Unless they’ve been living under a rock, it’s unlikely that anyone in current or former fundamentalist circles has not heard of the expulsion of Christopher Peterman from Bob Jones University mere weeks before he was to graduate. Although his list of alleged crimes ranges from the inane to the obscure to the downright confusing, there is a deeper story here that is worth considering.

To fully appreciate the significance of this action it’s necessary to retrace the steps of a horrifying story that is all too familiar to many of us. It begins when a man named Ernie Willis raped a young girl named Tina Anderson. The pastor of Tina’s church at the time was Chuck Phelps, a man who by his own testimony not only failed to vigorously pursue justice for Tina but also required her to give a confession of her alleged sin before the church and then aided in removing her from the state and apparently out of the reach of local authorities.

Yet with the fact of his actions revealed both on national television and in a court of law, Chuck Phelps remained a person in good standing with several fundamentalist organizations such as The Wilds and Bob Jones University. Bob Jones not only continued to call him a friend of the college but after the conviction of Ernie Willis then went on to proactively show their support for him by placing him back on one of their own boards. This past December, a few alumni, students, and other concerned individuals attempted an on-campus protest in an institutional environment where protesting is almost unheard of. As may be expected in such an authoritarian environment, very few students joined in to the calls for BJU to “Do Right.” One student agitator, however, stuck to his guns and decided to take the risk. That man is now ex-student Christopher Peterman.

At that time, with the news cameras rolling and the social media spotlight shining on them, Bob Jones University took no disciplinary action against the protesting students. But they did take note of them. They always take note of those who do not come to heel and fit the “spirit” of the University and they wait their chance to exact revenge for this perceived disloyalty. Because Bob Jones University is not interested in justice, or freedom, or right, they are interested only in defending their own no matter what the cost in human misery.

So the when they had managed to gather together enough petty charges against this student, they summarily expelled him, mere weeks before he would have graduated. For those of us who have attended similar institutions this is hardly a new tale and hardly unexpected. The campus purges of “undesirables” who are considered unworthy to graduate are a commonly accepted fact. At my own alma mater we referred to this rash of sudden dismissals that would occur right after the spring deadline to withdraw as “spring cleaning.” First they take your money. Then they show you the door and tell you that you are no longer welcome here.

No doubt the headlines (such as they are) will be more concerned in the fact that a college student was punished for watching the television show Glee or not having a proper haircut. I find the focus on those details unfortunate, because beyond these imaginary infractions the real story here goes much deeper to a kind of institutional corruption that is so blatant and yet ignored by those who call themselves friends of the University. One wonders how many more rapes, how many more cover-ups, how many more countless wrongs must be inflicted by Bob Jones University before even the darkened souls of their fundamentalist supporters are too sickened to continue to be complicit in their commission.

I do not expect that this one student being expelled will bring about a sea change in the institutional policies of BJU. They have shown themselves to be all but immune to criticism and dismissive of correction. If there is any lesson to be learned here it is that current students should take care in squaring off against the behemoth that is the university. It is easy enough for those of us who no longer have skin in the game to encourage protest and outcry. It is quite another to put the time and money invested in your education on the line. While a student remains in their house the university has all the leverage and none can say unto them “what doest thou?”

I can, however, hope that perhaps a few potential students or pastors who have up until now been their allies will choose to spend their hard-earned money elsewhere. Perhaps even a few current students may decide that they cannot continue to consent to the present abuses of power by their silence and will choose a transfer to another school rather than live with the constant threat of being summarily expelled themselves for imaginary crimes. Perhaps if enough people vote with their feet, Bob Jones University will then at last be forced to grudgingly do right.

230 thoughts on “Revenge”

  1. I got kicked out of BJU recently for similar reasons-different, but equally inane. I can say from experience that BJU doesn’t see their own hypocrisy because those in power and favor (the in-crowd, including students, do NOT experience pressure like this. For them, BJU is truly paradise-not a dystopian nightmare. When the rest of us (like me) complain about the oppression, they just don’t get it because they’ve never experienced it.
    I have known many wonderful people at BJU; the problem is not all the people, it’s the spiritual hierarchy and those who occupy it.
    When I got kicked out, I was not allowed on campus for a whole semester, nor were my on-campus friends allowed to socialize with me off-campus. I had to attend counseling to reverse this policy. I also had to endure extensive counseling in order to re-enroll as a student, which I DID. After months of this, I was told that I had been determined “not spiritually mature enough” to return as a student, but if I submitted a journal of my daily devotions for the next two weeks and memorized X number of verses, I might have a chance. At that point, I saw the light and ran as far as I could. SO glad they didn’t let me back in.
    I do have to blame myself (along with Chris) for the fact that we got kicked out. We removed our masks, and we knew full well that this is the price they exact. We really don’t have any ground to stand on. 😥

