Nel's New Day

September 2, 2014

Taxpayers Shouldn’t Pay for Discrimination

Filed under: Discrimination — trp2011 @ 7:37 PM
Tags: ,

Schools demanding the right to discriminate, using Christianity as an excuse, are hopefully learning that they might have to pay their own way instead of using taxpayer resources. Gordon College in Wenham, north of Boston (MA), is one of those discriminatory colleges.

Disturbed because of President Obama’s order for federal contractors to end discrimination against LGBT workers, college president D. Michael Lindsay wrote to the White House requesting an exemption. The first shoe to drop after that request was Salem’s refusal to permit the school to use the city-owned Old Town Hall. Mayor Kimberley Driscoll also cited the college’s longstanding policies prohibiting LGBT student activities to show that the contract with Gordon violates the city ordinance prohibiting Salem from contracting with entities that discriminate.

Lindsay’s request for exemption also offended college students, faculty, and alumni; within a few days after his letter was sent, over 100 people connected with Gordon College signed a letter to the White House supporting the president’s executive order banning discrimination. In addition to other Gordon activities in a city building, a group affiliated with the college has given seasonal performances of Cry Innocent. The play recreates the trial of Bridget Bishop during the Salem Witch Trials to caution against religious extremism and unjust persecution.

Following Lindsay’s letter of request to discriminate against LGBT employees, the region’s higher education accrediting agency, New England Association of Schools and Colleges’ Commission on Institution, decided to audit Gordon College to see if the agency’s standards are being violated. Accreditation standards require that each “institution adheres to nondiscriminatory policies and practices in recruitment, admissions, employment, evaluation, disciplinary action, and advancement” and that each school “fosters an atmosphere within the institutional community that respects and supports people of diverse characteristics and backgrounds.” The association is scheduled to discuss their findings this month.

Among critics of Lindsay’s actions is Michael Alexander, president of Lasell College in Newton, who stated:

“The clear message is that homosexuals are not worthy of employment, or even recognition of their existence, in the Gordon community. It is a slap in the face of every gay and lesbian person, particularly every gay and lesbian Christian, that says you are somehow less of a human being, you do not belong in the embrace of God’s merciful arms.”

The second shoe dropped against Gordon College when the Lynn School Committee decided last week to no longer continue an 11-year arrangement between the two schools to accept Gordon student volunteers in the public schools. During that time, Gordon has placed small groups of volunteers from its 2,100+ student body for student teaching or other positions to fulfill requirements toward degrees in education and social work.

Gordon College reports that it plans to find other schools for these students. With its discriminatory policy, the school may have difficulty. At least one other school, Manchester Essex Regional High School, stopped the training of Gordon students to teach about two decades ago. Tim Averill, former chair of Manchester’s English department, said, “We became aware that they either added, or became more explicit about, their rule that they would not allow gays and lesbians as [student-teacher] candidates.” Averill now chairs the writing department at the Waring School in Beverly.

Goodwin Procter, Gordon College’s law firm, sent a letter to the school district’s attorney, suggesting that “there may be a legal context” in violating Lindsay’s constitutional right to freedom of speech and religion. Lynn’s attorney said that Gordon “has no desire to pursue a legal avenue to preserve the partnership” although the term “legal context” could be construed as a threat. No legal contracts or money are involved because the students are considered volunteers.

Lindsay claims that he doesn’t plan to discrimination. He merely signed a letter asking for permission to discriminate. The question would be why he signed the letter if he didn’t plan to discriminate. After all, he didn’t sign the letter for an exemption from purchasing insurance that provides contraception after the Hobby Lobby decision.

Spring Arbor University, which recently received an exemption from Title IX, also doesn’t plan to discriminate against LGBT people, according to SAU President Brent Ellis. “We will still be welcoming, but we will not be affirming.” Alumni believe that the exemption still gives SAU the right to openly discriminate, the right to “wage war” against LGBT students and faculty.

 

In North Carolina, Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood has ruled that the state’s private school voucher program is unconstitutional because of religious discrimination and public taxpayer funds to support a system of private education. Just this year the program would have provided $730,000 in tuition funds for over 360 students to attend schools that discriminate in admissions and don’t have to maintain curriculum or teacher certification standards. The decision means that private schools, including those with anti-LGBT discriminatory, religious policies and doctrines, cannot receive state funds. One such school, Wilmington’s Myrtle Grove Christian School, had already withdrawn from the program. Its policies require that students and parents agree not to support or participate in “sexual immorality, including homosexuality and bisexuality.”

 

For schools that want to discriminate, there is a very simple answer: pay your own way. Don’t expect support from taxpayers. There is a constitutional amendment separating church and state. If you want this separation to allow you to discriminate, don’t ask for money for the government.

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2 Comments »

  1. YES!!!! I hope the legal avenue will be effective in changing practice, if not hearts. Hearts would be good, too.

    Like

    Comment by jstjohn1 — September 2, 2014 @ 8:55 PM | Reply

  2. Amen!

    Like

    Comment by Central Oregon Coast NOW — September 2, 2014 @ 7:43 PM | Reply


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