Ham, Nye & Noah: Tour of the Ark Park

This actually took place July 2016 shortly after the initial opening of The Ark Park. But Bill Nye has been in the news lately because of the newly premiered documentary, Bill Nye the Science Guy. Not to be confused with Bill Nye’s ’90s TV show of the same name (wildly popular with my kids, by the way), this documentary tells the story — gives us the background of what makes Bill Nye tick.

Bill Nye stalked by Ex

For example, back in 2006, Bill Nye married former oboist, Blair Tindall (author of the book Mozart in the Jungle) in a ceremony performed by Pastor Rick Warren (The Purpose Driven Life) while cellist Yo Yo Ma performed the wedding march. But — hold on — they were never married and Bill Nye has “a letter from the State of California, with the great seal affixed, that we were never married.” In addition to that, Bill Nye also has a six-year injunction against his ex requiring her to “stay 100 yards¹ away from him.”

Bill Nye has no children. In the documentary Bill claims that was the plan all along. His father’s side of the family passes on the disease known as ataxia — a syndrome involving lack of muscle control — and both of Bill Nye’s siblings suffer from it. Bill mentions that by not having kids, they wouldn’t get the same disease and he wouldn’t be responsible for passing it on. It makes Bill Nye’s comments to Ken Ham (in the video included with this blog) regarding “the meaning of life” a bit poignant — “to pass your genes on into the future” Bill Nye tells Ham.

Following the streaming of their (now) famous debate (Feb. 2014), Ken Ham invited Bill Nye back to Creation Land, Kentucky to tour The Ark Park after the Noah’s Ark was completed. Bill Nye accepted, but a camera crew tagged along to get some footage for the upcoming documentary. Ken Ham, after being stung by Bill Maher in Maher’s film Religulous, insisted that he have his own Creation Land camera crew tag along. In total, there’s around two hours worth of footage, but here at inktrekker, we have cut it down to approximately 15 minutes.

According to the documentary, Nye recognizes and battles two forces of colossal ignorance. One, of course, is creationism (“anti-science”), represented by Ken Ham and the Ark Park, and human-caused climate change deniers like Joe Bastardi, a meteorologist (and bodybuilder) who frequently appears on Fox News to deny the existence of climate change being caused by human activity. Of those two forces of ignorance, it’s the climate change denial that really sets Bill Nye off.

Because of being accused of helping to raise money for Ken Ham’s Ark Park, Bill Nye will not publically debate (with cameras and live streaming) human-caused climate change deniers and/or creationists. Nye was warned prior to the Ken Ham debate that he would only give legitimacy to anti-science. And let’s admit it — Ken Ham, Creation Land and The Ark Park benefited by Bill Nye’s notoriety.

Now, enough about Bill Nye. I have already stated what I think about Ken Ham. He’s a religious huckster as credible as a faith-healer who teaches medicine or a tongue-speaker who teaches linguistics or even an exorcist who teaches psychology. Bottom line is that creation, The Creation, is not science.

Two things bother me about evolution. 1) Somewhere, someone had sex with a monkey (sorry, ape²), and, 2), this may explain what happened to Bill Nye’s brief non-marriage, music — I don’t see how the complexities of music and the way it touches the soul (oops, I said “soul”), the sounds, the harmonies, the intricacies — sorry, I just don’t see cold, heartless evolution at work.

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¹The ex killed Bill Nye’s rose garden by dumping weed-killer on it — Bill was “the love of her life” and she didn’t want Bill giving any roses to any other women. Lesson (1) here is don’t ever piss off an oboist, and (2) 100 yards is 91.44 meters.

²Of course, some of you would say that’s not unheard of or unusual or weird.

Related blogs — Flood of Cash? Build an Ark, Ken Ham: Younger Than He Appears, The Fantasy World of Ken Ham, Ham & AiG at BJU, see also, Kent Hovind, a.k.a., “Dr. Dino”

BJU: LIVE from The Ark Park

Prior to Ken Ham being the keynote speaker at Bob Jones University’s 2017 Spring Conference, it appeared BJU president, Steve Pettit, received some “push-back” — negative comments regarding Ken Ham being invited to speak. I don’t know this for sure, but the fact that Steve Pettit tweeted this…

Steve Pettit Tweet Ken Ham

…leads me to believe that there was some disparaging remarks made or, at the very least, some concern expressed over having Ken Ham as the Bible Conference keynote speaker. Whatever happened, it prompted Pettit to defend the decision to have Ken Ham speak — and, in doing so, Pettit, like Ken Ham, used the belief in “6-day creationism” to define Christians as being “Biblical” or “unBiblical” and elevating the Genesis creation account to define “real” (i.e., “saved”) Christians. You can read more here about why this tweet bothers me.

It appears that Steve Pettit and BJU, et al, have doubled-down on the “believing in 6-day creationism is the only position for Biblical Christians” tweet. Check out the following still taken from Ken Ham’s live Facebook video a couple of days ago…

Ark Park Live

The quote in the video screen-shot is Pettit’s and it’s accurate. Pettit was responding to Ham expressing how BJU was one of the few universities that teach a literal, six-day creation occurring less than 10,000 years ago and that BJU hasn’t “compromised” and taught “millions of years.” Pettit never finished expressing what “balance” was “between science.” My guess is he meant a balance between science and religion¹ — and that is disturbing. And again, Pettit took the opportunity to emphasize the fact that “believers” hold the “six-day, literal” creation beliefs — the same idea he expressed in his January 2017 tweet.

But, there is the theory that this new-found bromance has less to do with Creation (literal or otherwise) and more to do with raising necessary cash. Hence, the visit to The Ark Park.²

BJU is hurting for donations, but Ken Ham seems quite adept at raising money — lots of money — a flood of it. Ham even got the State of Kentucky to chip in. None of this would be talked about out in the open, of course, but behind closed doors…

Ark Park The Door BJU

…but, prior to that, Ken Ham and the current BJU Brain Trust posed in front of “The Door” —

And later they all planned, hoped and prayed for a Flood of Cash.

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¹Creation is not science. The Bible is not a science text. Bill Nye actually said this during a post-debate walk-through of the Ark with Ken Ham. And Bill Nye was/is correct in saying that.

²In the future, look for some type of “tie-in” between Creation Land, The Ark Park and BJU.

The Quality of Mercy

Sometime last week, this photo (accompanied by email text) appeared in one of my email folders…

BJU Shylock

Yes, that’s Dr. Bob Jones III, current chancellor of Bob Jones University, assuming the role of Shylock in a 1950s version of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. The role of Shylock the Jewish moneylender bent on revenge and getting his pound of flesh, was a favorite of Dr. Bob Jones III’s father, Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. — which is why (I assume) this portrait was painted of Dr. Bob Jr. in traditional Shylock garb…

BJU - Shylock

As an aside (i.e., off topic) I don’t know if this is true for Dr. Bob III, but Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. relished the role of the villain. I remember him playing various Shakespearean villains and, when Dr. Bob Jr. appeared in a BJU-produced film¹, it was always as a villain — from Pontius Pilate in Wine of Morning (1955) to General Smirov in The Printing (1990). As a 10 year old, Dr. Bob Jr. scared me to death when I first saw him as Munebraga in Flame in the Wind (1971). I was convinced that guy wanted to burn me at the stake…

And that brings us back on topic — the BJU promo photo of Dr. Bob III as Shylock. What intrigued me was the line that appears under the title Merchant of Venice

JUSTICE HOLDS MERCY HOSTAGE

I can’t think of four better words to describe my four-year experience at Bob Jones University. Not the education — I had no problems with the education — but with the disciplinarians, the enforcers, the Shylocks, collectively known as the BJU Discipline Committee.

BJU The Quality of Mercy

That image of Dr. Bob III as a 1950s version of Shylock reminds me of the times I faced various disciplinarians from the other side of a desk. On several occasions, after I was already in bed, I was summoned to face the Dorm Supervisor. The lighting in the photograph is the same — dark, high contrast, a single lamp illuminating the room. Leaves a lasting impression on you.

BJU-quality-of-mercy

I had three main “problems” at BJU: 1) attitude/mouth, 2) music, and 3) hair.² Eventually all three combined into a cluster that got me expelled (April 1982) just three weeks short of graduation. It was on that day I experienced “mercy held hostage.”

I am now older than the so-called men who put me through the wringer during my BJU college days. Personally, I cannot imagine dealing with a younger person the way they dealt with me. I was informed that I was a “disease to the body of Christ” and that “cancers must be removed” therefore they were going to see to it that I was “humiliated as much as possible.” Lines³ worthy of Shylock himself.

When I recall these words, these events, the sting of those words and actions return. I recall the faces of the men who seemed to take pleasure in my misery. (One man literally went out of his way to make sure I was expelled.) The same men who assigned fellow students to condemn me before a committee of students and to escort me off campus with orders to call the local authorities if I attempted a return. That day I had no Portia to plead on my behalf.

Out of all of this I did find that strength comes not from running away from pain, but from running toward it. That’s how you conquer it. Embrace it. Make it your own. I believe I would have forever remained saturated with bitterness had I not stopped, turned, and marched back to face the source of my pain.

Thirty years on, Bob Jones University is hurting for students. I know why I didn’t send my kids there.

And BJU has only their disciplinarians to thank for that.

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¹Unusual Films, since shut down by the wizards at BJU

²hair – my bushy hair never met “university standards” and a constant barrage of demerits was the result.

³Yes, actual quotes. At the time I kept a daily journal and I wrote these remarks down the evening of my expulsion. Others included: “Why should we allow you to remain here?” and “Why should we allow a person like you to graduate?”

BJU: Dark Rhythms, Dancing & One World

Rather than posting a video and then have the Copyright Violation Department at Bob Jones University flag me on YouTube (again), I’m going to do the lame thing and just post a link:

Should the link go away, I do have the video downloaded. You really need to listen and watch the video to get any of the following…

Some Observations:

One — Back in the mid-1980s, if I had fired up my Panasonic cassette tape deck and played this music while in my dorm room studying (especially in Reveal), I would receive at a minimum 25 demerits — 50 if I said the words: “There’s nothing wrong with this music.”

Two — I’m pretty sure I hear the African-based (“dark”) rhythms Dr. Frank Garlock warned all of us about. It’s a shame, but it won’t be long before demon possession, smoking weed and human sacrifice* run rampant on the BJU campus.

Three — Tongues? Do I hear tongues?! Figures. Makes sense actually. BJU’s Bible Conference (“Spring Conference”) keynote speaker was Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) guest, Ken Ham, so it’s one small step from mixing science and creation to medicine, faith healing and tongue-speaking.

Four — Look at those kids swaying back-and-forth-back-and-forth-back-and-forth. Looks a little too close to “rock-and-roll” and (gasp!) dancing!

Five — From the Jubilate Deo website, a short description of the composition’s intended purpose:

“…Jubilate Deo brings to life the global aspect of the traditional Psalm 100 text, … The result is a stunning global celebration of joy, as all the earth sings as one, ‘omnis terra, jubilate!‘”

Now it all makes sense. I’ve often wondered why BJU would back globalists like George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, but refused to endorse an anti-globalist like Donald Trump. The secret is now out. BJU has given up on reaching “the remnant” and has fallen for “the strong delusion.” Inconceivable!

The abomination of desolation is at hand.

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*Dr. Frank Garlock’s “Village in Africa”…

The Fantasy World of Ken Ham

RE: Ken Ham — Related Blogs:
Flood of Cash? Build an Ark
Ham & AiG at BJU
This Tweet Bothers Me
Ken Ham: Younger Than He Appears

Normally, I wouldn’t bother with someone like Ken Ham. He’s one of those religious hucksters that belong on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) right next to the faith healers, the tongue speakers and those handing out “prayer towels” and answers to prayer — as long as you sow your “seed of faith” by sending in some money to support the ministry (of course) and (most importantly) get yourself a big scoop of blessings (as in “bl€$$ing$”).

Religious Rule of Life #2 — Be extremely wary of so-called “ministries” that make their entire focus one small area of the Bible.¹

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Ken Ham on TBN (Feb 2015)

Unfortunately, I do have to deal with this guy because my misguided alma mater has fully embraced Ken Ham’s view of origins, a view that Mr. Ham says is a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis (his organization is called Answers in Genesis or AIG) and that current Bob Jones University president, Steve Pettit calls “the only position.”

steve-pettit-tweet-bju

So, what is set up here is that a person who holds some other view of origins (even those found detailed in some popular reference and study Bibles) is: a) not Christian, or b) embraces a religion that professes Christianity, but is not found in the Bible.

And, in another insult to critical thinking, in a recent Bible-based conference, BJU combined their seminary and science departments —

“Join us for this year’s conference as we learn from Ken Ham and the Bob Jones University Seminary and science faculties as they seek to equip believers and spiritual leaders to succeed in the battle for biblical Creation.”

— as though the two were interchangeable. Creation is not science. The Bible is not a science text. The Bible is not even a comprehensive history book. The Bible is a spiritual book. It’s a book of reconciliation. Of regeneration. Of redemption. It’s a book of the soul. The only influence a seminary should have on a science department is to keep the scientists yearning to explore and to always strive to find the truth — even if your previously held beliefs or theories are proven wrong.

I’m reminded of a play I saw many years ago. It was a stage production about Noah and his ark. Part of the narration made this statement:

“Science changes. But God’s Word never changes.”

The implied message is “change” is bad. But, for science, change is its lifeblood. Without change, without research, development and (dare I say it) evolution, we would still be living stunted, miserable lives (literally) in the dark ages.

Speaking of ages that were darker, as in we don’t know much about them, let’s take a look at what Ken Ham mixes with his Creation Science literal view of the Bible —

ken-ham-dinosaurs-gladiators-ark

Pre-flood (antediluvian) civilization consisted of “giants” (Nephilim²) and dinosaur wrestling. But, in some cases, dinosaurs (most were about the size of a pony according to Ham) were kept in a coliseum-like structure and used in gladiatorial games, entertainment for the masses. This is not science. In fact, during this time period, there is no evidence that anything like this ever happened.³

Creation Science? This is pure fantasy — and should be labeled as such.

And a university should not put up with this stuff.

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¹Taken from Easton’s “25 Religious Rules of Life” — yes, there are 25 of them.

²Which means “fallen ones.” No one is quite sure what or who they are, but the Nephilim did have quite the reputation. Speculation about them abounds – one archeologist posits the idea that they were Neanderthals or some other soulless hominid. Interbreeding with Neanderthals — there’s a diorama idea!

³Creationists argue that The Flood mentioned in Genesis removed any evidence of an Antediluvian civilization, their culture and their technology. They argue the Earth is 6000 years old. Wonder how they feel about 6017 years old?

Music: The Common Thing

It was the mid-1950s. The term “rhythm and blues” begins to appear in Billboard magazine. On the radio and in the record stores, rock and roll begins its decades-long rise in popularity. Both forms of music were loved and hated for the same reason — traditionally black music was being marketed to white kids — and the white kids loved it.

And this was horrifying to those who sought to preserve “God’s established order.” At first, people like Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. condemned the music for attempting to remove racial boundaries. “God never meant to have one race,” Dr. Bob preached in the spring of 1960, “It was not His purpose at all.”¹

Around the same time in the home state of Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., sweet home Alabama, a small recording studio was founded. And the sounds it created, preserved and distributed would change the world. It wasn’t speeches or sermons — it was music. Men and women of different backgrounds, colors and nationalities found that music was the thing they all had in common.

Muscle Shoals, Alabama — 2013 documentary film about FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio.

Our Cast (cited for this blog) —

Rick Hall — record producer, owner and proprietor of the FAME Studios

Bono — lead singer of U2 out of Dublin, Ireland.

Clarence Carter — blues and soul singer from Montgomery, Alabama, best known for the song “Patches”, a big hit in 1970.

