Dr Camille Lewis Presents “The Stormy History”: Life at Bob Jones University

“I will no longer let the fear of vicious comments or replies stop me from speaking what I believe to be right. I will also never give a message that everybody will agree with. I know that even my most faithful followers will never agree 100% with what I say. I also know that they know that and are fine with it. I am done letting the bullies win. They won’t anymore. Not here.”  ― Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing link

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=2941&picture=blog-letters

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This has been an rewarding week for bloggers. As you know, G.R.A.C.E., which was fired by Bob Jones University, has been rehired. At the same time, Bill Gothard has been put under administrative leave as his board finally investigates years of complaints about alleged sexual harassment/abuse. TWW attributes both of these actions to the brave voices who spoke out on blogs: Recovering Grace (Bill Gothard) and Do Right Now BJU. Let us reemphasize this point. Without the brave pressure of these well-spoken bloggers and victims, neither of these two events would be happening. Cue raucous applause!

Today, TWW is excited to post an original article by Dr. Camille Lewis. Dr Lewis, a long time advocate for an investigation into the reports of alleged sexual abuse at BJU, was recently quoted in the New York Times, responding to questions about the Bob Jones University controversy.

Critics angrily dismissed his statement. “As always, they’re worried about protecting the church and the university, not the victims,” said Camille Lewis, who spent two decades at Bob Jones as a student and faculty member before leaving in 2007 and said she had tried to help several abuse victims over that time.

…As a college senior, she took a friend to a university administrator for counseling after the other student said she had been molested by her father, a Sunday school superintendent in their church.

“They said not to go to the police because no one will believe you, to defer to authority like your father or especially someone in the church,” she said. “They said if you report it, you hurt the body of Christ.”

Dr Lewis holds Ph.D. (Indiana) and was formerly the Chair of the Department of Rhetoric and Public Address at Bob Jones University. She blogs at A Time to Laugh. She is a gifted communicator who takes us through some of the history of BJU. She peppers her critique with great sensitivity and an obvious love for the students. She also shows us a number of historical documents and pictures. 

As an aside, let me also add that I have been impressed by former BJU students who express great love for the professors at BJU and point, instead, to what appears to be an insensitive administration who has not yet figured out that "covering up" is rarely possible in today's easily accessible social media. 

Thank you, Dr  Lewis, for gracing us with your post!


 

After spending several years on the faculty at Bob Jones University and observing the methods and psychology of Bob Jones Sr., I can assure you that a ‘unanimous’ expression from any group can mean only one thing: it is the view or opinion of Dr. Bob Jones Sr. As is true of a communistic state, a dissenting expression by anyone connected with the institution is absolutely impossible! The stormy history of faculty turnover there testifies to that fact.

Eldon Titus Hitchcock to L. Nelson Bell, 1957

Bob Jones University repeats its Origin Story so frequently that every graduate becomes an apologist, a shopkeeper of the “Show Window.” A gifted but poor teenager, the second youngest of a scrappy peanut farmer, Robert Reynolds Jones begins holding brush-arbor meetings in the Alabama Wiregrass. He attends college, meets a lovely young thing, and they run off together into the evangelistic sunset. He becomes the Billy Sunday of the South, and as he would hold these 6-week revival meetings, his heart was broken over young adults losing their faith while attending secular colleges. After stopping to get sandwiches at a drug store, a 40-something Bob popped into the car and announced to his wife, “Mary Gaston! I’m going to build a school.” To which she responded, “Robert, are you crazy?”

And alumni all chortle on cue.

That’s what we were taught to repeat, and nearly every history you pick up repeats that same Origin Story. You can look at an academic dissertation-turned-book or BJU’s own version. I’ve got book chapters and journal articles and single paragraphs that repeat that homespun, Horatio-Alger-esque story. Current BJU history professor John Matzko is working on a more complete official biography of Bob Jones Sr. He will probably arrive soon here under his alias John Foxe or Anson Mills to correct us all.

I am immersed in an ongoing project to tell a more complete story of Bob Jones University’s history from the sources that are too often overlooked. Secular historians have done a great disservice by simply repeating the BJU’s scripted narrative of goodness. My project seeks to correct that blindspot. After I left BJU’s employ myself, I dredged up archival research from all over the country to understand my own departure. And I was pleasantly surprised to find so many kindred spirits among the former BJU faculty and staff.

Bob Jones, Inc. has always had trouble with employees. Their 29614 zip code is a mill town with working class whites trapped by the place and the power. These are smart people who are simply too poor to leave and too busy to imagine anything different. Bob Jones, Inc. has one response to its employees over the years. The first one I have on record is from 1929. Jones fired faculty member and local Presbyterian pastor, William J. Hall, in the middle of a semester for the terrible moral failing of calling Harry Emerson Fosdick, a “great Christian man.” Bob labeled Hall “a dangerous modernist,” but a survey of the local Panama City, Florida papers at the time reveal him to be an ordinary small-town, orthodox, Scotch Presbyterian pastor with an opinion and a backbone, and nothing more.

Bob soon learned to hire ‘em young, impressionable, and troubled. Orphaned, recently-widowed, or just down-on-their-luck — these were the first string of faculty whom Bob molded to comply. Let me show you a few I’ve found who got out.

James and Ruby Zellner

James Abraham Zellner and his wife Ruby graduated from Bob Jones College in 1932. Zellner was both a Ku Klux Klan Kleagle (their term for “evangelist”) as well as Bob Jones Sr.’s evangelistic sidekick around Eastern Europe. Jones even performed James and Ruby’s wedding! Zellner’s departure from what I call “Klandamentalism” was dramatic, pushing him right into pro-civil-rights activism. Yes, you read that correctly. He was an evangelist for the KKK and for Bob Jones, Inc. but he ended up an activist for civil rights. Their son was named after Bob Jones Sr., and Bob Zellner chronicles his parents’ exodus in his memoir, The Wrong Side of Murder Creek.

Ruth Flood

Then there’s Ruth Flood, a willowy and pretty speech teacher whose elocutionary talent caught Bob Jones Sr’s eye. Freshly graduated with her bachelor’s degree from Taylor, she joined the Bob Jones College speech faculty and often played opposite Bob Jones Jr. in his lead Shakespearean roles. In 1935, Bob Jones Jr. invited her to join him on an overseas trip to England to “study” with Fanny Bradshaw at her “Shakespeare Fortnight Hostelry.” It was less a study trip than a “drama camp” for bored rich kids whose daddies could afford the luxury ocean cruise overseas during the Great Depression. The next school year, according to BJU’s official history, Ms. Flood was suddenly struck with a “more than nine-month” “physical and emotional breakdown” that drove her back home to Ohio. She did return to BJC, spoke in Chapel, and was honored in a 1938 yearbook dedication, only to leave behind all things related to BJC that May. Bob Jones, Jr. would marry Fannie Mae Holmes within a few weeks. Ruth never married, and, unless a person born in the last half of 1936 has something more to tell us, Ruth’s story died with her in 2002.

Joseph Free and Dorothy Seay

Ruth had two friends during her time at Bob Jones College — both of whom left BJC in 1938 when she did. There was Joseph Free, a speech teacher who scandalously advocated critical thinking in his curriculum but who died shortly after WW2, and Dorothy Seay, who drew much ire from Bob Jones Sr. In 1940 hiding behind anonymity, Seay wrote in H. L. Mencken’s American Mercury about life at BJC. The dorms were primitive and drafty with toilets leaking on to beds, student discipline was brutal with the familiar phrase “No griping tolerated!” quelling objections, and even evangelist “Fightin’ Bob” Shuler’s daughter Nell was not immune to the usual Bob Jones, Inc. decree that she not “[breathe] one word against the school [to your father].” Seay notes that women students at BJC would receive demerits for saying “no” to a male student’s invitation to a date. “Any boy good enough to come to [Bob Jones] College is good enough to have a date with any girl in the college.” The demerit penalty for saying “no” had been tossed aside by the time I was a BJU student forty years later, but the regular haranguing from the administration to women students continues: be agreeable or else.

Morton A. Brown

Morton A. Brown is my favorite. He was a very much-loved history teacher at BJU from 1949-1952. Well, his students loved him; Virginia Mollencott told me as much. Bob Sr., however, felt no such affection. Bob fired Brown mid semester when Brown defended his off-campus family doctor whom Bob had denounced as having a bad attitude. I have the correspondence between Bob Sr and the doctor as well as Brown’s appeal to the BJU administration objecting to Bob’s “witch hunt.” Brown is articulate and precise — like most academics. Read Bob Sr’s words in those letters, and you’ll have a good picture of what employees hear on a regular basis from the BJU administration. Brown’s most pointed declaration matches Hitchcock’s statement at the beginning of this post:

Unrest in the University has in fact been so conspicuous that I believe that the only thing which might save Bob Jones University from a dangerous administrative crisis in the near future would be for the Board of Trustees to work out some procedure whereby official policy is not so inextricably tied to the personal views of one man.

That observation still fits sixty-two years later.

Theodore Mercer, Yearbook Dedication, 1951

Brown’s firing was just a prologue to the “Storm of ’53,” as BJU calls it: the firing of Ted Mercer. In ’52, Bob Jones Sr. promoted Ted Mercer to be his son’s right-hand-man because Jr. was suffering with pleurisy (according to the oral histories). Mercer was also well-liked among the student body. But something happened to make him BJU’s persona non grata. He was fired in 1953, but not before he made a photostat of BJU’s mailing list. He sent out a copy of his story to everyone on that list. Mercer was winsome, articulate, and mad, and he formed his own mid-century following. Bob Jones Sr. let everyone know that Mercer was “inefficient”, “disloyal,” “criminally insane,” “demon possessed,” and, last but not least, homosexual. Just two years earlier, Mercer had received Bob’s highest accolades, but by June, 1953, Bob Jones, Inc. had flipped. Still-living witnesses report that Bob Jones Sr. himself frequently and privately repeated that Mercer was gay. Even 45 years later, long after Mercer’s death, BJU’s official history (154-59) still reiterates this unfounded and unnecessary conclusion.

In all these stories the message is clear: once you leave BJU’s employ, if you say one word, your name is mud.

Murray Havens

There are more stories. This one’s the most tragic: Murray Havens’ family was given 24 hours to vacate their on-campus home after Mr. Havens was found dead on those premises. He was in the middle of producing an elaborate Art Gallery show for Bob Jones Jr. and had checked himself into the hospital because of stress. Junior forced him to check out and then something snapped. His death was labeled a suicide.

