23 November, 2008

BJU Sez: "Sorry We Were Racists - Culture Made Us Do It!"

My bullshit detector is in overdrive, and the Smack-o-Matic is screaming for action (h/t):

Bob Jones University is apologizing for racist policies that included a one-time ban on interracial dating and its unwillingness to admit black students until 1971.

In a statement posted Thursday on its Web site, the fundamentalist Christian school founded in 1927 in northwestern South Carolina says its rules on race were shaped by culture instead of the Bible. [...]

"BJU's history has been chiefly characterized by striving to achieve those goals; but like any human institution, we have failures as well. For almost two centuries American Christianity, including BJU in its early stages, was characterized by the segregationist ethos of American culture. Consequently, for far too long, we allowed institutional policies regarding race to be shaped more directly by that ethos than by the principles and precepts of the Scriptures. We conformed to the culture rather than provide a clear Christian counterpoint to it.

"In so doing, we failed to accurately represent the Lord and to fulfill the commandment to love others as ourselves. For these failures we are profoundly sorry. Though no known antagonism toward minorities or expressions of racism on a personal level have ever been tolerated on our campus, we allowed institutional policies to remain in place that were racially hurtful."

Utter. Fucking. Bullshit.

There was no "clear Christian counterpoint" to the slavery/segregation culture. Christianity and slavery were bestest buddies:

...[A]s the abolition movement took shape across the globe, groups who advocated slavery's abolition attempted to harness Christian teachings in support of their positions. However, they were forced to refer to the 'spirit of Christianity' rather than quote the Bible. On the other hand, those opposed to abolition and equal rights were able to and did quote numerous Biblical passages that directly supported the practice of Slavery.

"Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh." (1 Peter 2:18)
"Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism." (Colossians 3:22-25)
So don't give me that bullshit about "culture made me do it" when your own fucking Bible was happy to condone slavery, and you tell me you're trying to live by Biblical principles. And you can't weasel out with that "new covenant" crap because this shit's in the New fucking Testament.

Then you want to sell me the line of snake oil about how, while you institutionalized racism, it's okay because you don't know of any instances of racial antagonism on a personal level? That's worse, you fuckwits. Individuals can be educated, their dumbfuckery can be put down to personal failings, and the institution can work to prevent ugly, violent acts from recurring. But when you institutionalize segregation, when you officially sanction racism, you've just officially made a whole group of people less than human for the color of their skin. Do you think it really matters how nice individuals are to people of color when the institution itself is telling them they're subhuman? Are you fucking kidding me?

And then, and then, let's look at the calendar. It's 2008. The Civil Rights Movement happened in the Sixties. You're just now getting around to apologizing for your official racism?

I can't speak for people of color. But I can tell you that, as a human being, this is insulting. It's nice that BJU wants to make nice, but they could've done it without whining that culture made them do it, they could have done it without trumpeting their supposed personal successes while downplaying their institutional failings, and they could have done it a lot fucking sooner.

Apologizing: Ur doin it rong.


george.w said...

They're just taking cues from the Catholic church, more specifically the pope, who blamed the church's paedophilia problems on the breakdown in US values.

Wayne said...

How much do we really know about the founders of fundamental Christianity and the main contributors to the New Testament? Should we unquestionably accept their claims to be "ordained" as to speak to us through documents of uncertain origin, as the "infallible" word of GOD?

Firstly, they use alias's; Peter changed his name from Simon just after Jesus said to him "Get behind me SATAN, you are a ROCK in my path, your thoughts are those of man, not God." (Mathew 16:23) and in (Mathew 26:34) before his LORD noted; when needed the most, PETER, SIMON, SATAN or whatever he wanted to call himself, would deny knowing Him three times in a row. What a sleaze-bag! Paul, on the other hand "real name" Saul, sets himself up in direct opposition to Jesus (the descendant of David) in His quest to become King of the Jews. After Saul and his best mates make sure "the Christ" is nailed to a cross "for your salvation", he then begins a ten year campaign to exterminate every follower of Jesus he could find. This man was a deluded, mass murdering, maniac who was eventually stopped by Jesus' Damascus faction and while he was rotting in jail, decided to write apologetics styled letters which eventually became the main ingredient for the doctrines of the fundamental Christian church of today.

Saul, dressed as a ruling class Sadducee, would have stood out like a sore thumb in a rural setting; Peter, on the other hand dressed as a fisherman, an ideal disguise if you were try to infiltrate a peasant based cult of the day. They are almost indistinguishable in that they always seem to be in the same place, at the same time, right up their deaths in Rome as elderly men.

Satan could not have done a better job in setting up a CHURCH to dominate and rule this world from. What a perfect place for an Evil Dark Lord to preside from, holding the key's that keep people locked into a subservient, judgemental, bigoted and biased, woman suppressing, gay bashing, misogynistic organization with more wealth and power than Caesar, Napoleon or even Hitler could have ever dreamed of.

My opinion ,for what it's worth, is that Jesus, God bless His soul, would have been ap-paul-ed at having his name associated with that style of establishment. If they had of tried to kill Him with a Guillotine or a Gas Chamber, would you walk around with a representation of that around your neck as a sign that you have been saved by it and the actions of a bunch of evil men?

Cobalt said...

While I agree with you almost completely on this, I do think it's a little unfair to say that there was no Christian counterpoint to slavery. As I recall, the people pushing hardest for Abolition were folk like Quakers and northern Christians.

It was a battle between slaveowning Christians and humanitarian Christians (the ones with, like, consciences and shit), but there were Christians on both sides and both were deeply motivated by their religion's teachings as they saw them. There was a whole Great Awakening around that time (the second, I think?), and that brought with it a renewed focus on social justice as something Christians ought to care about. So even if the folk supporting slavery with scripture could make good cases, those were not the only Christians around worth considering and remembering.

BJU is still a festering dogpile of douchery no matter how you slice it, but I felt like it deserved mentioning that a lot of cultural conflicts (whether slavery or Abolition) were largely about people rallying around causes for religious reasons. And there were some good ones. Granted, they were also working on things like the Temperance movement (which I'm glad we stopped listening to, though the Temperance Party does still exist), but there were some seriously undeniably good causes, too. The Christians who vocally condemned their slaveowning countrymen on scriptural grounds do not deserved to be ignored any more than Christians today who stand up and say, "That asshole Pat Robertson doesn't speak for me, and he needs to be stopped."

Even if you don't feel that Christianity does a net good when all's done and tallied (which I think you could probably support without too much trouble, given your NaNoWriMo project), it's still not really fair to totally gloss over all of the good, as though Christianity were this great monolithic oppressive thing which has never been put to the service of social justice ever.

It's not the main point of this entry, I know. But I kinda wanted to get that out there.