Gordon College Cancels Speaker After ‘Misogynist’ & ‘Transphobic’ Comments Spark Student Protest

By Josh Shepherd
marvin daniels gordon college
This week, Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts cancelled three speaking engagements with speaker Marvin Daniels, who sparked student protests for alleged “misogynist” and “transphobic” remarks. (Photo via Facebook / SC)

Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, this week cancelled three speaking engagements with a speaker who sparked student protests for his alleged “misogynist” and “transphobic” comments.

The speaker, Marvin Daniels—an ordained minister and executive director of The Hope Center—spoke in chapel at the evangelical school on Monday. According to Gordon’s student publication, The Gordon Review, Daniels was scheduled to address the school in three more sessions as part of “Deep Faith Week.” But those were cancelled after students objected to Daniels’ chapel address on social media and announced a walkout.

During his chapel talk, Daniels addressed issues of gender and sexuality, affirming the categories of male and female. Then, speaking about what he called “a culture in chaos,” Daniels added, “We got individuals that say, ‘I feel like I’m a female,’ and they get a chance to participate in female activities. Back in the day I wish that would work. I would have been saying ‘I feel like a female,’ so I can get into girls’ locker room. Come on now.” 

Daniels also addressed issues related to dating and premarital sex, stating: “It’s amazing to see that even in the church, my Christian brothers (are) out there treating young ladies like they’re urinals and I am concerned about that.”

He added: “And I’m concerned about my Christian sisters who dress like they desserts on a menu and then they get upset when a brother wants to place an order.”

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During the service, students began to react via social posts. “Who does he think he is?” asked one student on Instagram with the moniker ‘Gordon Gossip Girl.’

Another account, @AlanaGordonCollege, posted details of a student rally in solidarity with women and the LGBTQA+ community “traumatized by the degrading statements made in chapel this morning.” It was planned for after Daniels’ session that evening.

A student account stated: “We believe the words Daniels chose to make his point were hateful to both women and the trans community as well as many others . . . We want to show Gordon that they cannot continue inviting someone who will spread more hate than love.”

Shortly after the chapel address, Gordon College president Michael Hammond e-mailed the student body to say he would “personally address” them in a session that evening but Daniels would not.

Billed as a “closed-door meeting,” details of Hammond’s evening talk have not been reported. However, Daniels did not return to the chapel platform the rest of the week.

Following the evening session with Hammond, the student solidarity rally proceeded as planned. According to a source on-campus, more than 100 students participated—nearly half of those who attended evening chapel.

Gender, sexuality, and ‘cancel culture’

The past week’s events at Gordon College reflect larger rifts among Protestant Christians. In recent years, entire denominations have formed (The Anglican Church in North America) or are preparing to split (the United Methodist Church) over differing views of gender and sexuality. Evangelicals also have expressed opposing views on the #MeToo movement and what constitutes misogynist behavior.

Student editors of The Gordon Review sought to model Christian unity and spark helpful dialogue by issuing a conciliatory statement. They acknowledged “the hurt and the strong emotional responses felt by many members of our community.”

Their editorial continued: “His comments on women at worst constituted victim blaming . . . and at best were a badly worded perspective on Christian modesty.”

Similarly, Anne Paulk, executive director of Restored Hope Network and a frequent speaker on gender and sexuality issues to Christian audiences, criticized Daniels’ “use of crass language” and his approach to discussing sexual desire.

“Men and women are both responsible for their own temptations and response to them,” stated Paulk via e-mail. “To shift blame to someone else is one of the oldest errors in human history.”

Regarding issues of identity and transgenderism, the students’ editorial decried how Daniels’ comments “seemed to play into irresponsible stereotypes that infer trans-identifying individuals are sexual predators.”

However, Paulk defended the points that Daniels made on these topics. “The person dealing with sex-incongruent feelings deserves compassion, yet respect and compassion do not call for recalibrating reality,” she stated.

Citing Scripture passages including Psalm 139 and Jeremiah 1, Paulk contended that “Christianity assumes sex identity is tied to biological reality as God ordained.”

Daniels’ chapel remarks referenced in passing the current clash playing out at the NCAA, which sets rules for many colleges’ sports participation. While NCAA rules currently allow a transgender swimmer to compete in the women’s category, recently revised policies of Olympics-affiliated USA Swimming deter that option.