Jack Peters

Lucille Sullivan

Jack Peters was fired in 1971 for insisting that Lucille Sullivan, an African-American lady in BJU’s employ, be allowed to take her one class like every other employee. BJU refused on the grounds that . . . (wait for it) Ms. Sullivan was not white. Chuck Smith was fired mid-semester in 1986 for . . . well, we don’t know why he was fired. There are countless others, many of whom are still alive. BJU’s usual tactic is to fire one spouse while keeping the other one employed in order to continue the psychological hold. And before you think this problem is old news or the fault of long-gone administrators, it happened just this last May on the kinder-but-gentler Stephen Jones’ watch. A much-loved music professor, William McCauley, was fired in May 2013. Many of us wonder if his firing was nothing more than retribution because his daughter had filled out a survey for the sexual abuse investigation by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.). The timing fits that conclusion.

The pattern is obvious: the BJU employees who have received the most brutal harassment from Bob Jones, Inc. are those who dare to speak truth to power. Bob Jones, Inc. succeeds as it is able to maintain a singular, organizational-affirming voice. There is one story to tell: the story of Bob Jones, Inc’s goodness. Deviations are met with the predictable ad hominem retorts from “You’re just bitter” to “You are hurting the Body of Christ.” Even now, BJU loyalists are constructing their hackneyed response to this post. Watch for them.

But employees are one thing. Yes, South Carolina is a right-to-work state. Yes, the employees are fully adults in the eyes of the law. However, the students — from preschool through college — are another thing entirely. Yes, employees are told to “shut up or else” and often do. But when that enforced silence makes (alleged) crimes go unreported and covered up, there is a serious problem.

That’s why the G.R.A.C.E. investigation is so important. The G.R.A.C.E. team is listening and validating those who survived (alleged) criminal behavior, those whose stories are yet unheard. Their stories contradict BJU’s narrative of goodness. And if the G.R.A.C.E. investigation corroborates the counter-narrative, BJU’s fiction falls. Its hagiography will have no purchase. Its Show Window is shattered.

G.R.A.C.E must finish and report, not just to foreground a counter-narrative, but so that justice can be served.

For me, I do what I can. I search. I look for all the archival dots to connect into a complete historical picture. I’m identifying the patterns over the last 100 years in this mill town now in 29614. The big-picture matches the smaller pictures of the individual abuse survivors at BJU. This metanarrative from the overlooked and silenced voices isn’t as appealing as Bob Jones, Inc’s narrative of goodness. There’s no single rags-to-evangelistic-riches hero who conquers home-spun troubles to build a glamorous, prosperous life. There’s no rugged individual. A Horatio Alger story is attractive to Americans, but the survivor stories are just frightening.

I’ve told my own story.

Camille and Grant Lewis

I joined the faculty as a graduate student and a new wife in 1990. This was the video I consumed that year. Seeing all those faculty that I truly cherished asking me to support them and their life’s work, I was sold. I was joining them.

My husband and I worked there as faculty from 1992-2007, with a four-year leave of absence while we earned our doctorates at Indiana University. My dissertation was an Esther-like attempt to woo Bob Jones University to its better self. The 2006-07 school year was a turbulent one for us. My dean scolded me for not spanking my 2.5yo, for having the audacity to publish my dissertation, and for gifting Jeff Van Vonderen books to my students. Our ultimatum came the next July, with President Stephen Jones stating that if we didn’t keep quiet about our “Reformed” theology, we would be fired. I’ve already told the story in great detail.

Yet I can’t not connect myself to BJU. It’s a major part of my CV and the subject of my first published work. Many of my peers can just drop Bob Jones University from their resumes. Some even return their diplomas. I can’t. I’m here. This is who I am and what God has brought me through. So like William Hall and Jack Peters, like Ted Mercer and Morton Brown, I speak. Ruth Flood can’t speak up anymore. Dorothy Seay used anonymity. Lucille Sullivan chooses not to speak. The men found their voices, but for some reason we women have to be more nuanced or altogether silent.

I’m still a speech teacher. One of my students called me the “Miss Frizzle of Oral Comm” a few weeks back. I guess that fits. When you teach public speaking, you not only have to demonstrate how to speak but you also have to create a healthy communication climate in the classroom where students can feel safe enough to try. And in that trying, they’ll find their own voices. Imitation is the initial means, never the goal. Self-actualization is the goal.

The Lewis Family, 2004

When we left BJU in 2007, I wrote my students first before I tendered my resignation. It was a power move on my part like it was for Morton Brown. I knew as soon as I had resigned, I would be locked out of my email, my office, and their lives. So I took one last shot. I ended the note like this:

This whole thing began when Grant and I spoke out against the injustices we saw the students enduring. We are now experiencing firsthand that same treatment. And rather than sit silently by, we have chosen to let our departure speak for us. If you are ever in a position where you are asked to violate your own conscience, I pray that you will remember that doing so is neither right nor safe. I pray that you, too, will choose to do the hard thing.

Looking back, it was the only option that made sense for this speech teacher. I had to leave to be true to my conscience and in doing so I took the first step in forging a safe communication climate out here. In the sunshine, outside of the power of Bob Jones, Inc.

Almost. It’s not easy being a whistle-blower in Greenville, South Carolina. There’s an uneasy detente between BJU and its community. BJU dominates the county government, including the solicitor’s office. They have their fingers in the public school system, and a citizen can’t even get a registered, return-receipt letter to two BJU administrators without it waylaid by the 29614 postal employees. One local Calvinista counselor disliked my list of infamous BJU alumni, so he has done his best to shame me into silence, urging me to embrace “radical grace” for a sex offender by not posting his national listing with other alumni arrests. The counselor even pesters distant friends and church leaders in order to silence me. He’s been unsuccessful.

I have a few friends left in BJU’s employ. I try to speak up with the information they pass along. I don’t speak for them. I am not even speaking with them yet. I’m speaking for myself, even sometimes to my 1992 self. I have a lot of regrets about choosing the life of a fundamentalist academic, not the least of which are proven with my pay stubs over my tenure. But when you know better, you do better. And so I do the best I can with this path I have taken and have before me.

Eldon Hitchcock

In 1957, former BJU chemistry teacher Eldon Titus Hitchcock wrote L. Nelson Bell (Billy Graham’s father-in-law and public spokesman) to explain some of the controversy Bob Jones Sr. was drumming up over Graham’s NYC crusade.

As I see it, a [BJU] faculty member either comes to the point where he can no longer stand the severe mental and spiritual conflict of such a situation and leaves (voluntarily or by getting fired), or else his mind and conscience become so completely dominated by Dr. Jones that they can no longer be claimed as his own. In the first group are those who are just too weak to take a stand in opposition to the ‘boss’ or who, at the moment, can not bear the financial strain of being fired on the spot without notice. Salaries are so low that one rarely leaves the campus as well off financially as when he came. Sadly enough, there is sufficient number of the second group to act as spies on others (they have been trained in this during their student days). . . . A dissenting vote or question would have meant immediate dismissal for the person daring to speak up. . . . Because of the threat of dishonorable dismissal for any disagreement with Dr. Jones, most students hold their tongue and salve their conscience. After so much of this, many students no longer have a conscience of their own and have become pathetic puppets of Dr. Jones. They are not encouraged to think independently regarding issues but merely to acquaint themselves with the opinions of Dr. Jones. This is believed to be sufficient since Dr. Jones can not be wrong.
 

Certainly our prayers should be with the poor, confused students and faculty of Bob Jones University for they may bear scars on their consciences for the rest of their lives.

So that’s what life is like at Bob Jones, Inc. and what it’s always been like. Is there any wonder why Stephen Jones fired and then rehired G.R.A.C.E. only to attempt to rename the termination a “temporary suspension.” In the wake of Stephen’s spin-doctoring , BJU alumni are in the same place as the employees. They can no longer stand the severe mental and spiritual conflict of watching their alma mater “brand” the investigation uncovering the truth about the sexual abuse at Bob Jones University. We may not know the machinations behind the scenes, but what we do know is that we were not called to this darkness, but to light.

Comments

Dr Camille Lewis Presents “The Stormy History”: Life at Bob Jones University — 144 Comments

  1. I hope this doesn’t show up first. Don’t want to trump Eagle. :-)
    Anyway, this stood out to me: “My dean scolded me for not spanking my 2.5yo,” Most spanking advocates deny any responsibility for how parents may follow their directives. They actively PUSH this junk. Since when does an employer get to tell an employee how to spank their children? Since they’re God’s chosen mouthpiece– that’s when.

  2. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of evil an organization is allowed to get away with by simply calling itself ‘Christian’ and spouting a few Bible verses.

  3. BJU has an on-site day care center (or they did; not sure if they do now). They’ll spank your kids for you if you give them permission (which, if you read any of Camille’s blog, she did not).

    Thanks for writing this, Camille, and thanks, oh glamorous blog queens, for posting it. A lot of people, including alumni (of which I am one), have no idea the true nature of BJU’s past. Camille has been doing yeoman’s work pulling primary documentation illuminating things the University would rather remained hidden. Sunshine (not on the soapsuds–inside joke) is the best disinfectant!

  4. Then there’s Ruth Flood, a willowy and pretty speech teacher whose elocutionary talent caught Bob Jones Sr’s eye.

    Accompanied Junior (i.e. Heir to the Throne) on a Rich Kid’s Luxury Cruise to Europe.
    Had a “Nine Month breakdown” shortly after and moved back to Ohio.
    (Note NINE MONTHS.)
    Left BJU shortly afterwards, just before Junior married someone else.
    Never married herself.
    I think I know where this is heading.
    (And given the secrecy regarding adoptions of “Fallen Women” birth mothers in that era, I don’t think anyone will come forward. That is, assuming there wasn’t a hushed-up abortion.)

    “Glory Be to The Father, and to The Son, and to Bob Jones III;
    Rules Without End, Amen.”
    — forbidden rhyme of BJU students

    P.S. Do GOP Presidential candidates still make Pilgrimage to BJU for The Father/Son/Grandson’s Blessing on their campaigns?

  5. Has the Godly and Scriptural whispering campaign/character assassination begun against Camille yet? Being Camille is (presumably) female, they’ll have a lot Juicier things to whisper than just “criminally insane”, “DEMON possessed”, and “Homosexual Pervert”.

  6. (off topic)
    Regarding the accidental deletion of comments post. Your blog is hosted on Word Press?

    If it’s similar to other Word Press blogs, you should be able to retrieve the comments by way of visiting the “comments” section in your blog’s dashboard, going to the “trash” tab, checking off which posts on the list you want to be displayed, and then choosing “Restore” from the pull down menu at the top of the comments page.

