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Published On: Wed, Jul 23rd, 2014

Gordon College in Massachusetts attacked over religious exemptions, loses city contract

Old Town Hall Gordon College massachusettsA Massachusetts Christian college is facing a backlash for supporting religious exemptions to the proposed executive order that would add sexuality to the anti-bias policy applied to all federal contractors. The city has responded to the school’s stance by ending a contract for use of the Old Town Hall.
 
Gordon College’s president, Michael Lindsay, joined 13 other religious leaders in signing a public letter to President Barack Obama asking him to include a religious exemption from a new executive order expected to require all federal contractors and subcontractors to hire LGBT persons, regardless of the organization’s religious stance on homosexuality.
 
The Salem, Mass. mayor terminated the school’s use of the city-owned Old Town Hall. Over the last six years Gordon College had been contracted to  maintain, operate, and assist in the preservation and improvement of the historic building.
 
“I am truly disappointed in the stance you have taken, which plainly discriminates against the rights of LGBT individuals, both on and off campus,” said Salem Mayor Kimberly Driscoll in a letter to Lindsay posted on the city’s website. “These actions fly in the face of the City of Salem’s non-discrimination ordinance, which prohibits our municipality from contracting with entities that maintain discriminatory practices.”
 
White House officials announced in June that Obama planned to sign the executive order making the unilateral action that affects federal contractors and subcontractors, which make up nearly one-quarter of the US workforce, according to The Boston Globe.
 
Religious leaders worry the order could drive faith-based organizations out of federally contracted work, including disaster relief, janitorial service, technology support, adoption assistance, preschool education, and prison ministry.
 
The order also may affect colleges that use federal funding for student financial aid.
 
Gordon College, located just south of Salem in Wenham, is a Christian university that requires its employees and students to follow biblical “behavior expectations,” including not tolerating “homosexual practice.”
 
Michael Wear, who served as the national faith vote director for the Obama 2012 campaign, helped write the letter. He told The Boston Globe the letter’s intent is to find a way to protect LGBT rights, but also assure religious organizations that hire “according to their religious identity” will not automatically be disqualified from competing for federal contracts.
 
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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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  1. Robin Pitt says:

    one is allowed freedom of religion as long as it is kept out of the government. this church, and others like it, would force a secular government to amend this to continue receiving revenue that they aren’t entitled to because they choose to ignore the law. either you abide by the law or you stop receiving the benefits. simple enough.

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