Candi Staton — soul and Gospel singer from Hanceville, Alabama (north of Birmingham), best know for her hit “Young Hearts Run Free” in 1976.

Jerry Wexler — a Bronx native, was first a music journalist, Wexler came up with the term “rhythm and blues” while writing for Billboard in the mid-50s. Later, as a record producer, he signed and produced many of the biggest acts in the 1960s, 70s and 80s – notably, Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin (many others). Wexler was a big proponent of the “Muscle Shoals Sound” eventually stealing “The Swampers”² (the Muscle Shoals, Alabama-based, all white musicians) flying them to New York to record Aretha Franklin’s biggest soul hits.

muscle-shoals

Interview transcripts from Muscle Shoals, the documentary (2013)

Rick Hall: During that era of recording basically all black acts, you’ve got to remember that George Wallace was standing in the schoolhouse door at the University of Alabama making sure that no black people came to school there. (This incident took place on June 11, 1963.)

Bono: This was politics that could not see past the color of your skin.

Clarence Carter: It’s the kind of thing that, I know people of this [present] era, they wouldn’t want to believe what it used to be. I think of all the times when we used to take a break from the studio to go out and eat…

Rick Hall: I was somewhat frightened from time to time when we would go and buy dinner for a half-a-dozen black people.

Candi Staton: That’s when you saw – what are y’all doing sittin there? Even though the civil rights movement was already in affect, it still hadn’t dawned on people that this is the new era.

Clarence Carter: When I was a young boy it was always if I met a white boy I had to say “this is Mister Robert or Mister Jimmy,” but in the studio we got away from that it was “Jimmy” it was “Robert” it was “Clarence.” You just worked together. You never thought about who was white and who was black. You thought about the common thing – and it was the music.

Rick Hall: We were colorblind. There was never any situation that came up in the studio ever, about you’re black and I’m white.

Bono: And you think about the South, they didn’t believe that black and white people could live together. And here are vinyl records that prove that not only can they live together, you might not know who’s black and who’s white. At the time, this was revolutionary stuff.

Clarence Carter: Music played a big part in changing the thoughts of people especially in the South about race. By us being in Muscle Shoals and putting music together, I think it went a long ways to help people understand that we all were just humans.

Jerry Wexler (Atlantic Records): And it’s one of the anomalies of the era that Aretha [Franklin’s] greatest work came from a studio full of Caucasian musicians. How do you figure it? This is the acknowledged Queen of Soul. Here we have Roger Hawkins, David Hood, Jimmy Johnson, Barry Beckett, Spooner Oldham, coming out with the deepest and most intense R&B of the era!

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¹Later that segregationist rhetoric morphed into Dr. Frank Garlock’s condemnation of corrupt, unredeemable music. The music was “garbage.” It would always be garbage. And it would turn the listener into unusable garbage. “Watch out!,” he would proclaim, “Garbage in, garbage out!” Rather than emphasize the racial component, Dr. Garlock allowed fundamentalists everywhere to claim “the beat” was immoral. And that Garlockian philosophy regarding music is still “the law” at Bob Jones University.

²The Swampers are mentioned in Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet home Alabama” —

Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers
And they’ve been known to pick a song or two (yes they do)
Lord they get me off so much
They pick me up when I’m feeling blue, now how bout you?

NOTE: Netflix was streaming Muscle Shoals last I looked. If it’s gone, I’m sure you can find it on Google Play, Amazon or another streaming service. Well worth the money and the watch.

Prohibited (Verboten!)

Prolegomenon — No surprise that I am a fan of science fiction, especially stories that involve alternate history or alternative histories. To write such stories, the author must first understand what actually happened (in our reality), why it happened and the events that caused it to happen. Having done all of that, our author must sit back and ask: What if…?

Then, with the aid of his/her pen, in god-like fashion, the author alters our known reality. Reasons change. Events change. Outcome changes. History changes.

the-man-in-the-high-castle-map-2016

Such is the case with Philip K. Dick’s 1962 book, The Man in the High Castle, recently adapted and streamed as an Amazon Prime series. Plot in a nutshell (not a spoiler) — the Allies lose WWII and the Axis Powers win splitting the USA into two regions with a “neutral zone” along the length of the Rocky Mountains.) As per usual, there are many differences between the written story and the streamed series. But there are also commonalities. One such commonality has to do with our subject —

Music.

It’s 1962 and in the Nazi controlled remains of the eastern United States (Greater Nazi Reich), certain forms of music are banned — verboten! —

music-forbidden-2014-15-bju-rules

In both the novel and the screenplay of The Man in the High Castle, all forms of “Negro music” are banned. In this altered world, there is no rock-n-roll. No blues. No R&B. All of it is strictly forbidden and, if you are caught performing, listening to or possessing such music, those in charge will punish you plus, it goes on your record (your “papers”) that you are a trouble-maker, an agitator and a possible rebel. You will be watched.

The Amazon series emphasizes the “no Negro music” ban more than the book does, but a TV series has a soundtrack to fill. A book does not.

All of the above is true — except the scanned image of text (above) did not come from Philip K. Dick’s alt-history story.

It came from the 2014-15 Bob Jones University Student Handbook. Here’s another from 30 years ago (1986-87) —

music-forbidden-1986-87-bju-rules

In the 1986-87 version, you will notice that the music is banned — not words, lyrics, etc. — the actual music, including the rhythm (from 2010-11) —

music-discernible-rock-beat-forbidden-2010-11-bju-rules

Why? Isn’t music amoral? Isn’t the music itself subjective?

Read on…

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Music was never a problem in my life. I watched The Beatles cartoons and The Monkees TV show. Loved them both. When I was around nine or ten years old, my grandfather gave me a 6 transistor Universal 9-volt pocket radio. I used to listen to the “top 40” on WLS AM 890 (Chicago). It was the late 1960s and early 1970s. Good music. Good times. Good memories.

Then —

The Day the Music Died.

Suddenly, everything I listened to was wrong.

Beginning in the early-mid 1970s, my once fairly moderate Protestant Non-denominational Christian church took an extreme right turn. Looking back, the church may have veered right in response to the sweeping changes that were happening all around our little town. The protests against the Vietnam War and the draft. The longer hair, Woodstock and the drug culture. The federal and state governments consolidating county schools, eliminating small, locally run rural schools. All of these things combined to produce an atmosphere of uncertainty and insecurity.

During a series of special meetings, our guest speaker was a man from Bob Jones University. Well dressed and charismatic, this man showed up with a big smile, a Bible, a trombone and a turntable.

His name was Frank Garlock. Doctor Frank Garlock.

And, when he wasn’t talking or blowing his trombone, he had his own album for the turntable: The Big Beat – A Rock Blast.

the-big-beat-a-rock-blast

During his sermons, he would demonstrate various points by playing snippets from rock and roll albums – nothing obscure – all of his selections were from the popular heavy-hitters of the day. You would know all of the names and, if you’re like me, the songs, as well. Garlock aimed his points at parents, informing them of the “true meanings” behind the music, laying bare the corrupt hearts of the rock artists and explaining how these evil musicians were after, not only your child’s money, but their very soul. “Watch out!” Garlock would shout, “Garbage in, garbage out!”

But Dr. Frank Garlock didn’t stop there. Sure, in the midst of the drug culture, it was easy to pick apart the lives of some of these young musicians and point out the overt and covert lyrics that were “designed” to entice us to smoke pot, drop acid or have sex in the streets – that was easy and Garlock took the time to do it. But Garlock went further and assigned evil to the music itself. Understand that the music, even without lyrics, the musical notes and the rhythm, the arrangement itself could be, and in the case of rock-n-roll was, sinful.

In other words, music has an innate morality.

This was the first time I had ever heard anyone assign morality to certain sound frequencies and intensities played in such a way that one may sense a repeating rhythmic pattern. Music was no longer amoral, but, depending on the arrangement, possessed an intrinsic morality. Bad music would always be bad even with good words. Demonstrations were given and scientific evidence cited where plants died, heart-beats changed and tension levels were altered.

Dr. Frank Garlock further reasoned that everything was wrong with rock and roll, rhythm and blues, jazz and some country and gospel music; the origins, the composers, the performers, even the music itself – “it’s the beat, it’s the beat, it’s the beat”, he would say. It’s all wrong.

Beat = Bad.

Suddenly, if it had a beat, I couldn’t listen to it — and “be right with God.” It didn’t matter what artist or what group, good or bad lyrics; the music was inherently flawed and evil. What Garlock achieved was driving a wedge between many parents and their kids, expanding further the “Generation Gap.” From that point on, what used to be freely played out in the open, now had to be hidden.

Many of you former BJU students know what I am talking about.

This Garlockian “Anti-Rock & Anti-Beat” Philosophy was reiterated in the Bob Jones University Student Handbook’s Music Regulations. (See scanned images in the “Prolegomenon” above.) The BJU Student Handbook explains that a BJU student is to seek “higher culture” and eschew the baseness of popular culture. As Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. said in Is Segregation Scriptural?, being in the “South” meant being exposed to “culture” —

atmosphere-of-culture-is-segregation-scriptural-bju-1960

The “culture” he was speaking of was the western European culture, their manners, customs and, of course, music. Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. saw his school as a bastion of culture, a fortress of faith, an island surrounded by fire and he as the leader and founder was not going to go against “God’s established order.”

established-order

The “today” Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. was speaking about was 1960. Rock-n-roll had already entered the mainstream and there was plenty of resistance against “Negro music.” Elvis was seen as one vehicle to market “black music” to white kids, thereby increasing the market, moving the music into the mainstream of society. All of this went against “God’s established order.” Throughout the 1960’s and well past Dr. Bob Jones, Sr.’s death in 1968, Bob Jones University remained whites only, resisting the Southern trend toward admitting African-American students to colleges and universities. It wasn’t until the early 1970’s that Bob Jones University ceased being whites only and began admitting married black students and later single black students. But the “established order” must remain.

bju-handbook-1986-87-interracial-dating

Contemporary British groups like the Beatles, The Kinks, The Zombies, The Troggs and (especially) The Rolling Stones were unhindered by America’s racial divide. They saw the value of black music, the impetus behind it and sought to emulate it in their own way. By Woodstock (1969) and on into the early ’70s, rock-n-roll was dominated by white groups singing songs for white kids, while the originators, the black Gospel, R&B and jazz performers, were being pushed toward the sidelines of popularity where their music continued to grow and change, eventually becoming soul, fusion, funk and rap.

Curiously, at the same time (1970-72), Bob Jones University graduate and faculty member, Dr. Frank Garlock, came up with new reasons to oppose rock-n-roll, et al – claims by Dr. Garlock that the music itself was unfit and immoral.

anti-rock-the-opposition-to-rock-and-roll

Anti-rock: The Opposition to Rock ‘n’ Roll By Linda Martin, Kerry Segrave, 1988

Dr. Garlock stressed that the origins of rock music (and its derivatives) caused the music (the notes, harmonies, arrangement, rhythm) to draw a person away from God and gravitate toward the flesh. This emphasis “on the flesh” would then create a break in communion with God.

And Dr. Garlock expounds on this by citing an unnamed African missionary describe tribal music. From Dr. Garlock’s 1971 LP, The Big Beat – A Rock Blast:

Dr. Garlock’s imagery of human sacrifice, pot smoking, orgies and demon possession was designed to absolutely petrify his predominantly white audiences. And it did. Nothing would scare the (predominately white) parents more than the possibility of African-based music, available everywhere, corrupting their sons and daughters. The number of stories I have heard of parents destroying records, 8-tracks, cassettes and CDs is staggering. It happened to me, as well. Lost a lot of vintage material, I’m sad to say.

But I don’t hold these parents accountable. They were manipulated. They were used. Fear is a great motivator. And these parents were made afraid of the African Boogie-man, in some form of rock music, coming to take their children.

While a student at BJU in 1980-81, one musically-related incident demonstrated to me that BJU’s stance on music was totally absurd. At a “dorm meeting” it was announced that George Winston’s albums “did not check” (were unacceptable/not to be played). I had Autumn on cassette — it was all solo piano. Slow solo piano. No drums. No discernable, predominate beat. Yet, Winston was verboten!

Come to find out that the reasons were, 1) Winston was current and popular (yet Tomita was acceptable), 2) the music was “trance-like” and considered “new age”, and, here’s the kicker, 3) Winston was inspired by blues and rock musicians (indeed he was). These reasons combined to make Winston’s music (solo piano, mind you) unredeemable.

And BJU, with all of their seeming progress, openness and diversity still, to this day, teaches this Garlockian Philosophy based on nothing but “keeping God’s established order.” (ref.)

I end with this from a ’70s-’80s TV comedy that was centered around music, where the subject of race was often discussed:

“If the Beatles are the construct of modern music–and I use that word ‘construct’ incorrectly–surely they were given birth to by Elvis Presley. A giant for sure, but the product of the black experience. Ergo–and I use that word correctly–blacks created modern music! Scratch an Allman Brother, and you have black. Scratch Billy Jo-ell, and you have Howling Wolf! I could go on, but my mother is in town. Let’s just say that every white rock and roll musician working today should take half of his or her paycheck and mail it directly to Chuck Berry. At least that’s what I think. And I won’t even go into jazz. Arnold, enjoy your visit to the station. Venus, nice visiting with you, too!” (Les Nessman, WKRP in Cincinnati, 1981)

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Sheet Music

NOTE — Odd that all of a sudden there’s a Klan-apalooza going on in the recent news. Is it my fault? Is it me? Or is this just a reminder that the discussion of this topic is not irrelevant?

Belgrade, MO — Frank Ancona, the professed leader of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, was shot and killed in Missouri last week, his dead body found on the banks of the Big River. Ancona’s wife and stepson have been charged. (Feb 13, 2017)

Somewhere in Louisiana — Not only did he take credit for Trump’s victory, now former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, David Duke, tweeted that he wholeheartedly endorsed Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison’s attempt to become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Duke tweeted: “I really like Keith though… I mean, at least he knows.” There’s some speculation surrounding what exactly Keith Ellison “knows,” but many believe Duke and Ellison share the same negative views of Jews, often referred to as “Zionists.” (Feb 13, 2017)

When will it stop?

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Being the nerd that I am, I enjoy educational documentaries more than any other type of television. It’s the first “genre” I search on Amazon Prime. I think I’ve watched every episode of The Naked Archeologist (Simcha Jacobovici) at least twice.

One of my favorites on PBS (other than Nova) is (or was) a documentary show called History Detectives. I have spent several evenings catching up on all of the History Detectives episodes I have missed. An episode from Season 10 (original broadcast in 2012) caught my attention. The episode was titled, “Fiery Cross” and told the story of a woman who purchased an old phonograph containing 78 RPM records, one of which had a song recorded on it called “The Bright Fiery Cross”, and, on the flip side, another song called “The Jolly Old Klansman.”

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That’s right “Klansman” – as in Ku Klux Klan Klansman. The record’s protective dustcover was stamped with the name of an Indianapolis, Indiana record store selling “KKK Records.”

Investigator or “detective” Tukufu Zuberi was selected to investigate the purpose and origin of the record. Zuberi quickly noted that both songs were labeled as being recorded by “100% Americans”…

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Zuberi (from the show transcript): “Our Song – The Bright Fiery Cross sung by ‘100% Americans.’ You know, those are just words. They take on a different meaning, however, when you’re talking about the Klan. Any time they say 100% anything, I know I’m not included.”

It wasn’t too far into the episode that Zuberi located a guy named Phil Oldham who could play the 78, and, for me, that’s when the episode became very interesting. Oldham explained that the group singing was the Logansport KKK Quartet, from Logansport, Indiana and it was recorded on May 16, 1923 in Richmond, Indiana.

As the record was cued up and rotated on the turntable, I heard the “100% American” male quartet singing a hymn that I had grown up with –

“The Old Rugged Cross” –

Well – same tune, but with different words.