    1. excommunicated,

      Thanks for sharing. I’m glad to read that you are taking responsibility for what happened. Obviously just about everyone here believes BJU was way out of line in what they did. But the world is full of predators and self-righteous pricks and part of becoming an adult is learning that you have to look out for one’s self and one’s own because it is unlikely anyone else will.

      There is one thing that bothers me, however: you talk about removing the mask. We all wear masks to the world but I think it’s best to avoid any institution that forces you to wear a false mask in the way that BJU, PCC, HAC, etc., does. We all have things that the general public doesn’t need to know about, we all have opinions and habits that could cause offense, but there is a difference between discretion and a double life. In my experience with Fundamentalism, they will not let you be yourself.

      And on a tangent, I feel that a lot of these attempts to force BJU to reform reveal that the people behind them still operate in ways we identify with Fundamentalism: namely being controlling and feeling it’s our job to force people to change. We can speak out to warn people not to go there, we can report actual criminal activity to the police, we can offer legal counsel to victims, but once a person or institution refuses to hear and respond to grievances with them it is not our place to try to connive or force them to change. That is the Holy Spirit’s job and trying to fill it as a human being is exhausting.

  2. Are not all fundamentalist colleges and universities chiefly engaged in one over-arching activity? (Beyond simply making money.)Isn’t the whole game to train a new generation of Christian taliban agitators and enforcers?

    1. Because otherwise, if the goal were simply to offer higher education in a Christian setting, there are tons of non-fundamentalist colleges and universities to choose from. One could earn a valuable degree, and go to school with and make friends with a wide variety of Believers, without coming out prepped for fundy mind-control.

  3. (3 years at BJU) — BJU isn’t a church. It’s a for-profit SC Corporation. These idiots who always come running with the “Christians can’t sue Christians” verse to defend BJU make me insane. BJU and specifically BOB JONES III and Bob Wood have no problem using their bank to loan students money at the maximum allowable rate by law. They also have no problem using the legal system to sic collection agencies on ex-students who fall behind on their loan payments.

    When BJU closes down, or is sold, in the near future a lot of people will be shocked at how much money the Jones family walks away with. They (BJU) are the money changers in the Temple. They hide behind Christianity while thry steal student’s money by accepting it for months while KNOWING they aren’t going to let them graduaxte. Since the school was started, I would guess there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of students expelled in the last few days of April who’s fates had been pre-decided months before.

    They funded churches with the sole purpose of creating feeder institutions. They fly on private planes and collect art while paying their employees what people make working part-time at McDonalds. Not one of their precious paintings will ever be sold to feed the hungry, pay a poor kid’s tuition, or allow someone who has spent 30 years of their life there to keep their job. They are arrogant, classless, and have no integrity. If God ever wanted the place open, I have no doubt He doesn’t now. That’s why they are circling the drain. Good riddance.

    1. “They funded churches for the sole purpose of creating feeder institutions.” This is SO exactly right. The amount of pressure from the pulpit and staff at bju ifb churches to feed into bj is equivalent or worse to the pressure a kirby vacuum salesman puts on you while refusing to leave your home… 👿

  4. yeah . . . my act of taking off the mask was admitting to “smooching” (their word, not mine) with my now-husband, hundreds of miles from BJU, during a break. The really sad part of all this is that I was a grad student. Still being babysat, apparently. Of course they advised us to “gather to ourselves a lot of strong Christians who could point us in the right direction” and to ” never be alone together; spend time in groups but don’t give occasion to your flesh.” And then they told us that none of our BJU friends could socialize with us, on or off campus, under penalty of their own expulsion. And of course since BJU is a bubble, we didn’t HAVE any non-BJU friends. We had both been living in Greenville, in the BJU circles, for years, and we were suddenly alienated from EVERYONE we loved and cared about. Such doublespeak I have never seen, before or since.

    1. excommunicated,

      I am very sorry that happened to you. There is nothing at all wicked about what you did.