    (Unless you did those steps but chose “delete permanently.” in which case, I guess they are gone for good.)

  7. Someone told you when to spank your kid? What a control freak. I’d have showed them a spanking all right. Bet they wouldn’t have been able to sit for a week.

    Camille, your bravery is much appreciated. You’ve done more good here than me spanking some idiot ever would have accomplished. Still, when I read about how BJU uses its controlling ways to tell sex abuse victims that they could be responsible for the abuser going to hell, that kind of heresy makes me want to puke.

    Thanks for speaking up,
    Tim

  8. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Has the Godly and Scriptural whispering campaign/character assassination begun against Camille yet? Being Camille is (presumably) female, they’ll have a lot Juicier things to whisper than just “criminally insane”, “DEMON possessed”, and “Homosexual Pervert”.

    Detractors have been whispering about Camille for years now, I’m afraid. They’ve called her “disaffected” and “destroyer” and “a word that shall not be uttered at TWW” … and those were the least offensive! The problem is: she has proof; everything ranging from newspaper articles published way back when to emails which went out a week ago.

  9. Tim wrote:

    Someone told you when to spank your kid? What a control freak.

    That caught my eye, as well as the parts about leaky toilets in the dorm and single women being told that they were not permitted to say “no” to college men there who asked them on dates.

  10. “In all these stories the message is clear: once you leave BJU’s employ, if you say one word, your name is mud.” A unifying common denominator in all abusive church systems.
    “BJU’s usual tactic is to fire one spouse while keeping the other one employed in order to continue the psychological hold.” I know a “church” that will disfellowship one spouse for the exact same reason.
    “But employees are one thing. . .when that enforced silence makes (alleged) crimes go unreported and covered up, there is a serious problem.”
    “For me, I do what I can. I search. I look for all the archival dots to connect into a complete historical picture.”
    You’ve done a fine job, Camille. All the patterns of an abusive system are there. As I’ve learned, it’s very difficult to involve the authorities unless they are alerted to something criminal that has happened recently. I hope your exposure will shine a spotlight that makes it more difficult for BJU to hide future abuses. But, I also pray for justice and closure for those who have already been hurt.

  11. __

    “Truth Unfettered?”

    hmmm…

    “If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does” ~ The Duchess, “Alice In Wonderland”

    huh?

    Alice: “It would be so nice if something made sense for a change…”

    What?

    …The report(s)s of alleged sexual abuse at BJU, are ‘now’ lagitamently being examined, unrestrained, unfettered, and unhindered, freed, unencumbered, unconstrained, unregulated, autonomous, unrestricted, unbound, and unchained?

    do what?

    “As always, they’re worried about protecting the church and the university, not the victims…”  ~Camille Lewis

    …My name is Mud?

    Skreeeeeeeeeeeetch!

    .”..the message is clear: once you leave BJU’s employ, if you say one word, your name is mud.” ~ Camille Lewis

    crash.

    Let da chips fall where they may?

    (wondering, hmmm…what has changed)

    (rambling…) 

    But if BJU is not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world are they?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!”

    Ha! 

    Soundbite: “if you report sexual abuse, you hurt the body of Christ.”

    Sayz Whooooooo?

    BJU: A proverbial closely guarded enigma lodged within a religious paradox, perhaps?

    Curiouser and curiouser!

    (sadface)

    Eaglet : “Speak English! I don’t know the meaning of half those long words, and I don’t believe you do either!”

    Alice: “I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, Sir, because I’m not myself you see.”

    The Cat: “We’re all mad here.”

    The Mock Turtle: “Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with, and then the different branches of arithmetic — Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision…”

    Alice: “It was much pleasanter at home, when one wasn’t always growing larger and smaller, …and being ordered about by mice and rabbits.”

    *
    …sad, sad, very sad, so many people in the same sad proverbially mis-used religion device, perhaps?

    (tear)

    ” ‘covering up’ is rarely possible in today’s easily accessible social media.” ~ Dee

    we shall see, …we shall see indeed…

    Sopy

  12. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Has the Godly and Scriptural whispering campaign/character assassination begun against Camille yet? Being Camille is (presumably) female, they’ll have a lot Juicier things to whisper than just “criminally insane”, “DEMON possessed”, and “Homosexual Pervert”.

    Oh yes. Right in the middle of it as I write this.

    It’s not easy being a whistle-blower in Greenville, South Carolina.

    Thanks you all. And thanks to TWW too!! You all are great.

  13. I am amazed at the overwhelming evidence of absolute control at all costs that you have researched and presented. I know that this will unlikely make die hard BJU fans change their minds. To them, facts that don’t support the goodness of BJU are lies. To those of us who saw the light years ago, however, what you have written validates each and every one of our stories.

  14. Tikatu wrote:

    Detractors have been whispering about Camille for years now, I’m afraid. They’ve called her “disaffected” and “destroyer” and “a word that shall not be uttered at TWW”

    If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.

    Quoting, of course, not a megachurch visionary CEO, but Jesus. I know not all TWW readers have an immediate interest in being familiar with the New Testament; but those that are will be aware that his most implacable enemies were those who liked to think that they owned God for themselves. Those, in other words, whose form of “godliness” had no power to make them truthful (or to do anything else, for that matter).

  15. I posted once on Dr. Lewis’s blog a few months ago. I had read her Ebenezers and was impressed and enlightened. She does not come across as bitter at all to me, but as a conscience-driven and articulate scholar determined to shine light into some dark, very dark, corners. I admire her courage, which is considerable, and pray for her to draw encouragement from the Lord himself in speaking truth to power.

    Don Howell, Jr.

  16. Daisy wrote:

    Tim wrote:
    Someone told you when to spank your kid? What a control freak.
    That caught my eye, as well as the parts about leaky toilets in the dorm and single women being told that they were not permitted to say “no” to college men there who asked them on dates.

    I sat in a graduate level counseling class at BJU and listened to the professor say that women were never to refuse their husbands sex under any circumstance. That if they were sick, they should hope he would be understanding and just not ask.

  17. Camille has done a great thing here. She has outlined a continual pattern of abuse over decades for us all to see. I harp about patterns all the time. They are predictable. When you understand the patterns of abusers, it becomes very clear. BJU royally screwed up when they fired GRACE and then dealt with public outcry and were forced to rehire them. It will be interesting when GRACE releases their report.

    Something very important is happening in the blogosphere – – real people are telling their real stories, and the jury of public opinion is weighing in and making a difference. I could not be happier. There’s so much more work to do, however. Let’s shout the freakin’ bullhorn!

  18. Dr. Lewis,
    From someone that whittled a good bit of time away in the BJU Fundamentalism File…you know I found this riveting. May we learn from our past to make right choices in the present for confidence of a better future.

  19. @ BeenThereDoneThat:
    Along with it being an administration strong arm power play, the fact is that spanking is so intricately linked with BJU’s view of God and how to treat others that they couldn’t imagine giving a faculty member their freedom of conscience in discipline. Their view if God is defined very much in what I like to call “Woodshed Theology.” We as students were subjected to daily chapels that BJ III often reminded us were “our daily dose of the woodshed”—we all needed a good whipping whether or not we deserved it. So very little of Christ and our full acceptance in His fully finished work and drawing on that rather than threats to get us to love God and live for Him.
    Not surprised, Camille, that their words for you come straight from the woodshed and not from the Gospel of Christ. Stand strong, sister!

  20. SPierce wrote:

    I sat in a graduate level counseling class at BJU and listened to the professor say that women were never to refuse their husbands sex under any circumstance. That if they were sick, they should hope he would be understanding and just not ask.

    Who does that remind you of?
    (HUMBLY, of course. Chuckle chuckle…)

  21. Camille K. Lewis wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Has the Godly and Scriptural whispering campaign/character assassination begun against Camille yet? Being Camille is (presumably) female, they’ll have a lot Juicier things to whisper than just “criminally insane”, “DEMON possessed”, and “Homosexual Pervert”.

    Oh yes. Right in the middle of it as I write this.
    It’s not easy being a whistle-blower in Greenville, South Carolina.

    With the NY Times article re BJU & GRACE, do you think you have a chance of seeing publication?

    And again, from Reagan on, I remember the GOP Presidential hopefuls kicking off their run by making Pilgimage to BJU for BJ-whatever-number’s Blessing. And BJ-whatever-number getting a big ego-boo out of playing Kingmaker. (Tywin Lannister, anyone?)

  22. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    With the NY Times article re BJU & GRACE, do you think you have a chance of seeing publication?

    I would love to see that happen. :)

    And again, from Reagan on, I remember the GOP Presidential hopefuls kicking off their run by making Pilgimage to BJU for BJ-whatever-number’s Blessing. And BJ-whatever-number getting a big ego-boo out of playing Kingmaker. (Tywin Lannister, anyone?)

    Yup. It was going on long before that too. William F. Buckley and Abraham Vereide made pit stops in the 50s. And Bob Jones Sr was very, very, very politically active. Very.

    But that’s another blog post. ;)

    C

  23. Although I’m currently working on the first scholarly biography of Bob Jones Sr., it’s not an “official” biography. BJU hasn’t paid me to write it–or even encouraged me to write it–and when I finish the manuscript, I intend to send it off to an academic press.

  24. SPierce wrote:

    they should hope he would be understanding and just not ask.

    If he didn’t understand and expected sex, he should be hauled before their Sanhedrin for discipline in not loving his wife as Christ loves the church. Too much to ask for? ;-)

  25. Girls couldn’t refuse a date? Wowzers!

    Camille, this is great! I really appreciate all the work and especially the courage it takes to do this and now face the fall-out. The IFB’s I knew would go nuclear on you.

    The only thing we can do is keep speaking out. This week’s victories are sweet!

  26. Welcome to all of our visitors who are or have been associated with BJU. We are glad that you are here!

  27. To our new visitors:

    All new commenters must be approved to the blog. We will try to get you through as quickly as possible.

  28. @ Daisy:
    Hi Daisy

    I do know that. However, then I have to go through the process of putting them back into the post. i frankly did no have enough hours in the day! So, I prevailed on the commenters to help me out.

  29. What a sad but WONDERFULLY WRITTEN post.

    Never went to BJU or even visited. Had feelings about the atmosphere based on what I had heard. This post confirms my feelings and even then some.

    Praying that Camille and her husband will find peace.

