Readers - I don't ordinarily make two posts in one day, but wanted to get this video up on my blog this morning. [Don't overlook my post below on WFAA and Brett Shipp and Ed Young].
Below is a 10-minute video of Christopher Peterman, senior at Bob Jones University, telling how just days before he was to graduate he was expelled from school.
This video, and the events leading up to it at Bob Jones University, demonstrate just how powerful a force social media, including blogs and Facebook and YouTube, have become in exposing fundamentalist abuse and just plain old nonsensical actions of religious leaders of our day.
Chris Peterman is a hero. He has been kicked out of school days before graduation for daring to speak against his "leadership" and calling on them to do the right thing.
Chris is the student who started the Facebook page "DoRightBJU" late in 2011 in response to pastor Chuck Phelps being nominated for the board of trustees at Bob Jones University. Who is Chuck Phelps? He was the pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Concorde, New Hamphsire when Tina Anderson was raped by a member of the church. Read about it on the Watchdog here, here, here, and here.
The interviewer asks Chris how the BJU responded to Chris when he came back to school for the current semester after all the media exposure over the holidays regarding Chuck Phelps and Chris' public statements against Phelps as a trustee:
Chris: "When I cam back, I began having weekly meetings with the Dean of Men, I was required to attend these meetings."Chris goes on to explain how BJU put a resident assistant in his dorm to monitor his every action. He received demerits for watching the TV show Glee because of its "morally reprehensible" content.
Interviewer: "What was their reason?"
Chris: "That I needed spiritual help because I was not a good Christian. I had talked against my authority and I had brought shame to Bob Jones."
Interviewer: "What were they wanting to accomplish with these meetings?"
Chris: "They were hoping to accomplish a change in me. They wanted me to become exactly like them and to not speak out and to not have a voice. They wanted me to have their beliefs."
Chris was called into a final meeting with the "Dean of Men", and while they deliberated the fate of Chris' appeal, Chris decided to contact several news agencies and the Department of Education and the national accrediting agency for BJU.
While BJU thinks they are doing the will of God, the very work of Jesus in taking these actions against Chris, they don't even realize the mockery of their own faith that they are producing.
Below is a quote from Bob Felton's "Civil Commotion" website on this matter of Chris being expelled in part for watching Glee. - Bob is a skeptic of the Christian faith who regularly comments on nonsense he sees in churches that confirms his distaste for organized religion:
"I’m not kidding y’all: You really can’t make up how stupid and vicious fundamentalists actually are. They look just like everybody else, and are usually well-groomed and -mannered — but they are not part of the decent, educated world."This is why powerful Christian leaders today can't stand blogs and other social media - it exposes to the people they are trying to market - er, I mean reach for Jesus - of how nutty they can be. Sure, they love to use social media to promote themselves and their churches and their personal brands, but when it is used to express dissent and to criticize their ministries, they try to use their power to punish those who speak out.
Thank you, Chris, for standing strong. You stood for right in the Chuck Phelps matter, and when they tried to bully you and silence you, you didn't back down. I'm sure you have a bright future, and consider it a blessing that BJU decided not to grant you a degree.
H/T: Bob Felton and Jeri Massey