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Coming Apart at the Seams

Bully University Sign
Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson for John Shore (click for source)

I blogged before about the issue of Bob Jones University having Chuck Phelps remain on its board of trustees after the facts about Phelps’ inappropriate conduct became public as a result of Ernie Willis’ trial for the rape of 15 year old Tina Anderson. In that previous post, I stated that I could see no way Bob Jones University could have been unaware of Chuck Phelps’ inappropriate conduct when Phelps became aware of the fact that Ernie Willis, a member of Phelps’ congregation, was repeatedly raping a child, another member of Phelps’ congregation.

The audio and transcript below make it abundantly clear that Bob Jones, III, was intimately aware of what had gone on with Chuck Phelps as Jones personally claims to have thoroughly investigated the matter and concluded Phelps had done nothing wrong. Done nothing wrong? You have got to be kidding me! But you know what, Jones’ heart is probably so frozen and impenetrable he probably can’t see the obvious!

I forced myself to listen to the entire audio tape, and, for me, the following things stand out (in no particular order):

  • Jones repeatedly, from the very outset of the conversation, tries to control, even dominate, the conversation and avoid answering the lady’s simple question. He tries to go down several different rabbit holes. She is able to keep him on point.
  • To me Jones’ tone is at times terribly condescending, disingenuous, and incredibly defensive. When you do what is right, you don’t need to defend, just explain.
  • Jones said he has not read the transcript of the trial, though he claims to have conducted a thorough investigation into this matter (What? A phone call to Chuck?), and is unaware that every court creates a transcript of its proceedings? Please! In my world, this is called lying.
  • Does Jones really believe that getting and following a lot of bad advice from a bunch of men vested in damage control to be better than just doing what is right?
  • But most disturbing and revealing is the fact that Jones believes that forcing a child, who had been repeatedly raped by a member of her church who remained at the church in good standing, to stand up in front of the church and publicly lie about being raped, was the “Christian” thing to do: “the whole purpose [of Phelps’ actions] was the restoration of this girl and the help of this girl.” Restoration?! Help?! Has Jones no moral compass at all?!
  • Jones clearly and repeatedly states that he believes Phelps did nothing wrong and does not owe Tina an apology. I am flabbergasted!
  • Jones repeatedly states that Phelps went to the police four times about this repeated sexual abuse, and the police did nothing. My understanding from the TV report was that no record of Phelps’ reporting this to the police exists at all. Where did Jones unearth this evidence? In his thorough investigation that didn’t include reading the court transcripts?
  • Does Jones really believe that a minor (15 year old) can give legal consent for sex with a 38 year old married man? He repeatedly states that the sexual activity was “consensual” as if that absolves Phelps’ inappropriate conduct. Does this twisted way of thinking in any way make what happened here any less outrageous, immoral, or illegal to Jones? I mean, why does he repeatedly assert what is legally impossible? Isn’t this the “she was asking for it” so let’s blame the victim defense?
  • Jones repeatedly states that Tina’s mother thought Phelps’ handled the situation correctly and supports what Phelps did to her daughter. This screams out to me the dangers of living inside a modern day, mind controlling cult. To those who don’t understand why children can not escape from the fundamentalist cult, look carefully at this case study!

Chuck Phelps later resigned from the board, when the public outcry grew too great for the university to hush. The public clearly saw what Jones did not.

Bob Jones, III, in my humble opinion, behaved in a manner that, once again, has nothing to do with the spirit of Christ 1. After listening to this meeting, I feel as though I was standing too close to a broken sewage pipe that exploded, and a little bit of something foul and unspeakable splattered on me. I believe that Bob Jones, III, needs to be fired from the chancellorship and thrown off the BJU campus. His years of fouled leadership is one of the reasons the school and the independent fundamentalist brand have become irrelevant, hateful, and actually dangerous.

Here is the link to a transcript of the meeting audio presented below. I found it helpful to read the transcript as the audio was playing.


In Other BJU News

This week the current university president, Stephen Jones, announced he is resigning from his position as university president, claiming health reasons. When I was at the university, Stephen was a very young boy. He had an older brother, Bob Jones, IV, the heir apparent.

But where is Bob Jones, IV? Why is the intense silence that surrounds him all but deafening? Many believe an elephant is in the room.


1. Remember his statement that stoning gay people would solve the problem of homosexuality. Dude is just arrogant and mean, mean, mean!

9 thoughts on “Coming Apart at the Seams”

  1. I try to stay tuned-in but missed this one. It needs a much brighter light shined on it. Surely there is a minute or two in between the weeks of endless repetitive he said/she said political rant about Obamacare to squeeze in this scandal…

  2. Tim, I was very skeptical, until I heard Dr. Bob say, “The truth is she was raped but it was a consensual relationship.”
    So profoundly sad!

  3. Tim…. Thank you for publishing this and pointing folks to the audio. For some time now, it has been difficult for me to even hear III’s voice and I typically turn off whatever is broadcasting the voice immediately. So it was difficult to even push play on this. III has many “personalities” and this is one I have had personal interaction and experience with. It is condescending, belittling, arrogant, and narcissistic.

    He has been able to keep his nasty side out of the public eye. The REAL “Dr.” Robert Reynolds Jones, III has just stood up and taken center stage.

    I hope Larry Jackson, Hugh Clark, and other members of the Board at BJ University will listen to this and hear the real Jones and finally, after all these years, take action.

    I also hope they will do a REAL, world-wide search for another president and chose someone who is outside the traditional BJ University circles. BJ University needs someone who knows how to apologize for the sins of the fathers and make it clear those kinds of actions are no longer tolerated.

  4. I don’t follow anything about BJ, so I’ve seen nothing about this. How about linking the trial transcript you’re talking about.

  5. Please note and edit that it was the trial of Tina Anderson’s rapist or the rape trial of Ernie Willis. It is an important distinction.

  6. Thanks! I knew what you meant. It just made me cringe and I knew it would read better when fixed. Thank you for your quick response.

  7. The Phelps issue has cast BJU in a very bad light but it has drawn attention to BJU’s dealing with sex crimes on its campus (apparently they don’t bother to report them). I’m glad that BJU embraced Phelps as it drew a more critical eye to the complete lack of justice to victims of sexual assault at BJU! The internet is suppling the accountability that you should have taken yourselves. BJU will not prosper as long as it engages in coverups of sexual assaults on its campus!

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