  30. Thank you for your post. I grew up Southern Baptist in the deep South, but we moved north when I was in high school. I had never experienced fundamentalism before attending a church where every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night, the words “fundamental, Bible-believing, Baptist” were repeatedly stated as somewhat of a mantra. To the point where the pastor (a BJU graduate) said multiple times that being a fundamental, Bible-believing (I agree to this point), Baptist (note: this part) was a requirement to being a Christian. His daughter lied about me and spread nasty rumors about me and a young man in our youth group. When he was confronted about it, he yelled at me and claimed that I had compromised myself when all that had actually happened was that the young man drove me (about two miles) to a youth group activity. There were so many inconsistencies in the church. I was ridiculed and repeatedly reprimanded for not wearing skirts (I work with animals and skirts are not really appropriate or modest for cattle work). At one point, a Sunday School lesson to a co-ed class was given on the subject of modesty. The teacher’s wife (a nurse) stood up and stated that people knew that she was a Christian at her work because she only wears scrub skirts. I was the only one in that class who wore scrubs and everyone knew it. I was ridiculed for choosing to attend a secular college, even though I had already found a church to attend and my chosen major was not offered at any Christian colleges. At one point, the argument was that I was to attend a Christian college in order to find a husband (BJU was heavily promoted). I had/have no plans of paying a small fortune in tuition for a dating service. Besides that, there are strong Christians that attend my college, and I am currently happily single. The list of complaints and difficult stories continues. The pastor shunned my mother (a strong, single widow) for daring to question his authority and for standing up for herself and her conscience. Thankfully my mother is no longer a part of that church and has found peace and a place to serve at another church that is actively teaching AND living the truths of the Bible. The area surrounding this church is rural so many people know each other. Many of the members of this church which is little better than a cult do not even “recognize” us if they happen to see us around the community. One of my “favorite” instances occurred when I went to dinner with a lady in the church after we had left. We discussed my ex-boyfriend who was currently a member of that church. The relationship was broken off soon after I began college and I realized how emotionally and verbally abusive he was (a whole other story). Since that time, his parents had gone through a separation and eventually a divorce. The “well-meaning” lady while mentioning about my ex-boyfriend told me not to worry that although my dating relationship had ended with difficulty that she didn’t think that “divorce was my fault.”

    The form of cultish behavior that is bred and groomed at BJU frowns upon and strives to suppress strong, single women. It is branded as subversive and unChristian behavior and quietly swept under the rug. However, this is the exact opposite of what the Bible teaches. The Bible is full of strong, amazing women who, through God, were able to accomplish amazing feats. This is not a feminist manifesto that seeks to supplant the Biblical role of the husband as the head of the household even as Christ is the head of the Church. I would rather look to the grace, strength, wisdom, faithfulness, and determination of such amazing role models as Esther, Ruth, Lydia, and the Proverbs 31 woman. Unfortunately, BJU is a cult that wants everyone to follow the life, teaching, and poor example of a mere man who is a known racist and sexist and who has sought to place himself on par with the Bible and Jesus Christ.

    Thank you for your essay, and you and your husband will remain in my prayers.

  31. @ SPierce & Tim:

    I sat in a graduate level counseling class at BJU and listened to the professor say that women were never to refuse their husbands sex under any circumstance.

    Sadly that’s not confined to BJU. I read the same thing in an article shared on a major clearinghouse website (Monergism) of Reformed/Neo-Calvinist theology. Wish I could remember the name now.

  32. Hester wrote:

    a major clearinghouse website (Monergism) of Reformed/Neo-Calvinist theology

    Monergism has some great resources, but sadly includes a few from wacked out writers.

  33. The comment about BJU having an influence on the county public schools sent chills up my spine…..I taught in a community in which the local Baptist church had a huge influence on who was hired/ fired etc…..how I survived those three years, I do not know. This was in the 1980s and when I spoke to a person who still lives in the community, he told me, that nothing has changed.

  34. @ Gwen:

    “This is not a feminist manifesto that seeks to supplant the Biblical role of the husband as the head of the household even as Christ is the head of the Church.”
    +++++++++++++++

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    (although were you to have such a manifesto, you would find good company here.)

  35. @ Tim:

    It is a good place to go for an intro to historic Calvinist writings, yes. Maybe the wackos are included to cater to a certain segment of Calvinism that they know is reading there? Given the number of Calvinists I know who want nothing to do with the modern Neo-Calvinist variety, it’s a shame they’re all mixed up together on that site. The uninformed won’t be able to tell the difference. I’m only just beginning to grasp it.

  36. I am quite well acquainted with BJU having grown up in a “BJU” church and having been married to a BJU grad. I am not a BJU fan. I was pressured into going there, and said no way Jose (back in early 80’s). In fact, I actually had Virginia Mollencott (mentioned in the above article) as an English professor my freshman year in New York.

    In all fairness though….I don’t think having a list of “infamous” alumni proves anything. BJU is a large school and I imagine any public university has its share of embezzlers, sex offenders and those convicted of Ponzi schemes amongst its graduates.

    I think sometimes when we get caught up in a legalistic environment and then feel “set free” from it, we tend to be very critical and harsh on those people for some time. I’ve been there, done that with the BJU folk. But as I get older and look around, I realize that we all struggle with legalism in our Christian walk…just in different ways. Many of the BJU grads I have known have been the kindest people, willing to help out in any way and would give you the shirt off of their back. I know they are caught up in works righteousness (and self righteousness too) yet they do have so many good qualities.

    So, I think as we criticize them we need to be mindful that they are Christians, that God loves them very much and we are just in as much need of grace as they are.

    I would love nothing more than to see Bob Jones U become more grace oriented and distance themselves from their past.

    I hope Dr. Lewis finds the courage to deal with any fallout she gets from speaking up, and I hope the GRACE investigation is fruitful.

  37. I have a friend who was recently hired as the new President at Furman, which is also in Greenville, and also religiously affiliated. She is a fantastic scholar and administrator. I would not suppose her being hired would have been the case if Furman were as far into the ridiculous as BJU. Cammille, could you comment about Furman and BJU and the relationship of both to the community and to each other?

    Thanks.

    I am a former professor and a lifelong Baptist of moderate persuasion

  38. @ SPierce:

    “I sat in a graduate level counseling class at BJU and listened to the professor say that women were never to refuse their husbands sex under any circumstance. That if they were sick, they should hope he would be understanding and just not ask.”
    ++++++++

    how long ago was this?

    beyond belief.

  39. Regarding Klandamentalism (and I’m posting this from the former “Klanaheim, Kalifornia”):

    “Down in Carolina way
    Lived a man named Big Bee Jay
    Bee Jay went and got a school
    Founded on Caucasian Rule
    Bumper sticker on his Ford:
    Honkies if you love The LORD!”
    — Steve Taylor, “We Don’t Need No Color Code”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRKPFABJXLY

  40. Shato wrote:

    I don’t think having a list of “infamous” alumni proves anything. BJU is a large school and I imagine any public university has its share of embezzlers, sex offenders and those convicted of Ponzi schemes amongst its graduates.

    You’re misreading. You’re conflating my storify post which I don’t mention in this post with this set of stories. These are employees — people in good standing who stood up to the Power. You will find no other institution of higher learning with this kind of history. None.

    C

  41. Am I ever glad that I never looked into BJU when I was looking at Christian colleges. I don’t think my turning down a young man who told me I was the wife he was always looking for during my freshman year would have gone over very well.

  42. Camille K. Lewis wrote:

    You will find no other institution of higher learning with this kind of history. None.

    Deb and I had lunch with Jeri Massi who wrote Schizophrenic Christianity. It is rather amusing how many rabble rousers live in Raleigh. Makes for fun lunches. That book first opened my eyes to the problems inherent in certain systems.

    Thank you for opening our eyes to the BJU system. You do it so well. Frankly, that was one of the best posts we have ever had written on our website. Deb and I will be hard pressed to live up to the standard that you set.

    There will always be critics, especially those connected to the system! It is often hard for people to accept that their church, church pastor idol, Christian leader or school are not what it/they are portrayed.

    Thank you for bringing the truth. We’ve all been pretending long enough.

  43. Kathi wrote:

    I don’t think my turning down a young man who told me I was the wife he was always looking for during my freshman year would have gone over very well.

    I had about 6 guys at TTU tell me, “God told me you’re the one!” Which one was I supposed to listen to?

  44. Katie wrote:

    I had about 6 guys at TTU tell me, “God told me you’re the one!” Which one was I supposed to listen to?

    I’ve posted this one here before, for one of our other regulars (morning, Haitch!) who shared similar tales of weird guys.

    Katie – you might appreciate Jasper Carrott’s classic stand-up routine about “Nutters on the Bus”. Comedy gold…

  45. Evening Bulbeck! And top o’ the mornin’ to ye!
    Oooh yeah, I know all about those nutters on the bus (and in the church pews)…

  46. @ Katie:

    So at least five of them overheard God’s message to someone else and mistook it as applying to them? Or perhaps all six of them misinterpreted their inner rumblings or other biological phenomena for the voice of God? And are they all now preachers who convey mistaken messages from the pulpit of some Baptist fundamentalist church thinking that their tummy rumbles are the Voice of God?

  47. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    Jasper Carrott: sheer Brummy quality. (Like me – I was born there but wasn’t there long enough to get the accent). We need to promote him & Dave Allen much more, people here will appreciate them.

  48. elastigirl wrote:

    @ SPierce:
    “I sat in a graduate level counseling class at BJU and listened to the professor say that women were never to refuse their husbands sex under any circumstance. That if they were sick, they should hope he would be understanding and just not ask.”
    ++++++++
    how long ago was this?
    beyond belief.

    This would have been 2002, I’m pretty sure.

  49. A BJU alum and kellymommer wrote:

    @ BeenThereDoneThat:
    Along with it being an administration strong arm power play, the fact is that spanking is so intricately linked with BJU’s view of God and how to treat others that they couldn’t imagine giving a faculty member their freedom of conscience in discipline. Their view if God is defined very much in what I like to call “Woodshed Theology.”

    It’s interesting what can happen when you start to shine a light on this stuff. My former church held child training classes teaching us to discipline our kids in a Pearl-style fashion. When they started catching some heat, an elder stood up in a Sunday meeting and proclaimed, “We will never tell you to use corporal punishment.” (Cue jaw drop) I just listened to an elder tell a bald-face lie! I guess this was their way of informing us what the “official” position was, because we were most certainly still expected to spank our children.
    I won’t be a bit surprised if BJU pulls something similar.

  50. SPierce wrote:

    I sat in a graduate level counseling class at BJU and listened to the professor say that women were never to refuse their husbands sex under any circumstance. That if they were sick, they should hope he would be understanding and just not ask.

