Bob Jones University
December 8, 2004 11:22 AM   Subscribe

Introducing Bob Jones University, a liberal arts, nondenominational Christian university in South Carolina. BJU stands "without apology for the old-time religion and the absolute authority of the Bible." The University Creed explains more. New Age, jazz, rock, and country music is still not permitted on campus. Women's hairstyles. "should be neat, orderly, and feminine. Avoid cutting-edge fads and cuts so short that they take on a masculine look." BJU believes that "biblical principles preclude gambling, dancing, and the beverage use of alcohol" -- just ask the new Dean of Men [QuickTime]. The current president of Bob Jones University, Bob Jones III, recently wrote a congratulatory letter to President Bush: "In your re-election, God has graciously granted America--though she doesn't deserve it--a reprieve from the agenda of paganism." You might recall that they just recently lifted their ban on inter-racial dating, but a parents' note is still required.
posted by ori (138 comments total)
 
Maybe it's because I grew up near there, but OMG WTF reactions to Bob Jones are really passé. Y'know, that's the kind of place some people want to go and they probably look at you with an editorially slanted eye as well.
posted by Captaintripps at 11:24 AM on December 8, 2004


I'm sure anyone who saw "The Ladykillers" is already aware of the institution, as well as their recent windfall.
posted by devbrain at 11:26 AM on December 8, 2004


Whence the whole feminine hairstyle thing?
posted by sid at 11:29 AM on December 8, 2004


SO?
posted by Pressed Rat at 11:31 AM on December 8, 2004


Dude, that was a lot of work to put into a troll.
posted by xmutex at 11:32 AM on December 8, 2004


Still working on their accreditation, I see.
posted by psmealey at 11:32 AM on December 8, 2004


Introducing? The place has been around since 1927. Though I wonder what the standards were like then?
posted by DonnieSticks at 11:34 AM on December 8, 2004


Raise your hand if you didn't know Bob Jones U was a wingnut institution.
posted by dhoyt at 11:35 AM on December 8, 2004


I'd like to also point out that the KKK has some shall we say far-fetched ideas and may not be as noble as it claims.

Also, the Aryan Nation? Actually hateful bigots!
posted by xmutex at 11:37 AM on December 8, 2004


Since this post seems to be going nowhere fast...I have a friend who went to Bob Jones, got married during college to a nice boy, went out and did her obedient Christian Wife thing for fifteen years and then, one day, took the dog and ran.

Seven years later she is now a national tournament-winning pool player and semi-professional card shark, married to a really hot guy twelve years younger than she is. It was funny when it happened, though - she was so naive about things that seemed obvious to everyone else, almost like a teenager. (Clearly she caught on fast.)
posted by pomegranate at 11:37 AM on December 8, 2004


I agree with xmutex. Seems like someone has an axe to grind. This is not news, nor best of the web.
posted by terrapin at 11:38 AM on December 8, 2004


Um, W and McCain and the South Carolina primary in 2000? Hello?
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:39 AM on December 8, 2004


Yes, Captaintripps. But unlike them, I do not claim that a huge invisible superhero derived from the mythological war god of a nomadic Semitic tribe along with 2000 year old texts are the foundation for truth.

See, they are crazy. If i went around spouting about Norse mythology, claiming that it was true, that Odin and his all seeing eye were watching you, and that you wouldn't get into Valhalla without doing some pretty stupid shit and that Ragnarok was right around the corner, well frankly, I'd get put in a loony bin.

Seriously. Religion, in any sort of literalist, fundamentalist sense is indistinguishable from insanity. Spirituality on the other hand, is a whole other kettle of fish, and i would argue may be the basis for sanity itself.

On preview: xmutex, see the interesting thing is that this whole world of Bob Jones University is, for the most part, unknown to the general public. It's as if we have cultural amnesia about it. There are good reasons for this. The loony-toon leftists are generally out to garner as much publicity as is humanly possible, while the far right, and the batshit crazy fundies usually keep to themselves, spreading quietly with pamphlets and revivals. They don't tend to try to attract media attention. They are much more prone to generating their own self selective media, that is totally divorced from mainstream media. In this way they have created a sort of black box. So when Jerry Fallwell stands up and says tht as a christian he supports George Bush, the large portion of Christians in the US, most of whom are not Fundies, says " ahh a christian. George Bush is a christian, like me!" But he really isn't like them at all. We don't get to see how actually weird and scary it is deep inside fundamentalism.

I think it is important that we do take a look into the abyss every once and a while. Just so we know who this group of people are and what it is they want to do, particularly when they have such lofty political connections and aspirations.
posted by Freen at 11:40 AM on December 8, 2004


Freen, I don't see why you care what they do with their time. I don't care what you do with yours. I'm sure you've got your own tin-foil hat beliefs. I love the elitist "look at those whackos" viewpoint. I'm sure you're no better than they are.
posted by Captaintripps at 11:52 AM on December 8, 2004


I grew up in Greenville, and while I won't defend BJU at all (the administration is a bunch of wackos), probably 90% of the people I know who went there are good, decent people, and well over half of those are neither racially nor sexually nor religiously bigoted. Plus they have an extraordinary collection of sacred art.

And, Freen, I'll grant you that there are a lot of religious people who are wacky, but if you can't answer me the question of "Where did all this come from?" then painting all religion as insanity won't fly.
posted by socratic at 11:57 AM on December 8, 2004


Well, no-one gets laid at this place, but they do have their own way of letting off steam. Party on!
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:57 AM on December 8, 2004


I'd like to also point out that the KKK has some shall we say far-fetched ideas and may not be as noble as it claims.

The KKK doesn't masquerade as a liberal arts university.

First of all, I did not know about this university previously.

Second, mefites frequently acts surprised when the fundamentalist, evangelical mentality rears its head with much force -- there is, I think, a kind of denial that these places exist, or are legitimate, and I thought it would be interesting to discuss.

But seeing as I'm being lynched as a troll, well -- fuck it.
posted by ori at 11:58 AM on December 8, 2004


To the contrary, they care what we do with our time, especially those of us in interracial marriages. Plus, Bob Jones University tries hard to influence public policy.

You don't have to feel superior to someone else when condemning their viewpoints on important issues.
posted by jeffmshaw at 11:59 AM on December 8, 2004


Wow, no one's EVER heard of this place before!

If you hadn't introduced it to us we'd probably have gone our whole lives without knowing!

How can we ever thank you?

It's not like this place has been publicly made fun of for decades or anything. Nope. Not at all.
posted by u.n. owen at 12:01 PM on December 8, 2004


Jones said the university first implemented the dating ban more than five decades ago, "because we were trying ... to enforce something, a principle, that is much greater than this. We stand against the one world government, against the coming world of the antichrist."

Uh huh.

