The Romney endorsement by Bob Jones III has the entirety of Bob Jones University in an uproar. It's a beautiful thing! If we're lucky, maybe the whole place will self-destruct. One can only hope!
In one way, it's predictable how they are turning on each other... those who propagate intolerance should not be surprised when that same intolerance is turned on them.
I've learned from my email that lots of people do not know exactly what Bob Jones University is. So, I have decided to let their website do the talking. The following are some quotes from their website, which they have cleaned up considerably since a few years ago, when it basically read like Jonathan Edwards' infamous Sinners in the hands of an angry God. They are putting attractive young women on their site to lure in the boys (the women greatly outnumbered males, so the rumor went), and playing down the fact that no one is allowed to date without an assigned chaperon while staying at the dorms. No TV and no radio, no CDs, unless all related to academics (or BJU-produced radio/TV/CDs, of which there is plenty).
And the clothes-requirements alone, take up a whole page ("morning dress" refers to mandatory chapel attendance at 6:30 am, and the clothing required at that time):
Dress Code for MenI'm kinda shocked they allow two sets of earrings! But yes, they have to match, you floozies!
* Hair must be cut in a traditional, conservative style–not shaved, spiked, tangled, or shelved. It may not be colored or highlighted.
* Sideburns should not extend past the middle of the ear. Men are expected to remain clean-shaven.
* Necklaces, earrings, and bracelets are not permitted.
* Hats may not be worn indoors except in the gym.
* Men are not permitted to get tattoos or wear body piercings.
Abercrombie & Fitch and its subsidiary Hollister have shown an unusual degree of antagonism to the name of Christ and an unusual display of wickedness in their promotions. In protest, we will not allow articles displaying their logos to be worn, carried, or displayed (even if covered or masked in some way).
Morning Dress–dress shirt (no denim/chambray) with tie, dress or neat casual pants (no jeans, cargo, carpenter, or sloppy pants), dress or leather casual shoes; sweaters should show shirt collar and tie knot (no sweatshirts).
Afternoon Dress–collared shirt (no crew necks), neat casual pants, dress or casual shoes (no slides or sandals), socks above the ankle, sweatshirts or sweaters.
Sunday Dress–coat, tie, and dress shirt; dress shoes; dress or dressier casual pants.
Recreation and Work Dress–jeans, t-shirts, shorts at athletic facilities (not as spectators at sports events), sleeveless athletic shirts (indoor activities only), socks required (including at work).
Dress Code for Women
Classroom/general dress consists of a dress or top and skirt; however, pants may be worn for some recreational activities. Shorts may never be worn outside the residence halls and fitness center.
* Tops must be long enough that the midriff is never exposed.
* Sleeves are required. (Sleeveless tops and dresses may be worn with a sleeved blouse, jacket or sweater underneath or over top.)
* Necklines may come no lower than four fingers below the collarbone.
* Hemlines and slits or other openings should never come higher than the bottom of the knee.
* Denim skirts may be worn for casual dress (not to class or other professional-type events).
* Loose-fitting pants may be worn between women’s residence halls, for athletic events, and to homes in the area.
* Loose-fitting jeans may be worn in and between women’s residence halls and when participating in activities where the durability of the fabric is important, such as skiing and ice-skating.
* Low-riders are not permitted.
* Shorts may be worn only inside the residence halls and fitness center.
* All dresses, skirts, pants, and shirts must be loose-fitting, having a minimum of three inches of ease at bust and hips.
* An informal way to measure ease is to stand up straight and pinch the loose fabric on both sides of the hips or at the bust line. Without stretching the fabric, there should be at least a 3/4-inch fold of fabric on both sides.
* Sheer clothing may be worn only when the garment underneath conforms to normal dress regulations.
* Hose must be worn whenever men students are required to wear a coat and tie (including Sunday morning worship services, recitals and productions after 6 p.m., Bible Conference and commencement activities).
* Combat boots, hiking boots or shoes that give this appearance are not permitted. Leather sandals, including those with a strap between the toes, will be permitted at times when women are not required to wear hose. Flip flops made of rubber, plastic, etc., are not permitted in public.
* Hairstyles should be neat, orderly, and feminine. Avoid cutting-edge fads and cuts so short that they take on a masculine look.
* Students are not permitted to get tattoos. Excessive makeup is not permitted. Earrings may be worn only in the lobe of the ear (maximum of two matched sets). All other types of body piercings are prohibited.