The student editorial stated that Daniels’ “inappropriate” remarks should not go unaddressed. Yet the editorial also said: “In all the outrage, it is dangerous to err on the side of cancel-culture,” and urged inviting Daniels back to address the student body “in the most appropriate manner possible.”

The Roys Report reached out to Daniels and to Gordon College but did not receive any replies by publication time.

A transcript of Daniels’ complete chapel address is posted online.

Freelance journalist Josh Shepherd writes on faith, culture, and public policy for several media outlets. He and his wife live in the Washington, D.C. area with their two children.

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41 thoughts on “Gordon College Cancels Speaker After ‘Misogynist’ & ‘Transphobic’ Comments Spark Student Protest”

  1. Sounds like a one of the very few preachers left that actually loves God and proves it by standing up for the TRUTH and paying its price of rejection from a perverted culture !

    Reminds me of the hatred of the culture of Sodom n Gomorrah

    This is a preacher that is worthy of his keep

    Paying its price versus the hirelings in most mega pulpits wincing for even the thought of offending a very godless perverted people and culture !

    May God empower this man of God even more !

    1. Warren Merritt

      I could not agree with you more. Our young people and the leadership of Gordon College now call evil good and good evil. Gordon used to be a light house of the gospel. That light is out.

    2. Completely agreed. The culture adulates perversion, sexual immorality, uncommitted sex, and the degradation of the family. He spoke like Elijah in 1 Kings 18:27. Not the anaemic middle class spiritually obtuse modern Western Christianity.

  2. His style is never going to play well with an academic audience. It’s old school red meat preaching. Whoever invited him should be spoken with about matching appropriate communicators with the audience. But then again maybe it is a valuable lesson. Preachers are you listening? Is this how you sound to an unbeleiving world? Like the prophet who wants to be a comedien pr a comedian who wnts to be a prophet. Addressing serious cultural shifts requires a serious person whose intellect and rhetoric can be respected by the audience. I recommend reding Pauls address on Mars Hill as a primer.

    1. Mark, I am a preacher and I understand your heart in this post. It makes you think hard on the enormous and daunting task of faithfully proclaiming truth. I would also say that I think Marvin Daniels understands his audience well and he is speaking from his own cultural context. It is funny how when a man becomes a preacher he no longer is allowed to be himself. But I would also add that your comment about “Is this how you should sound to an unbelieving world?” is a relative measuring stick. The unbelieving world is not monolithic, some unbelievers are wanting the truth plainly spoken, and some don’t want to be offended at all. Those who are looking to be offended, will always be offended no matter how nice you are. It is a good thing he didn’t call some of them “Cretans who are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” (ESV Titus 1:12). That would have really made them mad. But then you have people who want the truth shot at them straight, especially in an authentic way (and this language sounds pretty authentic to who Marvin Daniels is). Why else is rap such a powerful tool these days to the younger generation, it speaks with blunt force. So yes, you are right, there needs to be proper anthropological exegesis, but truth also needs to be boldly proclaimed in the skin you have been given. I would rather upset a group that is rebelling than having them like me because my words are gently presented but lacking godly audacity. But this is a tough edge to walk. Thank you Mr. Daniels for at least saying something, rather than trying to be liked by academia.

  3. Well worth the time to read entire transcript of his “talk”.
    I’m not too excited about a Living Bible translation, but regardless the Bible version, he doesn’t say anything that’s not biblical, theological and practical.
    The Bible is the yardstick for measuring truth, not the “self” (heart) which is deceitfully wicked. Satan hasn’t changed his deceitful question to Eve, “Hath God said . . .?” for our modern age. Brother Daniels was hitting the nail of truth Biblically, squarely (and very colorfully!). Thankful for men not afraid to speak Biblical truth.

  4. There are way too many “Woke” Christian institutions. I will have four collegian grandchildren next fall (and a fifth granchild has been graduated from a good Christian university), and I find it difficult to endorse most colleges I know about. Shame on Gordon for caving into the protesters.

    1. I’m not sure exactly what the working definition of “wokeness” is these days, but it appears this predominately white institution just cancelled a black man for freely speaking his mind.