Speaking of which, shouldn't hardcore Christians be looking forward to the "coming world of the Antichrist", since it's accompanied by the Apocalypse, meaning that all the true believers will be lifted up to heaven in their Lifejackets of Righteousness?
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:05 PM on December 8, 2004


Captain Tripps, See, I don't believe Gay people are bad and should be exterminated. And My Crazy beliefs about single payer health care, well yep their nutty, but based on well thought out , peer reviewed analysis.

My beef is that these people want to run the country.

See, yes they do care what we do with our time. They are the people who decided that Prohibition was a good idea. They want to teach creationism (quack science) to kids in public schools. They want to change our lives. I don't want to change theirs. I have no problem with the amish. In fact i love the Amish. They strongly believe in 2000 year old myths, and you know what? They live like it.

If your faith is important to you, great. If it informs the way you live your life, heck even better. However, if you want your faith to inform the way i live my life. Well, you have a problem there. You'd better be able to exp[lain to my why i should do x y and z in terms other than faith, tradition, or what you think the giant invisible superhero in the sky says.

I think it is important to point out that these are the people behind the religious right. They are in desperate need of some publicity.
posted by Freen at 12:08 PM on December 8, 2004


Wow. You guys are assholes. I love you guys.
posted by graventy at 12:11 PM on December 8, 2004


I love the elitist "look at those whackos" viewpoint. I'm sure you're no better than they are.

Who are we to condemn slavery or murder for that matter? Self-righteous leftist elitists! Next thing you know, they'll be condeming genocide!
posted by iamck at 12:14 PM on December 8, 2004


Left my wallet in El Segundo.
posted by Lola_G at 12:15 PM on December 8, 2004


The KKK doesn't masquerade as a liberal arts university.

What, like somebody's gonna be fooled into thinking it's Berkeley and show up in a tank top carrying a beer bong?

This is another "let's laugh at the wacky fundies," post. And while I don't like a thing about the fundy program, the constant bashing of them is starting to make me feel sympathy for them.

Captain Tripps, See, I don't believe Gay people are bad and should be exterminated. And My Crazy beliefs about single payer health care, well yep their nutty, but based on well thought out , peer reviewed analysis.

Well, pin a rose on you. Most of the rest of us belive the same thing. You want we should give you a medal?
posted by jonmc at 12:17 PM on December 8, 2004


BJ U. Hehe
posted by ontic at 12:17 PM on December 8, 2004


what -- gasp! -- dhoyt said
posted by matteo at 12:18 PM on December 8, 2004


ontic - In the same city, we also have Furman University ... FU.
posted by socratic at 12:19 PM on December 8, 2004


DON'T bring a PG-rated DVD.
DON'T a T-rated video game.
DON'T bring a firearm (unless you have a trigger lock).

"BJU: Keeping you safe since 1927!"
posted by Oddly at 12:27 PM on December 8, 2004


My beef is that these people want to run the country.

Then the crew at Bob Jones is your least likely candidate for proving that theory. The endless regulations at the school alienate way more people than they attract.
posted by jonmc at 12:31 PM on December 8, 2004


We will pray to aphordite
though she is a little flighty
she wears a see-through nighty
and that's good enough for me.

Gimme that, old time religion...
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:35 PM on December 8, 2004


The Biology Class Video is promisingly complex. So hard to watch knowing they probably don't make the leap from there to the big E though.
posted by ontic at 12:37 PM on December 8, 2004


Let me get this straight - a private religious school tries to enforce the tenets of its religion on people that choose to attend. How is this shocking?

A school in South Carolina has a history of segregation? Gasp!

This would be a good thread if not for the anti-Christian outrage and atheistic evangelism.
posted by Jart at 12:39 PM on December 8, 2004


This is another "let's laugh at the wacky fundies," post.

I didn't get that at all from this post -- even though I knew about BJU in a general sense, I'd never bothered to check it out in any detail. I personally thought this post was somewhat interesting -- sorry I'm not as on top of things as some of you wizened MeFi trolls members.

And FWIW I don't find anything even remotely wacky or amusing about them, for the reasons Freen articulated.
posted by QuestionableSwami at 12:40 PM on December 8, 2004


actually, i agree america doesn't deserve a reprieve from the agenda of paganism.
posted by danOstuporStar at 12:42 PM on December 8, 2004


What the fuck is wrong with this post? Why the fuck are you all piling on like this?

Amazing as it might seem to you, Bob Jones University is not well known throughout the world. I doubt many people in the UK have heard of it, for instance.

Christ on a bike, this place has gone downhill recently. Everybody either seems to be a clueless n00b or a jaded, cynical old-timer.
posted by salmacis at 12:42 PM on December 8, 2004


DON'T bring a PG-rated DVD.
DON'T a T-rated video game.
DON'T bring a firearm (unless you have a trigger lock).


That link is hilarious, and just about sums up everything that's wrong with that place.

You may not possess or play computer and video games rated T, M, or A or having elements of blood and gore, sensual or demonic themes, or featuring suggestive dress, bad language, or rock music.


But what's their deal with rock music? They have a beef with violence, demons, sex, profanity, and power chords? What about Christian rock?

Ahhhh. Answered my own question:

Contemporary Christian music is not permitted (e.g., Michael W. Smith, Stephen Curtis Chapman, WOW Worship, and so forth).
What a bunch of fundys.

posted by rooftop secrets at 12:44 PM on December 8, 2004


QuestionableSwami, ask yourself this: if this post linked to a Muslim School or a Yeshiva (many of which place severe regulations on their students as well) would you be as comfortable bashing it?

Yes, there are fundies who would like to impose their world view and rules on the rest of us and they are worth fighting. But this is a school for people who want to live the fundy life at college. Let 'em.
posted by jonmc at 12:45 PM on December 8, 2004


Oddly - Brilliant.
posted by fatllama at 12:46 PM on December 8, 2004


Also, I don't think this was a great post. Anyone who's read the news in the past 5 years has heard of this place, and the link was fashioned kinda like a troll. That said, old timers need to lighten up a bit. *cue oldtimers*: "Shut up, you stupid n00000b. What makes you think you can say what a good link is, huh? We like this link now! Punk."
posted by rooftop secrets at 12:51 PM on December 8, 2004


I'm a little surprised that they don't refer to themselves as a conservative arts college. The L word has such bad connotations to these guys.
posted by trbrts at 12:52 PM on December 8, 2004


Anyone who's read the news in the past 5 years has heard of this place

Oh, really? Can you find instances of Bob Jones University appearing in non-American media?
posted by salmacis at 12:52 PM on December 8, 2004


Meh.

I see the cynicism is starting to take hold of the usually more rational of the commentators.

Bob Jones (and his other cronies, Falwell and the like) are the embodiment of hucksters gone wild. They are wolves shepherding the sheep into hysterics and segregated cliques of hate and fear. I feel no sympathy for them, or the sheep.

Quoting here:
My beef is that these people want to run the country.