    This sounds very Driscollish and Manhaneyish. All these men have quite a racket going, using their pulpit to bully women.

  51. Katie wrote:

    I had about 6 guys at TTU tell me, “God told me you’re the one!” Which one was I supposed to listen to?

    Polyandry!

  52.    __

    Flash! : “Welcome To Da Big Leagues?”

    I hear a’ biggggggg noise?!?

    Skreeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch!

    …exposin’ a ‘secret’ religious world requires (beaucoup) ‘Steam ?!?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aEXghwzlMo

    hmmm…

     Nous pensons que beaucoup a déjà été écrit sur la question des abus. Qu’est-ce qui nous manque maintenant, c’est agir concrètement? *(1)

    Dr Camille Lewis,

    Hello, 

    Respectfully,

    Q: Is your current mission one of ‘reform’ or the ‘willful destruction’ of a so called biblically based institution of higher learning known as BJU?

    What?

    (…certain discerning minds wish to know.) sorry 

    Krunch.

    Please explain your answer.

    Please explain your motivation.

    What do you expect as a result of your literary labor(s)?

    What awareness do you wish to create for future students should they choose to enter this religious culture, (given the present climate) and attend classes at BJU?

    Ouch! (sorry ta put you on da hotseat)

    I’ze a’ thank’in you in advance for da possibility of your well respected time,  labor, and heart felt d-e-v-o-t-i-o-n, in a noble and worthy cause…

    ATB

    (FWIW)  I’za praying for you…

    All things work together for the good, to them dat love God, and to doze who are called according to His ‘wonderful’ purpose(s)?

    yep, could b. (grin)

    hum, hum, hum…”when you wish upon a star…”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5mKM_L6YOo

    Mucho regards,   :-)

    Sopy
    ___
    * (1) Fr. Tr.  “We believe that much has already been written on the issue of abuse. What is it that we lack now – is concrete action?”

  53. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    When they started catching some heat, an elder stood up in a Sunday meeting and proclaimed, “We will never tell you to use corporal punishment.” (Cue jaw drop) I just listened to an elder tell a bald-face lie! I guess this was their way of informing us what the “official” position was, because we were most certainly still expected to spank our children.

    Oceania has always been at peace with Eurasia, Comrade.

  54. An Attorney wrote:

    Or perhaps all six of them misinterpreted their inner rumblings or other biological phenomena for the voice of God? And are they all now preachers who convey mistaken messages from the pulpit of some Baptist fundamentalist church thinking that their tummy rumbles are the Voice of God?

    I think their rumblings come from a little below their tummy proper.

    And the “God Revealed Unto Me that You Shall Become My Wife” sounds like a nice racket. Christianese pickup line #101. With major violation of “Thou Shalt Not Take The Name of the LORD in Vain”, but we’ve redefined that to apply to cussing and cussing only, so that makes it OK.

  55. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Christianese pickup line #101. With major violation of “Thou Shalt Not Take The Name of the LORD in Vain”, but we’ve redefined that to apply to cussing and cussing only, so that makes it OK.

    Oh so true.
    And oh such a big sin of those who think they have some inside ‘thing’ with God that most others don’t have.

  56. Mara wrote:

    And oh such a big sin of those who think they have some inside ‘thing’ with God that most others don’t have.

    Lewis called it “The Lure of the Inner Ring”, and it is the essence of Gnosticism. The Speshul Insider Elite with their Speshul Hidden Knowledge (AKA Occult Gnosis).

  57. @ An Attorney:

    “misinterpreted…biological phenomena for the voice of God”
    +++++++++++

    Ha! very funny. sounds like any male jr. adult between the ages of 18-24, that’s for sure.

  58. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    I became curious about “Who’s the next BJU president gonna be?” I didn’t immediately see an answer here (who WILL it be, BTW) so I googled. The official President’s page popped up, where it says (of Steve) “HOW GOD BURDENED DR. JONES TO SERVE AS UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT”
    Let’s see– My Daddy was President, My Grandpappy was President, My Great Grandpappy was President, My Brother Abdicated his Authority— oh– I feel God burdening — lil ol ME!
    In other news, Mrs Kim, first lady of the DPRK, has been spotted wearing a maternity dress. If the child is a male, his “god” (Eternal President and Great Grandpappy Kim) will “burden” him to “serve” as President!

  59. Not disagreeing, but for the sake of facts & truth, you may want to correct the way you describe the investigation. It was a study of how the university handles counseling for abuse victims. They began the study to improve their methods and to put better practices in place.This is an important detail that seems to be getting lost in the shuffle. Let’s not condemn them for “spin-doctoring” and then do it ourselves.

  60. Leisa wrote:

    They began the study to improve their methods and to put better practices in place.

    Really? That’s all there is? Then why did they fire GRACE? Just over some disagreement on “improving methods?’

    Such a response on the part of BJU is exposing far more than a need to have better counseling methods. As for the truth, TWW links to all sorts of things. We allow our readers to make up their minds as to what is going on.

    Years ago, when I got my MBA, I learned about explicit reasons and implicit reasons for doing something. What happens on the surface is often just the beginning. Then there is the stuff underneath. Which one is the truth? Perhaps both?

  61. @ Mara:
    Bad theology never dies. It just goes on under a new title. Shepherding, Reconstructionism, NeoCalvinism- little difference in the outcome.

  62. @ Tim:
    I need to use this for a future post on the Code. I am going to get Reid to help me with this. He knows a lot about formulas.

  63. dee wrote:

    I have stood up for this and have left a church, and friends, over this subject. If Schizophrenic Christianity indicates what is going on in the IFB, then there are serious, serious issues.

    This blog usually gets picked on by Neo Calvinist guys because it is thought you only go after Neo Calvinists.

    In the future, should that happen again, you can point them back to this IFB themed thread. :)

  64. I am removing a few comments surrounding a very inappropriate comment. I did not recognize some implications of the comment. I do now. If you are a regular commenter on this blog and your comment was removed, it has nothing at all to do with anything that you have said. Promise!  

  65. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Nor am I, and I’m cleverer than it is humanly possible to be.

    Except for Dr Mohler!! (speaking of liberated Southern Baptists) He’s waaay cleverer! Did I tell you about his large stack of books? Humbly yours, Ceej.

  66. Leisa wrote:

    Not disagreeing, but for the sake of facts & truth, you may want to correct the way you describe the investigation. It was a study of how the university handles counseling for abuse victims. They began the study to improve their methods and to put better practices in place.This is an important detail that seems to be getting lost in the shuffle. Let’s not condemn them for “spin-doctoring” and then do it ourselves.

    Your description is not accurate. It was absolutely not just about BJU handles counseling for abuse victims. And in fact, this is the first time I’ve heard that reduction in the last 18 months. If you look at how G.R.A.C.E. investigated New Tribes and ABWE, they were doing much more than just “counseling.” Here are the statements we do have:

    http://netgrace.org/investigation/bob-jones-university/

    The first sentence says:

    GRACE was recently asked by Bob Jones University to investigate any and all complaints made to representatives of Bob Jones University or Bob Jones Academy related to sexual abuse.

    That’s not just the counseling of abuse victims.

  67. dee wrote:

    I am removing a few comments surrounding a very inappropriate comment. I did not recognize some implications of the comment. I do now. If you are a regular commenter on this blog and your comment was removed, it has nothing at all to do with anything that you have said. Promise!  

    No, it wasn’t me.

  68. (off topic)
    Abuse inquiry: ‘Termonbacca beatings left me deaf’

    A former resident of St Joseph’s Catholic children’s home, Termonbacca [St Joseph's Home, Termonbacca, was run by the Sisters of Nazareth order of nuns], has told the Historical Abuse Inquiry that he is partially deaf because of the beatings he received there.

    …. Later, the inquiry heard from a 44-year-old woman who said she had been sexually abused by a priest while she was at Termonbacca children’s home.

  69. Thanks Camille for your devotion to revealing the truth. So many ignorant young people keep going to this place. I was “told” to go to BJU by my pastor, Never considered anything else. Even as a town student in the 70’s, it was a miserable place of rules and the discipline committee ruling class. I had to drop out during my first year of grad school because I was going to a church that was put off-limits in the middle of the semester. The arrogance of the Jones’s in chapel was appalling. Can’t say I was ever edified by their warnings and condemnations. The LOVE of Jesus – not so much. Bob Jones, Inc is the worst of the worst of RWNJ’s. They make the worst “religious” politicians look normal. Yes, I’ve become more liberal over the years. I am grateful that I had some real professors like you that clearly struggled with the system but were there sacrificially for us as long as they could take it or were fired. Just a lovely place. And they think Jesus approves? Peace and Light!

  70. Camille….for those who have not attended BJU can you expand upon and explain why this is important? For example…there are many people who are into John Piper and I believe that Piper’s family has connections to BJU. So I guess, and correct me if I am wrong, that BJU theology can get into other denominations through Piper. Denominations such as the SBC, EFCA, and parts of the Anglican Church. Can you explain and expand. And if I am off my rocker…please correct me.

  71. After reading the above essay by Camille Lewis and the various comments all I could think of was the name Ichabod. No, I’m not thinking of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Ichabod Crane, but rather the OT character whose birth in recorded in I Samuel 4:21-22. Here I quote the website GotQuestions.org:

    “And she named the child Ichabod, saying,‘The glory has departed from Israel!’ because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. . . The word Ichabod means literally “inglorious” or “there is no glory,” and in her pain and despair, the woman (who is unnamed in Scripture) lamented over the loss of the glory of God from Israel. The glory of God is used to describe God’s favor and blessings towards His people. In the Old Testament, God’s glory is seen as a pillar of fire and cloud that followed the Israelites during the exodus from Egypt, guiding and guarding them (Exodus 13:21). Once the Ark of the Covenant was built and placed in the tabernacle in the wilderness, and later in the Temple in Jerusalem, God’s glory resided there as a symbol of His presence among His people. When the Ark was captured by the Philistines, the glory departed from the Israelites—Ichabod became a reality. Jesus later refers to the concept of the glory of God leaving Israel. In His last message to the populace of Israel, His final word to the religious leaders was, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23:37-38). That was His final statement of judgment on Israel for the rejection of their Messiah. He has indicted them, indicted their leaders and by indicting the leaders, indicted all the people who followed the leaders. And now He says their house is left desolate—Ichabod, the glory is departing. God is moving away from Israel to another people.”