Words inspired by the Klan…

“Over all the U. S. A.,
The fiery cross we display;
The emblem of Klansmen’s domain…”

Zuberi: “Where does this song come from?”

Phil Oldham (the guy with the turntable): “This song is a rewrite of ‘The Old Rugged Cross,’ a Protestant hymn that was copyrighted in about 1905, by Reverend George Bennard. They stole his music and put new words to it.”

What!?

The Klan stole one our most cherished hymns!? Isn’t that just something the Klan would do!

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Click to see music

I shook my head – I couldn’t believe it.

After I finished watching the episode, something continued to bother me about the date that record was produced – 1923 – and the location – Indiana. Not Louisiana or Mississippi — Yankee Indiana

In some of my earlier blogs, I have already briefly discussed the second iteration (“Klan II”) of the Ku Klux Klan, a new version of the Klan different from that of Reconstruction. This version of the Klan wasn’t limited to the South, which explains its power and influence in states such as Kansas, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania – and, of course, Indiana. This new reconstituted version of the Klan was more of a formal fraternal organization, with a national and state structure (included were children’s programs and women’s auxiliary) and had adroitly attached itself to the newly declared “Fundamentals” of the Protestant faith, and then wrapped that faith in patriotism, anti-secularism, anti-Darwinism, xenophobia and temperance.

Even the cross burning was new – something not done during the time of Reconstruction – but an act of signaling borrowed from Scottish clans and adapted to further the Klan’s association with Protestant beliefs by referring to cross burning as “illuminating the cross of Christ”, where “illumination” resulted in education, correction, repentance and respect, i.e., fear.

Hence, “I’ll cherish the Bright Fiery Cross…”

In the early days of the Twentieth Century, up until the Great Depression, in the world of traveling evangelists, there were two names that most people knew: Billy Sunday and, to a lesser extent, Rev. Bob Jones.

We already know that both of these men tolerated the support of the Klan. For example, we have multiple newspaper accounts in the 1920’s of Bob Jones, Sr. speaking to the Klan, taking Klan donations and allowing the passing out of Klan literature. Not just in the South, but in northern states such as Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. In fact, one 1927 Pennsylvania newspaper details a Klan constructed electrified wooden cross…

“On one side of the pulpit was an American flag; on the other the emblem of the Ku Klux Klan. Attached to the wall of the choir section, high above the heads of the choir where all could see was a flaming cross. A clever electrical arrangement caused flames to shoot from the cross during the entire service. Directly in front of the pulpit was a cross illuminated by red, electric lights.”

Thus detailed in the song, “Then burn o’er me a Bright Fiery Cross…”

With all due respect to History Detectives, I began to suspect that the Klan had not “stole [Reverend George Bennard’s] music and put new words to it”, but, rather had altered the song with the approval and blessing of its author and composer.

The hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross” was first written in 1912 by Reverend George Bennard and, during 1913, was popularized by the singing duo of Homer Rodeheaver (Billy Sunday’s music director) and Virginia Asher. Eventually (1915), Rodeheaver bought the rights to the song for $500 – he and Mrs. Asher recorded “The Old Rugged Cross” in 1921.

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Rodeheaver – now there’s a name I recognize – as in Bob Jones University’s Rodeheaver Auditorium¹ and the fact that, in the 1940’s, Homer Rodeheaver was part of BJU serving as a “music leader.” It was in the BJU multi-image slide presentation “A Show Window” (1984) that I remember working with an old recording of Rodeheaver singing “If Your Heart Keeps Right.”

“Ev’ry cloud wears a rainbow if your heart keeps right.”

Deep theology – to say the least.

Rodeheaver was quite the entrepreneur — since 1909, publishing gospel music under many different company names – Rodeheaver-Ackley Co, The Rodeheaver Co., the Rodeheaver Hall-Mack Co. – he would buy up copyrights and re-copyright under the name, “The Rodeheaver Company, Owner.” He also started his own record company based on his popular hymn lyric “Ev’ry cloud wears a rainbow” calling the company Rainbow Records. There are a few recordings of Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. sermons under the Rainbow Records label.

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It was an email posted on the History Detectives website that confirmed what I initially suspected. David N. Lewis, author of The Rainbow Records Discography: 1920-1926, took issue with the TV show’s conclusion that the Klan had “stolen” the music from “The Old Rugged Cross”…

[Homer] Rodeheaver owned the copyright, and about 1916 became aware of ‘The Bright Fiery Cross,’ which [Rev. George] Bennard authorized – it was never ‘stolen.’ Rodeheaver sought to divest himself of the property without losing the rights to ‘The Old Rugged Cross,’ which has the same music. He ultimately sold ‘The Bright Fiery Cross’ back to the Indiana Klan and they still own it and the sheet music is still in print.”

It sounds as though Rodeheaver tried to distance himself from the Klan, their music and their recordings – at least regarding this particular recording. But, many Klan music recordings originated in studios owned by Rodeheaver with the label “Special” appearing on the record itself along with the text, “Rodeheaver Recording Laboratories, Chicago, Illinois, Personal Recording” with a price of “$1.00.” And these recordings followed the same pattern as “The Bright Fiery Cross” – a familiar, popular tune (not exclusively sacred) with new lyrics extolling the virtues of the rejuvenated Ku Klux Klan.

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It’s almost impossible to read accounts of early Twentieth Century Billy Sunday crusades and Reverend Bob Jones evangelistic meetings without uncovering a Klansman or two – or three – or 3000. In the case of Bob Jones, some rather large meetings (even by today’s standards) were the result of the Klan’s influence and money – some of these meetings occurring at the time the Reverend Jones was breaking ground for his new school, Bob Jones College.

And now there seems to be a connection to the Klan through music – through Rodeheaver and his recording businesses.

It would be easy to dismiss “The Founder”² as being a man of his times (many do), but Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. and his descendants held on to Klan-like beliefs until March 2000, when Dr. Bob Jones III finally admitted on national TV that the BJU racial policies had no Biblical basis and were “worthless.”

Even in November 2008 when then current BJU president Stephen Jones issued an official apology regarding BJU’s past racial discrimination and policies, even then, currently less than 10 years ago, Jones blamed it on “the segregationist ethos of American culture.” Jones mistakenly assumes that this “ethos” was ubiquitous and undisputed – but, again, it wasn’t. There were contemporaries of his great-grandfather who did refuse to participate in Klan “church visitations” and refused to accept Klan donations and free memberships.

Of course, none of those individuals were trying to build a large following — necessary to populate a new institution of higher learning.

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¹Grace College & Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana used to have a “Rodeheaver Auditorium,” but it has since been renamed the Winona Heritage Room.

²BJU used to celebrate “Founder’s Day” every October, during which there was a banquet and special chapel service where we students were regaled with the history of BJU’s Founder, Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., and how he overcame adversity and founded Bob Jones College back in 1927. Later, long after I was gone, Founder’s Day was changed to “Heritage Day.”

Bob (Still) Hates Jazz

The primary purpose of the last blog was to establish a link between early Christian fundamentalism, Bob Jones, Sr. and the second iteration of the Ku Klux Klan (which I refer to as “Klan II”). That established link was only semi-solid and, as time has proven, temporary. But at the time, beginning roughly one hundred years ago, 1915 through the late 1930s, that link proved to be symbiotic, creating an umbilical that provided monetary sustenance for spreading conservative Christian fundamentalism and a source of potential members to fill the rolls of Klan II.

Patriotism, anti-secularism, anti-Darwinism, anti-ecumenicalism, temperance and anti-immigration – all themes of early 20th century Christian fundamentalism and popular traveling evangelists, such as, Billy Sunday and Bob Jones, Sr. – these were the self-same themes glommed onto by “Colonel” William Simmons and his reconstituted Klan in 1915.

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A personal friend of Bob Jones, Sr., Alabama Governor Bibb Graves, gave the keynote address in 1927 at the founding of Bob Jones College in Lynn Haven, Florida (near Panama City) and also served on the BJC Board of Trustees. Much is made of the fact that Graves was elected (1927) with the help of the Alabama Klan (at that time, many politicians were) and was not only a Klan member, but an Exalted Cyclops in the Alabama Klan. Governor Graves is a good example of the symbiosis that existed between religious conservatives and Klan II. A church-going Christian conservative, but also a Yale Law School lawyer and consummate politician, Bibb Graves was known to be using the power and approval of the Alabama Klan to further his own career and to obtain the governorship of Alabama.

In the world of politics, it is not unheard of that a politician uses the tools available to him (or her) to get himself (herself) elected. Then, once that tool has out-lived its usefulness, cast that tool aside. Here in the World of the 21st Century, it is hard for us to look at Klan II as merely a “tool” used to further a political career or an agenda, but nearly one-hundred years ago, that’s exactly what happened. And not just in the South only, but all across the Midwest and the Rust Belt – and in multiple cases.

Dulled by scandal and fracturing, by the mid to late 1920s, Klan II membership fell dramatically (the Alabama Klan was no exception) as newer regional and state Klan leaders concentrated on gaining power and wealth for themselves instead of focusing on the grass roots issues and politics that originally gave birth to Klan II. A detriment and no longer of any real value, especially to a religious leader like Bob Jones, Sr., the cord between Klan II and Christian fundamentalism was cut.

Yet, if you listen, you can still hear the echoes of that long dead relationship.

Temperance is not a position based in scripture. It was Bob Jones University itself that “accidentally” brought that truth to light when they originally released the book The Christian and Drinking: A Biblical Perspective on Moderation and Abstinence – temperance is recommended (by men) but not commanded (by God). Do not be deceived — much of the resistance against alcohol and support for Prohibition was based in opposition to Catholicism and immigration, rather than a quest for Godly sobriety. It is, I believe, no coincidence that Prohibition (as a constitutional amendment) had almost the same lifespan as Klan II – 1920 to 1933.

If we take a quick glance at the sermons preached nearly one hundred years ago by Bob Jones, Sr., we, of course, see alcohol (an obligatory jug marked “XXX” or a cocktail glass or, for you country folk, the word “cawn” or “korn,” i.e., moonshine) making an appearance, the distractions of movies and sports, but we also see something else…

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Music.

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Specifically, jazz.

Jazz gets a mention in almost every early Twentieth Century sermon preached by Bob Jones, Sr. Jazz was associated with everything sinful – dance, drink, movies, gambling, and illicit sex.

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Jazz music was an integral part of an unholy alliance that tore families apart, caused children to dishonor their parents, kept women from being Godly wives and drove men to waste away their incomes instead of providing for their families. Jazz was the soundtrack that ushered in the eventual repeal of Prohibition —that amendment that Jones, Sunday, Bryan and other leaders of the Dry Movement fought so hard for. Jazz was the music that accompanied unregenerate souls as they danced their way to the Depths of Sin and Hell.

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After financial ruin in the early 1930s, Bob Jones, Sr. moved Bob Jones College to Cleveland, Tennessee. The relocation of the college changed none of the rules – it was still whites only (as many colleges were), still Bible believing/Bible teaching and jazz prohibiting. But, in the late 1930s and early 1940s, jazz was not alone on the banned music list – add big bands (swing), gospel and blues. All jazz derived.

Following the end of World War II, Bob Jones College relocated again (1946) to Greenville, South Carolina and changed its name to Bob Jones University. In mid-1949, Billboard magazine began a chart listing for music called “Rhythm & Blues.”

Didn’t matter. Jazz, blues, gospel, swing, boogie-woogie, rhythm & blues – it was all forbidden. The music had changed, morphed, merged and mutated, but it still had one thing in common – the one thing that made the music objectionable and highly suspect in the eyes of those “100% Americans” who lived through the early days of the Twentieth Century and made up the administration and board of BJU.

The originators, the composers and, for the most part, the performers (there were exceptions) were black. And many of those early jazz pioneers – musical geniuses, in my mind – honed their chops in the town of New Orleans, west of Canal Street, “Back ‘o Town” and, later, Storyville and “Funky Butt Hall.”

It was the late 19th century forced mixing of educated, refined Creoles (Spanish and French) with the newly freed, poor, predominantly uneducated southern blacks (African origins) that gave birth to jazz. Work songs, Gospel, blues and improvisation were combined and refined by the educated Creoles into a new musical art form that was best when “played hot.”

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The Bolden Band 1905

African music provided a strong, elemental beat that European music lacked (except for formal dance rhythms, e.g., the quadrille, the waltz, the mazurka and the polka), the idea that a melody could be played above or separate from the elemental beat, the introduction of the “call-and-response” inherent to blues/gospel and unconventional sound characteristics of voice, instrument and band. The formal structure of European music, memorization, sight-reading and written sheet music allowed jazz to be learned and passed on. Jazz exploded in popularity because the United States possessed what new forms of art need in order to spread and grow — 1) A multiplicity of ethnic, cultural and musical conditions and, 2) A democratic society that allows freedom of individual expression.

The invention of sound recording and radio only served to fuel the flames, turning jazz, blues, Gospel, Dixie Land and rhythm-and-blues into a marketable industry, producing wealth and celebrity.

But, at Bob Jones University, the white kids, cocooned away in their separatist bubble, were protected from all of that African-based, New Orleans-tainted noise of the Devil.

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Summer 1955

“Parents can send their children and go to sleep at night knowing their children are safe physically, mentally and spiritually,” Dr. Jones, Sr. wrote, referring to the original intentions of starting Bob Jones College, intentions that remained unchanged as BJC became BJU in Greenville, South Carolina.

By 1954-55, all that was “Rhythm & Blues” became known as “Rock & Roll” and was poised to enter the mainstream of youth culture via records, car radios, movies and television. Rock-and-roll did not begin with Elvis Presley; but it was through the vehicle of Elvis (and the fact that he was white and southern-born) that rock-and-roll reached new heights and found a new young, affluent audience.

White kids.

In the conservative South, for a time, there was some resistance to “black music” being performed and listened to by white kids, but the popularity and the quality of the music eventually won out over dying racial bias.

In April, 1960, Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. preached a sermon (that was later transcribed in booklet form) entitled Is Segregation Scriptural? In this sermon, using scripture and verse, Dr. Jones, Sr. laid out the fact that, yes, segregation is scriptural and that the races God created are not to be mixed. To do so is to go against Almighty God.

“No two races have ever lived as close together as the white people and the colored people here in the South and got along so well. Now what’s the matter? There is an effort today to disturb the established order.” (p.10)

And that is what jazz, and later, rock-and-roll did. Take the so-called “established order” of racial separation and segregation and destroy it, proving that all races, all ethnicities could work together, create and live.

And it sounded good.

“And you think about the South, they didn’t believe that black and white people could live together. And here are vinyl records that prove that not only can they live together, you might not know who’s black and who’s white. At the time, this was revolutionary stuff.” ~ Bono, Muscle Shoals (documentary), 2013

Throughout the 1960s, well past the Founder’s death in 1968, the assassinations of MLK and RFK, Vietnam, Woodstock and Kent State, Bob Jones University remained whites only, insisting on an adherence to biblical commandments that just weren’t (and still aren’t) there. Eventually, relenting, allowing single black students to enroll but prohibiting them from dating outside of their race – again, basing the prohibition on scripture that doesn’t exist. President Bob Jones III finally admitted as much on CNN’s Larry King Live in March, 2000 when Bob Jones III lifted the “no interracial dating” ban. In November, 2008, Bob III’s youngest son, Dr. Stephen Jones, issued an “official apology” for BJU’s past racial policies.

But, the past, the attitude, the “established order” —

The BJU “Music Regulations” still echo the past.

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NOTE: After his death in August, 1977, Elvis was referred to as “the greatest idolater of the Twentieth Century” by Dr. Bob Jones III, then President of Bob Jones University. In BJU’s full color magazine, Faith for the Family, Dr. Jones III authored an article entitled “Idolatry at 45RPMs”, referring not only to Elvis, but all pop musicians at the time.