      I do hope you heed their advice, however, and find some strong Christians who can point you in the right direction. And by that I mean someone who isn’t associated or sympathetic to BJU in any way.

  5. Stories like this are so important. I seem to have read a spate of stories on fundamentalists protecting their own in rape cases this last week. They’re all horrifying. Please keep reporting them.

  6. For a school that spends so much of it’s time condemning Catholics, they sure do a lot of excommunicating.

  7. yes, we eloped to a different state and left our world behind. No announcement, no explanation until after we were gone (except for a small circle of trusted friends). Everyone else we knew was opposed to this unholy union of sinners-we had not been sufficiently “counseled” and “discipled” to ensure that we were prepared to be turned loose in the arena of marriage. Heavens to Betsy-I hadn’t even been keeping a journal of my daily devotions! Leaving behind the “life” we had established in Gville was one of the hardest things I have ever done-but it was so worth it. Surprise-there are loving, godly Christian people outside of Greenville and BJU! And now I can attend graduate school and be treated as a responsible adult at the same time. Not to mention, I now have the privilege of working toward an accredited degree with some real-world value. And we can both earn real paychecks, not McSalaries from an employer whose only “benefit” offered to employees is the benefit of running their personal life for them. Sometimes I still pinch myself.

  8. I feel so sorry for Christopher Peterman. EVERYONE at BJ (or almost everyone) posts lyrics, watches shows like Glee, texts during chapel, etc. None of them get caught because none of them are being stalked like he was. No one can live like they wanted us to live unless you are deep inside their bubble and have never been out of it, and then I feel REALLY sorry for you.

    I went to BJ for music lessons in elementary school and for college for 1 year and then I left because I couldn’t stand it. I’m very thankful I got out of there when I could. Kudos to Christopher Peterman for standing up to the monster, but I agree with the author of this post–best to do it AFTER you’ve completed your degree/classes.

  9. I’m glad you take some of the blame for getting kicked out, but what about the blame for CHOOSING this horrible college in the first place? Whether or not you got kicked out, your money is what makes it possible for them to continue this behavior.

    You had a choice of colleges. You picked the one that anyone with access to Google could learn was the least desirable and more heinous choice. You refer to it as “fundyland”, but what were you, if not a fundamentalist, to consciously choose to give your money and time to a place that treats human beings this way, supports causes that are unethical, and exists primarily to indoctrinate you (or support your pre-existing indoctrination) into fundamentalist obnoxiousness?

    I don’t feel sorry for ANYONE who gets kicked out of BJU, because you were ignorant enough to apply and support them in the first place. You made it possible for them to be what they are.

    Unless you had no choice, and your parents forced you to go, I can’t feel bad that you got screwed over in the process of going to a school that you knew teaches students to screw over everyone else.

    1. It is unfortunate that you do not realize how difficult, if not impossible, it is for a child raised in the fundamentalist world to get really accurate information about BJU, or to be able to interpret that information correctly. Their opinions have often been so tightly controlled in these Christian Schools and churches, that they have no idea. I know. I was one of them. So stop being so condemning. Once we get out in the World on our own, we often figüre it out. But this can take years.

  10. I am always taken back by the way people use religious beliefs to control others. This is an ego based “holier than thou” attitude that smacks in the face of what real religious teachings are all about. Hopefully these events listed above will gain enough media momentum to detour future college students from studying at BJU.

