They urged the university to hire GRACE, which had investigated allegations of sex abuse in two Christian missionary groups.To almost everyone’s surprise, seven months after the report aired, Bob Jones announced that it had listened.Anderson’s rapist, a registered sex offender, was made to confess as well—but to adultery, not rape—and he remained at the church for years.
Outsiders call the school the “mother ship” of fundamentalism; the university prefers another moniker, “the fortress of faith.” To call Bob Jones insular doesn’t quite cover it.
On its compound in Greenville, South Carolina, once surrounded in part by barbed wire, faculty children were, until recently, born at the on-campus hospital, raised in the K-12 Bob Jones Academy, educated at the university, then sent out into the world armed with a list of approved churches (mostly those that send the school students or money and that are often pastored by Bob Jones “preacher boys” like Phelps).
He is careful to say that there’s not enough data to compare the prevalence of child sex abuse in Protestant and Catholic institutions, but he’s convinced the problem has reached a crisis point. In 2012, Christian radio host Janet Mefferd declared, “This is an epidemic going on in churches. When are evangelicals going to wake up and say we have a massive problem in our own churches?
” For years, Protestants have assumed they were immune to the abuses perpetrated by celibate Catholic priests.
It’s hard to overstate the significance of the hire.
Bob Jones, founded in 1927, isn’t just any conservative Christian college; it’s the de facto center of the national Independent Fundamental Baptist network, which functions almost as a denomination unto itself, with thousands of affiliated churches, feeder schools, and businesses including Bob Jones’s textbook company, radio station, and music publisher.
A senior named Christopher Peterman started a Facebook group and website called Do Right BJU, which aimed to remove Phelps from the board and called for a range of reforms; he organized the first campus protest in the university’s history to raise awareness of sexual abuse.
Phelps resigned from the board of trustees in December 2011, just days before the rally.
So, take a stroll down memory lane to remember all of our past Word of the Year selections.
Tchividjian had become convinced that the Protestant world is teetering on the edge of a sex-abuse scandal similar to the one that had rocked the Catholic Church.
In 2011, an abuse scandal from years before had become national news with a report.