See, yes they do care what we do with our time. They are the people who decided that Prohibition was a good idea. They want to teach creationism (quack science) to kids in public schools. They want to change our lives. I don't want to change theirs. I have no problem with the amish. In fact i love the Amish. They strongly believe in 2000 year old myths, and you know what? They live like it.

If your faith is important to you, great. If it informs the way you live your life, heck even better. However, if you want your faith to inform the way i live my life. Well, you have a problem there. You'd better be able to exp[lain to my why i should do x y and z in terms other than faith, tradition, or what you think the giant invisible superhero in the sky says.

Not quoting now:
See, I like this view point. It says, I don't mess with you, you don't mess with me. Mess with me, and I scat on your plate. I believe it is time to start with the scatting of the plates people.
It's not about civil discourse. How can you be civil to someone who would rather watch you suffer than listen to your ideas?

It is about force of will. They have already shown they have the will, the money, and the drive to fool people into believing that life is all about telling others what to think and how to live their lives. I'd rather have an evolving rulebook of plans that allows for growth and change than being tied to a text written and rewritten and rewritten and rewritten by aristocracies over the millennia then shoved down my throat as "God's Word". Or rather, Bob Jones' word for today to push the sheep into more hysterics and irrational thought and action.

Religion = a form of mass mind control used to allow the few to garner power over the many.

Suck on that a spell, why don't ya?
posted by daq at 12:55 PM on December 8, 2004


Freen, Odin does have his eye on you. Norse mythology? Norse Religion!

Perhaps you might like to join a true religion that gives you more gods to worship! Perhaps with time you might even decide to become a godwo/man.
posted by mfoight at 12:56 PM on December 8, 2004


There was a communications professor at the college I went to who was black, Jewish, and a graduate of Bob Jones. He taught at our school for two years before Brown gobbled him up. I'm guessing that as far as 'diversity' goes, he's in a league all his own.
posted by billysumday at 12:56 PM on December 8, 2004


Oh, really? Can you find instances of Bob Jones University appearing in non-American media?

C'mon now...
posted by rooftop secrets at 12:59 PM on December 8, 2004


Oh, really? Can you find instances of Bob Jones University appearing in non-American media?

er... salamcis, the last link ini the original post is just such an instance.

And it contains a pretty glaring grammatical error.
posted by coelecanth at 1:03 PM on December 8, 2004


jonmc, and Jart: If fundamentalist Islamic radicals had as significant position in the current administration as these nutters do, then yes, I would be up in arms about their worship of a semitic war god and idiotic beleifs in 2000 year old myths. If the amish were trying to outlaw technology, i would be highly ciritical. Heck the catholic chuirch declared that the Fork was an impliment of Satan. Aren't we glad the reformation happened and the Holy See didn't get it's way?

I am intolerant of intolerance. Sounds slightly contradictory, but in fact it makes alot of sense. If BJU did their own thing, practised their freedom of religion and didn't try to impose their beliefs on the rest of the country, well heck i wouldn't give a damn. As i said upthread, take the amish, they aren't that worried about controling the outside world. They've taken their freedom of religion and run with it. They even so sure of their own beleifs that they lets their adolescents run around and play with stereo equipment untill they reach the ripe old age of 18. (I think) We can do religious freedom here in the states and we do it well. It's just that some people think that religious freedom for them means they get to tell everyone else what to do.

But they do and they are. And thus, I give a damn.
posted by Freen at 1:04 PM on December 8, 2004


I had only ever heard about these guys in passing, not being an American, and now I am absolutely gob-smacked. Yet another only-in-America phenomenon.

Good post, thank you.

How serious is this institution? If I applied for a job and my CV says my degree is from BJU, is it worthless?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:04 PM on December 8, 2004


salamicis, it's begun very trendy to discuss why a post sucks instead of making any attempt to discuss the post. All the cool kids are doing it. But you'd think they'd at least take it to MeTa which they know is the proper place for their bitching.
posted by nixerman at 1:06 PM on December 8, 2004


con't...

Don't be silly.
posted by rooftop secrets at 1:07 PM on December 8, 2004


Yet another only-in-America phenomenon.

America is the sole home to ultra-religious learning institutions and fundamentalist wingnuts?

What in the world do you base that on?
posted by dhoyt at 1:09 PM on December 8, 2004


NO.................................... jazz?
posted by The White Hat at 1:10 PM on December 8, 2004


ok, ok...not trying to be snarky here salamicis, because you are definitely right that Bob Jones has not been in the news outside of the US with any frequency. Also, nixerman, salamicis was trying to state that the post was good because he hadn't heard about it before, as he is not located in the US. Pay attention...
posted by rooftop secrets at 1:12 PM on December 8, 2004


i_am_joe's_spleen - If you apply at a place run by other BJUers, it's as if your CV is written in gold.
posted by socratic at 1:12 PM on December 8, 2004


So you post a few links from world media and this automatically means us non-Americans have heard all about it, and therefore the post was redundant? Get real.
posted by salmacis at 1:13 PM on December 8, 2004


I think dhoyt, that it was in reference to christianity, and even at that they are pretty fricken wrong. I think the interesting difference here in the states is that in most places Christianity is fairly politically cowed as a result of a grievous history of injustice ala the inquisition, colonialism, etc. Except of course here in the states. Which is why you have such rampantly politically active fundamentalist christianity that is fairly unique in the world.
posted by Freen at 1:15 PM on December 8, 2004


How serious is this institution?

Not very. It's not accredited, and they're not in danger of getting it any time soon.

If I applied for a job and my CV says my degree is from BJU, is it worthless?

Depends on the job. A standard white-collar manager may not notice, but any HR person worth their salt would have a good chuckle. The thing is, people who graduate from BJU tend to keep to their own "world", so the question is a bit moot.
posted by mkultra at 1:15 PM on December 8, 2004


I've heard tell of the proverbial bucket of cocks, but never have I seen such a pile-on of pricks.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:15 PM on December 8, 2004


dhoyt, in other Western countries overtly religious tertiary education insitutions like this don't exist to my knowledge, (excepting seminaries and bible colleges). To me this is a Bizarro university - just like a real one in every respect except one.

Yeah, I know about Pakistani madrassas etc, but they aren't self-consciously parallel implementations of Western higher learning.

I stand by the "only in America". You're the only Western country religious enough for this to happen in. If you don't understand how incredibly weird this is to those of us who live in more secular societies, maybe you need to get around more.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:17 PM on December 8, 2004


ori,

First of all, let me say how much more pleasurable it is to NOT be on the bottom of such a dogpile. Usually it is me who catches shit from all the oldbies.

Now, to the practical advice: To anyone who has been paying attention to politics and religion for any length of time, this is old news. If you thought it wasn't, the first thing you do before constructing a post with all those links would have been to check out the Search function to see if this is a double post. In this case, it is. (I found the page by plugging Bob Jones University into MeFi Search.)