  11. Vapula-
    at the ripe old age of 17, I somehow was not fully prepared to recognize what I was getting into by applying to BJU-especially since I grew up being taught that Christian education was the only option. BJU seemed the LEAST radical among my options (PCC, MBBC, and the like); and definitely the only Christian college with a program in my major. I was young and zealous- I wanted to participate in the mission which BJU claims to be on: excellent education in a Christian environment.
    as far as the accusation that I “knew” what BJU does to people and how they “screw over” people: how could I? I was raised hundreds of miles from BJU; all I knew about it was distant echoes. Sure, as you say, I could have “googled” the school and find negative comments on the internet-but isn’t that true of any school?
    By the way, once you arrive at BJU as a new recruit, you are quickly indoctrinated in the notion that you occupy a tiny bastion of righteousness in a world of wickedness; that the privacy invasion and bullying from the administration and student “leadership” (aka fully brainwashed subjects) is for your own good; that any resistance on your part to their actions is evidence of your bitter, rebellious, and very probably unsaved heart, and that you are receiving the best education available anywhere, and perhaps the only education worthy of the name. Besides, credits from the Bob are pretty darn hard to transfer out. You are immediately set to work towards rigorous goals, such as climbing the ladder of student leadership, getting elected to office in your society, throwing yourself body and soul into numerous extension ministries, and the list goes on. Your success in all of these activities is a measure of your spirituality and your worth; start questioning things and you will never succeed. You’d better climb, climb, that ladder and don’t look down.
    Another thing that kept me at BJU as long as I stayed, even after I recognized the problems, was the fact that so many people there are truly wonderful, kind, and genuine. I know this sounds impossible, but I was there and I know. BJU is made up of some of really nice people on faculty and staff who are trapped by the hierarchical system (the administration and other powers-that-be). So why don’t they leave BJU and go work somewhere else? the answer is simple, if you think about it. BJU is at war with other Christian colleges, so they’d never get hired there. Real-world employers would laugh at their BJU qualifications and/or degrees. So they’re stuck. I would respect them more if they left the school, but I respect them immensely for who they are. I didn’t want to leave them.
    Yes, I drank the koolaid, and yes, Bobby J took my money and made a fool of me before dumping me out on the street. But shouldn’t those who take advantage of impressionable young people be held responsible for their actions as well?

  12. So after talking with some people who also knew Tina when she was in Colorado (and were older than I was), this is what I have to say:

    Tina Anderson:

    Why did you not immediately press charges? We both know you and your mother were encouraged to press charges and you refused! How DARE you tell the media that Chuck Phelps and fundamentalism shamed you into silence. Maybe the police would have investigated if you had come forward, so why didn’t you? Were you embarrassed about something? Shame on you for playing the victim when you were not willing to press charges.

    I looked up to you as a kid. My church loved you and treated you so well and then you grew up and turned against all the people who tried to help you. The Landrys paid your medical bills and gave you a place to live so you could get away from the situation in New Hampshire. Do you even remember me? I’m sorry you’ve had a difficult life and I’m sorry you were raped. But I do not want to be in your shoes when you answer to God for your lies to the media.

    Chris – and everyone on this blog:

    Do some more research before saying that Chuck Phelps hid Tina in Colorado – it’s not true. When Tina finally pressed charges years later, the police used the fact that Tina was out of their jurisdiction to cover their backsides when it came out that they were aware of a rape and did nothing. Tina’s mother wanted her to go to Colorado and Tina was happy to have her child go to a good home. (See my previous comments). She was never shamed at my church.

    It baffles me that the police say they couldn’t do anything and nobody bothers to ask “well, how hard did they try?” They didn’t try. Nobody in the world is going to convince me that the police couldn’t find Tina in Colorado. I was only 9 but I knew her. They could have just summoned her back to New Hampshire. Maybe they would have taken it more seriously if Tina had come forward but she wouldn’t!

    There IS conspiracy, but ironically, it is against the very person who is being blamed for conspiring. Legally, yes, Tina was in no way responsible for her rape. But legal law was NOT BEING ENFORCED because the police did nothing. Phelps blamed Tina and made her confess in front of the church. You mean he evaluated a criminal situation, assigned fault, and then acted on it? That’s the police’s job! Why was a pastor doing the police’s job?! Phelps should not have used church discipline against Tina and should have relentlessly contacted the police until they investigated. But to say he covered Tina’s rape is a LIE.

    Now that I know the truth, I think it’s tolerant of the University to allow Chris to protest because they knew he was being mislead by the media. Like I said, my parents made me attend BJU for one year and then I left because I didn’t like it. But one thing I did learn there is that attitude is everything. I saw people get very harshly punished but also shown a lot of leniency all based on attitude. I don’t know Chris or why he was expelled but it makes me so angry that people are so misinformed about what really happened to Tina.

    Wow. Incredible. I always knew something wasn’t right about the media’s story but I didn’t realize the conspiracy was so backwards.

    1. “Why did you not immediately press charges?”
      Pretty sure that God doesn’t like people who blame the victim, guy.

    2. S vAmen! I don’t know Chris personally, but it seems that he used the Phelp’s thing as a cover for his rebellion. What is his connection to Tina? Were did he get his facts? From media alone? Because of course the media is always spot-on. (Note the sarscasm). Someone on here earlier applauded him for wearing a hollister shirt in the video. My first reaction to seeing his choice of clothing was that it was evidence of his desire to be the opposite of what is expected at BJ. He is very open about that. Yep, the Phelps thing is his red herring. Anyone feel that?

