Bob Jones University Fires Independent Group Investigating Sex Abuse

photo of Bob jones university marquee
A Sex Abuse Scandal At A Repressive Institution Called ‘BJU’? You DON’T Say!

Submitted without comment (OK, maybe just a little).

Wonkette has the details, but here’s a bit:

[Outgoing BJU president Stephen Jones] also said that he hoped to “immediately negotiate a new contract with GRACE that would enable them to complete the review to achieve our objectives.” There’s that our objectives again.

Jones also said that he really, really cares a whole bunch about the people who came forward to talk to GRACE, who “shared horrific personal stories of abuse” with investigators, and he’s really glad that “GRACE has done a great job at making those people feel at home, and secure, and free to share those stories.” And now, he says,

I just want to reiterate that we are committed to identifying and reaching out to those individuals.

Hmmm… surely, that last line couldn’t have any ominous implications, could it? Nah, just pastoral outreach, that has to be it. After all, this is a Christian university that really wants to take appropriate action to help victims. Like BJU helped former student Erin Burchwell, who told a Greenville TV station that 20 years ago, a male grad student sexually molested her “40 or more times” over the course of several months.

Burchwell claims when her parents finally reported the assaults to university administrators, they were told not to go to the police.

Burchwell says administrators also tried to blame what happened on her clothing.

“What was I wearing when all these incidents occurred? What did I have on? Was it tight? Was it low?” Obviously, the point being it was somehow my fault,” she said.

Sounds like very traditional Southern Christian values to us, unfortunately.

I don’t agree that sexual abuse, victim-blaming or political cover-ups represent “Southern Christian values,” in the sense that none of those things is unique to Southern Christianity, and I certainly don’t believe they represent the actual values of Christianity, Southern or otherwise. Unfortunately, stories like this one definitely sound like the all-too-common reality of the institutional practice of Christianity (though again, I would not limit it to the word “Southern,” given the ongoing national scandal of Catholic Priests abusing children).

In short: I don’t believe the values of Christianity itself are like this — just too many of the institutions that claim to represent it.