If you are aware of the earlier post, but you have updated information you think MeFi will be interested in, you can put a link to the old post and mention it in your FPP, and maybe explain why your post is not a double (or if it is, at least say something like "I know this has been posted before, but it's been awhile and I think it is relevant enough to bring up again.") Doing so might head the hecklers off at the pass, but won't stop all of them.

As someone who has been piled on repeatedly, my advice to you is to take this with a grain of salt and move on. If people rub your nose in it a week from now, tell 'em to piss off.

[On Spell Check: Why isn't "shit" in the dictionary?]
posted by Doohickie at 1:22 PM on December 8, 2004


They are the people who decided that Prohibition was a good idea.

Freen, just a minor point-- part of the impetus behind Prohibition was feminist, in the sense that it was an attempt to reduce the amount of domestic violence, abuse, and abandonment associated with alcoholism. I'm not necessarily defending Prohibition, but just saying that it wasn't all about religion; it was partly intended as a bit of social engineering aimed at trying to protect women and children.
posted by jokeefe at 1:24 PM on December 8, 2004


This place is way stricter than the Bible college I spent a semester at.

You need to know that this is what people in my world call a Fundamentalist college. Not nondenominational (usually but not always that refers to those of us who "speak in tongues.")

I would not be welcome at this college for a couple of reasons-one, I am a charismatic, two, I am all for contemporary Christian. Why should the Devil have all the good music?

In other words, this school is simply one stream of many in the river that is Christianity.

(I will say one other thing-the instructions regarding dress are ridiculous and picky, but only because you generally cannot tell kids that age to dress modestly and expect they know what modest IS. )
posted by konolia at 1:27 PM on December 8, 2004


To anyone who has been paying attention to politics and religion

Have you been paying close attention to British or New Zealand politics or religion? For the last time, Metafilter is international, not just Amercan, and those of you who think otherwise should travel more.
posted by salmacis at 1:27 PM on December 8, 2004


rooftop secrets, I know what salamicis was saying and I was agreeing with him.

I've heard about BJU many times in the past. (It's hard not to after W made his appearance). But it's always been in passing and never any meaningful analysis.

ori made a good post by volunteering several good links that'd facilitate such an analysis. Reading over the links provided, specifically the University Creed, a lot of questions popped into my head. (Can we really call this a 'university'? Why aren't they accredited? Is there a difference between BJU and the many other (more moderate) Christian universities?)

But instead of any ensuing intelligent discussion we get a lot of idiots who insist on bitching in the blue. C'est la vie.
posted by nixerman at 1:29 PM on December 8, 2004


Still working on their accreditation, I see.

"Currently Bob Jones University is engaged in the process of pursuing accreditation through Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), a distinguished national accrediting body." TRACS says about itself:

"TRACS is recognized by both the United States Department of Education, and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. ... TRACS was established in 1979 to promote the welfare, interests, and development of postsecondary institutions, whose mission is characterized by a distinctly Christian purpose, as defined in our Foundational Standards."

If you read the TRACS Accreditation Manual (PDF) (94 pages; not recommended), you won't find the word "biology" at all. And the closest that I can find to a requirement that natural science couses (biology, palentology, geology, etc.) be somewhat scientific is (p. 36):

10.4. The curriculum must be appropriate for the educational level and must be consistent with national norms.
a. The academic program is comparable with similar institutions.
b. The educational experiences are appropriate for educational level.

The general education requirement for all BA students, in this area, is "a minimum of three semester hours in ... natural sciences/math." (p. 35)

It is left as an exercise to the reader to see what a search on evolution, from within the BJU.edu site, shows about the extent to which the BJU faculty's position on this (apparently) controversial subject can be considered to be dispassionate and even-handed (and, dare I say, consistent with scientific norms, let alone "comparable with similar institutions"). For example:

"Although Bob Jones University is primarily a teaching institution, the members of the science faculty have a long tradition of speaking, writing, and doing research related to defending the Bible's account of creation."
posted by WestCoaster at 1:31 PM on December 8, 2004


To anyone who has been paying attention to politics and religion.

You left out "American" in that sentence. Was that intentional?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:34 PM on December 8, 2004


Jokeefe: True, after doing some quick research, it wasn't really the fundies who advocated prohibition. But it is still people trying to tell other people how to live their lives concerning relatively non-destructive behavior. ( Me personally I'm not a big fan of alcohol. I can't for the life of me think of a good reason why it should be legal if Pot isn't, with the sole exception that it's been around a lot longer in western culture than pot has....)

I mean, you are right though.

An interesting topic for examination however, is the relationship between dry counties and voting tendencies in texas....
posted by Freen at 1:34 PM on December 8, 2004


konolia, your "one stream of many" comment is a bit interesting but also I think possibly glossing over something important. Is extremist Wahhabbism "one stream of many" in Islam? Does that mean it should be, as seems to be the case with BJU, "tolerated" (read: ignored).

The analogy may be too much of a stretch but I'd be interested to know just how extremist BJU is considered by most people.
posted by nixerman at 1:36 PM on December 8, 2004


We stand against the one world government, against the coming world of the antichrist.

vs.

The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves...these clergy, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ. —Thomas Jefferson

Ah, savory irony.
posted by rushmc at 1:39 PM on December 8, 2004


Can you find instances of Bob Jones University appearing in non-American media?

International Herald Tribune, France.

Maisonnueve, Canada.

ABS-CBN News, Philippines.

Turkish Press, Turkey.

Edmonton Sun, Canada.

That was five minutes of seaching on Google news.
posted by gd779 at 1:39 PM on December 8, 2004


You left out "American" in that sentence. Was that intentional?

No. How Ameri-centric of me. Sorry. I see that ori lives in Canada, so I suppose I would have been more correct to specify United States politics and religion. The biggest point I hoped to get across to ori was that a look into MeFi search could have led to a slight rewording that would have prevented some lambasting from oldbies.
posted by Doohickie at 1:49 PM on December 8, 2004


Sorry, nixerman...misread your comment there. Thought it was directed at salmacis instead of to him since it started with his name. Apologies ;-)
posted by rooftop secrets at 1:51 PM on December 8, 2004


gd779, OK true, But how about this, Find some random person on the street and ask them about bob jones university, and some equivalent off the wall left wing thing, like greenpeace.

Compare and contrast.

"Bob Jones University" Google score of 140,000

"Greenpeace" Google Score of 3,830,000
posted by Freen at 1:54 PM on December 8, 2004


Err...Nobody here has mentioned Al Franken's chapter in Lies where he visits BJU. Hilarity ensues. Beliefnet interviewed him about his vist to BJU here.
posted by mds35 at 1:55 PM on December 8, 2004


My grandmother spent a semester at Bob Jones sometime before the Depression. It was too fundamentalist even for her, and she came from a very strict, upper Midwestern Presbyterian upbringing.