Please note the statement concerning Abercrombie & Fitch under Men’s General Dress.
Most righteous video ever made: Soulforce protests at Bob Jones, April 4, 2007:
They never let the students out of their sight for long. Like most cults, they exert an iron-clad control over their charges:
Loyalty to Christ results in [male and female] separated living. Dishonesty, lewdness, sensual behavior, adultery, homosexuality, sexual perversion of any kind, pornography, illegal use of drugs, and drunkenness all are clearly condemned by God’s Word and prohibited here. Further, we believe that biblical principles preclude gambling, dancing, and the beverage use of alcohol.As you can see, the BJU cult wants to reduce the chance that students might meet anyone who could successfully challenge their world-view.
Dating and Mixed Groups
We want students to have wholesome social opportunities in a setting that provides accountability for biblical requirements of purity. It is with this in mind that we chaperon campus activities where men and women students are present and require a chaperon when students date or interact in a mixed group off campus.
* Students may work in town until 10:25 pm on weekdays and midnight on weekends. Freshmen must have a prayer captain, assistant prayer captain, or upperclassman with them. Sophomores and upperclassmen may work alone.
* Freshmen and sophomores may not use their vehicles to go to and from work.
* Students may not serve alcoholic beverages when waiting tables at restaurants.
* Students may not do house-to-house sales anywhere in the Greenville area. Students offering services to the community must have a retail license or have clearance from the Dean of Students to do door-to-door solicitation for their services.
* Students may not miss nightly prayer meetings on weekdays.
Residence Hall LifeNeedless to say, they come out of this school far dumber than when they went in. (Some friends tell me that they even edited OUT DAMNED SPOT out of the student production of Macbeth, rendering it OUT, SPOT! ...which of course sounds like what you say to a puppy that has peed on the rug.) There used to be (maybe still is) a video store near BJU that rented BJU-approved movies, which were Hollywood movies that had been edited to pass Bob Jones standards... all sex and dirty words removed. I found this out some years ago during a discussion with a Bob Jones alumnus with whom I worked. We were chatting about THE GODFATHER films, which I was surprised to learn she had seen and liked. We got to the part of GODFATHER II where Kay Corleone (Diane Keaton) tells Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) about her abortion. She couldn't remember that. Couldn't remember? A fundie can't remember?
* A student must live in one of the University residence halls unless he is living with parents or other close relatives (approved by the Dean of Men’s or Dean of Women’s office), is 23 years old or older, is married and over the age of 20, or is a graduate student.
* New students may request a particular roommate. Returning students may request for a friend to be on their hall or in their residence hall.
* For the sake of accountability, students must “check out” when they leave the campus. Students gradually acquire more freedom in this area as they become upperclassmen.
* Each night all students meet for prayer, either as a room or together with several other rooms.
* Students are required to be in their own rooms and quiet at 11 pm. All lights must be out by midnight.
* Students are required to keep their rooms clean and neat. Rooms are inspected daily.
* Facilities and furnishings:
o Laundry facilities are provided.
o All rooms are furnished with twin-sized beds, dressers, desks, closets, cupboards, sink, telephone, and blinds.
o Local intranet and high-speed Internet access is available in each residence hall room.
* An email account is provided for each student. Due to the flood of objectionable content coming through outside email services, students may use only this filtered campus email system.
* All wireless Internet access that bypasses the BJU filters is prohibited. This includes accessing the Internet via cellular phone services (e.g., TMobile, Sprint, Verizon, etc.) and WiMax.
What to Bring
* List of what to bring pdf
* Students may bring automobiles to campus. However, underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) who are under 21 years old may use their vehicles only to drive home and for extension.
* Cell phones are permitted. Students will be instructed in cell phone etiquette.
What Not to Bring
* Posters of movie and music stars and fashion models are not permitted. The subjects of personal photos should not exhibit immodesty or inappropriate physical contact.
* Music must be compatible with the University’s music standards:
o New Age, jazz, rock, and country music is not permitted.
o Contemporary Christian music is not permitted (e.g., Michael W. Smith, Stephen Curtis Chapman, WOW Worship, and so forth).
* Televisions, DVD/videotape players and headphones are not permitted in the residence halls; computer DVD players may not be used to view movies.
* You may not possess or play computer and video games rated T, M, A, or E10, or having elements of blood and gore, sensual or demonic themes, or featuring suggestive dress, bad language, or rock music.
