Read the Clever Pledge a Mayor Made After Anti-Gay Protesters Flooded Her Office
Glenn Beck fans probably weren't expecting this response.
After Beck's the Blaze and other conservative media picked up on the decision by Salem, Mass., to cut ties with a local Christian college over the school's anti-gay policies, the mayor's office was flooded with phone calls from angry right wingers.
Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll had this response for them:
Image Credit: Mayor Kim Driscoll/Facebook
"Apparently, Glenn Beck is not happy about the City's stance terminating our contract with Gordon College," Driscoll wrote in a post on Facebook. "As a result, today we had over 50 phone calls from 'friends' in Texas, Georgia and similar locals looking to connect with "the Mayor" about this issue. Many of the callers began the conversation seeking to speak with the Mayor by asking if 'he' was available."
The background: Salem had a relationship with Gordon College related to the city's Old Town Hall, home of the Salem Museum and other historical programs. In exchange for running the facility, Gordon was allowed to use it for educational opportunities.
Gordon College's policies, however, forbid "homosexual behavior" among students and faculty members. That ran up against a new non-discrimination policy passed by the city.
"While I respect your right to embed religious values on a private college campus, religious freedom does not afford you the right to impose those beliefs upon others and cannot be extended into a publicly owned facility or any management contract for a public owned facility, like Old Town Hall," Driscoll wrote in response.
So the agreement ended. It may seem like a minor thing — the city now manages its own facility, while the school needs to find a new home for some of its educational programs — but for culture warriors, it's apparently as good a reason as any to get on the phone and spam the mayor’s office with calls.
Campus support: The decision came after Gordon College President D. Michael Lindsay signed onto a letter to the White House requesting a religious exemption from President Barack Obama's planned federal contractor non-discrimination rules.
The letter was met with criticism from many Gordon students and alumni, some of whom sent their own letters to the White House expressing support for gay rights. One alum, Paul Miller, told the Boston Globe that Lindsay had turned the college into a "fortress of faith."
"He thinks it's important that it’s encoded into law that institutions be able to discriminate," said Miller, who co-founded LGBTQ organization OneGordon during his time on campus.
Discrimination letters and angry phone are certainly not welcome developments, but Driscoll's donations and Gordon alumni's show of support can at least be counted as a sort of silver lining in the fight for equality.