NOTE: Folk Music did make a brief appearance at BJU in March 1965 when a group called the Shilos (no “h”) cut a demo tape at WMUU-FM, the Bob Jones University radio station then located on campus where the Founder’s Memorial Amphitorium (FMA) is located today. Among the members of the Shilos was an unknown (at the time) Graham Parsons, who later rose to fame with The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers. These recordings exist on an album called Graham Parsons: The Early Years, Volume I (1963-1965). For the most part, Folk Music died out with the introduction of electric instruments (Dylan) and the popularity of pop/rock groups like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

A Familiar Tune

NOTE — Originally, this blog was written to explore (what I still perceive to be) the subtle racial bias that still exists at my old school, Bob Jones University, via their stance on music. Yes, music. The last vestiges of racial bias are not found in dating rules or sports “white outs,” but in the BJU music standards.

In spite of what you may think, this blog is not an attack on Bob Jones University, the Jones family or any employee of the University. What I am trying to do is shine an unprejudiced light on the university’s past and (hopefully) demonstrate how some of what the university still upholds (and preaches) as doctrinal truth, is really nothing more than remnants of a murky and turbulent past.

Plus, with the discussion surrounding the confirmation of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General and the possible appointment of Chuck Cooper as Solicitor General, it would not be considered out of line to recall “the last lynching” in Mobile , Alabama (1981) and BJU’s decades old prohibition (ended March 2000) on interracial dating that caused BJU to lose their tax exempt status and make an appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court (1982 – 83).

BACKGROUND — For those of you who don’t know, I was a student at BJU in the late 1970s and early 80s. I was expelled three weeks short of graduation on April 23, 1982. One reason given for my expulsion was my being critical of BJU and the Administration. I openly made the remark that unless the university learned to properly deal with the media and their public image, “no one would hire me if I have Bob Jones University on my résumé.”

I grew up in a sparsely populated county in southeast central Illinois. I knew nothing of “the Klan” (I would have spelled it with a “c”) and was unaware of the remaining racial animus present in certain urban centers and regions of the country. My parents were (still are) very conservative protestants. Their desire for their children was to attend a conservative, religious college. And BJU was that college.

Unlike my parents, I did not (still don’t) hold the same conservative views…

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It is unfortunate that if we are going to discuss “the music of separation,” we must delve into a particular group that has always had at its heart separation, but, currently, is more associated with the word “segregation.” The Ku Klux Klan.

What is seldom discussed is the fact that there are three iterations of the Klan.

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Klan I — The original Klan (or Klan I) began after the conclusion of the Civil War (1865) as a rebellion against Reconstruction and an attempt to thwart the efforts of Northern White Republicans to allow newly freed blacks the right to vote and to hold political office. Klan I and its influence were quickly diminished by the federal government and by the early 1870s, Klan I had been replaced by other lesser known and less organized paramilitary organizations.

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Klan II — I want to skip Klan II for now, as it was the most organized and most influential of all the Klan iterations. Klan II not only influenced early 20th century politics, but religion, as well.

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Klan III — Assembled from the remnants of the fractured, scattered and discredited Klan II, Klan III experienced growth throughout the 1950s and 60s in reaction to the federal government forcing integration upon the segregated South and the rise of black solidarity that dared to openly confront southern segregation. Klan III never became a single, nationally organized entity similar to the heyday of Klan II, but was a loose assemblage of smaller local groups. One example of this was the United Klans of America, organized by Grand Dragon Bob Jones (no, not the founder of Bob Jones University) in the early 1960s. This particular Klan boasted nearly 10,000 members before being brought down with the help of its own chaplain, Imperial Kludd George Dorsett, who was working as an FBI informant.

Lest you think all of this is ancient history, Klan III inspired riots took place in Mobile, Alabama in 1977 and also, what has been called “the last lynching” occurred in March 1981 after Michael Donald (a 20 year-old black man) was hanged from a tree with the express purpose of showing the strength of the Alabama Klan.

All of these Klan versions, or as I call them, iterations, were different in their formation, organization, scope and power. But, even though each Klan iteration formed in different eras with different men, they all had a single commonality: racial purity and racial separation. However, leaders, such as Grand Dragon Jones of United Klans of America, would never admit to being a racist. Jones didn’t object to Jews, he didn’t object to blacks—as long as they stayed in their place, away from him and never tried to mingle together with white people.

Strangely echoing the Carolina Joneses I am familiar with.

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Back to Klan II — That brings us back to Klan II which began on Stone Mountain outside of Atlanta, Georgia on November, 1915. The man declaring himself Imperial Wizard of the Invisible Empire of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan via a burning cross, an American flag, a Bible, a sword and mysterious incantations was a former itinerant Methodist preacher named William Joseph Simmons. “Colonel” Simmons, as he was known to his friends, had a thing for “secret societies” and modeled Klan II on kinship and brotherhood with the idea that the Klan would become a practical fraternity among like-minded men. Simmons and his Invisible Empire adopted religious trappings – a Klan Creed (Kreed”), Klan Hymns, and, much like many churches, stipulations and requirements for formal membership.

It is here that Colonel Simmons gets a mention in the biography of Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., founder of Bob Jones College which later became Bob Jones University. Quoting from the El Paso Times (September 30, 1922), R.K. Johnson in Builder of Bridges:¹ The Biography of Dr Bob Jones Sr. writes:

“‘I am not a member of the Ku Klux Klan,’ Mr. Jones said, ‘Col. William J. Simmons, Imperial Wizard of the Klan, a former Methodist preacher, is a close personal friend of mine and he approached me to join the Klan. He told me it was a patriotic organization and that it had never been a party to lawlessness. I did not join.’”

William Simmons did stress the fraternal and patriotic elements of Klan II over any examples or rumors of violence or lawlessness, so the fact that he presented Klan membership to Bob Jones, Sr. as “a patriotic organization” is not surprising. Had Bob Jones, Sr. joined Klan II in the 1920s at the invitation of Colonel Simmons, I seriously doubt that Simmons, a man who yearned to have his organization validated by famous and well-known individuals (especially religious personalities) would have kept Bob Jones, Sr.’s membership secret for long.

Pure Americanism — In the early days of the Twentieth Century (1915), up until the Great Depression (1930), in the world of traveling evangelists, there were two names that most people knew: Billy Sunday and, to a slightly lesser extent, Bob Jones, the eventual founder of Bob Jones College. Neither Sunday nor Jones ever admitted to Klan II membership and no proof of official membership has ever been produced.

But, we know that both of these men tolerated the support of Klan II. For example, we have multiple newspaper accounts in the 1920’s of Bob Jones, Sr. (then known as “Rev. Bob Jones”) speaking to the Klan, accepting Klan donations and allowing the passing out of Klan literature. Not just in the South, but in northern states such as Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Politically, religiously and racially, Bob Jones, Sr. and Klan II echoed the same sentiments. Patriotism, anti-secularism, anti-Darwinism, xenophobia and temperance – these were all Klan themes and religious men like Bob Jones, Sr. backed them up with scripture. It was referred to as “Pure Americanism” and Klan groups were careful to make sure that their members were “100% Americans.” There was nothing in between. It was “100%” or nothing.

In April, 1924, the magazine The American Mercury, founded and edited by H. L. Menken and George J. Nathan, used the moniker “Nordic Blond evangelists” to describe those who passed out a “circular” (called a “remarkable flyer” in another source) during a “Rev. Dr. Bob Jones” Dallas, Texas revival service. We find Bob Jones, Sr. in the snippet labeled “Texas,” and to get the full impact of Menken’s prose, you must read the reference to Bob Jones and the “Nordic Blond evangelists” in context:

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Even though Bob Jones, Sr. states on more than one occasion that he refused offers of free membership in the Klan (“I’m not much of a secret society man,” he once said.) and, in regard to the Klan’s more violent actions, Reverend Bob Jones, Sr. stated his reservations. But, on more than one occasion, Bob Jones, Sr. ignored the Klan violence and accepted without reservation monetary donations from various state Klaverns – $1568 after an Andalusia, Alabama revival and in Pennsylvania:

“Mr. Jones urged the men to do their share in clearing up the budget of $3500. He said that $5300 had been raised and that $2700 more was needed. He urged many to put bills in the collection pans. He said: ‘If you’re not a member of the Klan and the man next to you doesn’t put in at least a dollar, he’s not a member either.’”

One source termed Bob Jones, Sr.’s support of the Klan as “tacit”, and that seems to be fairly accurate. By accepting donations and encouraging support and membership in the Invisible Empire of his day, Bob Jones, Sr., whether he intended to or not, acted very much like an Imperial Kleagle (a Klan recruiter). If not a recruiter, then Rev. Jones, Sr. was demonstrating that he, a Man of God, could be bought, or, at the very least, persuaded. However, Bob Jones, Sr. was careful to carve some distance between himself and the Klan – another reason why I believe Bob Jones, Sr. avoided membership.

“On one side of the pulpit was an American flag; on the other the emblem of the Ku Klux Klan. Attached to the wall of the choir section, high above the heads of the choir where all could see was a flaming cross. A clever electrical arrangement caused flames to shoot from the cross during the entire service. Directly in front of the pulpit was a cross illuminated by red, electric lights.” (McKeesport (PA) Daily News Evening Ed., Jan. 17, 1927, “About 3000 Ku Klux Klan Members There”)

Bob Jones College — In 1927, when Bob Jones College was founded on College Point near Lynn Haven, Florida newly elected (and backed by Klan II) Alabama Governor Bibb Graves gave the opening keynote address. After the Crash of 1929 and the beginning of The Great Depression collapsed values everywhere, facing financial bankruptcy, Bob Jones, Sr. moved Bob Jones College to Cleveland, Tennessee in the early 1930s. After experiencing a sustained period of growth, in 1947, BJC moved to a brand new campus in Greenville, South Carolina and became Bob Jones University.

Society changed all around Bob Jones, Sr. – Klan II had fallen in corruption and disgrace, the federal government began to pass and enforce civil rights laws, the so-called “non-racist” practice of “separate but equal” was ruled unconstitutional, religious organizations began to band together – this time to unite, not separate people. Political parties changed as well.² Dixiecrat Democrats (Strom Thurmond) rebelled at the notion of the federal government imposing civil rights laws on individual southern states causing the once powerful Democrat Party to become fractured — until the Democrats realized the power of “the black vote.” White, conservative Democrats in the South and elsewhere, left the party in favor of the conservatism the Republican Party embraced.

Bob Jones University would have been an entirely different school if the now Doctor Bob Jones, Sr. had followed the example of other religious leaders, such as those of the Episcopal Church, who formed The Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity. Meeting for the first time on the campus of St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina in December 1959, the ESCRU was created to combat racial attitudes and racial segregation within Episcopal churches, schools and organizations.

But, Dr. Bob, Sr. stood “without apology” and, like many other “old-time,” religious, principled southern men, held on to beliefs in separation and segregation. These were the same beliefs Dr. Bob, Sr. espoused during the halcyon days of Klan II, and Dr. Bob held on and preached these beliefs as religious doctrine well into the 1960’s. Less than four months after the ESCRU was formed in North Carolina, on April 17, 1960, over the BJU-owned radio station WMUU, Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. preached “Is Segregation Scriptural?”

“No two races have ever lived as close together as the white people and the colored people here in the South and got along so well. Now what’s the matter? There is an effort today to disturb the established order. … You cannot run over God’s plan and God’s established order without having trouble.” (p.10)

Very similar to the North Carolina Bob Jones who organized The United Klans of America — “as long as they [different races] stay in their place” — everything will be fine. Unfortunately this same attitude of “predetermined place” was echoed by Dr. Bob Jones, Sr.’s grandson, Bob Jones III:

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1968 – 2008 — Passing away in the tumultuous year of 1968, Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. never did see his school fully accept unmarried black students at Bob Jones University. When it came to student racial policies, BJU was not just unusual; it was unique.

Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. passed his penchant for obstinacy and recalcitrant behavior on to his son, Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. who fought the agents of the federal government (IRS) over the final overt vestige of early 20th century racial policy: the University prohibition of interracial dating and marriage. The University lost the argument with the United States government in 1983 via a Supreme Court decision, but the University’s leaders never lost their stubbornness to change, keeping the “No Interracial Dating” rule until March, 2000, two years after the passing of Dr. Bob Jones, Jr.

In November, 2008, coerced by former students via an on-line petition, Dr. Bob Jones, Sr.’s great-grandson, Dr. Stephen Jones (then president of BJU), issued an apology for BJU’s past racial policies. But the “apology” was not unconditional. Stephen Jones in his official statement blamed BJU’s past racial policies on “the segregationist ethos of American culture.” Jones mistakenly assumes that this “ethos” was ubiquitous and undisputed.

It wasn’t.

There were contemporaries of Stephen’s great-grandfather who did refuse to participate in Klan II “church visitations” and refused to accept Klan donations and the temptation of free Klan memberships. Of course, some of them paid a price for their failure to cooperate with “100% Americans.” In December, 1922, Governor of Kansas Henry J. Allen said, “When lawlessness developed, the Klan would disavow it and then give $50 to a loose mouth preacher, who would thank God for the Klan.”

The “segregational ethos” was a distant memory by the time Stephen’s father, Dr. Bob Jones III, rescinded the interracial dating ban (March, 2000). And, don’t be fooled; the only reason that rule was done away with was to help then Republican Presidential candidate, George W. Bush, who had recently spoke at BJU, deflect criticism and, hopefully, win the Presidency over Vice President Al Gore.

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More? Oh, yes. We’re just getting started…

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¹Builder of bridges, builder of walls — check out similarities between Bob Jones and Donald Trump.

²“The Democrats are the party of the Ku Klux Klan”Wa Po, 2/8/2017

Holdin’ On To Yesterday

There’s virtually nothing that would prompt me to travel to Greenville, South Carolina. I had enough during my last visit (a decade ago). The city isn’t the same. The traffic is worse. My private mountain hiking spot is now a regulated South Carolina State Park. More people — more scars upon the land.

Because of my disconnect with Greenville, this may be old news, but there are rumors going around that Bob Jones University has closed (what I remember as) the Art Gallery.

Just remembering that weird building gives me chills.

The closure, if I understand correctly, is temporary — but, as they say, “There’s nothing quite so permanent as the temporary.”

Personally, I don’t care whether that gallery is closed or not. It was a waste of space as far I was concerned. A creepy building full of creepy art. The paintings all looked the same. Weird expressions of religious rapture combined with odd lighting and anachronistic clothing. It was Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. that constantly preached that exposure to “high culture” (art, drama, music) completed our BJU education.

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“High culture” was determined by the upper echelon of the university. My “art, drama, and music” was relegated to the trash heap. But, all of that expensive museum art was BJU Approved. And we, The Great Unwashed, were supposed (“required”) to enjoy it. Learn from it. Relish in the culture.

It was current BJU president, Steve Pettit that addressed the “temporary closure” of the on-campus Art Gallery. I am guessing that there were suggestions made to liquidate the Art Gallery’s assets — in other words, “sell the paintings!”

Sell the paintings…

I made that very suggestion back in 1981 during an annual Bible Conference fundraiser. Each year, the dorms (“residence halls”) would be called upon to raise money for some BJU building project or some such thing. During Bible Conference, Hall Monitors would arrive at your room asking for money. One evening, I blurted out, “Sell a painting!”

That remark resulted in me getting (another) private talking to. My argument was: Why ask cash-strapped work scholarship students for building fund money when getting rid of a couple of paintings would pay for the project? The response was that the trouble was with me.

So, it brought a smile to my face to hear of Steve Pettit addressing the “sell a painting” issue…

Schadenfreude — I think they call it.

