Remaining Biblical May Cost Christian College Its Accreditation

By:  Dave Bohon
07/16/2014
       
Remaining Biblical May Cost Christian College Its Accreditation

A 125-year-old Christian college in Massachusetts may lose its accreditation over its efforts to remain biblically relevant.

A small Christian college in Massachusetts is having its long-time accreditation reviewed after its president joined over a dozen religious leaders in penning a letter to President Obama requesting a religious exemption to a planned executive order banning organizations that do business or receive funding from the federal government from discriminating against homosexuals in hiring or services.

Gordon College president D. Michael Lindsay was one of 14 religious leaders who signed the letter to Obama appealing for an exemption for religious institutions from the president's expected executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. “Without a robust religious exemption … this expansion of hiring rights will come at an unreasonable cost to the common good, national unity, and religious freedom,” reads the letter, which was sent to the White House the day after the U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision exempting closely held companies from the ObamaCare mandate requiring employees to provide workers with free contraception, including contraceptives that can cause abortion.

The letter's signers — which included the head of Catholic Charities USA, the executive editor of the magazine Christianity Today, and leading evangelical pastor Rick Warren — insisted that they do not approve of discrimination, writing that they believe “all persons are created in the divine image of the creator, and are worthy of respect and love, without exception. Even so, it still may not be possible for all sides to reach a consensus on every issue. That is why we are asking that an extension of protection for one group not come at the expense of faith communities whose religious identity and beliefs motivate them to serve those in need.”

The Boston Globe reported that the New England Association of Schools and Colleges’ (NEASC) Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, the region's higher education accrediting agency, “will review whether its standards are being violated by Gordon College after the Christian school’s public opposition to hiring protections for gays and lesbians shed light on its longstanding policies prohibiting gay activities among students, faculty, and staff.”

The commission’s director, Barbara E. Brittingham, said that pulling a school's accreditation is a rare and “very drastic” step, and she declined to predict the fate that the commission, composed of officials from the highest levels of liberal academia throughout New England, may decide for the 125-year-old college, considered one of evangelical Christianity's most prestigious institutions. The jury is slated for next September, and should the commission decide to pull Gordon's accreditation, the school would face losing its federal funding.

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Photo of A.J. Gordon Memorial Chapel at Gordon College in Wenham, Mass.

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