Bob Jones University, a Christian college in Greenville, S.C., told rape victims that they must repent for their “root sin,” which the school insisted was the reason they got raped. Placing blame on rape victims has recently been outed as a deplorable and common practice among Christian, faith-based colleges.
Katie Landry was a BJU student who came from a conservative Mennonite family who by age 19 was raped multiple times by her supervisor at a summer job. When she sought guidance from BJU’s dean, Jim Berg, he asked her if she was being “impure” by drinking and smoking pot.
Landry explained her appalling interaction with Berg:
He goes, ‘Well, there’s always a sin under other sin. There’s a root sin.’ And he said, ‘We have to find the sin in your life that caused your rape.’ And I just ran. He just confirmed my worst nightmare. It was something I had done. It was something about me. It was my fault.
BJU’s approach to, not only rape, but also to mental problems and medical issues is pretty medieval. Much like in the 1300s, all of these ailments are attributed to, by insane, almost cult-like religious colleges, sin and the work of the devil. They call this the “Fortress of Fundamentalism.” You know, because he’s always out to get and spook us.
Other Christian colleges, including Pensacola Christian College, have gained a notorious reputation for the atrocious ways in which it handles reports of sexual assaults. The short version, they blame the women and don’t punish the men, very much like BJU.
Vice reported allegations that BJU administrators have ignored or punished students who even bring up sexual assault. Erin Burchwell was a student at BJU who was assaulted over 40 times by a male student. Upon reporting the assaults to the administration, she was asked about what clothes she was wearing, assuming it was her fault because of what she might have been wearing.
The fundamental Christian right-wing has been nothing but a scourge in American society. It’s the same religious fringe that spawned these misogynistic, almost anti-women colleges and religious sects, and let’s not forget the Westboro Baptist Church, the holy mother of right-wing, Christian fundamentalism. It’s really these kinds of people who slow down the progress of American society.
Josh is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @dnJdeli.