BJU really is the standard by which all other religious colleges and universities must be judged. I challenge you to find an American college more fundamentalist than BJU.

There was once a rumor that Bob Jones had blue and pink sidewalks for men and women respectively. There was also a blue jeans ban for a while, if I remember correctly.

I believe that Bob Jones IV is not planning to succeed his father.
posted by marcusb at 2:09 PM on December 8, 2004


*cross harms*
*put on stubborn face*

I'm not going!
posted by NewBornHippy at 2:13 PM on December 8, 2004


bob jones university, and some equivalent off the wall left wing thing, like greenpeace

WTF!?
posted by danOstuporStar at 2:25 PM on December 8, 2004


How the holy crap do you make the claim that greenpeace is some equivalent to BJU?
posted by xmutex at 2:41 PM on December 8, 2004


all Internet use must go through the University's filtered access 'cause you know we have to keep our students isolated from the evil Internets.

wonder what exactly is fltered out by their server? i'd love to see a short list of the more interesting ones (obviously no porn, or music, but really - what else is eliminated for the poor, sheltered students?)
posted by caution live frogs at 2:47 PM on December 8, 2004


What good is an academic degree in the afterlife?
posted by AlexReynolds at 2:49 PM on December 8, 2004


This is a crap post for many, many reasons. I understand the perspective of the poster, though. ori naively thought that BJU was a bit more obscure than it really is. Mefites and news-watchers in general already know all about it. That's mistake number #1. Then there comes the framing of the post itself which has a 'point and laugh at the stupid christians' feeling. When crafting a post it's a good idea to retain an objective voice. Otherwise we get the kind of pissing match this thread has become. People saying that religion is mind control, or that religion is evil don't have much to say about religion otherwise so they aren't that illuminating to listen too.

So when trying to make a mefi post assume that people already know all about what you're going to post and try not to come off as preachy or hysterical when you post. The result will be either people dissing you for posting something they've seen before or a battle royal between a bunch of people over the existence of god. (as if anyone will ever be able to prove or disprove the existence of god while sitting in their underwear and playing with the internet. Fools.)
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:50 PM on December 8, 2004


NO.................................... jazz?

'Tis the very sounds of the opium dens of darkest Africa. Leads to suggestive toe-tapping. No jazz allowed.

Also, while humbling myself as nowhere near an old-timer, I have been around long enough to notice a difference, and there's been a marked increase in comments like "Exactly how does this qualify as best of the web?!" of late. It's shouldn't ruin your day if an FPP is slighty below average, should it?
posted by mikrophon at 2:59 PM on December 8, 2004


Meh. Every noob thinks his post is the most original, best thing on the web. Some are right, some aren't. A little feedback doesn't hurt.
posted by Doohickie at 3:15 PM on December 8, 2004


I am not equivocating them in any way. I would say that bob jones university is a christian fundamentalist advocacy group/institution. Greenpeace is a far left advocacy group/ insitution. Thats all. I'm sure there are discussions at BJU about how nuttball Greenpeace is. For the far right, i think greenpeace is pretty much exemplary of the far left.

I'm not saying it is equivalent. I actually tend to agree with Greenpeace on quite a few points, But i am point out what would be fairly polar oppositesidealistically, and their various levels of exposure in the internet, and in general mindspace vary quite remarckably.

Think of them as different sides of "Vast XYZ-Wing conspiracy".

I've had conversations with people who were fairly adamant that GreenPeace and the Rainbow warrior were actually soviet spies, and were attempting to infiltrate the government, as well as place sonar bouys for the soviets in the arctic.

Lets pick another Left wing organization, say Media Matters, or MoveOn. Ones that have been called "Joeseph Goebbles stuff" by our favorite on-air falafaliscious gasbag, O'Reilly.

BJU is effectively unheard of, as are a large number of powerful fundamentalist organizations. We know about them primarily through troutfishing, Y2karl et al. I think these things should be brought to light.
posted by Freen at 3:21 PM on December 8, 2004


Is there similar amounts of screen time? who gets analyzed and critiqued? Would it have been problematic for John Kerry to announce his candidacy at a greenpeace rally? Whereas George Bush announced his at BJU?

I think the answers are clear. But then again, I might be wrong.
posted by Freen at 3:25 PM on December 8, 2004


Yes I did use the word equivalent. I probably shouldn't have. sorry.
posted by Freen at 3:29 PM on December 8, 2004


I should clarify that before posting this FPP, I was reading through this site with six or seven colleagues of mine (I work and study at a local university). None of them had heard about this institution.

If my post reeked of pornographic gawking, it's because I was genuinely astonished at what I was reading. It seems like several other non-American readers who were previously unfamiliar with BJU are, too. I had no idea whatsoever that BJU has become the standard cultural emblem of Christian fundamentalism. My search through metafilter didn't produce much other than the odd comment -- I don't know how I missed the earlier post -- possibly a typo on my behalf. At any rate, I didn't realize how familiar BJU was, so I tried to make my post representative of what I found surprising about the institution.

I can accept that I could've been more thoughtful here. I certainly didn't expect the outpouring of cheap sarcasm and venom, though, which I sense to be coming mostly from moderate Americans and Christians who feel somehow implicated by the existence of this university and are just barking wildly to distract attention away from this phenomenon.
posted by ori at 3:36 PM on December 8, 2004




Aye aye aye aye yi....which stream to follow here?

1) I have heard of BJU, even read Al Franken's post, but the rule book was very interesting. I cannot understand how they get away with treating their college students like children. No going to movies? No living off campus until 23? No watching videos with a rating over G? No interracial dating w/o letter from parents? I am simply amazed they don't have full scale riots on their hands.

2) WCTU= Women's Christian Temperance Union. Methodists were big into this. My Grandmother was an active member. And while they may have been misguided, their hearts were in the right place. Too many men going out and drinking up the paycheck because the bars were made so attractive. Do some background reading on this some time-- it is fascinating. I strongly recommend Up In The Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell: fascinating stories about nasty bars in old NY and the drunks who loved them.

3) Bad, bad dog! No pissing on the blue. You go on the grey.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:52 PM on December 8, 2004


Al Franken's BOOK
Al Franken's BOOK
Al Franken's BOOK

(aye aye aye aye yi!)
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:55 PM on December 8, 2004


You folks looking for a funny should really check out some of those links up there. The slogans for the uni's are pretty hilarious.

"Evangel University: Boldly Christian. Unquestionably academic."