* Due to space considerations, appliances such as mini-refrigerators and microwaves are not permitted in residence hall rooms. A refrigerator and microwaves are provided in each residence hall.
* Residence hall students may not watch videos above a G rating when visiting homes in town and may not attend movie theaters.
* All weapons must be turned in for storage. Trigger locks are required for pistols. Fireworks are not permitted on campus.
"Ohh!" she chuckled, in that morally-superior tone they always eventually display, "I didn't see the Hollywood version!" (That is what she called it, the Hollywood version. As if the rest of the movie was made somewhere else?) When I looked dumbfounded, she told me about the video outlet that edits such scenes out of movies. So, I said, the light dawning, you really DIDN'T see the Godfather movies? "I saw the purified version, which is the only version I want to see," she sniffed at me.
Purified! That is the word she used.
Their knowledge of the world around them is minuscule and pathetic, in just this truncated, ignorant manner. And they are proud of their stupidity, not the least bit ashamed. They consider the ignorance evidence of godliness, which is the truly tragic part.
A collection of random video, Soulforce vs. BJU and their assorted droogs:
The Bob Jones people have, until very recently, kept the rest of Greenville County almost as dumb as they are. They have kept out interesting people, censored bookstores with pickets, demonstrated against Black Sabbath (!) and they have made at least 3 gay people I know leave town in disgust; men who had plenty to offer this place, men who planned to contribute to our collective culture in interesting, challenging ways. Republicans are afraid to challenge them, since they virtually own the party in upstate South Carolina.
The Bob Jones people are a BLIGHT upon the land.
And so now, they feel betrayed. They should. Bob Jones III, like his father and grandfather before him, has preached the gospel of separation, not even allowing kids at the high school (of course, they start them young, and have K-12) to enter organizations that include Mormons and Catholics. And now, it seems BJ3 has done a 180-degree turn. Mormons are deemed acceptable when it comes to politics, since the important thing is keeping the gays and women in their place. And, well, let's face it, the fundamentalist Mormons know how. You can almost hear the admiration in BJ3 as he defends his choice.
Will they finally wake up? Will they see his hypocrisy, that he has one standard for himself and another for them?
Jones’ Romney endorsement sparks division
Bob Jones III says he’s expressing a personal opinion, but critics question his choice
Published: Monday, October 22, 2007
By Ron BarnettSTAFF WRITER, Greenville News
The Bob Jones University family has never followed Bob Jones III in lockstep fashion, school officials will tell you.Full disclosure: I once argued with the annoying Mr Pait on live radio. Eventually, they cut me off. It was just like Bill O'Reilly!
But Jones' surprise endorsement of Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential primary has sparked a sharp division of opinion in this stronghold of Christian fundamentalism.
Within an hour of the story hitting the Internet on Greenville-Online.com last Tuesday, e-mails and chat began to come in from BJU people who felt "Dr. Bob" had abandoned his religious principles in the name of political pragmatism by supporting a Mormon.
"For 10 years, I have proudly worn my BJU signet ring," 1997 graduate Tamara Valdes-Russell wrote. "... After today's announcement ... I may need to put this ring in a drawer for the shame of the legacy that has been left behind by the leaders of a once-great institution."
Jones told The Greenville News he thinks Romney is the best choice among candidates capable of beating Hillary Clinton and that they share the same values, despite Romney's adherence to a religion Jones believes is un-Christian. He said he wasn't speaking for the university but stating his personal opinion.
Students at BJU are taught that Mormonism is at odds with basic Christian doctrine, said Royce Short, dean of the School of Religion. Mormon belief in books other than the Bible having the same authority as the Bible, and a view of God not being a trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit are just a couple of the differences between the religions, he said.
Short said he's not sure who he will vote for, but he added, "My religious views would all factor into these things, but it wouldn't keep me from voting for someone who was a Mormon."
Reaction to Jones' endorsement has been "mixed," BJU spokesman Jonathan Pait said, although he doesn't see the endorsement, or the reaction, as representing a change in the university's hard-line fundamentalist Christian culture.
"There's always been diversity of viewpoint among people who are part of our university family," Pait said. "That's nothing new. It just so happens that during this election season there is more than one choice for people to be looking at."
Stephen Jones, Bob Jones III's son* who became the university's president two years ago when his father stepped into the chancellor role, prefers to stay out of politics and hasn't endorsed anyone, Pait said.
"When he became president, he stated that he wanted to put his focus on the university itself, and I think that's where he has his focus," he said.