    Could there be a parallel here to what has been happening at Bob Jones University? I will let you draw your own conclusion, but for me there seems to be a striking parallel. No, I won’t “make the parable walk on all fours by interpreting each element in the Samuel account, but the essential theme of the “Departure of the Glory of God” applies to the present status of BJU. Only time and the Verdict of the Almighty will tell. ICHABOD!!

  72. I did wonder what that long comment aimed at Camille & her husband was getting at. Hmmmmmm.
    Also Dee, how is your own situation regarding threats getting on?

    Am thinking of all of you brave enough to stick your heads above the parapet, & you too, those stupid enough to take pot-shots at them.

  73. Eagle wrote:

    Camille….for those who have not attended BJU can you expand upon and explain why this is important? For example…there are many people who are into John Piper and I believe that Piper’s family has connections to BJU. So I guess, and correct me if I am wrong, that BJU theology can get into other denominations through Piper. Denominations such as the SBC, EFCA, and parts of the Anglican Church. Can you explain and expand. And if I am off my rocker…please correct me.

    John Piper’s family has more than just connections. Bill Piper moved with Bob Jones College from Tennessee to Greenville, SC, built up residential property around the 29614 campus in order to encourage like-minded Christians to move nearby, and was responsible for raising the funds for A/C in the auditorium. All three of those Piper brothers graduated from BJC and two remained on the Board for years. Bill, John’s dad, was the most invested in all things BJU. That all came crashing down when Bill and Elmer made the “scandalous” choice to support Billy Graham’s 1957 NYC crusade. That’s when BJU brought out all the guns to thrash the Piper reputation. Bill remained at that SBC church across the street from 29614. Yet Bill died in BJU’s assisted living center up the road from the campus. . . . There are rumors that BJ3 and Bill had a reconciliation before he died. I don’t know if that’s true. I’ve tried to contact John to get details, but I got no response.

    Just because I collect all sorts of ephemera (even the meaningless) . . . . here’s John’s birth announcement in the BJC alumni magazine:

    https://twitter.com/queenknitter/status/434714108949045248

    Now back to your justification question. This is important because in the mid-century, Bob Jones University was *the* center of conservative evangelical revivalism. I have the storify post of the infamous alumni. I also have a collection of the famous ones that has yet to hit storify. Tim LaHaye, Peter Ruckman, Delbert Fehsenfeld, and Bob Billings are all graduates of Bob Jones University. That’s astounding. BJU is not insignificant in forming what we have inherited. It is a huge influence.

    Current evangelicals — even the staunch Calvinistas like Piper — prefer to treat BJU as the crazy uncle no one talks during family get-togethers. Piper himself will speak in sepia-tones (mixed metaphor) about the good ol’ days of fundamentalism. It’s bigger than that. It’s more sinister than that. If you go back to the fundamentalism of Bill and Elmer Piper and look at what they inherited, this is it. This right here:

    http://www.drslewis.org/camille/2012/02/25/how-did-we-get-here/

    Go look. See it for yourself.

    No, nobody wants to talk about it. But that’s what we’ve got. And we need to confess it.

    Camille

  74. An Attorney wrote:

    I have a friend who was recently hired as the new President at Furman, which is also in Greenville, and also religiously affiliated. She is a fantastic scholar and administrator. I would not suppose her being hired would have been the case if Furman were as far into the ridiculous as BJU. Cammille, could you comment about Furman and BJU and the relationship of both to the community and to each other?
    Thanks.

    As a Furman graduate, I can tell you that Furman is NOT religiously affiliated. At one point they were a Baptist school, but in the wake of the conservative resurgence, they broke ties with the state convention. So, in upstate SC, the far right-fundamentalists go to BJU, the good Christians go to North Greenville University, and the heathens go to Furman.

    Seriously. My roommate at college had people from his church ask why he’d go to that heathen school and not to a good Christian school like North Greenville. The quality of education is one good reason…

  75. @ Camille K. Lewis:

    This is fascinating, yet stomach turning at the same time. Piper views BJ as the crazy uncle? I think Piper resembles that world more than be cares to realize. You might like to read over at Jeff Crippin’s blog. They’ve been looking at Piper’s theology in one of his books, though his theology can be seen trickling into many places. At it’s roots, it’s very near the same fundamentalism we see at BJU. The focus of fundamentalism went rom racial to female in

  76. @ Bridget:
    sorry, posted before ready . . .

    went from racial to female in the 70’s and 80’s. Piper was at the forefront of this movement.

  77. Camille K. Lewis wrote:

    BJU is not insignificant in forming what we have inherited. It is a huge influence.
    Current evangelicals — even the staunch Calvinistas like Piper — prefer to treat BJU as the crazy uncle no one talks during family get-togethers.

    Dr. Lewis – as Dee and Deb say often here on TWW – follow the money!

    So who are the powers-that-be that are funding BJU right now, in 2014? The LaHayes? And who is providing them political cover – is all at the state/local level? Strom Thurmond has been dead for a decade – in addition to big check writers, there have to be politicos propping up BJU. Who are they?

    As upsetting as the Pharasaical rules, the abusive “counseling” and response to reports of abuse, and the abhorrent treatment of women is at BJU, the racism of the place is a special kind of evil.

    How is this allowed to stand?

  78. Bridget wrote:

    Piper views BJ as the crazy uncle? I think Piper resembles that world more than be cares to realize.

    Absolutely.

    @ Camille K. Lewis:

    And Camille, I knew there HAD to be something driving the crazy making behavior of John Piper. Thanks for putting the pieces together for us.

    Matthew 15:8 ‘This people honors Me with their lips,
    But their heart is far away from Me.
    9 ‘But in vain do they worship Me,
    Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’”

  79. Whoa!

    Leisa wrote:

    Not disagreeing, but for the sake of facts & truth, you may want to correct the way you describe the investigation. It was a study of how the university handles counseling for abuse victims. They began the study to improve their methods and to put better practices in place.This is an important detail that seems to be getting lost in the shuffle. Let’s not condemn them for “spin-doctoring” and then do it ourselves.

    “Let’s not condemn…and then do it ourselves”, Leisa? This is too serious of a matter for you to not be fully informed. At least please see
    http://www.bju.edu/about/grace.php for a more thorough explanation of the relationship with GRACE. I want to quote part of it here so everyone can that BJU, in their own words, says that it was MORE than studying their methods and having better practices.

    In addition, we sought out a third-party Christian organization with which we could partner in an effort to identify any past instances in which former students or others felt they were inadequately helped by the University’s response. We are grateful to have found GRACE, a credible, compassionate, and experienced Christian organization which conducts independent reviews and solicits unfiltered input from those who have experienced sexual abuse within Christian organizations or who have otherwise felt inadequately helped by the Christian organizations they trusted to help them deal with the wrongs they suffered previously.

    “It is our prayer that this partnership with GRACE—operated with complete autonomy from Bob Jones University—will create an atmosphere of trust and complete honesty, allowing Bob Jones University to identify any cases in which we need to exercise authentic repentance and demonstrate biblical love to those we have always desired to serve to the best of our ability for the Lord’s sake.”

    And as GRACE said, “authentic repentance may be required to redress past harm and to provide recommendations for possible institutional change.”

    There are more “in their own words” samples that would make it clear they acknowledged that the investigation was to help them make reparation for past wrongs that could have been more than simply how they handled counseling.

    Let’s hope this will correct some spin-doctoring damage you might have done as we pray for the truth to come to light to help set people (and BJU) free from these darker times of BJU’s past.

  80. @ Camille K. Lewis:

    And Camille, I’m linking your above comment in a post on my blog to appear tomorrow.
    The more links and influences we see, the better we can understand and combat the negative forces trying to take over the hearts and souls of Christians wanting to serve God.

  81. @ Leisa:

    Here’s a shorter-but-better quotation (from http://www.bju.edu/about/committee-findings.php):

    “Bob Jones University will appoint an independent ombudsman to review past instances in which it is alleged that the University under-served a victim or did not comply with the law.”

    This is simply far more than “a study of how the university handles counseling for abuse victims. They began the study to improve their methods and to put better practices in place.”

    Maybe it seems that I am overreacting to your comment. I am simply hoping that you will consider to more fairly represent the GRACE concerns so that people aren’t committing the same grievous error as BJU seems to have been these years–that of underreacting.

  82. A James wrote:

    “Bob Jones University will appoint an independent ombudsman to review past instances in which it is alleged that the University under-served a victim or did not comply with the law.”

    You’re not overreacting.

    GRACE is investigating, according to BJU, allegations of a) “under-serving a victim” and b) NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE LAW.

    That’s quite a bit beyond a mere best practices exercise by a management consultant to tidy up policies in the counseling department.

  83. @ Mara:

    You might enjoy the analysis of Piper’s writing that has been going on at Jeff Crippin’s site over the past few months as well.

  84. Bridget wrote:

    You might enjoy the analysis of Piper’s writing that has been going on at Jeff Crippin’s site over the past few months as well.

    Thanks for that, Bridget. I’m reading over there now.

  85. Leisa wrote:

    Let’s not condemn them for “spin-doctoring” and then do it ourselves.

    We try very hard not to “spin doctor.” We have a boatload of links for every post. One thing that we say often is to check this stuff for yourself.

    However, I believe that this is far more than “counseling technique” and the other commenters have outlines why that is so.

    My guess is that BJU would have a heart attack if the NY Times showed up and started poking around to understand more about BJU’s counseling “techniques.”

  86. dee wrote:

    My guess is that BJU would have a heart attack if the NY Times showed up and started poking around to understand more about BJU’s counseling “techniques.”

    At first. Then BJU would probably mount a campaign accusing the reporter of lying or having an *agenda.* I’ve seen it happen before elsewhere. In fact, I’m curious to see if they go after GRACE when their report comes out.

  87. After reading the above essay by Camille Lewis and the various comments all I could think of was the name Ichabod. No, I’m not thinking of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Ichabod Crane, but rather the OT character whose birth in recorded in I Samuel 4:21-22. Here I quote the website GotQuestions.org:

    “And she named the child Ichabod, saying,‘The glory has departed from Israel!’ because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. . . The word Ichabod means literally “inglorious” or “there is no glory,” and in her pain and despair, the woman (who is unnamed in Scripture) lamented over the loss of the glory of God from Israel. The glory of God is used to describe God’s favor and blessings towards His people. In the Old Testament, God’s glory is seen as a pillar of fire and cloud that followed the Israelites during the exodus from Egypt, guiding and guarding them (Exodus 13:21). Once the Ark of the Covenant was built and placed in the tabernacle in the wilderness, and later in the Temple in Jerusalem, God’s glory resided there as a symbol of His presence among His people. When the Ark was captured by the Philistines, the glory departed from the Israelites—Ichabod became a reality. Jesus later refers to the concept of the glory of God leaving Israel. In His last message to the populace of Israel, His final word to the religious leaders was, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23:37-38). That was His final statement of judgment on Israel for the rejection of their Messiah. He has indicted them, indicted their leaders and by indicting the leaders, indicted all the people who followed the leaders. And now He says their house is left desolate—Ichabod, the glory is departing. God is moving away from Israel to another people.”

