Dec 14, 2015
Gordon College, the small Christian liberal arts college just 30 minutes north of Boston, became the focus of much negative media attention just over a year ago. Its president, D. Michael Lindsay, had signed an open letter to President Obama, supporting a religious exemption to his Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.
President Lindsay has emphasized the need to grant faith-based institutions the freedom to "hire for mission" and for religious colleges to "set the conditions for community life." But soon after, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges took the college's accreditation under review to determine whether Gordon's prohibition of same-sex relations among students and staff might bar it from receiving federal funds.
On both sides of the issue, followers of the story tended to see it as just another skirmish in the culture wars. The case is now closed, with Gordon's accreditation renewed in May of 2015, after all. Although the college is still reeling from the media's onslaught, local hostility, and resulting divisions within its student body, it has weathered the storm and stands resolved in its principles.
But Gordon's muted challenge to federal authority is just the beginning of what this nation will face as many rise to the defense of one of its founding principles, namely, religious freedom.