrators have.  Any loss of business that results from stated opinion is the price you pay for having an opinion and we all live by that rule.  And yes, there was a time in this country when such sentiments would prompt praise, not provoke criticism; but that is hardly a reason for validation.  Our nation's past is filled with sentiments that are no longer considered praiseworthy. If your position is so different than those of the past, why is the same reasoning constantly employed.
Nathanial Poling More than 1 year ago
Christians had better wake up in this country.  This is a blatant sick attack on Christian/Catholic colleges and people need to stand up against this tyranny.  
Nicole Yurchak More than 1 year ago
Would you hire someone who has lied, committed adultery, had impure thoughts, or took our Lord's name in vain? All Sin is sin and punishable by death. ThAnkfully our Savior came and took away our chains. Not one of us is perfect. We all sin and are in need of a Savior. I think we need to stop grading each other's sin and start showing more love. Hate the sin but love the sinner. Who are we to cast anyone away? What is your weakness? What would you be cast out for? We christians needs to spend more time focusing on our own walk and our own relationship with Christ and leave the judging to the one true Judge, our Father. 
Kevin Thomas More than 1 year ago
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead,and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 2 Tim 4
Wendy Joy Marshall More than 1 year ago
This is not a  matter of judging but a  matter of who represents your institution. If a  college is forced to hire homosexuals who are living an openly sinful lifestyle then those people are now representing that institution. Being guilty of sin and being proud of it are 2 different things. A  Christian should love everyone, yes, but they should not be forced to promote sin.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago

What logic prompts the government to require contractors to hire persons that profess to engage in risky behavior that they claim to desire? Shouldn't the government be discouraging unhealthy behavioral choices, as they do with smoking?

And for those who claim that sexual orientation is genetic, I ask if you were attentive in science class when "survival of the fittest" was taught. Since same-sex activities do not procreate, no such genetic trait would have survives. Furthermore, do you also assert that sexual behavior can't be controlled? Even if sexual urges were an uncontrollable genetic trait, that logic demands the government promote all harmful sexual behavior (incest, child rape, etc.) on supposed discrimination grounds. Think about it... Obviously, the EO is the result of flawed reasoning or intentionally destructive.

Jim Rogers More than 1 year ago
I would like to recommend that the college get an organization, such as Liberty Institute, to provide themselves with legal support; if they haven't already done so.  I agree that we need to "start pushing" back but we need to ask the Lord to give us the most appropriate way to respond.  We must love the sinner; but hate the sin.  Let's all be in prayer and ready to fight on the side of the Lord.
Evan Leclerc More than 1 year ago
Why should the government give the college money if they aren't obeying the law.
Robbert Bricker More than 1 year ago
i bet they hire the divorced, remarried, overweight and gossips... ah, but who cares about those sins... they are so very common amongst the christians.  if they discriminated against all sins, who could they ever hire?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is high time we start some "push back" while we still have the support to do it. If Christians and Christian institutions would take "the very same  arguments they use" and turn it around and aim it right back at them, we might win a few of these battles.Instead, we turn the other cheek, run away, close up our businesses and let them push us around. They get stronger and stronger. Further more, If I were a homosexual who also cared about living in a free society where the government was not going to breathe down my back (IRS) if I questioned them, voted against a current administration or refused to bake a cake for a heterosexual couple, I'd be fighting along side the Tea Party people.   
Evan Leclerc More than 1 year ago
The government is enforcing the law and is doing no wrong.
Colleges like this are aloud to exist but they should not expect government money if they are going to discriminate against gay people.
Mark Johansen More than 1 year ago
Christians in America for at least the last few decades have slavishly and literally followed "Submit to the authorities", but have brushed off and dismissed "We must obey God rather than men." If the Apostle Paul was alive today, I'm quite sure that every major Christian organization would distance themselves from him because he ended up in jail so often. American churches would surely denounce Moses for leading a violent revolution against an established government. And the judge Ehud -- assassinating a government leader! how outrageous!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So it seems to me this organization is demanding special rights for themselves so they can violate non-discrimination laws and use religion as their excuse.  That doesn't sound right to me. 
Randy Kelley More than 1 year ago
Actually, the sexual revolution (homosexual) agenda is the one DEMANDING special rights unheard of in the history of America. They even admit it, so ...... Try again....
Steven Ray More than 1 year ago
(continued) it will only get worse.
Steven Ray More than 1 year ago
Salem has turned from hunting witches to Christians--especially if they don't praise diversity in lifestyle choices or choosing to end babies lives. Our country has had truly intolerant times in our history, but it has reached a low point, and
Anonymous More than 1 year ago

First, the FOTF note that linked to this article is misleading.  It makes it sound like the White House was punishing the school for the letter.  Instead, it turns out that a city mayor is revising a contract that was presumably using local money - a revision that could be challenged as a possible breach of contract. Don't know the mayor's reasons, but if he was responding to political pressure, that is what mayors do (from both directions).   I'm not sure why the accrediting agency is going to review the school, but that is what such agencies do - routinely.  The article gives no hint of the reason, and doesn't cite any attempt to find out why.


As for the post by anonymous, as a Christian, I reject the idea that the Bible is a "rule book." It is a story of God's progressive revelation to mankind, and a story of salvation.  We are no longer subject to the law, but to the Christ.  Anonymous himself is picking and choosing which commandments to follow, as even a cursory review of Leviticus would demonstrate.

William Wipperdink More than 1 year ago
read what Paul says in the bible about homosexuality
it is quite clear and he was trained directly by Jesus out in the desert.
William Wipperdink More than 1 year ago
believers in Christ need to prepare for things will surely get worse as the bible says it will.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
it's a shame that our "rule book for life", the Bible, is being slowly picked apart and criticized as not being relevant to the culture of today.  And it's a travesty to be accused of being a bigot when you stand on your Christian principals.  Bigotry has nothing to do with believing in the Living Word.  Last time i checked, the Bible was written to withstand many thousands of years, with instructions having been handed down by our Lord and Savior, all with His purposes in mind.  I don't recall seeing any caveat in its pages that allows for us to pick and choose what is to still be applicable today based on how people have changed their own beliefs and habits.  It's bad enough that this Country's "history" has been edited and/or rewritten so as to not "offend" particular groups.  Just because there are those who don't believe in the Gospel, doesn't give them the right to accuse those of us who do of being bigots or judged as being discriminatory or selective in our beliefs and moral standards.  
Evan Leclerc More than 1 year ago
Do you shave? Is you shirt made out of more than one fabric? Did you work on the Sabbath?

William Wipperdink More than 1 year ago
the war on Christ is getting more brutal. we are getting to a time where to follow Christ will remind us of what he said:

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

Eugenia Sefcik More than 1 year ago
I would send this information to Bill O'Reilly at Fox News. He often highlights matters like this. Eugenia Sefcik