      1. let’s speak plainly:

        people objected to degrading rhetoric and erroneous assumptions about human beings spoken by a person of influence, which was broadcast as representative of what institution they belong to stands for.

        Culture war presented as ‘deep faith’ at an institution of higher learning is extraordinarily disappointing and unacceptable.

        1. Mr. Daniels is not an academic. He speaks from the trenches of his work in the inner city. If these poor kids are “traumatized” by his rhetoric, their heads would probably explode if they dared to enter the world in which he works and serves. That would probably be more of an education than they could handle.

          1. Is it acceptable in the inner city to blame women for being sexually harassed?

            The last thing a woman should ever hear when she reports such an incident is, “What were you wearing?” It is possible to encourage modesty without attacking victims.

          2. so, because inner city issues are tough, those outside the inner city should accept the status quo? shouldn’t have standards and boundaries?

            I would argue that mischaracterizing people groups (in the name of God, no less) humiliates and puts them at a disadvantage in all places (inner city and everywhere).

            I would argue that pushing for something better, that would benefit everyone, in no way makes one unfit for service in very challenging environments.

          3. Seems to me that “pushing for something better” is what Mr. Daniels is advocating. How many kids do you know that were offended by the Superbowl halftime show? Try reading the lyrics to Eminem some time, where women are typically referred to as “B****’s and H**s”. Why is it acceptable for hip-hop culture to have women objectified in the coarsest terms? What message are boys and girls receiving from their culture? Pop culture constantly glorifies unrestrained sexuality, and I’m sure Mr. Daniels deals with the fall-out on a regular basis. So, I can understand how that would get under a person’s skin after a while.

          4. Loren just because you agree with his intent does not mean you have to uncritically endorse his choice of words.

            He chided women because they “dress like they’re on a dessert menu” and then get upset because a man “wants to place an order.”

            What message does that send to women who have been harassed or assaulted? What message does it send to men? What message does it send to others in how they should respond when women report these incidents?

          5. Upon reading the transcript, I understand the student response better. One comment in particular, not included in the story or discussed in these posts, is incredibly insensitive to women.

  5. If your ministry doesn’t offend… Then you do not have a ministry like Jesus. Biblical Christianity has gone down the toilet. Especially in this context. Gordon College should have taken a stand against this easily offended truth-less generation. It is a shame. Truth in itself is divisive to the unregenerate but all that there is for the followers of Christ.

    In the Spider-Man Far From Home movie, MJ states, “The concept of objective truth is fading out of the world.” Which I believe was stated by George Orwell. That line of thought has permeated the world and it is on full display at Gordon.

    I agree with Marvin Daniel. Modesty and respect are no longer valued. The freedom of self expression is intolerant of those who express truth as a foundation for expression. Modest and respect are biblical concepts, not an outdated form of morality. Preach the Word! In season (when it is popular) and out of season (when people are out on the word).

  6. Good for the students. Regardless of one’s perspective on gender identity, this speaker’s language was degrading and objectifying towards women and none too edifying about men, either.

    I do think he’s right about one thing. There are a lot of supposedly Christian men who treat women like urinals. However, I suspect those men are every bit as likely to be pastors and authority figures as they are to be young college students sitting in the audience.

  7. I agree with those who say this is a very serious subject and it shouldn’t be addressed flippantly or with a sense of humor or with coarseness. It seems to me that too much preaching seeks to be entertaining. I think it’s much better just to be clear in a loving way knowing you are preaching to hurting and sensitive people. The message need not change but the style should. BTW, I don’t think we need to speak in coarse language so the uneducated will understand. The uneducated are not stupid.

  8. Good for Daniels! So many “evangelical” institutions need to stop identifying themselves that way. The level of apostasy in today’s western church is horrifying.

  9. Many comments here praise Mr. Daniels for proclaiming the truth.

    So, regarding his remarks quoted in the post, where’s the truth?

    -is it the truth that women are responsible for men’s behavior?

    -is it true that there are no intersex human beings? none at all?

    -is it true that all trans-sexual people identifying as female are predators with ulterior motives?

    -is it true that christian women are at fault for taking the time and effort to look nice? (after the broadcasted message to christian women criticizing them for *not* taking the time and effort to look nice.)

