Bob Jones University shuts down G.R.A.C.E. investigation

Bob Jone U

Really? I doubt this comes as a surprise to anyone involved in holding religious institutions accountable for past and present handling of abuse.
This is the second time G.R.A.C.E. (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) has entered into a contract with a US fundamentalist institution, only to be shut down shortly before the report has been released.

The letter sent to G.R.A.C.E. by Bob Jones U President Steven Jones and Board Chair explaining the termination of the investigation agreement is something else. I don’t believe for a nano second  BJU leadership wants what would be in that report made public. Transparency, openness and truth are not words I’d put in the same sentence with American independent fundamentalist baptists – but hey, they’ll pay their bill:

Bob Jones

G.R.A.C.E. received the termination notice the end of January. There has been discussion, this was a contract, and G.R.A.C.E. employs lawyers, investigators and professionals bound by law, contracts and integrity. When up against people who are masters at protecting their institutional reputation, wedded to their ideologies and hell-bent on maintaining power and control, I wonder how any discussion is between equals? The report was to have been released in March, if the fundies hadn’t done their end run around the investigators. And what an end run it is – despite discussion G.R.A.C.E. is in the dark:

discussion BJU GRACE

Remaining open sounds a lot like discussion has ended. The G.R.A.C.E. response was released yesterday. 10 days of discussion, and another opportunity for an institution to bury sins, avoid accountability and repentance and justice.
Really?

As always the victims of abuse in the 86 year old controversial school, who believed this time things would be different are left knowing better. Again.
Sure, Bob Jones University had to clean up some of it’s act, state laws have tightened, independence from accreditation has left BJU re-thinking policies and its ‘separation’ from ‘the world.’ Rival Liberty U, started by Jerry Fawell has left BJU in the dust.

Bob Jones University’s reputation is well earned.  Known world wide for its past racism, misogynist, manipulative, controlling, and repressive bullying – what has changed? Little.  With the termination of the independent investigation BJU has had to at least appear to adhere to the letter of the laws in South Carolina. Leadership, ruled by the Jones family for four generations has to appear to care about the trail of broken students, shamed and shunned because of crimes committed against them by men who do not fear repercussion. This is the height of hubris from an institution blinded by it’s pride. From the BJU announcement G.R.A.C.E had been hired:

It is our prayer that this partnership with GRACE—operated with complete autonomy from Bob Jones University—will create an atmosphere of trust and complete honesty, allowing Bob Jones University to identify any cases in which we need to exercise authentic repentance and demonstrate biblical love to those we have always desired to serve to the best of our ability for the Lord’s sake.

Really? From the termination BJU pr:

BJU independently implemented a number of initiatives to raise awareness of sexual abuse. BJU provided live Sexual Abuse Awareness Training to all 3000+ students and 1000+ faculty/staff members—unprecedented in institutions of higher education…

That bar BJU claims to have raised is just another stumbling block. BJU has been nothing if not unprecedented in the morally bankrupt and putrid swamp of American independent fundamentalism.

I’m going to end with words penned by John Shore:

The heart of anyone familiar with how the Independent Fundamental Baptists threatens its own will quicken at that final sentence of the BJU statement. Our prayer for the abused is that God will be their refuge and strength is a veiled threat, a blow expertly administered to leave no visible bruise. What it is ominously reminding those attuned to its message is that it is always dangerously ludicrous to turn anywhere but toward God for help, justice, or comfort. And no one conversant in the language of the IFB or Bob Jones University doubts that by “God” the men who crafted this message mean themselves.

A great many students and former students of Bob Jones University will not be sleeping tonight. Or tomorrow night either. They will be too afraid to.

About Bene Diction

Have courage for the great sorrows, And patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
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21 Responses to Bob Jones University shuts down G.R.A.C.E. investigation

  1. Bene D says:

    The news of G.R.A.C.E. being fired by Bob Jones U was released hours ago, and already there are 3 news stories. (Two local) There will be more, and I predict BJU will dig in with spin and I don’t think it will be pretty.

    http://www.foxcarolina.com/story/24658107/bob-jones-ends-agreement-abuse-ombudsman

    http://www.greenvilleonline.com/article/20140207/NEWS/302070015/BJU-fires-firm-reviewing-school-s-handling-reported-sex-abuse

    http://www.worldmag.com/2014/02/bob_jones_university_halts_investigation

  2. Doris Glenn says:

    from their behaviour, BJU start off appearing to want to be accountable and want to look at themselves so they could change and be part of the healing process for all. The lack of transparency in this decision puts a huge question to their actual desire for accountability and change. It is curious that they were willing to be accountable to pay GRACE for all cost to day, however, they do not appear to be willing to be accountable for the system of abuse they had set up and for the wounding of children.
    Appreciate your comments and food for thought!

  3. Rick says:

    WOW! Haters will hate!!!! I guess mediocrity is the norm now for most of you and anything above that is an open target for criticizing. Maybe another carrier path in palm reading or talking to dead people since you proudly claim the gifts of prophecy. I have a suggestion… Read your Bibles, starting with Ephesians 6:12. You’re an embarrassment to Christendom!