More comprehensive list of Christian colleges/universities.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:33 PM on December 8, 2004


As much as anything else, it blows my mind that there don't seem to be any controls on the term "university". It appears that on my successful emigration to the US I could start enrolling students at the University of Joe's Spleen's Garage and awarding doctorates in Biblical Automotive Engineering and there is nothing anyone could do about it.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:48 PM on December 8, 2004


Let's not make the logical fallacy of lumping all colleges with a religious affiliation into the same category. There are a number of extremely credible, academically rigorous institutions that happen to also hold faith convictions. They are not all as whacky as BJU.
posted by marcusb at 5:11 PM on December 8, 2004


I had to laugh....on your list up there you have Judson College. My boy went to school for a year at Marion Military Institute -which is right down the road from Judson, which is a women's college. Those two schools make up the bulk of the tiny little town of Marion, Alabama. I think Judson is a Baptist institution. Purty little bitty Southern campus with trees and nice old buildings and all.

All in all rather anachronistic and cute.

As to my son, he did his time at MMI and is now enjoying the tender mercies of the Air Force Academy. Where today as a matter of fact, he has, along with the rest of the class of '08, finally been given permission to listen to music for the first time since they have been enrolled.
posted by konolia at 5:15 PM on December 8, 2004


konolia, your "one stream of many" comment is a bit interesting but also I think possibly glossing over something important. Is extremist Wahhabbism "one stream of many" in Islam? Does that mean it should be, as seems to be the case with BJU, "tolerated" (read: ignored).

The analogy may be too much of a stretch but I'd be interested to know just how extremist BJU is considered by most people.


Pretty extreme.

But while I understand you were trying to make a point, please remember that we haven't had any Bob Jones fundamentalists blowing themselves up on crowded buses or streets, or blowing up buildings, or hijacking planes.

I really don't think they make up a huge percentage of American Christianity, anyway, if that is what you were wondering.

One of these days when I am in the right mood I ought to make a front page post with some links to give yall some ideas about how varied the Christian faith is in all its flavors. We'll see.
posted by konolia at 5:20 PM on December 8, 2004


This is a good post, thanks ori.
And I would like to second this:

"You're the only Western country religious enough for this to happen in. If you don't understand how incredibly weird this is to those of us who live in more secular societies, maybe you need to get around more."
posted by mr.marx at 5:25 PM on December 8, 2004


But while I understand you were trying to make a point, please remember that we haven't had any Bob Jones fundamentalists blowing themselves up on crowded buses or streets, or blowing up buildings, or hijacking planes.

Why should they? They already own the GOP.
posted by amberglow at 5:36 PM on December 8, 2004


after reading the letter to the president from bob jones, i'm surprised no one mentioned anything about the seperation of church and state.
posted by EvilKenji at 5:47 PM on December 8, 2004


EvilKenji: That is essentially what I have been ranting and raving about all over this thread. Probably a bit excessively.
posted by Freen at 5:56 PM on December 8, 2004


oh sorry, guess i wasnt paying too much attention, i tend to skim over the really long comments :-p
posted by EvilKenji at 6:41 PM on December 8, 2004


"QuestionableSwami, ask yourself this: if this post linked to a Muslim School or a Yeshiva (many of which place severe regulations on their students as well) would you be as comfortable bashing it?"

Here in America we've got a problem with nutjob Protestants.

In other parts of the world they've got problems with nutjob Muslims.

I guess in Israel they've got problems with nutjob Judaism, or some people would say the nutjob Judaism in Israel causes problems for other people.

Christian, Islamic, Jewish, all that fundamentalism shit is the same.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 6:48 PM on December 8, 2004


jonmc, yeshivot and madrassas are explicitly for teaching religion. BJU, and the other places Civil dug up, are faux universities. They are worthy of mockery in that they ape the real thing. If BJU were a seminary or a theological school, it would be cruel to mock it, but since it aspires to be a university I think it's fair game.

For the record, I once cruelly teased a pair of Hasids at a seder. They were explaining to me that people are supposed to eat meat, because in doing so they glorify the animal kingdom, just animals glorify the plant kingdom and plants the mineral kingdom. I asked them where carnivorous plants fit in, and it turned out that they were entirely ignorant of all biology except so far as it pertained to kashrut. My Orthodox rabbi brother-in-law likewise has heard my scorn for his disbelief in evolution. I am an equal-opportunity scorner. If you can find a bizarro Orthodox university, do post, and I shall mock that as well.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:04 PM on December 8, 2004


BJU really is the standard by which all other religious colleges and universities must be judged. I challenge you to find an American college more fundamentalist than BJU.

What about BYU?

"We would tape electrodes to their groin, thigh, chest and armpits. We had another machine that would monitor their breathing and heart rate. If there was a difference in their heart rate when looking at homosexual pornography, we would turn a dial which would send a current to shock them. "
- from Legacies, a documentary by sean weakland
posted by MarkO at 7:35 PM on December 8, 2004


please remember that we haven't had any Bob Jones fundamentalists blowing themselves up on crowded buses or streets, or blowing up buildings, or hijacking planes.

Perhaps you've forgotten about Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph, Paul Hill, and David Lane.
posted by fandango_matt at 8:18 PM on December 8, 2004


Well, I live in the US, and I've heard of BJU a lot as a result - mostly because of the primary, as people mentioned. I still liked the links. I'd never looked at the university's website before, and I find it fascinating. That part I enjoyed - the really tedious, overdone, boring part was the dozens of posts saying "these guys are scary assholes," or "ha ha, what dorks" (which I don't think the fpp was doing). Yeah, like we haven't heard that before on MetaFilter. Way to contribute to our understanding.

I think konolia is right on - these guys are way more extreme than most evangelical colleges, including the ones on the list. I ran into some guys from Azusa Pacific University lately, and they had dreadlocks and piercings and said "dude" a lot while explaining their theology - it was California-style evangelicalism. Bob Jones would have laughed them out. I mean, no contemporary Christian music? That's like an environmentalist group forbidding vegetarianism because only vegans can truly have a clear conscience. Not like Greenpeace at all - maybe Earth First!, or the Maoist International Movement.
posted by ramakrishna at 8:43 PM on December 8, 2004


If BJU were a seminary or a theological school, it would be cruel to mock it

I'd just like to say thanks to IAJS for noticing this. There were a BUNCH of places that were mere seminaries (ENOUGH with the SEXUAL INUENDO!!) but I tried to avoid them because they don't put on any pretense. To quote from BAD, or the Dumbing of America:
The state of Virginia is one where it is apparently easy to invoke these misleading terms: consider TV evangelist Pat Robertson's "CBN University" at Virginia Beach and Jerry Falwell's "Liberty University" at Lynchburg.

Falwell's operation, now the largest private "university" in Virginia, is a good example of unearned promotion by renaming: as late as 1983 it still adhered to some elementary standards of honesty, calling itself Liberty Baptist College. It hadn't yet elevated itself into pretended parity with real universities, identifiable as places inviting the free play of the skeptical mind over all subjects without regard for the consequences.