    3. Let’s just say when I saw your initial questions I suspected you would end up coming back to announce you had discovered a conspiracy to smear that dear man of God, Chuck Phelps.

      I call troll.

      Your big “gotcha” points have already been asked and answered so many times that I’m not going to bother repeating all of the points again. I don’t really think you care about the answers, to be honest.

      1. You’re right, I speak too harshly. I apologize. I am not a troll and I do see how it would seem that way. I did know Tina. But I guess there isn’t a way to prove it so my opinion isn’t valid. I can’t prove she was encouraged to press charges but when I heard it I got angry. I know victims of rape don’t always go to the police but it made me angry to hear her say that it was because of fundamentalism. I’m sorry for my harsh words.

        1. I shouldn’t have said that I never realized Tina lied. What I meant to say is that YOU never realized Tina lied. I always had serious suspicions but I had not confirmed them so I didn’t want to share any information that I couldn’t swear by. If I ever do see Tina again I hope God would help me be gracious to her and forgive her and not say what I wrote. I’ve never met Chuck Phelps and I don’t know why he used church discipline but unless someone can provide me proof that the police couldn’t find Tina in Colorado contrary to my own memory I will continue to believe what I do. If you can’t provide me with proof then I suggest you stop your slandering before you further embarrass yourself.

        2. It is important to understand how insular the Independent Fundamental world is. Quite often, such churches have VERY little contact with the outside world. The people may spend six or seven days in the church/school building. Church, school, after-school activities…all with other members of the church and school. So, someone who might be perfectly visible to you who were on the Inside might be perfectly invisible to anyone on the Outside.

          Police get lots and lots of reports all the time. Many reports are false. So, if someone calls in to report a rape, but never completes any paperwork, and never returns subsequent calls from the police, AND if this person is a Pastor, it is understandable if the police move on to more pressing business with people who demonstrate an interest in pursuing the issue. Because, obviously, the Pastor who only calls once or twice and doesn’t fill out a police report and doesn’t return our calls must have everything under control, right? It must have been a misunderstanding or maybe a prank call, right? We see no sign of an alleged victim, right? Okay, then. Move along to the stabbing victim that we just found. Lots of work to do right here.

        3. Thanks Michael, yes this does make sense. I apologize to Darrell for saying he is embarrassing himself or slandering, I shouldnt say that. I just didn’t like that he called me a troll and implied that I was lying about knowing Tina. I really have no interest in defending fundamentalism or chuck phelps if it isn’t deserved. What I was told was that Tina’s mother didnt want to press charges but wanted Tina away from Willis and the family was willing to take her in and care for her (I don’t know for sure that they paid her medical expenses but I believe they did). Anyway I am sorry for what I wrote about Tina, I was just trying to figure it all out and I got upset. I know she was failed by many people but also many people tried their best to help her. If Chuck Phelps did in fact discourage her from pressing charges then yes, he should be punished for it. I’m sorry I jumped to a conclusion and got angry and called Tina a liar. I’m not sure if I’ll ever know for sure what happened.

        4. You know, M, I really appreciate the spirit I’ve seen in you here. And I understand how your emotions and thinking can run the gamut that they have run here. Many of us can. We wanted to believe the best about people, and we’ve been horribly disappointed. Then, we’ve been slapped about the head and shoulders for NOTICING the evil, and for calling it what it is. We are called Bitter, Malignant, Hateful, Ungodly, Liars…everything you can imagine. This is why you got called a troll. Because we’ve heard all those words before. Sometimes from an honest-to-goodness troll, and sometimes by someone who is experiencing that horrific cognitive dissonance for the first time, and doesn’t know what to do with all this bad stuff.

          Blessings to you. As I keep reminding myself, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” That is the only way to survive this stuff.

        5. Wait a second Michael, he never refused to fill out paperwork or return the police’s calls. They were the ones who did not pursue the case for whatever reason.

          Here, just read what he has to say for himself:

          Tina’s mother’s statement:

          And more:

          So I was wrong to put any blame at all on Tina, but still right in being angry that she lied to the media in order to slander fundamentalism after so many people tried their best to help her. I believe Chuck Phelps is telling the truth.

        6. “I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or certainty of corruption by full authority. There is no worse heresy than the fact that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”

          Why would you assume that someone who had that much skin in the game to be truthful? This is a professional empire builder who has too much to lose to let the truth get in his way.

