D. Michael Lindsay

Banned in Boston? Globe story skirts key Gordon College issue, the faculty faith statement

Banned in Boston? Globe story skirts key Gordon College issue, the faculty faith statement

We can thank Anthony Comstock, a moral crusader and a U.S. Postal Inspector, for the modern-day usage of "Banned in Boston" as a catchphrase to describe books, magazines and, eventually, movies that were deemed unsuitable for the citizens of "the Athens of America."

Comstockery, as the censorship became known, died not long after Comstock's passing in 1915. 

But banning still rears its head every now and then, including, it appears, the hallowed precincts of The Boston Globe. In just under 670 words discussing yet another faculty-administration tussle over issues involving homosexuality, the paper took pains to suggest the school's clearly stated standards of doctrine and behavior are more like a policy statement than a reflection of the school's long-held Christian beliefs.

Search the story and you'll find the most oblique of references, at the top of the piece:

All seven members of the faculty Senate at Gordon College resigned last week in an apparent show of support for a professor who claims that she was denied a promotion because she criticized the Christian school’s opposition to same-sex relationships.
The resignations represented the latest rift to emerge between the faculty and the administration at the small evangelical school in Wenham, which forbids professors, students, and staff from engaging in “homosexual practice” on or off campus.
In a complaint to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, Margaret DeWeese-Boyd, an assistant professor of sociology, asserts that the college president and provost denied her a promotion to full professor because she has openly criticized the policy since 2013.
DeWeese-Boyd says she has spoken against the ban at a faculty meeting, signed a petition opposing it, organized trainings and events related to gay rights, and directly addressed Gordon’s president, D. Michael Lindsay, about the school’s stance.

What are some obvious factual questions that need to be asked? For starters, what doctrinal covenants did DeWeese-Boyd sign when she joined the Gordon College faculty?

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That big U.S. Supreme Court case isn’t only 2015 gay dispute for religion-beat reporters to watch

That big U.S. Supreme Court case isn’t only 2015 gay dispute for religion-beat reporters to watch

Alongside that big U.S. Supreme Court case on gay marriage, another 2015 showdown merits journalistic attention.

It involves Gordon College, an evangelical campus located in the onetime heartland of the Massachusetts Puritans. Meeting Feb. 5-6, and again in May, Gordon’s trustees will ponder whether to scrap a rule  that “sexual relations outside marriage, and homosexual practice will not be tolerated” among students and staff, whether on or off campus.

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges has directed the college to explain its policy for a meeting in September. The association has the power to remove  accreditation if Gordon violated the requirement of “non-discriminatory policies and practices in recruitment, admissions, employment, evaluation, disciplinary action, and advancement.”

Background: Gordon’s president, D. Michael Lindsay, is no backwoods rube but a Princeton Ph.D. who was an award-winning sociology professor at Rice University. Gordon’s sexual stance drew attention because Lindsay gave a helping hand to groups like Catholic Charities, the National Association of Evangelicals’ World Relief and Bethany Christian Services, the largest U.S. adoption agency.

Last July he joined Catholic and Protestant leaders in writing a letter to President Barack Obama seeking exemption for such religious employers in a pending executive order to forbid federal contractors from discrimination against  lesbians, gays, bisexuals and the transgendered.  The religious petitioners lost that fight.

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