There is actually one "university" in the Middle West which announces that it accepts only "Christian" students willing to abjure dancing, gambling, smoking, drinking, and swearing. Chapel attendance is compulsory, and most of its degrees are in (surprise!) "education."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:52 PM on December 8, 2004


Jane magazine had an article about BJU a few years back that was really interesting.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:22 PM on December 8, 2004


"You're the only Western country religious enough for this to happen in. If you don't understand how incredibly weird this is to those of us who live in more secular societies, maybe you need to get around more."

BJU is an extreme case, and has been gawked at by the mainstream in this country for years. The ban on interracial dating was a big controversey for a while, but then they lifted it. Yeah, it's definitely a weird weird place. But it is also safely ensconced in its own weird little world, and in no danger of impacting real american education. When it's referenced in the news, which it is commonly, it is referenced as an extreme in american culture, and not as a creditable institution.
posted by mdn at 9:26 PM on December 8, 2004


mdn, if I graduated with an education degree from BJU - or another of the fine "universities" CD linked to - could I become science teacher?

I'm asking about this because I'm trying to figure out whether graduates of these institutions can in fact "impact real American education" (or indeed education in any country) if people aren't aware of the nature of those institutions (which I wasn't).

I am glad to see we agree that there is a distinction between real and the, err, less than real.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:48 PM on December 8, 2004


Let's not make the logical fallacy of lumping all colleges with a religious affiliation into the same category.
posted by marcusb at 5:11 PM PST on December 8


Good point.
One of my graduate professors mentioned the other day that at no less an institution than the University of Texas, professors were required, as recently as the 1950's or 60s, to sign a statement that they believed in an original creator. Perhaps urban myth, but comes from a fairly reliable source (my school is about 30 min south of UT).
posted by papakwanz at 10:08 PM on December 8, 2004


Thank you for posting those links ori. Fascinating.
posted by Prince Nez at 10:30 PM on December 8, 2004


I like this juxtaposition on the University's Residence Hall Life page:

"You may not possess or play computer and video games rated T, M, or A or having elements of blood and gore..."

which is rather closely followed by:

"All weapons must be turned in for storage. Trigger locks are required for pistols. Fireworks are not permitted on campus."

... so you may bring your pistol to campus, but may not play a game in which a pistol is depicted. Neat!
posted by killdevil at 10:31 PM on December 8, 2004


could I become science teacher?

Maybe in Mississippi or some other God-fearing state. You'd get laughed out of the northeast if a Oral Roberts teaching degree was all you had.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:57 AM on December 9, 2004


Hey, ORU is not a bad school. A highly respected doctor here in town went there as an undergrad. The man is absolutely brilliant.
posted by konolia at 4:12 AM on December 9, 2004


Many from Northen Ireland would know about BJU. They're the reason the lengendary Rev. Ian Paisley calls himself Dr.
posted by Damienmce at 6:44 AM on December 9, 2004


For the record, I once cruelly teased a pair of Hasids at a seder.

Your mother must be so proud.
posted by jonmc at 6:45 AM on December 9, 2004


Hey, ORU is not a bad school. A highly respected doctor here in town went there as an undergrad. The man is absolutely brilliant.

Non-sequitur, thy name is bunnyfire konolia.
posted by bshort at 7:36 AM on December 9, 2004


But it is also safely ensconced in its own weird little world, and in no danger of impacting real american education.

I think that's a tad optimistic in a country where the likes of Falwell and Robertson can be quoted by journalists as serious political commentators.
posted by rushmc at 8:26 AM on December 9, 2004


mdn, if I graduated with an education degree from BJU - or another of the fine "universities" CD linked to - could I become science teacher?

Lumping them all together is missing the particular weirdness of BJU. Oral Roberts is an accredited university and while not considered any sort of excellent school, it is perfectly acceptable to become a high school teacher with a degree from a place like that. I do not know if they offer biology majors.

Bob Jones is not accredited. A degree from BJU therefore does not give you any credibility. You will only be able to work within the community that respects the degree, which does not include the public school systems as far as I know. Although state laws may vary, in the northeast one is usually required to have an advanced accredited degree to become a science teacher (ie, maybe a BS in bio and an MA in teaching, or something) so I'd be surprised if the standards are so low in other areas to allow someone without even a real BA to teach science! Of course, we do have a shortage of science teachers...
posted by mdn at 8:38 AM on December 9, 2004


A highly respected doctor here in town went there as an undergrad.

Just in case you misunderstood bshort's comment, your doctor-friend did end up going to a real school afterwards to get his medical training, so my point stands. I was unawares that ORU was actually acredited, however. The world suddenly has become a little scarier.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:45 AM on December 9, 2004


Again, I think dismissing a school because it's religiously affiliated is a terrible mistake. While there are plenty of places like BJU that lack serious accreditation, there are many schools that are fully accredited, and well regarded by outside arbiters for their academics.

A quick look at the U.S. News rankings of liberal arts colleges brings up these in the top 100 -- Wheaton, Presbyterian, St. Mary's, Sewanee university of the South, College of the Holy Cross

In the rankings of universities, I was surprised to see BYU listed at #74, Baylor at #84, and Catholic University at #111.

So for every Bob Jones and backwater Bible college, there are a number of serious academic institutions from the same tradition.

On preview, Civil_Disobedient, why is is scary that ORU is accredited? Have you ever sat in on a class there to judge the curriculum for yourself or are you just jumping to that conclusion based on your own religious prejudices?
posted by marcusb at 8:50 AM on December 9, 2004


Wow. I was not aware that BJU was unaccredited, though I'm not surprised. Most of the religious schools I know of are not nearly that extreme. I think they have a few more restrictions about staying over with someone of the opposite sex, and there's (supposed to be) no alcohol. I remember when Garrison Keillor and Robert Pinsky visited Calvin College for a lecture, Keillor made some sort of comment that Pinsky was disppointed at the lack of alcohol at their luncheon :)
posted by dagnyscott at 10:14 AM on December 9, 2004


I don't think that Calvin prohibits alcohol. Of all the religious schools I'm aware of, Calvin is one of the least uptight about rules like that. In fact, I don't think Calvin even requires students to sign a statement of faith. Most Reformed people I've met don't have any real hang-ups about alcohol.
posted by marcusb at 10:59 AM on December 9, 2004


Have you ever sat in on a class there to judge the curriculum for yourself or are you just jumping to that conclusion based on your own religious prejudices?

I feel any place calling itself a university should not have bed checks, curfews, dress codes, restricted television viewing, and required religious service attendance (you are fined if you skip chapel service). If you don't mind Soviet-style brainwashing (try reading their student newspaper), then you might be alright. If you never question authority, you'll fit right in (for example, the esteemed cult leader Richard Roberts claimed he and his wife "saved themselves for each other," which is truly amazing considering he had children with his first wife).