          Sorry, his initial actions were too calculated. He did what he did to save his ministry. When ther truth came out he went directly into damage control mode. I’m not buying it.

        7. Don, I guess it just goes back to the fact that I knew Tina, and I knew the character of the people who she stayed with. They would never have agreed to keep Tina to protect the ministry of Chuck Phelps over protecting Tina herself. NEVER. And they were intelligent and would definitely have been able to detect something strange if Phelps had tried to lie to them about why Tina was pregnant. I know that Tina outrightly lied about being discouraged from being around people her own age in her statement. I know the people of my church tried to help Tina and befriend her. So even though I’ve never met Chuck Phelps I know the people at my church would never conspire to protect his ministry at Tina’s expense but all their actions were to protect and help Tina. Either Tina is lying or Chuck Phelps is lying and I can confirm at least one lie in her statement so I’m going with Phelps. He has documentation and she has media speculation. He fulfilled all his legal obligations and the police didn’t investigate. I blame the police most of all for ignoring the report.

        8. “He fulfilled all his legal obligations and the police didn’t investigate. I blame the police most of all for ignoring the report.”

          But he faild as a pastor and fulfilled none of his moral obligations.

          Do you know how Chuck reported the rape? Do you know if he reported it as a Rape? I don’t and neither do you. Chuck may have contaceted the police. Chuch may also have worded what he said is such a way that it covered his posterior so that he can feign his hands are clean. Chuck may have reported it in such a way that he protected a big tither and kept his ministry from having to go through a messy rape investigation.
          No, don’t sing the praises of Chuch Phelps around here, it rings hollow. Through out the entire arrair Chuck Phelps has defended one person: Chuck Phelps.

          As to Tina. Did you know that she had been molested by her step father? Did you know she had been raped by Ernie willis, or as Chuck called it, “had an ongoing consensual affair” with a man more than twice her age who got her pregnant? Did you? Did any of the “good” folks at your church? I highly doubt it. They probably just believed what Chuck had told them. And for her part Tina had already learned that in order to survive the ordeal (and life in the IFB in general) she would have to go along with what ever the pastor said. But that would not keep her from trying to fit in and attempt to have a normal childhood. And that is what you would have seen.

          So tell me M. How was your family life growing up? Did you have a step dad that molested you? Did you have a step dad that was a convicted child molester? Did you have a baby at 16 years old? Were you raped, or as Chucky would have us believe were you “sexually active” at 15?

          If not, then I submit that you saw what Tina wanted you to see about Tina. And since your memory is so accute tell us what did you think of this pregnant teenager, who had obviously been having sex, being put into your midst? What was your judgment of her back then? What did you over hear your parents and other adults saying about her back then?

          I wasn’t there but it is obvious that Chucky did what Chucky needed to do in order to save Chucky’s ministry from scandal. Tina was young, easily controlled and represented a problem. while Ernie was a financial asset. It was a no-brainer. The trick was how to do it under the banner of “Christian Love?” Church discipline made a nice cover for Chuck since he could present the problem without ever having to connect either of them to the problem together. Shrewd thinking on Chucky’s part at the time.

          So, yes he claims he fulfilled all his legal obligations at the time… by he failed as a Pastor to care for the “least” of his sheep. He added insult to a lamb who as injured and allowed a wolf to remain in the fold. 👿

        9. You’re right Don, I shouldn’t defend his motives as I don’t know what they are. But if Willis was never in leadership, then why would it have been messy for the police to arrest him? Abuse happens in IFB churches (as it does everywhere) and the police usually just take care of it and the people are sad that it happened but glad that justice was done. If Phelps had devised an elaborate plan to keep one tither in the church (and risk substantial legal trouble and possibly jail) then I submit that he was not only evil but incredibly stupid.

          No, I didn’t know she had been molested or raped, I was 9. I never thought poorly of her and I don’t believe anyone else did. I just know that she seemed to be happy there. But you’re right, it could have been Tina just trying to have a normal life and go along with the culture. I didn’t realize that Chuck Phelps had written his side of the story until someone pointed it out to me yesterday (I assumed he never did so I didn’t look for it). If my whole church was deceived then it’s probable that I am deceived as well. I don’t deny that. I just wanted to share my observations. Just take them or leave them. I don’t know what happened so I’m not going to comment anymore.

      2. And PLEASE let me know why I’m wrong. I really do want to know what happened. If I’m wrong I want to know. I want to know the truth.