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Ken Ham: Younger Than He Appears

Petersburg, Kentucky — In preparation to speak at Bob Jones University’s 2017 Spring Conference, and as stipulated in the university’s liability insurance governing on-campus guest speakers, Ken Ham, the keynote speaker of the conference, underwent a detailed physical examination to determine his physical health and mental well-being prior to his arrival.

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“It’s standard stuff,” stated a BJU spokesperson (who chose to remain anonymous). “We don’t want to be on the hook if someone drops dead behind the podium in the FMA.”

The FMA is the Founder’s Memorial Amphitorium, the large auditorium where the Spring Conference is to be held.

Mr. Ham passed the physical with flying colors.

“I am extremely fit for a 35 year-old man,” Mr. Ham stated.

However, according to Wikipedia, Mr. Ham was born in 1951 (October) making him (currently) 65 years old. When this was pointed out to Mr. Ham, he dismissively responded that those were “just meaningless numbers.”

“Let me explain this to you,” Mr. Ham continued. “You are making assumptions based on numbers assigned to me on a Wikipedia page or maybe an Australian birth certificate. But we all know birth certificates can be faked — Barack Obama proved that, so those numbers stating that I am of great age are meaningless. How old do you think Adam was the day after he was created? 25? 30? No!. Adam was one day old!

One reporter pointed out that currently, age was calculated by the number of orbits around the Sun a particular person has made.

Ham responded: “The common mistake you are making, like all of those evolutionists out there, is assuming that time is a constant — it is not. In my case, all of my constant traveling has caused my age to become skewed due to the dilation of time. My experience of time is much different than yours and what you call and claim to measure as ’65 years’ is, I believe, only 35 years for me.”

ken-ham-younger-than-he-appears-tardis

Mr. Ham spent the next half-hour (we think — it seemed much longer), illustrating his point with a piece of notebook paper and talking about how space-time can be folded so that two points that are normally light-years apart can be very close together.

“By the time I get to Greenville, South Carolina,” Mr. Ham concluded, “I will be 34.957 years old.”

We reached out to the physicians that performed Ken Ham’s recent examination for a comment on Mr. Ham’s age.

As of this date, we have received no reply, but one of the doctors did suggest a mental well-being follow up examination may be in order — “just to make sure.”

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Rapture-Day Clock

Unlike the Doomsday Clock which had its hands moved forward, the Rapture-Day Clock went backwards — slightly.

The Rapture-Day Clock was only mimicking what we here at inktrekker.com stated back on November 10, 2016 (“Trump’s Win Causes Rapture Delay“) — and you thought we were kidding…

Both the Doomsday Clock and the Rapture-Day Clock countdown to a world-changing event. The Doomsday Clock is somewhat nonspecific. There are many causes of doom. Since the clock is maintained and presented by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, they see Doomsday as worldwide thermonuclear war breaking out between two or more nuclear armed countries and that’s what the Doomsday Clock concentrates on — man-made end-of-the-world scenarios.

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In this respect, the Rapture-Day Clock is quite different. It counts down to a specific event — the “rapture” (literally “caught up”) or “taking up” of Christ’s Church into Heaven and the start of a devastating Seven Year Tribulation Period here on Earth.

The Rapture-Day Clock factors in approximately 45 event-categories that are assigned a number or score based on current worldwide activity. For example, the event-category “Satanism” currently reads “4” out of a possible “5” (as of January 30, 2017). All categories have a maximum score of 5, meaning a total score of 225 is possible. Right now the total score, or “Rapture Index,” reads 183 — that’s down from an all time high of 189 reached on October 10, 2016.¹ Reiterating what I said at the start…

The election of Donald Trump was a setback — a reversal — for The Rapture.

But that’s nothing.

Back on December 12, 1993,² the Rapture Index hit an all-time low — the score plummeted to 58 — a whopping 125 points lower than it is now!

Yep. During the Presidency of Bill Clinton.

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Go figure…

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Source: Rapture Ready Index, also, Coast to Coast AM and The Daily Mail.

¹Headlines for 10-10-2016

²Headlines for 12-12-1993 – not much. I couldn’t find any “huge” events. On this date, The Doomsday Clock read “17 Minutes to Midnight.” The Cold War was dead, the START Treaty had been signed and the USA and Russia were reducing nuclear stockpiles.

No Coincidence: Keystone Pipeline

It was no coincidence that newly elected President Trump signed an executive order today giving the go-ahead for the Keystone Pipeline.

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Yes, it was on this day, January 24, in 1935, that the first canned beer was sold.

Like our modern-day Keystone, canned beer did not have an easy road from brewery to market. When American Can Company¹ first attempted to “can” beer in 1909, the beer’s natural carbonation caused the cans to explode. Shortly before the repeal of one of the worst laws ever forced upon Americans (Prohibition), American Can solved the exploding can problem by lining the inside of the cans and making the cans out of heavy-gauge steel. You did not crush these against your forehead — no matter how drunk you became.

No “pop-tops” to open the can (or cut your heel on²), ironically a “church key” opener was needed to create one hole to drink from and, of course, another hole to allow the amber liquid to easily flow from the can into your mouth (bohemian) or glass (civilized). Why two holes? It’s a science thing. Ask Bill Nye.

When it comes to preserving beer, cans are better. Keeping beer sealed and in total darkness (like Hillary’s emails) is actually better than exposing the beer to light — like in a clear glass bottle (Miller High Life). Exposure to light can cause beer to go “skunky.” What is “skunky” beer? Like pornography, it’s hard to define — but you know it when you encounter it. The avoidance of “skunkiness” (is that a word?) is one of the reasons artsy-fartsy, over-priced, over-rated “craft breweries” are using cans rather than bottles.

Most bottles are the 12 ounce size — but cans come in a variety of sizes. The usual or normal 12 ounce size, then there’s the Tall Boy (16 ounces) and, of course, Foster’s “Oil Can” (25 ounces). There may be bigger sizes. If there are, they will be on the lowest shelf in your neighborhood stop-n-rob (convenience store) next to the Thunderbird and MD 20/20.

Cans, although better at preserving beer, do suffer an image problem.

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Which is why President Trump during the early days of his presidency has taken this extraordinary step to approve the Keystone Pipeline —

And Make American Cans Great Again.

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¹used to service their computers back in the early 1980s (Chicago)

²Jimmy Buffet, “Margaritaville”

Trump: Once Again Recognizing a Market

Today, January 20, 2016,  just a few hours ago, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the Forty-fifth President of the United States of America.

In some cases, actual swear words were used.

Not everyone was happy…

Ahh — music!*

Trump’s ascendency was not the culmination of careful political planning or well thought-out electoral strategy; instead Donald Trump won for the same reason Lee Iacocca succeeded with the first generation Ford Mustang —

Trump found a market — he found people who were being underserved, push aside and, in some cases, openly ignored. Their ideas and their beliefs were being impugned. They were being forced (by law) to allow and do things they believed were wrong. The rule of law and citizenship were constantly diminished by the open support of people who came here illegally. A group of malcontents could block an interstate highway, vandalize cars and businesses and attack innocent voters, but if a devout Christian business owner refused to serve someone based on his/her religious convictions — well, that was just too much. We can’t have that!

Democrats gave birth to the Trump Presidency by embracing their “new base.” A base built not on traditional middle-class working families, but a new base of left-wing radicals who embraced socialist ideas of economics, socially liberal values, porous borders and anti-American globalism.

President Trump is no political mastermind. But he did see that the “backbone of America” was being ignored. He went to those places lefties on both Coasts derisively refer to as “fly-over country” and he embraced them. Trump, a rich New Yorker, donned a silly red baseball cap and went to The South, The Mid-West, The Rust Belt, Tornado Alley, The Great Plains — and he told those people, he heard them, he appreciated them and, with their support, he would not ignore them.

So, today…

president-trump-takes-the-oath-01-20-2017

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
Everyone is listening to you now.
You will never be ignored again.

A powerful promise President Trump had better not walk back.

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*Upon reflection, I probably should’ve made some reference to The Disaffected. They are the same bunch that championed Obama and derided Trump.

This Tweet Bothers Me

No, this is not about our Tweeter-in-Chief, President-elect Donald J. Trump. This blog is about another president. And another tweet.

It [the tweet] is as follows:

steve-pettit-tweet-bju

When I saw this in my feed, it bothered me. I wanted to respond immediately, but thought better of it, waiting to write this instead.

So, why does this tweet bother me? Several reasons.

First, the statement — “…believing in 6-day creationism is the only position for Biblical Christians.” — Now, that is one loaded statement. My immediate take on this statement was this: “There can be only one position. No room for any other. You can’t be a Christian of the Bible if you don’t believe in a literal 6-day creation occurring roughly 6000 – 8000 years ago as advocated by Ken Ham who is our keynote speaker at the 2017 BJU Bible Conference.”

That’s what I immediately came away with when I read the Pettit tweet. Am I wrong?

Since Northwest Florida decided to turn bitter cold (low 30s), the brutal winter weather gave me an entire weekend to ponder this tweet. As I pondered, I asked myself several questions:

Why was the tweet made? Why tweet this? — BJU President Pettit seems to be answering a question. Perhaps a few BJU alumni have voiced concern or even opposition over having Ken Ham speak. I don’t know. The tweet seems to have a defensive tone to it. “Why have Ken Ham speak? Because…”

As you may know, I am not a fan of Ken Ham. He reminds me of another “creation science” advocate that I know all too well, Kent Hovind, also known as “Dr. Dino” to his (still) many fans. Both of these guys, Ken and Kent, built creation science museums/parks, Ken Ham’s being the bigger and more successful one (with a life-sized Noah’s Ark!) and Kent Hovind’s being seized for unpaid back taxes by the Internal Revenue Service. For these two men, the level of success is different, but they are motivated by the exact same thing: the singular belief in a young Earth and a literal six-day creation as stated word-for-word in the Genesis text. Plus, both men advocate creation as a “science” and that modern day or current science has at its heart a desire to disprove and destroy the Bible and Christianity in general.

6-day Creationism? — Twitter doesn’t allow a detailed explanation of this, but since this tweet is in support of Ken Ham, et al, I am going to assume that “6-day creationism” means: everything we know — not just life and the Earth and its environs, but the Sun, all stars, nebulae, galaxies, etc. — was spoke into existence, out of nothing, 6000 to 8000 years ago (some go 10K), over the period of six, 24 hour days and existed until the Flood (Noah) destroyed its original condition. Since then, the Earth cooled, regular rain fell and exposure to radiation shortened the lives of men from hundreds of years down to about 80 years (maximum average).

What does ‘Biblical Christians’ mean? — My first thought was: “As opposed to un-Biblical Christians.” Christianity is based in Christ. The Christ of the Bible. Our Bibles may differ, some have a few extra books, but Christ is revealed in the New Testament part of The Book. In spite of varied interpretations, Christians would agree on this. I’m not sure how Christianity (as we know it) would exist without the New Testament, i.e., “non-Biblical” Christianity.

It could be that “Biblical Christians” means only those who are saved or born again. Then the statement about “believing in 6-day creationism” takes on a whole new light. Surely Steve Pettit is not making belief in an 8000 year-old, six (24 hour) day created Earth a requirement for salvation… As in, “You’re not saved unless you take this one position…” I hope that’s not what he’s saying.

The Only Position? — This bothers me, as well. One position? Just this? What about those many Christians who do not hold to this proclaimed “one position?” Several of my Christian theology texts (some acquired while I was a student at BJU) detail alternate views of creation that do not hold to this “one position.” It was Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. that introduced my teenaged mind to “The Gap Theory.” That ‘theory” certainly is not part of Steve Pettit’s tweeted “one position.”

It could be that BJU has gotten together, coalesced and embraced “6-day creationism.” It could be that BJU will no longer tolerate alternate origin beliefs. I hope that isn’t the case.

Ken Ham for Seminary/Bible Conference? — Limited to this statement, I don’t have a problem. I listened to the Ken Ham-Bill Nye Debate (February 2014) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Ken Ham speaking about the Bible in a Bible Study setting is fine. The following statement by BJU regarding Ken Ham and creationism, I do have a problem with:

“Join us for this year’s conference as we learn from Ken Ham and the Bob Jones University Seminary and science faculties as they seek to equip believers and spiritual leaders to succeed in the battle for biblical Creation.”*

You see the problem? “Seminary” and “science” — together?

A seminary is a place where the study of religious tenets is part of the training to be a candidate for a religious ministry. Science is the study (experimentation) of the physical world, its characteristics, behavior and structure. Science changes. It evolves as discoveries are made and past errors are corrected. Free thought is encouraged. The Bible condemns any additions or subtractions to the text, so, unlike science, it is fixed. Free thought is discouraged.

Ken Ham can call creationism a “science” all he wants. But creation is not science. The Bible is not a science textbook. The Bible is, however, a book of poetry, prophecy and, yes, history — mainly the origins of the Hebrews and the chronicling of their developing and sometimes turbulent relationship with their God. When compared with the amount of writing devoted to Hebrew history, poetry and prophecy, creation seems like an afterthought. A mention just to get the story of the Hebrews started.

Was creation literal? If it was, it wasn’t science. “God spoke and it was” is beyond any science, process or technology we understand. Who knows how God worked or what processes (both long and short term) brought about His “and it was good.” We don’t know. There is no way to apply what we call science.

And, to call it or frame it as science is just plain wrong.

One Position — Over the centuries the Christian church has held many “one positions” — some of which have had to be modified or eliminated altogether. Many of these positions had to do with cosmology and, as science advanced and we became more aware of our physical world through experimentation and exploration, these once solid positions were dropped. We now know that the Earth is just a seemingly unique “pale blue dot,” circling a common-place yellowish ball of gas, surrounded by powerful natural forces that make Man appear even smaller and more helpless than the Bible says.

Pretty sure there’s room for more than one position.

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*from BJU.edu, Events, Spring Conferences (12-06-2016)

2016: What A Year!

It wouldn’t surprise me if 2016 refuses to die and we all wake up on December 32, 2016 and wonder what happened. Not since Y2K have I heard so much expressed anxiety over a particular year’s end.

But — I found the entire year most enjoyable…

2016-what-a-year-geaston

Hope you did, as well.

See you on December 32.

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Christmas Music Grinch

When it comes to Christmas music, I am a Grinch. I’ve heard it all before — the criticism and the music. Christmas after Christmas after Christmas. If someone has this seasonal music on, I don’t say anything, but as soon as I have the chance, like a bulimic, I purge myself of Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Dean Martin and Burl Ives.

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I don’t particularly hate the music — it just doesn’t offer anything new.

When I say I don’t’ “hate” the music, I mean in a general sense. There are a few tunes I absolutely despise and would have them banned, the artists jailed and the recordings burned. Top among them, Mariah Carey singing “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”¹ What an ear infection that song is.

There are a few tunes that I have claimed as Christmas songs. Some because they are overtly Christmas songs, others, because I associate them with the Christmas season…

A Charlie Brown Christmas: Vince Guaraldi Trio —

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While in Miami in 1985, I bought this soundtrack. That cassette played year after year until it died sometime in the 1990s. Now, I have it on CD and it got me hooked on Vince Guaraldi’s piano music (along with Dave Brubeck). Several times over the years, I’ve caught myself playing this Christmas music in the middle of the summer.

Barry Manilow: Because It’s Christmas —

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In the early 1990s, when my wife purchased this CD, I rolled my eyes and laughed. No way I would listen to Barry Manilow sing Christmas music. But, it soon became one of my favorites because, say what you want, Barry Manilow went to the trouble of writing new Christmas tunes that weren’t silly and insipid, but were moody and cheerful simultaneously. My favorite on the album: “Silent Night/ I Guess There Ain’t No Santa Claus.”