    Could there be a parallel here to what has been happening at Bob Jones University? I will let you draw your own conclusion, but for me there seems to be a striking parallel. No, I won’t “make the parable walk on all fours by interpreting each element in the Samuel account, but the essential theme of the “Departure of the Glory of God” applies to the present status of BJU. Only time and the Verdict of the Almighty will tell. ICHABOD!!

  88. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    dee wrote:
    My guess is that BJU would have a heart attack if the NY Times showed up and started poking around to understand more about BJU’s counseling “techniques.”

    At first. Then BJU would probably mount a campaign accusing the reporter of lying or having an *agenda.* I’ve seen it happen before elsewhere. In fact, I’m curious to see if they go after GRACE when their report comes out.

    And, of course, we can still look in wonderment how recently scandalized groups/institutions still have any followers remaining. On the side of hope, though,
    social media raises the bar of accountability and the speed in which that accountability is demanded. There has been more dialogue about this BJU topic (terminating GRACE) among more types of constituents than any other issue as far as I can tell.

    If BJU does as “BeenThereDoneThat” surmises, then BJU is more arrogant or ignorant than I might be fearing. It could be the fatal blow to an already flailing support base–a blow which they don’t need during this time of other unsettledness such as transitioning towards a new president, accreditation efforts, etc.

    Should they use such tactics, BJU might later have to acknowledge: “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” The sleeping giant would not only include GRACE interviewees going more public, but also those wanting BJU to keep their word on making reparations in this area so that we can put this behind us…and put it behind us nobly.

    My prayer is that BJU will humbly and wisely rise to the challenge of being open and accountable, and that faculty, staff, students, alumni, constituents will do our part in encouraging them to do so–seeking the approval of God rather than men.

  89.    __

    “…If the school ever went bad, I would ask God for permission to leave heaven, come back to the campus, and take it down brick-by-brick. ” ~Dr. Bob Jones Sr.

  90. I would have graduated in 1958 having attended BJA, graduating in 1954, and then on to college there. I left over the Billy Graham issue and “Contend for the Faith” which I felt was being contentious and not about Faith. I blamed it on Dr. Bob Sr. becoming senile. I always felt being a student at BJU was like living in an Eastern European country. (Totalitarian) I guess I didn’t realize the half of it. I have some fond memories and glad I experienced the school, but for reasons that are different than school loyalty. It taught me about experiencing life as my own person. Sometimes to my regrets and sometimes no regrets. I did not lose my Faith, but not because of having attended BJU but in spite of it. I found there was so much more in being a Christian than fundamentalism tolerated.

  91. Rafiki wrote:

    Camille K. Lewis wrote:
    BJU is not insignificant in forming what we have inherited. It is a huge influence.
    Current evangelicals — even the staunch Calvinistas like Piper — prefer to treat BJU as the crazy uncle no one talks during family get-togethers.
    Dr. Lewis – as Dee and Deb say often here on TWW – follow the money!
    So who are the powers-that-be that are funding BJU right now, in 2014? The LaHayes? And who is providing them political cover – is all at the state/local level? Strom Thurmond has been dead for a decade – in addition to big check writers, there have to be politicos propping up BJU. Who are they?
    As upsetting as the Pharasaical rules, the abusive “counseling” and response to reports of abuse, and the abhorrent treatment of women is at BJU, the racism of the place is a special kind of evil.
    How is this allowed to stand?

    BJU has its own bank. They are paid by the county to run their own downtown art museum. The county council and prosectors office is filled with BJU employees and graduates. And since BJU lost the tax case in 1983, it is fully taxed and private. Their finances are not open for perusal. It’s something we alumni regularly question and investigate.

  92. Wait…Wheaton College has its own bank too. Granted, it doesn’t provide student loans or mortgages (unlike Pinnacle Bank, aka to Dr. Lewis and others as “BJU’s own bank”), though.

    “Wheaton College Trust Company, N.A. is a national bank chartered by the United States Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and is a subsidiary of Wheaton College, governed by a Board of Directors made up of Trustees of Wheaton College and certain Officers of the college.

    First and foremost, Wheaton College Trust Company, N.A. exists to serve as trustee of and to administer irrevocable and revocable trust instruments that ultimately benefit Wheaton College. Prior to the establishment of the trust company, Wheaton College served as trustee charitable trusts and administered deferred gifts to the college. However, as a national bank, Wheaton College Trust Company, N.A. is able to offer a broader scope of trustee and administration services to the individuals and trusts that are benefiting Wheaton College through deferred or planned gifts.

    Wheaton College Trust Company also has the capacity to provide investment management and trust services to other charitable organizations seeking assistance with their institutional assets.”

  93. Les Caldwell wrote:

    If the school ever went bad, I would ask God for permission to leave heaven, come back to the campus, and take it down brick-by-brick. ”

    From Romulus, Michigan, Phi Beta Chi! I see you here in the ’56 yearbook. I imagine you have some stories. I know a little bit about James Kilgore’s expulsion in ’57 for praying for Billy Graham’s crusade in NYC:

    http://www.drslewis.org/camille/2011/12/09/fallen-stars-reported-in-greenville-south-carolina/

    Maybe Sr’s crazy was just old-age. But I have evidence he was always like that too. . . . “Monster” was the term people used back then.

  94. Oh. And this. It’s from Bill Piper to L. Nelson Bell about Piper’s being shunned and black-balled for supporting Billy Graham:

    http://ge.tt/9ogJDcD1/v/0

    Remember this too. Billy was not consorting with modernists. That’s not why the fightin’ fundies hated him. He was integrating his crusades. The ecclesiastical “separation” the Bob Jones, Inc. pushed was code for racial segregation and nothing more.

    Nothing more.

    https://www.academia.edu/2997072/_Jim_Crow_Must_Go_Dueling_Revivialists_Holy_Week_1960_

  95. And I tried to contact John with all that to get his response, but I just got a boilerplate answer:

    Thank you for contacting Desiring God. We regret to inform you that contacting John Piper personally is not possible. Strange as it may sound, Pastor Piper receives a very large volume of somewhat similar requests, and he simply is unable to attend to these and be faithful to the stewardship God has given him at Bethlehem Baptist.

    Whatever.

  96. @ Camille K. Lewis:

    That may well be so-you are the one with the documents. But I remember from my childhood a “friend” from school who was not allowed to play with me any more after her family (IFB) decided that they needed to keep her away from me (SBC) for religious reasons. There was no racial difference between us. At the time my parents told me that the IFB people did that sort of thing sometimes. That event would have been in the late 1940s.

    I do know for sure, that there were people in my church (SBC) who had problems with Billy Graham because, I understood, they thought his message was too “simple” and that he had picked that up from the more mainline denominations. One of my parents was one of the ones who held that opinion. Billy had been ordained a Baptist, but he was from a Presbyterian background, and that was some sort of potential red flag to some folks at the time.

    I am not playing down your statement about race as a huge issue at BJU. I am remembering, however, that some other folks also had some other ideas about the Billy Graham thing.

  97. @ Nancy:

    White privilege is complicated. Separation is complicated. My parents knew nothing of this controversy, and yet we aligned with the fundy crowd.

    Yet it was segregation that started it and white privilege that fueled it.

  98. It’s amazing to me that BJU had not previously destroyed the correspondence you shared, Camille. It’s really instructive to read BJ I’s own words and to see how unreasonable he was. Wasn’t there something in some classroom on campus about “Good men are always reasonable”? It seemed to be all about control and tight-fisted economics.

  99. Camille K. Lewis wrote:

    …as well as an ad for Elmer and Bill’s fundy magazine, _Rod of God_.

    Rod as in something to beat the crap out of people with?
    Or rod as in sexual organ?
    (And both can be used for Assault.)

  100. Camille K. Lewis wrote:

    BJU has its own bank. They are paid by the county to run their own downtown art museum. The county council and prosectors office is filled with BJU employees and graduates.

    Always nice to have Friends in High Places…
    (Sounds kind of like that bokor from Disney’s “Princess and the Frog”, doesn’t it?)

    And we’ve seen how when the cops and prosecutors office is filled with members of THE church, how that church’s abusive pastor can use them as his own personal Enforcers.

    Theocratic Republic of Gilead, starting with one town at a time.
    (“Today Greenville, Tomorrow the World”?)

  101. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Or an equally bad scenario .. churches that call abuse victims before a church trial by the elders in which the perpetrator’s side of the story is treated as if it had equal weight and the cops aren’t called in at all.

  102. Pingback: The BJU Sex Abuse Coverup, Day 24 | The BJU Sex Abuse Coverup UNITED STATES

  103. dee wrote:

    My guess is that BJU would have a heart attack if the NY Times showed up and started poking around to understand more about BJU’s counseling “techniques.”

    I’d pay money to see that. Anyone want to start a fund? :)

  104. Hi all
    I have been out of pocket most of the day at Duke with my daughter doing her annual MRI and brain tumor f/u. She is doing great. I will try to catch up by the AM.

  105. An Attorney wrote:

    @ Katie:
    So at least five of them overheard God’s message to someone else and mistook it as applying to them? Or perhaps all six of them misinterpreted their inner rumblings or other biological phenomena for the voice of God? And are they all now preachers

    LOL! I think the IFB school drew insecure young men who had not previously had experience in the world of dating, or even having girls as friends. I walked into this sub-culture as a newby -not understanding this- and naively looked them in the eyes, talking in a friendly way. Looking back, I suspect I may have been the first girl who ever did that. So with normal greetings and politeness (at least outside of that environment, anyway,) I had a slew of boys following me around.

    It was the weirdest experience to step outside of that sub-culture and my normal actions did not draw the boys like that. The one’s who were sure God had told them I was “The one” all turned out differently:
    IFB preacher, 2 IFB missionaries, Agnostic, Blue Collar worker, IFB Professor. I managed to maintain a good relationship with them without ever dating any of them, a skill I taught my own kids that those who believe in keeping the sexes separate don’t teach their kids.

    tly.

