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Mass. Christian college facing review after requesting right to discriminate against gays

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A Massachusetts Christian college that is asking the government to allow it to discriminate against LGBT people is now facing review by a regional accreditation board.

The Boston Business Journal reported over the weekend that Gordon College’s attempt to skirt federal anti-discrimination laws by claiming religious exemption has earned the school a position on the New England Association of Schools and Colleges’ agenda at its next meeting.

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Gordon College President D. Michael Lindsay was among 15 Christian leaders who penned a letter to the Obama administration earlier this month in which they reasoned that under the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, their institutions should be exempt from federal anti-LGBT discrimination laws.

Gordon College, Lindsay argued, is an “explicitly Christian institution,” and as such, should be allowed to fire LGBT employees on the basis of their orientation, or to refuse to hire them at all with impunity.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby — a Christian-owned chain of craft supply stores — is within the law in denying women workers the ability to pay for birth control with their employee health insurance. To allow women employees to do so, Hobby Lobby’s owners argued, would violate the owners’ religious beliefs, and therefore is beyond the government’s ability to enforce.

Now, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges’ Commission on Institutions of Higher Education is stepping in and will attempt to determine at its meeting on Sep. 17 and 18 whether Gordon College is violating the commission’s nondiscrimination policies, even if it manages to evade federal laws.

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“There’s considerable publicity about the whole issue, and it’s been getting a lot of attention,” said commission director Barbara E. Brittingham to the Boston Globe. “It’s a matter of looking at the information we have and deciding if the institution is meeting our standards.”

The commission’s standards and policies statement says that accredited institutions must follow “non-discriminatory policies and practices in recruitment, admissions, employment, evaluation, disciplinary action, and advancement.” Furthermore, institutions must be willing to accommodate “people of diverse characteristics and backgrounds.”

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If the commission sees fit, Gordon College could lose its academic accreditation, although institutions rarely receive that punishment, the harshest that the commission can dole out.

Lindsay’s letter sparked an immediate backlash among students and faculty at Gordon College. A petition signed by 3,500 people demanded that Lindsay remove his name from the group letter and rescind his request.

Juwan Campbell, a senior at Gordon, worried to the Globe that Lindsay’s decision to sign on to the exemption request will damage the college’s reputation.

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“We’re not going to look like a very progressive school,” Campbell said. “It’s going to be difficult for people to find value in a Gordon degree going forward.”

[official portrait of Pres. D. Michael Lindsay via Gordon.edu]

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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He ‘knows where lots of Trump bodies are buried’: Ex-Mueller associate says president’s latest dissension spells trouble

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President Donald Trump has reportedly fallen out with a decades-long friend, private equity real estate investor Tom Barrack, who is currently the focus of a federal investigation into how the money from Trump's inaugural fund was raised and spent.

On Monday, former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner laid out a key reason why Trump may want to distance himself from Barrack at this point:

Televised hearings are in our future (can’t come soon enough). Tom Barrack knows where lots of Trump’s bodies are buried (figuratively speaking), inaugural committee bodies and others. Let’s hope Barrack is already quietly assisting prosecutors. https://t.co/BlgsiaX0YP

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Trump freezes out longtime friend over alleged inauguration scams: ‘The president doesn’t get any of that money’

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One of President Donald Trump's longest true friends is Los Angeles-based private equity real estate investor Tom Barrack. Their relationship goes back decades, with Barrack helping Trump sell New York's Plaza Hotel in the 1980s, pitching in to fund Trump's father's funeral, and serving as chairman of Trump's inaugural committee.

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