DID YOU KNOW?
  • Roberts said that the Bible teaches a doctrine called "Seed Faith," where people who donate their money will get it all back with interest from God!
  • Mr. Oral Roberts tried to raise money for his "City of Faith" in Tulsa, Oklahoma (a medical center dedicated to faith-healing) by telling his TV viewers that God would kill him if they didn't send him $8 million for scholarships to City of Faith medical missionaries?
  • After raising $9.1 million, he discontinued the program, and then demanded that the students repay the money at 18 percent interest.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:40 PM on December 9, 2004


I guess I don't understand how enforcing standards of conduct, which the students are submitting to voluntarily since they are paying to attend the university, is a detriment to education. The few students I've met that have attended ORU seemed like pretty well-adjusted people. I'm guessing if you choose to enroll at ORU, most of these rules either don't both you or you are already practicing them anyway. I'm sure they could say that anyplace calling itself shouldn't have students dying from alcohol poisoning, women being victims of date rape, and rampant cheating and plagiarism -- all of which have been well-documented on state university campuses.
posted by marcusb at 6:16 PM on December 9, 2004


I feel any place calling itself a university should not have bed checks, curfews, dress codes, restricted television viewing, and required religious service attendance (you are fined if you skip chapel service).

So, you're saying no one who attended Oxford University in the 1850s got a real university education?
posted by straight at 8:22 PM on December 9, 2004


Most Reformed people I've met don't have any real hang-ups about alcohol.

Have you ever been to Hudsonville?
posted by dagnyscott at 8:33 PM on December 9, 2004


Hah! 1850s Oxford would no longer class as a university.

I am well aware that universities themselves arose as an outgrowth of centres for clerical teaching, and I can sing gaudeamus in the original Latin, come to that. However, what things were need not dictate what they are.

A modern university is, ideally, or according to my ideals anyway, a home for free thought, which is by nature incompatible with institutional religious doctrine.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:04 PM on December 9, 2004


I'm guessing if you choose to enroll at ORU, most of these rules either don't both[er] you or you are already practicing them anyway.

Or else your college education is being paid for by your parents and they are sending you there to "help you be a good Christian" (translation: keep you under their thumbs). I'd wager a good chunk of the students at any religious college are there against their wishes, making the best of a bad situation.
posted by kindall at 10:10 PM on December 9, 2004


Hah! 1850s Oxford would no longer class as a university.

Hmph. Maybe in the natural sciences. But I'll bet the undergraduate degree awarded at Oxford or Harvard in Literature or History or Mathematics or even Physics in 1850 would kick the ass of most such degrees given by most universities today. And they managed that with dress codes, curfews, and no TV, video games, or rock music! Amazing!

(Not that I want to defend BJU one little bit, but the idea that you can't have a Real University with a dress code, or even without listening to country music seems absurd.)
posted by straight at 10:25 PM on December 9, 2004


Not that I want to defend BJU one little bit, but the idea that you can't have a Real University with a dress code, or even without listening to country music seems absurd.

Please try to remember context. This isn't the 1850's.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:55 PM on December 9, 2004


ori naively thought that BJU was a bit more obscure than it really is.

Maybe it is obscure to your average Canadian. Can you tell me, without looking anything up, how to get to Guelph from Ottawa? And what language do the Metis speak at home?


Mefites and news-watchers in general already know all about it.

ALL "Mefites"? (Are "Mefites" a nation from Another Testament of Jesus Christ?) As for "news-watchers in general" -- whoa, that's the group who thinks Saddam was fixin' to nuke Paducah.

To me BJU is a tiny crappy fundy college Aaron McGruder made jokes about a while back, in connection with a speech there by that fool Keyes. So yeah, it is pretty obscure; hardly the kind of prerequisite I'd insist on, unlike your/you're.
posted by davy at 11:01 PM on December 9, 2004


I feel any place calling itself a university should not have bed checks, curfews, dress codes, restricted television viewing,

I don't see what any of these have to do with getting a proper education. In fact it seems perfectly legitimate to claim that restrictions on some of these things could be beneficial for students. We have come to culturally think of college as our first taste of freedom, but that is commonly to the detriment of our actual scholarship - ie, people who did well in school living under their parents' rules end up partying or getting caught up in the social scene in college and lose track of the academic aspect. I'm not saying one should necessarily be considered over the other, but your argument against the restrictions is purely cultural & has no bearing on how much you learn intellectually (there is no inherent reason that learning to navigate the world without guidance should be part of college education as opposed to the next step after you graduate with a stronger intellectual foothold, etc).

and required religious service attendance (you are fined if you skip chapel service).

this is a stronger argument but still seems pretty weak to me. It's a private university. Some schools will have requirements you disagree with... attending a service does not equal mind control, to start with. In high school, I was required to take a class in bible study, which as an atheist I vehemently opposed at the time. But the class turned out to be really interesting. It didn't change my beliefs at all, but I was exposed to something I probably wouldn't have spent time considering otherwise (actually I wrote about it here a looong time ago.) Anyway, the point is that in itself, a regulation like that does not necessitate a poor education.

Basically, I think plenty of our secular schools are at least as depressing in terms of academic standards... the whole "party school" mentality doesn't seem any better than a religious focus.
posted by mdn at 12:28 AM on December 10, 2004


I feel any place calling itself a university should not have bed checks, curfews, dress codes, restricted television viewing,


You just described the Air Force Academy.
posted by konolia at 4:01 AM on December 10, 2004


Anyway, the point is that in itself, a regulation like that does not necessitate a poor education.

Right, it's not proof, it's merely evidence. Just as the history of the school is evidence. Take it all in, however, and it doesn't look good.

You just described the Air Force Academy

Oh? Lots of enforced religious service there?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:06 AM on December 10, 2004


I'd wager a good chunk of the students at any religious college are there against their wishes, making the best of a bad situation.

Then you haven't been to any of these colleges.

I guess what I'm getting at is sure, what these types of schools require of their students might seem backwards to you, but again, it's a choice that these students are making, and the end result is that these students are better educated than their counterparts at secular colleges. I mean, education itself requires a large amount of discipline and self-denial. It means choosing the harder road of studying than the easier road of self-indulgence. A lot of these schools are reinforcing those ideas through some of their rules. You might not like them, but no one is asking you to go there. I just don't think these kinds of rules necessarily makes the school illegitimate or inferior.
posted by marcusb at 11:40 AM on December 10, 2004


But I'll bet the undergraduate degree awarded at Oxford or Harvard in Literature or History or Mathematics or even Physics in 1850 would kick the ass of most such degrees given by most universities today. - straight

You might be surprised. The liberal arts program at Oxford was, in 1850, still pretty much dominated by a very Medieval sensibility. They didn't have any sort of "Literature" program in the sense that we would understand. They didn't even start teaching ENGLISH literature until around 1900. What most students probably did was read a lot of latin works, and I'm not sure how diverse their degrees were. In fact, I think around 1850 was when they first started their transformation into what we would recognize as a modern university.
posted by papakwanz at 5:59 PM on December 10, 2004


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