Elton John: Step Into Christmas —

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This used to be played on AM “Top 40” rock-n-roll stations back in the 70s and 80s. Since then, we’ve lost AM Top 40 to Talk Radio but, if I switch to FM and listen long enough, I might hear this played on the FM “Classic Rock” station — wedged in between Pink Floyd (“Comfortably Numb”) and Boston (“More Than A Feeling”). I’ve always been a fan of Elton John (still am) and this is a great tune. Very upbeat. Very “Elton.”

Steely Dan: Gaucho —

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In December 1980, I was leaving a church “pot-luck” Christmas dinner in Greenup, Illinois. It was a typical Illinois winter evening — dark, cold, with pellets of wind-blown sleet. After starting up my old ’68 Ford Galaxie, I turned on the AM radio and heard the Steely Dan song “Hey Nineteen” for the first time. I was immediately hooked.  From that time forward, I still associate “Hey Nineteen”, “Time Out of Mind” and the rest of the Steely Dan album “Gaucho” with Christmas.

Walter Becker: 11 Tracks of Whack —

walter-becker-11-tracks-of-whack

“Book of Liars”, a track from Walter Becker’s “11 Tracks of Whack,” (Steely Dan² added this tune to their live tour) seems an unlikely Christmas song — but, listen to the lyrics. As our circle of friends widens and we all age, our relationships evolve, sometimes dissolve and eventually resolve into something new. Once “happy” homes are lost, kids are shared and holidays become a tremendous source of distress. A reminder that Christmas is not always merry.

Al Stewart: Time Passages —

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“Time Passages” is one of those albums where I love every-single-song. The title song conveys the nostalgia that accompanies the season and the post-Christmas let-down once it’s over — and you realize another year has passed and a new one is upon you. “Years go falling in the fading light…”

Michael Franks: Rendezvous in Rio —

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I’ve never been a big fan of the idea that a “perfect” Christmas must include snow. It wasn’t until I moved to Florida I realized how much better Christmas Day can be when the Sun is out and the temperature hovers in the mid-70s. Turkey? Ham? Forget it. Grilled steaks and Gulf shrimp makes a real Christmas dinner. Michael Franks captures the idea of a warm, sunny Christmas in “Under the Sun.” I could never go back to the cold, the ice, the snow. No way. “I need the heat.”

Christmas should never be what other people say it should be. You have to take control and make it your own. Dare to be different.

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¹A close second – “Last Christmas” by Wham! And anything by Mannheim Steamroller.
²Walter Becker is one half of Steely Dan. The other half being Donald Fagen.

Where are Those Thine Accusers?

Where are the Donald Trump accusers? That gaggle of gals wrestling each other for a microphone and facetime, attempting to be “Ms. October Surprise” before the November election, all of whom were graphically claiming Donald Trump had sexually assaulted them in some way — where are they? What follows is a list from the end of October 2016…

Jessica Leeds
Kristin Anderson
Jill Harth
Temple Taggart McDowell
Karena Virginia
Mindy McGillivray
Rachel Crooks
Natasha Stoynoff
Ninni Laaksonen
Summer Zervos
Erin Burnett’s unnamed friend
Cassandra Searles

…don’t know how comprehensive it is. Doesn’t matter anyway because — none of their stories held up when exposed to the light of logic. There was no verification. No documentation. No timely follow up. No surprise, then, that the list above became a national joke. Few believed them.

Gee — what does this remind me of….?

donald-trump-greenville-sc

Puzzled (but not really) by the lack of official support for Donald Trump by my alma mater, Bob Jones University, I posted a blog on February 23, 2016 called “Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. & Donald Trump.” The purpose of the blog was to demonstrate the commonalities between Bob Jones, Sr. (founder of BJU) and Donald J. Trump. So struck by the similarities, I expanded the list of similar attributes in a second blog (February 29, 2016) titled “Jones & Trump: Commonalities Revisited.” That blog featured an expanded list of commonalities between the two seemingly disparate men.

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Then, in October 2016, Donald Trump, like BJU,et al, was repeatedly accused of “sexual assault” by a group of women who demanded Trump be held accountable for his alleged actions — I wrote about that in October 2016 — the accusations had “A Familiar Ring…” These gals sounded exactly like those who demanded the G.R.A.C.E. investigation of BJU.

And, like the 300+ page “G.R.A.C.E. Report,” horrible accusations against good men (and a few ladies) all came to nothing. Nothing.

The conservative religious website, Sharper Iron, referred to the release of the G.R.A.C.E. Report as “non-news about a non-event.” That was in 2014.

Today we would call it “Fake News.”

But, in the twisted world of unsubstantiated accusations, “fake news” is okay — according to the BJUGrace.com’s, Rebecca Davis…

“I’ve seen several statements on this blog post that false stories of abuse have been circulated in order to attack the school [BJU]. I’m unaware of a single false story, and if it’s false, then there would be no harm in repeating it. If it’s really true, though, and you’re claiming it’s false, it could damage lives to repeat it in a mocking way.” ~ Rebecca Davis, blog comment, Feb. 15, 2013 (italics mine)

…and this is the kind of twisted belief system that motivates purveyors of “fake news” and gives us our aforementioned gaggle of Trump Accusers…

Where are those thine accusers, by the way?

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BJU: Russians Hacked Our Video!

DATELINE: Greenville, SC – It was supposed to be a nostalgic look back at a “Christmas Past.” Heavy sweaters, big scarves, polyester pants, classical music and Dr. Bob Jones III with borrowed hair — a potpourri of visual and audio memories that add up to a Christmas uniquely Bob Jones University.

But, the Russians had other plans.

“It was state actors from a foreign power,” commented an anonymous BJU spokesperson. “Don’t be fooled into thinking it was some kid in his parents’ basement playing a joke. This was an act of sabotage by an aggressor nation.”

The FBI and the CIA independently confirmed that the source of the hack was Russian in origin. An agent with the CIA commented that the captions on the video were “clearly Russian.” Field agents from the FBI agreed.

You may watch the hacked video below. It was leaked to inktrekker from a third party source.

WARNING: Some viewers may find it disturbing.*

BJU President Steve Pettit blamed Russian interference for Bob Jones University’s declining enrollment.

“I know it’s not anything we here at BJU have done,” said Pettit, “it has to be the Russians finally taking revenge for our 1990 film The Printing.” (A film about the Russian government squelching the spread of Christianity in the old Soviet Union.) “Clearly,” continued Pettit, “they [the Russians] haven’t gotten over that yet.”

At the time of this post, translations of the Russian embedded captions were not available, however one expert in the Russian language commented that the opening caption mentioned “snow” and “people.”

“Maybe they’re asking if we want to build a snowman?” suggested the Russian linguist.

Future translation updates may be available depending on their government classification.

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*UPDATE (Jan 06 2017) Bob Jones University filed a “copyright infringement” complaint with YouTube, accusing me of violating copyright. YouTube advised removal of the video or face having my BJU diploma and U.S. citizenship revoked and possible deportation.

The video was posted on Dec. 19, 2016. It took Bob Jones University less than a month to complain to YouTube. If only BJU were that good in maintaining enrollment and keeping their promises to employees…

Oh, but YouTube copyright violations — BJU has that covered and is quick to attack.

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UPDATE (Jan 10 2017) — In the process of removing hacked 1983 Snow My People video (due to a BJU instigated attack on this site claiming “copyright infringement”), our audio experts here at inktrekker discovered a hidden layer of what appears to be coded Russian commands. Because of the extensive processing required to make these commands audible, we have lost some of the video’s visual quality.

BJU: The Pole

Prolegomenon My shameful and embarrassing account was never investigated by the G.R.A.C.E. team during their 2013-14 G.R.A.C.E. “investigation” of sexual abuse at Bob Jones University. My retelling of this tale of hot water, soap and nudity never made the 300+ pages of the final G.R.A.C.E. Report. Dorm Supervisor Olsen ignored my protestations. Not one member of the University faculty or staff responded to my complaints. Though three decades have passed, I still deal with the memories — and the pain.

Heeding the advice of my counselor and therapist, I retell the story here, in hopes that, on some level, healing can begin…

The Pole —*

I may be suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – memories and mistreatment so vile and evil that functioning in normal life is impossible. Of course, I could be suffering from blocked or repressed memories – but – how would I know?

I wouldn’t – because I can’t remember.

One thing did pop into my head.

A terrible thing –

The Pole.

Yes – The Pole.

Ernest Reveal Dormitory, prior to the 1981 Fall Semester, second floor, west end, was home to…

The Pole.

But before I go on, I have to give you some background…

bju-campus-map-reveal

Reveal Dormitory was my home for two years (1979 – 81) – just hearing the name “Reveal” brings back forgotten details and images…

Dark green paint.

Thread bare carpet.

“We Reveal the Best” t-shirt design fiasco (we gave them to the girls…)

Dorm Super Olsen.

And, of course…

The Pole.

Reveal was a weird dorm. The first floor was made up of faculty/staff housing, I’m guessing – the only time I ever ventured on to the first floor was when Dorm Supervisor Olsen tried to convince me I was in reality a budding Atheist. Second floor was the first floor of student housing – er – rooms, and the only floor I lived on during my two years in Reveal. Like the other BJU dorms, Reveal had two community bathrooms on each floor – one for the west hall and one for the east. Dorm rooms did not have individual bathrooms or showers. Instead each room had a sink and mirror – both of which would earn you demerits if you did not keep them clean (and, yes, they were checked daily by the Hall Monitor.)

But forget the “Sink & Mirror” – it’s the Reveal shared showers I want to talk about.

Home of…

The Pole.

For me, the concept or implementation of shared showers was understandable and not unfamiliar. My years spent in public schools, elementary, junior high and high school, familiarized me with shared or communal showers. And during my freshman year at BJU where I was housed in J.Y. Smith Dormitory, we had shared showers –

But not –

The Pole.

For reasons that will become obvious, I have no photos of The Pole. In fact, all I can provide you with is a crude pencil drawing of how The Pole appeared to me when I first encountered it…

the-pole

The Pole stood in the middle of a tiled floor surrounded by drains. On The Pole, just above head height, but within easy reach, were nozzles – four, spaced at equal intervals on the circular surface of The Pole –

You know, there could have been three nozzles, again spaced equally, but owing to my PTSD, suppressed memories and motivated forgetting, I just can’t remember every minuscule detail.

Early in the morning, those of us who wanted to stay clean (and trust me – that wasn’t everyone), would face each other as we gathered around The Pole – nude.

Yes – nude. Naked.

After all it was a shower.

As I said previously, I had showered communally after PE classes in public school – but never facing two or three other guys with no barriers or boundaries other than The Pole itself and a floor drain that roughly marked “your” spot.

Other than multiple naked guys, you faced a small ledge that would hold your soap, shampoo and washcloth. On either side of the ledge were the controls for hot and cold water. Once you nodded your silent greetings to the other guys gathered around The Pole, the procedure was this: reach up and tilt the shower nozzle away from you.

That’s correct – away from you.

These were no ordinary shower heads. I’ve seen videos where water is used to cut wood, plastic and metal. I’m pretty sure these are the same type of water nozzles. We called them “Ball Beaters.”

showerheads

If you accidentally forgot to turn the nozzle away from you before engaging the high pressure water, you found out why these shower nozzles earned this particular moniker. But even if you did remember to tilt the Ball Beater spray away from you, at some point during the shower, usually while you had shampoo in your eyes, you would forget and step in front of the high pressure spray causing it to wound you in a very delicate, sensitive area. Turning your back didn’t help – you would receive a free colon cleanse or experience a very angry bidet.

But the abuse – the mistreatment didn’t end there.

With no barriers, it was easy for some guys to forget their positional relationship to The Pole and drift into your area, causing an impact. Or the splatter – the splatter as the guys next to you lathered up – or down – you earnestly prayed it was just water…

And, of course, there were always a few guys that enjoyed The Pole a-little-too-much…

In the morning…(ahem)

That’s when I learned to shower in less than two minutes.

Thankfully, that was decades ago – and I have been free from…

The Pole.

Thank you for reading.

I feel better now.

Cleaner.

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*Not satire. Unfortunately, The Pole was all too real.

Ham & AiG at BJU

“The future of the church depends on believers and spiritual leaders defending the foundational truths that are being challenged by those who seek to accommodate evolutionary theories to evangelical faith. … Join us for this year’s conference as we learn from Ken Ham and the Bob Jones University Seminary and science faculties as they seek to equip believers and spiritual leaders to succeed in the battle for biblical Creation.” ¹

It was at The Fortress of Faith, Bob Jones University, that I first heard of “The Gap Theory” — it’s not a theory by any stretch of the word, but an attempt to fit large blocks of missing pre-historic time into Biblical scripture so as to allow for recent discoveries and improvements in scientific dating method that demonstrate huge amounts of geological time have transpired. The Gap Theory finds a “gap” between Genesis 1, verse 1 and Genesis 1, verse 2 — millions, perhaps, billions of years occurred between God’s First Creation (destroyed by Satan’s fall) and God’s Second Creation, the Six Day Creation that follows in the Genesis account. The Gap Theory came about to help reconcile modern geological discoveries with scripture. Once the “gap” was in place, any amount of geological time could be accommodated.

It was the son of the Founder of BJU, Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. who I remember expounding on the mysterious “gap” in Genesis. Whether Dr. Bob, Jr. was a proponent of the “theory,” I don’t remember. What I do remember was my college-aged brain rebelling at the thought of a Biblical gap flying under the radar for millennia and only being discovered when it was necessary to discover it…

Did not pass the smell test, in my opinion.

Soon after I discovered there were many ways seminarians and other Biblical experts incorporated large amounts of geological time into scripture… Days weren’t really days. Age wasn’t really age. God’s process is evolution. And so on.

My favorite? God created and buried the ancient fossils to “test our faith.”

Bottom line — these beliefs (“theories”) only came about when they were required to do so in order to maintain the integrity of Biblical scripture and/or the integrity of a system of scriptural interpretation.

It’s not the first time. I refer you to numerous astrological discoveries of the last 500 years and how they altered our interpretation of what was written. It seriously bothers me to tie or intertwine science and scripture together. And that’s what BJU is doing in their statement (above) combining “Seminary and science faculties.”

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That brings me to Ken Ham. And I only mention Mr. Ham because he is the keynote speaker during BJU’s 2017 Spring Conference, otherwise I keep Mr. Ham in the same box I keep Kent “Dr. Dino” Hovind in.

A few people have erroneously written that Ken Ham ties salvation with belief in a literal six-day creation. He doesn’t. A cursory review of his writings on the AiG website would let you know that Mr. Ham does not equate belief in a young Earth (under 10,000 years old) with Biblical salvation. He writes:

“In my lectures, I explain to people that believing in an old earth won’t keep someone out of heaven if they are truly ‘born again’ as the Bible defines ‘born again.'”

Later, however, Mr. Ham writes this:

“The point is, believing in a young earth won’t ultimately affect one’s salvation, but it sure does affect what those that person influences believe concerning how to approach Scripture. Such compromise in the church with millions of years and Darwinian evolution etc., we believe has greatly contributed to the loss of the Christian foundation in the culture.”

Ken Ham calls belief in an old Earth “unlocking a door” to reinterpretation of the entire Bible and ultimately a gateway to unbelief. In other words, why believe the tenets of salvation when you can’t trust the first chapter in the Bible to be word-for-word literal? This is a backhanded way of saying what Mr. Ham claims not to say: Young Earth belief confirms, proves, validates the bodily resurrection of Christ and with that, the believer’s salvation.

I am fairly certain that Ken Ham did not coin the phrase “Creation science” — but I do know he has championed the phrase for quite some time. It was evident during his debate with Bill Nye that Mr. Ham believes that Creation is science and should be taught as such. The thing is, Creation, as described in Genesis, is not science —²

It’s a miracle. Miracles are not science. Science is not a miracle. The Bible is not a science textbook.³ And science cannot be derived from the Bible. This is where I believe so-called “Creation science” goes off the rails — attributing science to a spiritual book.

