Today and tomorrow, the accreditation body of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges’ (NEASC) will gather for its September meeting. On the agenda is whether or not to threaten Gordon College’s academic accreditation because of its Biblical stance on human sexuality.
[Continue reading the background info below and CLICK HERE to email the NEASC.]
As you may have heard, Gordon has been under relentless assault all summer since its President, Michael Lindsay, signed a letter to President Obama concerning a pending executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The letter, from several Christian leaders, requested that federal exemptions remain intact for religious organizations to live out their First Amendment freedoms.
President Lindsay’s association with the letter highlighted the fact that Gordon has a behavioral policy for members of its community that confines sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman. This policy, and President Lindsay’s defense of it, both fall squarely within the rights protected by our federal Constitution and Massachusetts state law.
Nevertheless, in a letter to President Lindsay, the NEASC’s Commission on Institutions of Higher Education admitted it would be discussing its relationship with Gordon due to recent prominence in the news “over a matter that may relate to the Commission’s Standards for Accreditation or its policies.”
The letter attempted to reassure the college that its accreditation was not currently at risk, but left the door open to possible future action, saying, “the Commission will discuss the matter and decide what action, if any, to take. But… the range of actions that the Commission could take at the September meeting would not include withdrawal of accreditation or probation.”
This sounds encouraging, but there are several causes for concern. The first is that although there is what appears to be a promise NOT to revoke accreditation at this month’s meeting, there is no guarantee that such action would not be taken at the commission’s next meeting, usually held in November.
The second concern is that there are a number of actions the Commission could take to attempt to harass and intimidate the school into yielding on its policy. For example, the Commission could, at this week’s meeting, call for a “Focused Evaluation Visit” and send investigators to the school to snoop around looking for students and faculty with grievances concerning the policy.
However, the Commission’s letter itself may not be worth the paper it’s printed on. It turns out that the chair of the Commission is none other than Patricia Maguire Meservey, the president of Salem State University, who wrote the following in the Salem News this past July:
“As a strong supporter of the LGBTQ community … I am deeply troubled by [President Lindsay’s] request and the potential ramifications if approved … .”
She went on to allege that Lindsay’s “support of the ability of organizations to discriminate against people based on sexual orientation sends a chilling message to many members of our community.” Perhaps most tellingly, Meservey admits that, “while I can understand a religious organization’s wishes to uphold their core religious values, I do not believe those values trump the basic human right to be treated equally and fairly,” and that “tolerance simply isn’t enough.”
Again, these are the published words of the chair of the Commission scrutinizing Gordon’s accreditation as we speak. The school has every right to be very concerned at this point. It is also my understanding that the Commission is receiving lots of pressure from homosexual activists pushing for them to take some kind of action against Gordon. Here’s where you can help.
Send an email to the Commission HERE, letting them know that you want them to recognize Gordon’s Constitutionally protected rights to both set its own behavioral policies and for its president to petition the government in the form of a letter to preserve those rights.
If Gordon College is bullied into changing its behavioral policy, every faith-based school in New England — Catholic, Protestant or otherwise — will be at risk for the same treatment. Email NEASC TODAY!