  106. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Katie wrote:
    I had about 6 guys at TTU tell me, “God told me you’re the one!” Which one was I supposed to listen to?
    Polyandry!

    I sure would have been polyandrous had I married them all! Ohhh, that is not a pleasant thought. ;)

  107. @ dee:

    I try. :) I am an avid reader, so I come across a lot of things online and like to share things I find with folks I think may be interested.

  108. Katie wrote:

    Looking back, I suspect I may have been the first girl who ever did that. So with normal greetings and politeness (at least outside of that environment, anyway,) I had a slew of boys following me around.

    That has been my frustrating experience in and out of Christian circles, from teen years, to college days and beyond.

  109.     __

    “Comfortably Numb Gospel Religion ?”

    hmmm…

    BJU, acting like nothing happened is simply supporting the abuse machine, and the possibility of the continuation of more, and more abusers, and the possibility of a great many more abuse victims,

    (sadface)

    …and more vacant stares…

    Skreeeeeeeeeeeetch!

    And sadly, mo millstones.

    BJU, standin at da ‘public opinion crossroads’, I think theyz sinkin down, sinking down?

    could b.

    Sopy
    ___
    comic relief: BJU is perform’in da ‘cross’ roads shuffle, perhaps?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtLhPeLB9bA

  110. Whoa Nellie!

    Do I understand correctly the direction in which the comments have taken us?

    That White privilege and racism either birthed evangelicalism or was so closely tied that all evangelicals are infected by the historic supposed connection?

    Southerners of religious and non-religious persuasions were not open racially. And their northern counterparts were no so different.

    America’s position and views on racist go back to the founding and beyond. But that doesn’t mean we are all racists.

  111. Daisy wrote:

    Katie wrote:
    Looking back, I suspect I may have been the first girl who ever did that. So with normal greetings and politeness (at least outside of that environment, anyway,) I had a slew of boys following me around.
    That has been my frustrating experience in and out of Christian circles, from teen years, to college days and beyond.

    I don’t think I expressed what I meant very well. I meant to say that only in the IFB environment at an IFB college where there were boys who had not had any meaningful interactions with girls prior to college, did I run into this phenomenon, where the boys were smitten with politeness and eye contact. I didn’t have that experience outside of that environment, though.

  112. Briget:

    Thank you.

    I tried to read through them, and then checked out a couple of links and was concerned.

    Appreciate your responding.

  113. ohmygosh, I didn’t think it was possible to be shocked any more by Christians Behaving Badly, but this article has proven me wrong. Mind blown.

    Shame on BJU.

  114. Katie wrote:

    I don’t think I expressed what I meant very well. I meant to say that only in the IFB environment at an IFB college where there were boys who had not had any meaningful interactions with girls prior to college, did I run into this phenomenon, where the boys were smitten with politeness and eye contact. I didn’t have that experience outside of that environment, though.

    Speaking as an ex-teenage-boy who went to a boys’ secondary school (I think that probably translates as “high school”), that is how it works. From ages 12 to about 16 inclusive, I didn’t significantly mix with girls. The practical upshot of that is that, at the time when one “discovers girls”, there were no girls to discover. It delayed my emotional development in that regard (and ADHD people are often late developers of emotional intelligence anyway). Though it didn’t derail it permanently. As someone once said to me: “Lesley would be a real prize if you could get her.

    He had no idea…

  115. Katie wrote:

    I meant to say that only in the IFB environment at an IFB college where there were boys who had not had any meaningful interactions with girls prior to college, did I run into this phenomenon, where the boys were smitten with politeness and eye contact. I didn’t have that experience outside of that environment, though.

    Oh. I was trying to get across in my post that often, males -in my teen years, college, adulthood- have often mistaken my politeness or friendly, platonic chat chat for flirtation / romantic interest.

    So I have had a lot of guys who asked me out on dates, or who arrogantly assumed I was ‘hitting on them.’ Most of the guys who I am interested in romantically do not ask me out, though. :(

    Some of the guys who have done this are socially awkward who don’t seem to have much experience with women or are not able to read social cues well.

    They seem to assume a woman saying “hello, how are you” is code speak for “I think you’re hot, let’s date.” That usually causes me to “clam up” around any and all males, because I don’t want to be mistaken as flirting with any of them.

  116. @ Daisy:
    Were you in IFB circles growing up?

    You’re description of the boys being socially awkward, not able to read social cues & no experience was what I found true with many of the boys at my IFB college.

  117. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    I hadn’t thought about all boy school’s law of unintended consequences.

    Where I grew up the all boy Catholic schools were paired up with all girl Catholic schools for all sorts of events. I guess they were helping the kids get used to that other foreign species.

  118. There are many reasons for social awkwardness. I have ADHD and, on top, have always had a very analytical mind (shorthand: I’m something of a geek). Relatively few of my schoolmates were as lacking in adult social skills as I was at 16, for instance. I recall the comment of an autistic adult (which I think I’ve already quoted here on TWW): I learned by rote the rules that most people don’t even realise they’re following. So it was only partly a lack of practice; it was also partly brain chemistry, partly temperament type. And, like everyone else, I am influenced by my family background. Moreover it bears pointing out that now, aged 45, I am considered “cool” (as Dads go, anyway) by my teenage son’s peer group – and there is no higher authority than that.

    It bears pointing out, too, that social awkwardness is not limited to men. I could tell a few tales of my own!

    Much more could be said on this, but it’s 2:20 pm here in Blighty and I’ve a series of entity-relationship diagrams to produce before I go home at 4. So I will return to the subject, I think…

  119. “Persecution is for the righteous, wicked men are in honor among their ungodly associates. Slander shoots her poisoned arrows, not at the vicious, but at the virtuous. Birds do not peck at sour fruit, but they wage war upon the sweet and ripe. Holy men must expect to be misrepresented, misinterpreted and often willfully maligned—while hypocrites have their reward in undeserved homage.”

    – Charles H. Spurgeon

    I offer Mr. Spurgeon’s remark in connection with Camille’s insinuation about the trip to England in 1935 so actors and actresses could study from a Shakespeare specialist.
    http://m.ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/sermons58.iii.html

  120. Pingback: A Time To Laugh--On Wednesday He told me to have a little more faith | A Time To Laugh– UNITED STATES

  121. “Bob Jones, Inc. has always had trouble with employees. Their 29614 zip code is a mill town with working class whites trapped by the place and the power. These are smart people who are simply too poor to leave and too busy to imagine anything different. ”

    I take umbrage with this. I grew up in the region and know it, quite well. Greenville is a city of well over a million people. While there is a milling tradition in the region, with a past that included horrific treatment of employees, it is not a poor area. Further, people who live in the area, in that part of the state were making fun of BJU from the time when I could remember – and that was the late 1960s. No one took it seriously. Everyone laughed at it, and the rules. People who lived in the upstate did not send their children there to school, unless they were just as rigid and self-righteous. The teachers who came out of the ‘university’ were terribly flawed with the worst reputations of any teachers my sister and I encountered while attending school in Oconee County.

    I went to Clemson. That is a real university. No one, unless they were ultra religious, considered BJU a ‘real’ university, just some quirky place for people stuck in the past. Furman University, which was located no far from BJU, was also Baptist, and had an excellent reputation, and an excellent golf team, promoting women professional golfers.

    No woman in her right mind went to BJU. There were tales of abortions, dead coeds, haunted dorms, murders, rapes, and the perennial classic that BJU, Jr. went both ways. There were tales and rumors of his gay students, his friends, and gays in the art department. I’ve met them. I know they were there. The fact that there is a history of rape and abuse doesn’t surprise anyone who knows the reputation of the school.

    Also considered fair game was the rude behavior of BJU students. One infamous tale is about a recital by my favorite baritone, legendary opera star, Sherrill Milnes. The students in the audience were so rude, during the middle of his recital he threatened to walk off the stage if they did not shut up and behave.

    I think you are giving the school far too much power, way too much. Granted, it owns a tremendous amount of property along Wade Hampton Blvd, and in the area, but it does not control Greenville. There were always rumors about the draconian security on campus. Locals always considered it a cult, and still do. Parts of Greenville County are extremely conservative. That is the only answer to why they would elect an ultra conservative Congressman like Trey Gowdy. The county has changed. Back in the 1980s, Carroll Campbell was a normal, rational Republican who today, in SC, couldn’t be elected dog-catcher.

    But – don’t give BJU the credit for any of this. It happened. Granted, it is part of the epicenter of wacky far right ultra ‘christian’ home schooling, ATI, etc., but there was a gathering of extremists and libertarians circulating and trying to get their candidates into power. Up until about 14 years ago, I spent most of my adult life in the region and was active in local politics. As late as the late 1990s, BJU was considered a joke. We would cringe when politicians would visit the campus, knowing how horrible the racist reputation was, and how bad it would look, but PR prevailed.

    The history of the school, that you have provided is fascinating. I’ve heard rumors about a lot of this. Please don’t damn the entire area because BJU is there. Today, there is a tremendous amount of control in the independent Baptist movement, but that’s about it. There are several million of people in the region who have absolutely nothing to do with the school, and want no part of it. Fact is, the last time I talked to my best friend, she was laughing about how BJU was finally being exposed. People think it is hilarious.

    Because of your association with BJU, you have put it into a far more important local context than in reality. They control a portion of the town – via their wealth. They control a certain religious mind-set, but it is basically a cult. That is how the locals view it. Context is a wonderful thing. That part of the state has numerous colleges and Clemson University. BJU is considered small-time. I was a member of a local Baptist church during my high school and college years. There were exactly 2 kids we knew who went to BJU. By that time, their parents and left our congregation and had gone on to help start a BJU related Baptist church. We always made fun of BJU – and we were Baptist, living 45 miles from the campus.

    There is one other thing that I need to mention. We always considered guys who attended BJU to be just a little lacking in testosterone, considering many of them to be closeted. They had draconian rules about women and what they were to wear and how they were to look. The local opinion was that this was because BJ, Sr. was closeted, and so was his son. You could always tell a man attending BJU because of how dorky, smarmy, slicked-back, self-righteous, non-masculine, and for want of a better word – a suck-up, trying to make everyone think he was better than he actually was.

    Sorry for being so long winded, but I do find the need to defend the region.

  122. As both a former student of Bob Jones and a friend of this author, I can attest that Camille’s account is given from a broken heart set on justice. Thanks for your courage.

  123. Please note: The story about Murray Havens was simply hearsay. I know, because I am the only source Camille had for that story. It was an account given to me by the son when we were both about 14 years old.

    She never fully vetted the account, although she has the son’s contact information.