If I attended this Spring Conference at BJU and had the opportunity to question Mr. Ham, I would like to ask him about the science behind Benny Hinn’s faith-healing escapades on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). Surely Mr. Ham was aware of Pastor Benny’s reputation for healing when Mr. Ham appeared on TBN…

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And I would like to ask BJU president Steve Pettit, are you going to have Benny Hinn come and advise the Health Sciences majors? Maybe combine the “Seminary and science faculties” with Benny Hinn’s brand of faith-healing?

Or should I call it “Faith-Healing Science?”

benny-hinn-tbn

 

¹from BJU.edu, Events, Spring Conferences (12-06-2016)

²Easton’s Religious Rules of Life #3. “Creation is not science and science is not Creation.”

³Easton’s Religious Rules of Life #4. “The Bible is not and was never meant to be a science textbook.”

Climate Change: New Evidence

In this era of science and technology, there are still those that ignore or twist the facts — the undeniable evidence — that atmospheric CO2 levels have risen significantly in the last 50 years. Along with CO2 levels, the gas responsible for an increase in global temperatures, the accumulation of carbon particulates continues to accelerate, especailly in urban areas along both coasts of the United States and, to lesser extent, in the midwestern cities of Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis.

The recent launch of the new high-tech National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite has given climatologists a new tool in pinpointing the source(s) of climate altering particulates and gases.

“The evidence is so good, that those who deny climate change and/or contribute to it, should be jailed,” stated Dr. Nil Bye, climatology expert for NOAA. “We have seen a significant and alarming increase since the Trump election. It’s measurable and, I don’t know about you, but I already feel warmer!”

Aided by the new NOAA satellite, Dr. Bye has narrowed down the source that has created the infamous “hockey stick” on climate change graphs.

As evidence, Dr. Bye produced the following chart:

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“No doubt about it. Clear as day. It’s like denying the Earth is round!” said Nil Bye. “Our planet is accumulating global warming gases at an unprecedented rate because of flag burning. That’s right. Flag burning. This should be taught in schools throughout the United States, but flag burning proponents — I call them “deniers” — have the funds to fight and the main-stream media on their side!”

Nil Bye continued: “The flag burning industry works very hard to maintain their status quo — they even hired some of the very same people — the actual people — from the cigarette days to teach these people how to ignite flags!” Dr. Bye was referring to the flag burners’ increasing skill at torching a flag (or multiple flags) and keeping it (them) burning. “Somehow, we need to cut off their supply of flags or switch to cleaner burning flags.”

According to Dr. Bye, who, unlike Bill Nye the Science Guy, holds an earned doctorate degree in climatology, if flag burning continues, the future of the nation and of the world looks bleak.

In an attempt to be fair and balanced, we reached out to Mr. Bill Nye, to get his take on flag burning and rising carbon levels, but, at the time of this report, we have received no response.

climate-spokesman-nill-bye-flag-burning-co2

Climatologist Dr. Nil Bye: Flag burning deniers should be jailed.

“We may be facing famine, wars — without a strong United States of America, the world will increasingly become more unstable and more dangerous. We may not be able to reverse the damage caused by flag burning, but we may be able to stop it from increasing.”

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BJU Dumps Unusual Films

First of all, this is not a blog about the food found in the Bob Jones University Dining Common during the late 1970s and 1980s. Yes, the Dining Common did stand without apology as they served many a film — unusual in character, yes, but at the same time possessing a strange and wonderful beauty…

What was that rainbow colored stuff on the sliced ham, anyway?

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Exposed film can label

After 66 years of existence, BJU has decided they no longer need their film production unit, Unusual Films, opting to farm out future promo work to an off campus “LLC”…

“Going forward, the University will produce films using an LLC model where films are externally funded and staffed as required. In fact, we are currently seeking funding for a major film project.”¹

And, what about those poor Cinema majors who were already facing an uphill battle just trying to make a living…

“The Cinema major remains a key program in our academic offerings, and we intend to further strengthen the program.”

Cinema remains a “key program” and we intend to “strengthen” the Cinema program —

By shutting down Unusual Films…

Three floors containing a large soundstage, editing theaters, classroom, offices, storage, a machine shop, wood shop and animation studio. Just seems to me if you’re going to “strengthen” the Cinema program, the last thing you should do is eliminate the perfect place in which to teach cinema.

Many who have commented on Facebook regarding this closing have the mistaken view that “cinema” means “film” and film is dead. So, BJU has wisely chosen to rid itself of an obsolete film production unit. Truly film is dead, but teaching cinema, animation, set-building, prop-building, sound and picture editing has nothing to do with film. These are necessary skills no matter what the motion picture medium be it analog or digital. The exact same principles apply.

It was the founder and director of Unusual Films, Dr. Katherine Stenholm, who said (I am paraphrasing) that the principles of directing — the principles of the art itself — exist, are constant, and are necessary no matter what the medium. It’s up to the director, or in this case, the cinema student to adapt.

In other words, editing may not require you to use tape and a splicer any longer, but screen direction, scene timing and rhythm, leading the eyes of the viewer, none of that changes. Same goes for shooting, lighting and sound. The Five “C’s”² — camera angle, continuity, composition, close-ups and cutting — still hold true!

Now, I realize that Unusual Films had a “mission” element to it. Like preaching and teaching, using motion pictures was just another way for BJU to draw men and women to Christ. That was intended to be the primary force behind the motion pictures produced. Secondary was promotional material for the University and a base for teaching film making to aspiring cinema majors. I get that. What I don’t understand is in a world where producing a film/video has become almost ubiquitous (and cheaper), why would BJU turn its back on one of the best ways to promote their beliefs?

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Animation camera moves pre-planned & charted out one film frame at a time…

The talent is there — or should I say was there.³ So, a few of them would have to learn computers, code and using digital cameras. Big deal. Many Cinema majors who graduated pre-digital (like me) have had to do the same thing. We learned. Why? Because Dr. Stenholm taught us that the equipment, the technology, does not matter — what’s in your heart, soul and mind does.

I have no way of doing so, but if I could, I would ask BJU to reconsider closing Unusual Films. Rather than give up and hand it off to some faceless, nameless “LLC” — why not adapt?

Be an example of what Dr. Stenholm taught us.

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¹quotes taken from a BJU email sent out to some (not all) alumni

²taken from Joseph V. Mascelli’s book The Five C’s of Cinematography: Motion Picture Filming Techniques — used to be required reading for every upper level cinema major.

³referring to rumors that some Unusual Films personnel would not be moving to the reorganized “Marketing Communications” department, but would instead be terminated.

President Trump: Who’s to Blame?

President (elect) Donald J. Trump. A New York billionaire who has never run for office and never held elected office. Mr. Trump ran against polished politicians (with the exception Ben “Dr. Sleepy” Carson) and won not only his party’s nomination (not their love), but the nation’s highest elected office — all in one shot.

Huge.

So, who’s to blame? Depends on whom you ask…

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Hillary Clinton — After Mrs. Clinton sobered up and showed up to thank her disillusioned and delusional staff, she blamed the FBI, James Comey and the media. Wait — the media? The media was With Her…!

Sanders Blames Clinton CBS DeFace the Nation

Bernie Sanders — Screwed out of the Democrat nomination for President, Bernie “The Bern” Sanders understandably blames Hillary, a weak candidate who assumed she had more support than she actually did. Bernie is right.

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Van “The Emperor” Jones — Playing off of the word “backlash,” Jones has referred to the Trump election as “whitelash,” (that Yale education kicking in there) implying that white people have had enough of blacks and other racial minorities. Thing is, the stats don’t back Jones up. In 2016, more Democrats (traditionally the party of African-Americans) stayed home rather than voted. Trump could not have won were it not for the help of Democrats of all races. In fact, Trump received a greater percentage of the black vote than Romney did in 2012. (Romney = 6% and Trump = 18.5%)

coastal-lefties-blame-everyone-else

Coastal Lefties, Liberal Urbanites — The above map says it all. Coastal and Urban Lefties see The Middle and (especially) the South as a hotbed of ignorance. Thing is, most of us in The Middle and The South would love to dump the Northeast, the West Coast, Minnesota and Chicago (not all of my home state of Illinois; see map below*.) Note that since this map was created, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania all went Trump. Virginia went for Clinton.)

bill-clinton-blames-vast-right-wing-conspiracy-dna-rush-limbaugh

Bill Clinton — Blames The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, Rush Limbaugh, Linda Tripp, Ken Starr, advances in forensics and DNA analysis — Can they get fingerprints off of skin? “I did not have sex…” Sure, Uncle Bill. Sure.+

bill-nye-blames-climate-change-creationism

Bill Nye the Science Guy — Speaking of Bills, Bill Nye “the Science Guy,” blames Trump’s election on climate change (a.k.a., “Global Warming”) and the fact that Biblical creation is still “a thing.”

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Heaven’s Gate Cult Leader Dude — Blames Trump’s ascendency on the still circling remnants of the comet Hale-Bopp. (Don’t stare too long into his eyes, okay?)

camille-k-lewis-blames-bju-for-trump-win

Camille K. Lewis — Blames Bob Jones University.

Of course she does.

It should be pointed out that BJU overwhelmingly supported other candidates more conservative than Donald Trump — Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum. During the GOP nominating period, Trump was totally absent at BJU and, unlike many other GOP hopefuls, Trump never spoke at The Fortress of Faith, but did, however, speak at Liberty University and received much vocal support from Jerry Falwell, Jr.

It should be pointed out that Liberty University is where ‘Boz’ Tchividjian (founder of “G.R.A.C.E.” and guru behind The G.R.A.C.E. Report) teaches law. So, if any religious university is responsible for Trump, it would be Liberty — not Bob Jones University.

Like all of her “research” and uninformed pontificating about religion, politics and/or history, Camille K. Lewis is assuming, misleading, inaccurate, hypocritical and just plain wrong…

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*Yes, Illinois went blue, but look at the vote by county. Get rid of Chicago (please!) and you are looking at another Trump win.

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+Bill Clinton did have an impact on this election. Post-election stats tell us that more white women voted for Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s Win Causes Rapture Delay

The signs were there.

We were already to go.

Hillary Clinton would be elected as President and the United States would continue its slide toward irrelevance — an old, former power, an immoral welfare state, collapsing in on itself. Which is, of course, why the United States is never mentioned in prophecy…

And Israel, without whom there would be no Christianity, has been a recognized nation since May of 1948, and will celebrate its 70th anniversary as such in 2018 — or should I say, the 70th week

It was perfect! All signs point to “transported I rise, to meet Him in clouds of the sky!”

But — no.

Thanks to Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jr. and a several thousand “prayer warriors,” God Almighty decided to allow the election of Donald Trump and put off The Rapture until the next Democrat is elected to the White House.

DATELINE: Asheville, NC — On November 9th, the day following Donald J. Trump’s election, during their morning devotions, both Evangelist Franklin Graham and Liberty University president Jerry Falwell, Jr. found tiny engraved stone tablets in their personal Bibles between the pages of the book of I Samuel chapter 7 and I Samuel* chapter 8. The stone tablets were identical and were engraved with the words:

Be careful what you pray for.
No Rapture for you!
Four years!

“It’s an obvious prank,” Falwell, Jr. said. “Got to be students here at Liberty. Besides, would God mimic ‘The Soup Nazi’ on Seinfeld?”

Graham also expressed doubts that the tablets were of Divine origin.

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“The Seinfeld reference doesn’t bother me,” Graham said, “Mr. Seinfeld is Jewish, so that only makes sense. But, would God use a sans-serif font? I don’t think so.” (The stone tablets were engraved in “Arial Bold.”) Graham then added, “When I said ‘God showed up at this election,’ this is not what I meant.”

In related news, radio talk show host Glenn Beck remains secluded in his End of the World underground bunker (with a 25 year supply of freeze-dried food), but did release a statement that said all “family-loving, family-centered believers” should remain in place because the aforementioned tablets “were obviously fake” and did not apply to Mormons because they were “not gold and they were written in English, not reformed Egyptian.”

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*now pronounced “One Samuel,” since Trump’s election – see this blog for details

Living in Realville

Sometimes, I hate Realville. There are occasions that tempt me to try the aforementioned drug (see last blog) just to try to escape Realville, if only for a few moments. But Realville is one of those towns from a horror movie where, no matter how long or far you drive, you can’t leave. You always end up seeing that sign that says: “Welcome to REALVILLE!”

So, here we go.

Sick of politics? Yep. Me, too. Hate it. But let me give it one last shot before we all hurl.

Unless aliens invade or the Hale-Bopp People were right, Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the next President of the United States — the first female President and the first First Lady to hold the office. It disappoints me to say that, but that’s what we’re looking at. Yes, I will still vote for Donald J. Trump on November 8, and Florida may “turn red” (go Republican) but, on the dark, mean streets of Realville, I hear the rustle of a Presidential pantsuit, as well as, the issuance of a Presidential pardon.

But at the same time here in Realville, I hear that America is still great. That, like the great philosopher Gloria Gaynor said, “I will survive” and this too shall pass. And America will still be great.

Among his other problems, Donald Trump has an Electoral Vote problem. He needs 270 to win. Right now, as I write this (November 3, 2016 at 10:30 PM CDT), Trump can count on 116 with another 76 leaning Trump = 192. Not enough.

projected-map-11-03-2016-9-pm

On the other hand, Hillary has 182 solid votes with 101 tilting in her favor = 283. She’s already 13 over what is required to win.

Of course there are still 63 electoral votes that are considered “toss ups” or unknowns. Even if Trump gets all of the toss ups, he would still only have 255 — short of a clear win by 15 votes. Clearly Trump will have to snag a few “leaning Democrat” states away from Clinton, keep all of his “solid Republican” states AND get all of the “toss ups.”¹

Sure — it could happen…

The wind is picking up here in Realville. Cold front coming through, they say.²

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¹If neither Trump nor Clinton get more than 270, then the McMuffin Stra-tee-gery would be initiated. But, only if McMuffin can win Utah’s 6 electoral votes.

²Unless something extraordinary happens, this is the last post before Election Day. Go vote!

UPDATED: Monday, Nov. 07, 2016, mid-day

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Wasted Voting & Voting Wasted

It is unfortunate, but I saw the following photo accompanied by a caption that said something like, in all my years of voting, this is the very first time I put a political bumper sticker on my car — credit Clinton and Trump for that…

wasted-vote-mcmullin

Evan McMullin (hereafter known as McMuffin) is a third/fourth/fifth party U.S. Presidential candidate sanctioned and endorsed by Republican NeoCons (hereafter known as NeverTrumpers) in hopes that the Mormon McMuffin can win Mormon Utah and its 6 electoral votes. If that happens, and at the end of the national election on November 8th neither Clinton nor Trump can garner 270 electoral votes necessary for victory, that occurrence would throw the election into the current Republican controlled House of Representatives where, again it is hoped, the Elites of the GOP would agree with NeverTrump, probably not Hillary and go with an unknown…

McMuffin – with his 6 Utah votes.

That’s it. That’s the entire McMuffin stra-tee-gery.

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Voting for McMuffin is a waste of a vote.

You are not “voting your conscience” — “Vote Your Conscience” — just some nice words so when you touch the screen for McMuffin (assuming he’s on your state’s ballot) you will feel good about it. At least McMuffin hasn’t said “pussy” on camera or exposed America’s secrets to the world… Ah, yes — Feel The Good and vote McMuffin.

Truth of the matter is, those who vote McMuffin, those that want to vote their “conscience,” are more likely to get Hillary Clinton elected. Clinton, the crooked pathological liar, exposer of classified material, protector of partial-birth abortions and guarantor of a liberal U.S. Supreme Court — that’s what you are making possible when you vote McMuffin. If that’s what “voting your conscience” means to you, I suggest you skip a step and just vote directly for Clinton. You are doing that anyway.

