Since July, Michael Lindsay, the 42-year-old president of Gordon College near Boston, has faced the firing line. Due to public allegations that his college supports discrimination against LGBT students and faculty, Lindsay spent much of the past five months defending Gordon’s long-standing policy calling students and faculty to refrain from sex outside Christian marriage.
Earlier in 2014, Lindsay and other Christian leaders signed a letter supporting a religious exemption from the presidential executive order prohibiting employment discrimination for sexual orientation and gender identity in the federal government and for federal contractors. The executive order closely mirrors the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that has been hung up in Congress since Senate approval in November 2013. ENDA includes a broad exemption for religious organizations. President Obama’s executive order, signed in July, does not.
After the letter to Obama became public, the Massachusetts cities of Salem and Lynn severed ties with Gordon. Lindsay was subject to extensive criticism, including from Gordon alumni. The college’s accrediting association began asking questions about its ban just as Gordon launched a new campus-based working group to hold dialogue on its policy. Lindsay spoke recently with Timothy C. Morgan, CT senior editor of global journalism (and a Gordon alumnus), about the working group, how Gordon responds to LGBT students, and leading in the crux of crisis. (Lindsay sits on Christianity Today's board of directors.)
What’s motivating this new working group about your policy on homosexual behavior?
We need a way in which we as a community can talk about this issue and how Gordon ...