    -is it true that rejection of these statements (and the person of influence who seeks to influence others by saying them) is religious persecution?
    .
    .
    If any of these logical take-aways were true, then the conversation here would be different.

    However, I can’t see how any rational thinking could see the statements as anything other than hyperbolic talking points,

    designed to stir up cultural warriors and foment a cultural war.

    I don’t know if Mr. Daniels was attempting to do that, or if he is presenting the rhetoric as an already stirred-up culture warrior.

    1. Spot on. But, you left out that he’s also joking about how his younger self would have seized the opportunity to sneak into a women’s locker room and ogle women. That’s frankly a creepy thing to say from the pulpit (and in just about any other context). What would it be like to be a young woman in that audience, hearing the guy on the stage say that, and probably get laughs from the people around you? Come to that, what about a young man, hearing that attitude normalized? I fail to see how this sort of speech is building anyone up.

      1. You’re completely missing the point. Empathy for a trans person doesn’t trump all other concerns. Women who are forced to share a locker room with a trans person that may or may not find the situation arousing, have rights too. Kaitlan Jenner still claims to be attracted to women and not men. Their decision doesn’t occur in a vacuum where nobody else is affected. Yet should a woman speak up that she’s uncomfortable, how do you think the LGBTQ rights crowd would respond?

        1. Why does empathy for one mean less empathy for another? you know, one of those zero sum game things?

          Loren, I think you are missing the point. The point is that empathy for a trans person is valid, rather than vilifying them in public discourse as inherent predators with ulterior motives. That’s it. Nothing more.

          The social dynamics are complex indeed, but resolving them is not at issue.

          Upholding the basic dignity of ones neighbors does not harm you or anyone else.

          Nor is it a threat to Jesus Christ nor to one iota of the bible, but rather fully in sync with it all.

          1. Mr. Daniels comments may be too folksy for modern sensibilities, but his critique of policies that myopically favor trans issues at the expense of other women has merit. There have been several lawsuits around the issue, particularly in women’s athletics. I get your concern over the reality of sexual dysphoria and human dignity, but the student response seems completely out of balance in my opinion. If the policies he was referring to were not in play, I doubt he would have brought up the issue at all.

        2. I don’t think I am missing the point. I understand what he’s saying about trans people. I don’t have the same opinions as he does but that’s not what I’m talking about. What I think is getting missed here is the statement made about cis straight men. As another commenter put it below, “all men are pigs but especially me.” The assumption that men normally and inevitably objectify women is untrue, harmful and should not have a place on the platform in churches. Men, particularly Christian men who are supposedly indwelt with the Holy Spirit, can and should do better. We should be calling believers to relate to one another as brothers and sisters, not telling women they have to accept that men look at them as objects to be consumed and that they are responsible for managing men’s sin.

          Ahem. *steps off soapbox*

          1. Carolyn, I completely agree with you about “Christian men” being filled with the Spirit and the need to exercise self-control. Yes, yes, 1000x yes! But there is a place to tell Christian women to realize that Non-Christian men in our culture have no regards for sexual restraint and moderation- the sexualization of our culture is affecting everything, even the way women are now dressing in the church. I think that is his point. And trying to convince “flesh ruled men” not to oogle and look at overtly tight fitting clothes on women (yoga pants for every occasion) is like telling a hungry dog to ignore red meat!

            At what point do our Christian daughters have a responsibility in our world to not propagate the continued objectification of the female? Can I no longer tell my daughter to consider what she wears before leaving the house? Or am I simply being chauvinistic and patriarchal? I want my daughter to find a godly man and she doesn’t need to follow the trends on TikTok or Instagram to find one.

          2. “We should be calling believers to relate to one another as brothers and sisters, not telling women they have to accept that men look at them as objects to be consumed and that they are responsible for managing men’s sin.”

            Well said.

          3. Chris Weeks, lust comes from the heart (Mt. 15:19, Mk. 7:21), not from the yoga pants on a woman in Walmart. If pastors are teaching men that men are like dogs in a butcher shop, then the “godly man” your daughter might marry can be expected to treat her like a piece of meat, regardless of what she wears. Denim jumpers don’t prevent lust: virtuous hearts that respect other human beings are not lustful.

