The mayor of the city of Salem, Massachusetts doesn’t regret her city’s decision to sever its ties to Gordon College, the Christian university that asked the federal government to grant it a religious exemption from workplace protections for LGBT employees.
In fact, in a letter she posted to the city’s Facebook page, Mayor Kimberly Driscoll pledged to donate five dollars to an LGBT youth charity for every angry phone call her office gets from conservatives bent on harassing city employees over the decision.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s historic decision in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case, Gordon College President D. Michael Lindsay joined a group of other Christian leaders who sent a letter to President Barack Obama insisting that their “sincerely held religious beliefs” compel them to demand exemption from federal nondiscrimination laws.
Gordon College, Lindsay argued, is “an explicitly Christian institution,” and as such, should be allowed to fire or to refuse to hire individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Some students and faculty reacted angrily, saying that Lindsay was making their school sound bigoted and backward. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges announced earlier this week that it is considering pulling Gordon College’s academic accreditation over its insistence on adhering to discriminatory policies, regardless of their religious foundations.
Then came the city of Salem’s decision to cut all contractual ties with the college until its rules match the federal government’s.
Erstwhile Fox News pundit Glenn Beck’s website The Blaze and other right-leaning media outlets reacted to the city’s decision with outrage, exhorting conservatives to call the city and vent their anger at public officials over the decision.
“Apparently, Glenn Beck is not happy about the City’s stance terminating our contract with Gordon College,” wrote Mayor Driscoll on Facebook.
“(T)oday we had over 50 phone calls from ‘friends’ in Texas, Georgia and similar locales looking to connect with ‘the Mayor’ about this issue,” she said, noting that “Many of the callers began the conversation seeking to speak with the Mayor by asking if ‘he’ was available.”
As a result of the flood of calls, Driscoll announced that the city will donate five dollars per angry caller to the North Shore Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth.
“Feel free to join in on the pledge if you like!” she wrote.