      3. If you have information that I don’t know I really want to know it. If I’m wrong then it means that people I trust are lying to my face and I want to know.

    4. Really? Really? She didn’t press charges because she was freakin 14 and scared out of her mind. I was abused as an 11 year old and people ask me “Why didn’t you press charges?” Because I was 11. Don’t even try to make this Tina’s fault. Damnit she was raped by a grown man. And the Pastor knew. He needs to be punished!

        1. Her mother married a child molester. Don’t expect too much good thinking out of such a mother.

        2. I’d be careful how I phrase that. There are women on SFL who unwittingly married child abusers as well.

          The difference is that once they discovered the abuse they took their children away from their husband and did not defend his actions. Anybody can be fooled. The difference lies in what happens once you discover the truth.

        3. Yes, you are right. Good call. The key is, “how does she react when she KNOWS that he is a child molester.”

          From everything I have read about this situation, she did not react correctly. She sided with the molester, and against the children.

        4. Well then shouldn’t we be saying that chuck phelps helped the mother cover it up instead of saying that the mother helped chuck phelps cover it up?

        5. A worthwhile question. But…

          Knowing what I know of IFB churches, it is more probably to think that the pastor was leading the discussion and making the decisions – most certainly not the mom. If the pastor were actually following the lead of Tina’s mom, it would probably go down in history as the first time in history that an IFB pastor followed the wishes of a female congregant rather than dictating terms.

          Now I’m just being cynical.

        6. Well, just for arguments sake, what if Tina was carrying on a relationship with Willis and the mother wanted to cover that up? Tina says she let him in the house after being forcibly raped in the car. I know she was only 15 but I can’t figure out why she would do that unless there was some kind of relationship. Willis of course is responsible as he is the adult and he took advantage of Tina. But perhaps Tina’s mother wanted to spare her the shame of it being discovered that she was encouraging Willis romantically? After all, all they had to go by to convict Willis of forcible rape instead of statuatory rape was Tina’s word. So if this is true, Phelps did cover it up, but then it would have been to help Tina and her mother and not the evil intentions of sparing his deacon from punishment. Then it would make sense that he reported it, encouraged them to press charges, but the mother wanted to protect her daughter from the shame of carrying on a relationship with a man so much older and phelps helped her. This would also make sense why the church was led to believe that Tina got in trouble with a boy her own age. Then the story that phelps discouraged Tina and her mother from going to the police would be a lie. If he wanted to protect his deacon then why would he report it? The police usually have enough report with pastors to know that it wouldn’t be a prank call or misunderstanding. But I’m speculating and God knows what happened. But if this explanation makes sense then phelps made mistakes but did not have the evil intentions that people are saying. If that’s true then yes, I would be upset at Tina for coming back years later and telling the media that phelps discouraged her from pressing charges when he was trying to help her. Would the statute of limitations ever run out for something like manipulating a minor into silence about her rape? I do not blame Tina for what happened to her, but in my mind 15 is still old enough to know that if someone harms you, you don’t allow them in the house.

        7. You know what, no, I don’t believe Tina was encouraging Willis romantically. I shouldn’t speculate on that and it doesn’t matter as Willis is still responsible and not Tina. Sorry for this thought.

      1. Yes perhaps I’m being too hard on Tina and should fault her mother more. I feel badly that she was scared and didn’t want to press charges but she told the media that Phelps made her keep quiet. He reported it. If he had obstructed justice by manipulating Tina then why isn’t in prison?

  13. While I sympathise with all the people who have been treated badly by the above mentioned institutions, I keep feeling that this is like a Jewish kid complaining he was kicked out of the SS! Gee people! You know what these places are like. You must have read their draconian conduct codes. Why do you want to be there? They don’t seem to be accredited, so when you leave you don’t really have a degree. Unless you want to become an entry level clergy person, of what use is attending the school. I’m not a “believer” so maybe my input isn’t wanted. But even so, there are many colleges that offer religious degrees and they MEAN something. Do your careers a favor. Leave these bogus schools and get an honest education.

    1. Why weren’t we concerned about the rules? We were from families that were even stricter than BJU; of course, we could live with the draconian rules because we’d lived under them all our lives. But you grow a lot from ages 18-21; you begin to realize that this kind of control isn’t healthy.