  4. Bene Diction says:

    This isn’t about hating people Rick – it is about hating ignorance and injustice.
    In 2011, there were 9 cases of forcible rate at BJU. With a student population of 2500, that was 6 more than Clemson U nearby, which has over 20 thousand students.

    This is about humbly coming clean, supporting victims, doing justice, loving mercy.
    This is not about hating Christians, this is about hating a mentality that puts students at risk.
    Matthew 23:23

  5. BD says:

    From one of the participants in the G.R.A.C.E./ABWE investigation

    5 Reasons the BJU Scandal will go away

    “If history has taught us anything, it is that this whole BJU scandal currently abuzz on the internet has a definite shelf life, and in just 12 months most of you not directly associated with the institution—and even many who are—will have forgotten all about it. Here’s why…”

    http://tinyurl.com/nr42y6d

  6. Bene Diction says:

    The response from G.R.A.C.E.

    http://netgrace.org/wp-content/uploads/GRACE-Response-February-10-2013.pdf

    What happened to Pii, hired by ABWE? Where are their findings?

  7. Tim Callaway says:

    Fundamentalists are first, foremost and ever about CONTROL. Notwithstanding their many-layered creeds, policy manuals and endless regulations, make no mistake about it, they serve the god of and worship at the altar of CONTROL, CONTROL, CONTROL.

  8. FCJ says:

    Well it worked for the PBI executive team…didn’t it?

  9. Pingback: More Media Outlets Reporting on BJU’s Dismissal of G.R.A.C.E.; Here are Links To Every Article | BJU News

  10. Pingback: The BJU Sex Abuse Coverup, Day 3 | The BJU Sex Abuse Coverup

  11. Pingback: The BJU Sex Abuse Coverup, Day 2 | The BJU Sex Abuse Coverup

  12. FCJ says:

    The sad part about this is that many will ‘drink the kool-aid’ and actually believe what they are told….ie the people behind this crusade to expose the abuse and cover up of abuse were sent by the devil to destroy this ‘hallowed’ institution.

    It is a fairly straightforward response right out of Effective Evangelical Management 101.

  13. I think the line that says it all from the press release is this:

    Over the last few months, we grew concerned about how GRACE was pursuing OUR OBJECTIVES.

    I bet they didn’t even know they wrote that!

  14. Bene Diction says:

    Hi Benjamin:

    Indeed, it was used twice. Both G.R.A.C.E. and Bob Jones U put out news releases today saying they are meeting face to face next week.
    G.R.A.C.E. reached out to others to ask for prayers and remained concerned for those impacted, calling them amazing individuals.
    http://netgrace.org/wp-content/uploads/Update-February-13th.pdf

    Bob Jones mentioned victims – and remains completely unbelievable. The university leaders have to be stunned at the coverage this has gotten, and continues to get.
    I suspect they weren’t anticipating the backlash.
    http://tinyurl.com/la7fdxa

  15. fjc says:

    I sometimes really wonder about who would be attracted to a so called University like this? It really boggles the mine.

    And I am not referring to the GRACE issue, but rather the entire environment. Hardly what I would call a true learning environment. More like institution dedicated to among other things mind control and brain washing. The entire environment seems a little scary and creepy to me. Not to mention sick.

  16. Rick Hiebert says:

    I wonder if BYU president Stephen Jones’ plans to step down this spring are related somehow?

    http://blogs.bju.edu/pr/2013/12/13/dr-stephen-jones-resigns-bju-presidency/

    As noted in the release, he has had grave health issues for some time now. That said, a “new broom can sweep clean.” The timing may perhaps be useful.

  17. fjc says:

    I doubt it.

    I suspect that there was a real concern about litigation should the report clearly indicate that the university leadership was aware of abuse and failed to act. Not certain of the laws in the state, but there could be a criminal issue for failing to report.

    I suspect that the paramount concern is victim(s) initiated litigation. Lots of money at stake, lots of reputations at stake, and so many skeletons in the closet that it must be difficult to keep the door from bursting wide open.

    Oh well.

  18. fjc, I have quit working on PBI and am no longer involved either publicly or privately with their abuse scandal. I gave 7 years of my life and that was enough. I don’t think there is hope for PBI to ever come to their senses and until the survivors sue nothing is likely to change. I am now paying close attention to the BJU abuse scandal and am so encouraged. These survivors have no qualms filing lawsuits, talking to the media, exposing perps and telling their stories. I think the sheer number of survivors, their organization, passion and resolve will make an impact that will benefit all survivors from religious institutions everywhere. These survivors are determined that BJU will be held accountable and I believe they will prevail. When the dust settles from this abuse scandal, I predict the ramifications will be profound and far reaching.

  19. fjc says:

    Agree with you. Nothing ever comes of these situations until a criminal or a civil action moves forward. Particularly a civil action that does not have an out of court settlement.

    This is exactly why these institutions press for ‘forgiveness’. It is code for lets sweep it under the table and continue as before. The exact same thing is occurring with affinity fraud in evangelical circles.

    There is nothing wrong with forgiveness, it just has to be accompanied by justice and by support for the victims. It is absence of the latter bothers me so much.

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