            On the topic of clothes, I think all people of both sexes should dress in a tidy and dignified fashion. This shows respect for oneself, for others, and for the occasions in which we participate. Back in the day – get those kids off my lawn – we wore school clothes to school, church clothes to church, athletic clothes for sports, nightwear to bed, etc. Today, entropy reigns.

    2. “Many comments here praise Mr. Daniels for proclaiming the truth.”

      Not just the truth but “Biblical ™ Truth.”

      On one hand, it’s not unusual for a person to use “truth” to mean “opinions with which I agree,” but do people really agree with (paraphrasing), “All men are pigs, especially me,” or do they just *feel* that an in-group shibboleth has been invoked?

  10. If you want thoughtful dialogue and a true desire to pursue truth, please do not attend Gordon College. The man was talking straight and what he stated was true and he sees it all the time in his role as a Pastor. I did not notice anything unbiblical and if student’s would read and study their bibles instead of following a confused culture, then maybe we would could see some honest conversations.

    We should have compassion on those who are struggling with identity issues, but we also cannot deny what the Lord said in the beginning concerning the family structure.

  11. So if I understand correctly this is the regular chapel service that is run by the school. If so the students should not be given veto power over who speaks at chapel. Are the students there to learn from the school or to teach the school. If you put the children in charge then please do not complain about the inevitable results.

  12. Hmmmm….so the students are standing up for the LGBTQ+ community and women? But not Biblical truth? Or for a black man post George Floyd to speak his mind. Where were the students asking this gentleman for more dialogue to discuss the matter? Instead, they wanted to stage a protest and walk out? So this is how young Christians want to deal with disagreements? No opportunity for him to possibly apologize for his use of words? Whatever happened to “Come, let us reason TOGETHER?”. Where do they stand on human sexuality? This cannot be a Christian college. I get what he was saying. He commented on the responsibilities of BOTH men and women. Women are responsible for how they dress. Why do we need to see your cleavage? Where do you want men looking? And men should not treat women as sexual objects to be used for sexual pleasure only. To relieve themselves. That’s what hook up culture is. And it’s something that WE as Christian’s cannot participate in. We are called to be holy and be sexually pure. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8. God created male and female only. Transgenderism is man made. It’s choosing to be something of your own making. You have free will to be whatever YOU choose to be. Science supports the fact that as it relates to human beings, their is only male and female. And science can also help men transform into women and vice versa. Just look at the impact of this on women’s sports. Instead of mothers, we are now birthing persons. Women aren’t the only ones with menstrual cycles now. So everyone should just be cool with this?

  13. I am not sure what was wrong with what he said. Maybe I missed it. It sounded to me like he was telling the men not to lust after and disrespect women, and was telling the women not to be a source of stumbling to men.

    1. Darren G,

      Nothing he said was wrong. Christians can no longer hear plain language without getting offended. He called out men who treat women no better than a human waste disposal unit and that type of man will pursue women who present themselves a certain way. All he was saying is if you dress like you are easy do not be surprised when you attract un-honorable men only interested in sex.

      To the rest of you:

      You can dress however you want, but remember this: the next time you judge anyone’s character/social status by the way they dress, it is the same thing. You are drawing a conclusion not based on character, but on appearance and how you treat them (or what you say behind their back) is based on that assumption.

    2. Okay let’s run through a scenario: your daughter went to college and a young man made lewd comments to her. When she reported it to the administration their first question was, “Well what were you wearing at the time?”

      The message is “you probably deserved it.”

      1. Mark G,

        If the administration is judging based on what someone was wearing and not the character/behavior of the person committing the action, they should not be in a position of authority. Your daughters (and sons) should not be going to that school because they are not interested in the truth or raising people of high moral character. Evil always looks for an excuse not to do what is right.

  14. Sad when a biblically sound exhortation with some aspects regarding modesty, temptation, and biologic sex cannot be tolerated in the public sphere, much more so when at the chapel of a so-called Christian college.

    Gordon’s claim that “We want students to think deeply and holistically about how their faith informs their influence in society—now and well into the future” rings hollow, given that it would banish a speaker like this.

    Keep trying to provide hope in Jesus, Mr. Daniels, although many will not have ears to hear.

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