      Why didn’t we go to a different Christian school? All our lives we were told that other schools, even Liberty (Jerry Falwell’s school), were compromising liberals who were less than pleasing to God. We earnestly desired to follow God completely; we believed that only WE were truly sold-out to God. We feared contamination; we feared becoming “cast-aways.”

      What about accreditation? When I went, BJU said it didn’t matter because their grads were accepted into med schools and law schools (which they have been). At the age of 17, I really didn’t understand the significance of accreditation and the adults who should have considered a conservative Christian education of more value than the worldly approval accreditation seemed to convey, so they didn’t warn me. I really thought not being accredited wouldn’t mean a thing!

  14. I can only speak for myself, but I suspect many on here feel the same way. I don’t comment on BJU because I’m mad about what happened to me. Frankly, I had a blast at BJU for 3 years. That’s why they kicked me out.

    The tiny amount of time I spend on here, and a few other sites, commenting on Baptist Fundamentalism and BJU in particular, is because I hope somebody that is about to make the mistake of attending BJU reads my experience, and other’s, and chooses to go somewhere else. I’m not bitter or scarred. I have lifelong friends that I made there, and I look back fondly on the great times I had. But, I do feel that time isn’t wasted letting people know what they’re going to experience at BJU and after they graduate. I was a freshamn in 1993, so it was tough to “Google” anything. And, like many others, my house was so strict that I actually had more freedom at BJU than I did at home. There are great people in the faculty and staff at BJU. There are great people in the student body. But the people running the place work very hard to maintain an unhealthy culture similiar to the USSR under Stalin. People who tell on their friends and classmates are celebrated and promoted. Adults are treated like children. They have a VERY high divorce rate among couples that meet and get engaged at BJU. This is because BJU forces people to hide who they really are in order to make it to graduation. People who end up working in the real world dread being asked about where they went to college.

    These are all things that I would have liked to have known before I made the choice to go there. So I will continue to spend 5 of the 1,440 minutes God gives me every day, conversing with people that have had similiar experiences, and warning people that are about to potentially make a very costly mistake.

    1. I, for one, am glad you all do what you do. Thank you for the heads up. 🙂

  15. astroboi-BJU does not publicize its “draconian conduct code.” Also, even when you are given a rulebook as a student, the specific penalties for many things (like what I did) are not specified. It’s kind of like Russian Roulette.
    I found an interesting twist on their expulsion policy when I got a hold of contraband material one day in the dorms: a ‘special” rulebook only given to student leaders and not available to the heathen masses. Basically, identical crimes may or may not result in expulsion, depending on A) whether the criminals turn themselves in before someone else reports them and B) how widely publicized their crime is. In other words, if you haven’t told anyone your dirty little secret, you might get away with it, but if you’ve told all your friends about your sin/mistake (even to ask them for prayer-yes, the book actually specified this) then you’re outta luck.

    1. Nice. You don’t happen to have a copy of this extra rule book, do you? It’s hard enough to even get a copy of the regular rule book to anyone before they actually enroll and arrive. This would be even better.

  16. No, I got up in the middle of the night one night to go to the bathroom and found it lying on the big desk on the first floor (the one where a spiritual leader is always sitting on the lookout during the day). It was full of a lot of other crap, but I was in too big a hurry to read it all. Someone really should publicize this stuff.

  17. Many other legalistic Christian colleges have done the exact same thing over the years. Chris Peterman’s experience is similar to that found in the novel ‘Pale Tides’ by Cass Tell, which is based on a real story. The ultimate punishment is to get kicked out a few days before final exams, thereby stealing your money. You better obey these hypocritical Pharisees or they will destroy you.

  18. If Mr. Peterman was honest with himself he knew being kicked out was a possibility. So this is not a surprise. These kinds of schools are mean, just like fighting fundies are mean. They should never sing “mazeing Grace” they don’t know what the song means. I went to a school that started out this way but as the founder of that school realized you can’t reach the world by keeping a bunch of rules he changed and so did the school.

  19. I’m just confused. Many parents would be so proud of their college student being so well spoken, grade conscientious, polite and respectful (even when faced with such absurd abuse of power) and watches glee as entertainment (as opposed to all the other things he could be doing). More importantly, he is risking his own personal gain to stand up for social injustice. This is what is defined as a “hero”. I am not confused about Bob Jones treatment of him. Of course they want him out of their slimy mind controlling weird world. I’m only confused as to why he cares and why he is there in the first place. Seems like rare exceptional qualities are being wasted in this situation.

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