The Greenville News attempted to contact all seven of BJU's deans last week. Three said they weren't endorsing anyone for president, three couldn't be reached, and one -- Greenville County Councilman Bob Taylor -- said he is endorsing Romney.
Even before Jones made his position known through The Greenville News last week, Taylor, dean of the school's College of Arts and Science, made national headlines by telling a reporter for The Wall Street Journal that he supported Romney.
"I think it would be a great change to see a president kind of go outside the beltway and find some people to formulate solutions to some of our major problems," Taylor told The News.
As to their religious differences, Taylor said he disagrees on religion with all of the frontrunners on the GOP side, who he identified as Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Fred Thompson.
"That's not the point at all," Taylor said. "It (religion) is not the issue in the campaign."
Sid Cates, Taylor's colleague on the County Council and principal of Bob Jones Academy, said he's not endorsing anyone, but he's leaning toward former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
"He is more in agreement with my religious background, so I'm leaning in that direction," he said.
"If it came down between Hillary and Romney, I would go with Romney," he added. "I would hope Romney would give Huckabee serious consideration for a vice presidential candidate."
Romney won the support of another high-profile South Carolina evangelical on Friday, when Dr. Don Wilton, former president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention and pastor of a 6,900-member megachurch in Spartanburg, announced his support.
"His values are my values -- protecting the sanctity of human life, defending marriage and strengthening the family," Wilton said in a press release from the Romney campaign.
"While we may not agree on theology, Gov. Romney and I agree that this election is about our country heading in the right direction," said Wilton, whose influence reaches far beyond South Carolina with a national TV program broadcast from his church. "Gov. Romney is the best candidate to stand for conservative values in Washington." No consensus
That mantle, however, remained up for grabs this weekend at a meeting in Washington, D.C., organized by the conservative Family Research Council.
Tony Beam, vice president for student services at North Greenville University and director of the school's Christian Worldview Center, broadcast his daily radio show on Christian Talk AM-660 from the Washington meeting.
Beyond his differences with Romney on religion, the Mormon's change of opinion on abortion and gay rights gives Beam serious reservations about him.
"I'm not sure why we feel like Romney's the best candidate for evangelical believers when there are good candidates that have track records," Beam told The News.
He's endorsing Huckabee.
The group will have a straw poll at the conclusion of the weekend event, in which many of the candidates are speaking, and hopes to come away with a consensus that can help bring together the fractured evangelical voting block.
Dr. Frank Page, pastor of Taylors First Baptist Church, said he feels a temptation to use his position as president of the 16 million member Southern Baptist Convention to influence evangelical voters toward a particular candidate, but he doesn't think it is appropriate for him to endorse anyone.
He has met with four of the Republican candidates and spoken with Romney on the phone and understands Jones' political pragmatism in supporting him.
"I certainly have difficulty with Romney's religion, but I do understand that a person feels that they need to endorse someone," he said. "Reality is reality. Very few candidates are going to have a concurrence in every belief system as well as every social and moral issue. And people feel that they need to identify with the one that comes closest in one of those areas."
Of Romney, Page said, "I think he is a great leader. I think he's done a wonderful job in Massachusetts, which is an 88 percent Democrat state."
He said he told Giuliani that he has a problem with the former New York mayor's position on social issues.
Scott Case, a former Greenville County councilman and current county auditor and BJU alumnus, said he's not endorsing anyone and wouldn't comment on Jones' endorsement, other than to say, "That's a personal decision everybody gets to make."
He added: "I could not publicly endorse Mr. Romney because of personal convictions. However, in a matchup between Mr. Romney and Mrs. Clinton, I would vote for him."
As Alan Freed supposedly once said: You can stop me, and you can stop the show, but you can't stop rock and roll! I'd like to spray-paint that phrase on that enormous cinderblock barrier that divides BJU from Pleasantburg Drive and all the rest of us lowly sinners, but of course, as you can plainly see in the videos, they have their own police force, too. And a college who arrests openly gay people simply for "trespassing" onto the campus, would probably arrest me for spray-painting, I figure.
And so, I write it here.
*Bob Jones VI went to graduate school at Notre Dame, which shocked everybody, and then got himself arrested in DC for drunk driving. Thus, little brother had to take the job. I don't have any other details, but I anxiously await all gossip; operators are standing by!
**For details on the interracial-dating/tax exemption lawsuit, see Bob Jones University v. the United States
Listening to: The Jesus and Mary Chain - The Living End