A vote for McMuffin is another way of saying “I’m With Her.”

The whole “vote your conscience” shtick is geared at conservative, religious folks. In fact, the above photo originates in South Carolina where Latter Day Saint Evan McMuffin appears on the ballot. South Carolina, home of my alma mater, Bob Jones University, is decidedly conservative, Republican and Christian.

I have to take a step back for a moment and ask: Why? Why do Christians feel that voting for a Mormon is voting their conscience? The Book of Mormon is an obvious fake — a 19th Century book written in the language of the 16th Century (glomming on to the KJV Bible) by a polygamist con-man who talked to angels and saw Jesus in The Wild, Wild West. Come on. But, support for Mormon McMuffin is not unprecedented in South Carolina or even at good ol’ BJU. Dr. Bob Jones III, Chancellor of BJU openly supported Mitt Romney in 2012 and in 2008. The Pope was referred to as “the archpriest of Satan,” but sacred underwear gets a pass, at least at Bob Jones University. Go figure.

So, don’t tell me you are above the fray and you’re voting your conscience.

A vote for McMuffin is a vote for Her.

The only difference is one is LDS, the other, I would have to be on LSD to vote for…

hillary-spaced-out

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Related Blogs: No Illusions, Feigned Outrage, Jones & Trump: Commonalities Revisited, Glenn Beck: A Case for Idiocy, A Familiar Ring

My Ballot, My Vote

…assuming it’s counted. Counting is one reason I don’t vote early or absentee. Too many chances for a vote or votes to “disappear” when they’re just sitting around somewhere, waiting on Election Day.

Besides, I enjoy emerging from my hovel on Election Day and going to my local polling place to vote. Seeing all of the poll workers. Showing them my ID – yes, they actually check my signature to see if it matches. Receiving my ballot and off to an unoccupied cubicle to mark my choices with one of those tied-down black Flair pens. Then, after finishing, inserting my marked ballot into the optical scanner, where I hope it’s counted.

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But, the coup de grâce is when I get the “I VOTED” sticker. That makes the whole thing worthwhile.

Last week, I received my “Sample Ballot” in the mail. The ballot consists of two sides, front and back. First the front…

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Okay, pick up your black crayon and follow along with me…

President & Vice President — Trump & Pence (actually like Mike Pence better than Trump).

U.S. Senator — Rubio (at one time last year, I thought Rubio was going to be the GOP nominee – but Rubio tried to be Trump and it just didn’t work).

Representative, Congress, District 1 — Specht (yes, Steven Specht is a Democrat, but I have met him several times – he’s a good, honest guy – unlike his Republican opponent, Matt Gaetz). This spot was once held by Joe Scarborough (1994-2001) of MSNBC “Morning Joe” fame.

State Senator District 1 — there was really no contest here – this spot was being vacated by the aforementioned Republican Matt Gaetz.

State Representative District 2 — Frank White (because he’s GOP…)

Sheriff — Morgan (his third term, but he’s still doing a fine job, in my opinion and I know him).

Tax Collector — Lunsford (since I moved to Florida 30 years ago, we’ve had two tax collectors, so whoever gets it, Lunsford or Moore, will be there a while).

Superintendent of Schools — Malcolm Thomas (third term, I believe – I know him, as well).

Florida Supreme Court Justices — Judicial retention – I always, without fail, vote “NO” on all of these. I don’t like the idea of these guys/gals having their position of the Florida Supreme Court for too long. But, more often than not, all of these justices will be retained.

Flip the Ballot Over…

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Amendment 1, Solar Energy — NO (backed by all of the big Florida utilities, so who do you think will benefit by this amendment’s passage? CONTROL of solar is what they want).

Amendment 2, Medical Marijuana — YES (I don’t see how pot is any worse than addictive opioid pain medications – plus, “Big Pharma” is running ads against this – narrowly lost last time).

Amendment 3, Tax Exemption Disabled First Responders — YES

Amendment 5, Homestead Exemption… — YES (seasoned citizens need all the help they can get).

That’s it.

Your time is up.

Put down your crayons.

Apply your “I VOTED” sticker to your forehead.

And hope for the best.

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Crisis Point: We Must Survive

The date — this morning
The time — 6-ish AM
The place — kitchen
The person — me

Opened up the Mr. Coffee coffee-maker…

Spent five minutes trying to remove a single coffee filter from the package of 100. Placed one (or maybe two?) filter(s) in the coffee filter basket.

Fumbled with the lid on the blue container of my new favorite cheap coffee — Maxwell House “Morning Boost.” (Seven bucks at Winn-Dixie.) Measured the appropriate amount of ground coffee for the morning’s needs.  One extra scoop for good luck. Grabbed the glass decanter and washed out the previous day’s coffee residue. Added the correct amount of cold water and poured it into Mr. Coffee’s water reservoir. Closed the lid. Pushed the button that says, “Brew. BREW NOW.”

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Lights come on. Pretty lights. Green. Blue.

Wait.

No coffee. No gurgling noise. No drippy noise of precious black coffee bean infused water filling the Mr. Coffee decanter.

The lights are on, but — no coffee.

Crisis Point.

After making several attempts to “will” Mr. Coffee to actually make coffee, I rained blows upon him with ever increasing force, accompanied by curses, with ever increasing crudity. Nothing worked.

Mr. Coffee* just sat there — mocking me with his blue and green lights.

Then, I tried “turning it off and on again.”

Nothing.

6:30-ish…

Crisis Increasing.

Somewhere in the cabinets above Mr. Coffee, there was a device that might — just might

There it is!

Kettle filled with water and placed on the stove. Turn on the TV local morning news — “Four dead in a murder suicide in Okaloosa County…” Hmmph. Probably had no morning coffee—

Kettle whistling.

Opening up Mr. Coffee, I remove the precious ground “Morning Boost” and pour it into the life-saving device on the counter.

My old coffee press.

Briefly I recall my younger days being a Coffee Snob and grinding my own beans and—

Screw all that. Dump that Maxwell House in there, add the boiling water and pop the lid on. Wait four minutes and s-l-o-w-l-y push the press down…

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I AM MR. COFFEE.

Crisis Managed.

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*Seriously. This Mr. Coffee coffee maker was less than a year old…

The Queen’s Candidate of Choice

We’ve mentioned The Queen before…

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Since 2011, and because Jocelyn Zichterman got a book deal out of it, The Queen has fancied herself a representative and mouthpiece for college campus sexual assault victims.

As long as the “college” is Bob Jones University — and the “sexual assault victims” are people that she approves of and don’t give her any on-line lip.

Also in 2011, The Queen was a big advocate of having BJU remove pastor Chuck Phelps from their Cooperating Board of Trustees. Dr. Phelps resigned, of his own volition (saying he was a “distraction”), two weeks prior to The Queen’s Red Balloon Protest which occurred on the BJU campus December 12, 2011.

Much like a Tim Kaine rally, only a few people (less than 20) showed up and participated.

The Queen said “Everything changed. Everything” and decided that rather than being a bitter and “miserable wack-o,” she belonged on the cover of Time magazine — as Time‘s “Person of the Year” for 2012 — “The Protester.”

No. I am not kidding…

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It is that level of delusional thinking that brought us here today. You see, The Queen is back to attacking poor ol’ Chuck Phelps — again. Well, now that Elizabeth Vargas has sobered up (again), maybe The Queen will get more face-time on a new “20/20” episode than JZ got. (See the aforementioned book deal.)

Anyway, the Sexual Abuse Candidate of Choice is…

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I guess this should not be a surprise. The Queen and Ms. Clinton are on first-name basis with The FBI

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A Familiar Ring…

Let me get this straight…

Over 30 or 40 years we have a multi-millionaire, turned billionaire, businessman, author, celebrity, who, over the course of his life, has encountered many attractive women, some of whom he married and (very) publicly divorced —

BUT

It wasn’t until this same celebrity billionaire turned Republican and garnered the party’s nomination for President that a flurry — no — a gaggle of females, their memories “triggered” (no doubt) by rude words they heard on TV, crawl out of the woodwork and accuse this 70 year-old man of a whole host of inappropriate and unwanted sexually related actions.

Well, sure. That makes perfect sense to me. There is no way anyone would make this stuff up. There are too many details. Too many people. And besides, Hillary Clinton advised us that “Every survivor of sexual assault needs to be heard, believed and supported.”

It’s amazing to me that women have gone from “I am woman hear me roar” (1972) to “I am a victim and need to be pitied and supported.” (2016)

Now the female “roaring” involves defamation, slander and the politics of personal destruction.

But this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this kind of thing.

In December of 2011 and into 2012, certain Bob Jones University faculty and staff were accused of tolerating sexual abuse among the students. Lurid stories popped up, many of them centered around one particular Dean, and they were fueled by both the traditional media and social media. The stories grew and were published on Facebook, read aloud on YouTube and were used tarnish the reputation of good, honest people and to put pressure on BJU to “change.”

Bowing to that pressure, the young and physically weak BJU president, Stephen Jones, invited a Christian anti-abuse organization called G.R.A.C.E. to survey alumni and students and investigate BJU’s conduct over the last 30 to 40 years. After much delay, that “comprehensive report” (300 pages) was released in December of 2014…

And there was nothing. Nothing. As a friend of mine said it “was non-news about a non-event.” That same phrase was even recently used by Camille K. Lewis, the chief proponent of the G.R.A.C.E. “investigation” —

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Prior to the G.R.A.C.E. Report’s eventual release, we were told that the G.R.A.C.E. team of crack investigators had over a thousand “I was Abused at Bob Jones University” forms filled out and that each one had to be heard and investigated.

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But — nothing.

Most of us who know Bob Jones University (and its faculty/staff) well knew that this would be the result. There would be no news. No lurid details. No suicides of certain Deans. No unceremonious dismissals. Personally, I made fun of the whole process (mocking with great mockery) — others weren’t quite so gracious as I …

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Although I avoided using the word “psychos,” I knew what was meant. Not one time did I ever encounter or hear of anything remotely resembling “sexual abuse” while at BJU. In fact, my joke about BJU sex abuse is this:

“The only sex abuse at BJU is this: We can’t have any.”

It was during 2013 that my blog then (“The Hidalgo Grain Company“) received the most hate mail (comments), threats and supposed reports to GoDaddy (trying to shut me down), plus, alleged reports to the local cops and the FBI. All because I didn’t believe a word of this BJU sex abuse stuff.

Along the lines of belief, one comment still stands out above all others — and it may explain some of the media reaction to Trump’s accusers. This comment was from a person I don’t know, Rebecca Davis, who, apparently lives near BJU (Greenville, SC) and writes books. This is what she said to me via comments to my blog:

“I’ve seen several statements on this blog post that false stories of abuse have been circulated in order to attack the school. I’m unaware of a single false story, and if it’s false, then there would be no harm in repeating it. If it’s really true, though, and you’re claiming it’s false, it could damage lives to repeat it in a mocking way.” (Feb. 15, 2013 – underline mine)

Check out the underlined section: “… if it’s false, then there would be no harm in repeating it.” This is very much akin to Hillary Clinton’s “Every survivor of sexual assault needs to be heard, believed and supported.”

No. They don’t need to be believed. Anyone can say anything — and have ulterior motives — to destroy a place or a person…

Proof is what convinces.

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No Illusions

Frankly, I have been amazed and puzzled by the so-called “Exit of Evangelicals” — evangelicals that supported Donald Trump and now say they can’t.

Were these evangelicals under the impression that Donald Trump was one of them? Oh, I know Trump has waved the Bible around at some of his campaign stops, but, come on, that’s just political posturing. Donald Trump knows virtually nothing about the Bible. Over the years while growing his businesses, the Bible and its precepts played no role in the “art of the deal.” Trump openly stated that he “never asked for forgiveness,” one of the very basic steps in reconciling oneself before God. It was only when Trump met Jerry Falwell, Jr. at Liberty University that the Bible started to make an appearance, as well as a conga line of Pentecostals and promoters of the Prosperity Gospel, all of which fall under the “evangelical” label.

It was evangelicals that moved Trump to choose Indiana governor Mike Pence as his running mate. One of the jobs assigned to Governor Pence was to carry for Trump the weight of evangelicalism and act as a counter-balance to Trump’s religious ignorance and hedonism. Along with Trump himself, many of us knew there was plenty of dirty laundry (women and language) in Trump’s past. Trump was in Playboy, made appearances on Howard Stern and had (has?) a penchant for younger, attractive females. Weren’t the pageants a clue? The multiple marriages? Hell-looo

In fact, one statement of Trump’s (and my favorite) made during a 2004 Playboy interview well before he ran for President was this:

“If you need Viagra, you’re probably with the wrong girl.”

I still love that one — probably because it’s so very accurate.

My Dad is very Old School Republican. Back in Illinois, he’s active in local politics and, from the beginning, was very much against the thought of Donald Trump as the 2016 GOP Nominee. I remember Dad texting me just before I voted in the Florida Primary:

“Do not vote for Donald T, he’s a bad boy”

My Dad knew then what everyone should’ve known — Trump is “a bad boy.”

The mass exit of evangelicals didn’t truly start until Trump’s hot-mic words hit the media. Even though they (evangelicals) and their kids watch TV shows and movies where these same words and actions are repeatedly said and graphically demonstrated — not only that, but over half (54%) of evangelical pastors have viewed or are addicted to internet porn¹ — hearing Trump’s immature sexual boasting was just too much.

I can see the Religious Knights gathering at the Evangelical Roundtable now…

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“We cannot support a man who says ‘fuck’ and ‘pussy’ — we just can’t!”

This blog is titled “No Illusion” — and I had none when Trump became the 2016 Republican Nominee for President. Trump is a showman. And his rallies are shows. Trump is an entertainer. And he is entertaining. Trump is a salesman. And he is great at pitching and selling. Trump is a native New Yorker. And Trump is blunt. Trump is a successful businessman. And Trump has that kind of “hostile takeover” ego.

But one thing Trump is not.

He’s not an evangelical. He’s not a Christian.² Trump is as Christian as my cat. (My cat may be more Christian, come to think of it.) I never once thought Trump is or was a Christian.

But I wasn’t voting for Head Christian or Jesus Christ, Jr. —

I’m voting anti-Clinton.

“The Clintons are like herpes: Just when you think they’re gone, they show up again.”³

I’ve never voted for a Clinton.

Why start now?

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¹How Many Pastors Are Addicted to Porn? — Another reason for my previous blog “Feigned Outrage” — manufactured outrage over Trump’s open display of sexual braggadocio to salve their own personal guilt.

²My definition of “Christian” is not anyone who is non-Muslim.

³Actor, comedian Tim Allen, Jan., 2016

BLOG BONUS — Evangelical TRIGGER WARNING

Feigned Concern

It was thirteen months ago Hillary Clinton made this statement:

“‘To every survivor of sexual assault…You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed. We’re with you.’ — Hillary”

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And, it was just eleven months ago that Hillary Clinton made this statement via Twitter regarding college campus sexual assaults under the snippet of, “It’s not enough to condemn campus sexual assault. We need to end it.”:

“Every survivor of sexual assault needs to be heard, believed and supported.”

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“Heard, believed and supported.”

That means you have to listen to victims allegations, you must believe them and you must support them.

Unless they are accusers of your husband, Bill, whom you, Mrs. Clinton, not only enabled, but stood by and defended while Bill went on to blue dress fame and glory. Instead of being a strong woman, you “stood by your man” and played whack-a-mole with “The Bimbos,” even allowing the process of destroying and tamping down husband Bill’s sexual assault victims to garner a derisive name — “Bimbo Eruptions.”

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That was Hillary’s job, you see. Destroy the victims. Destroy their credibility. Make every effort to destroy their life. They don’t deserve to be “heard, believed and supported,” they deserve the Clinton treatment, a.k.a., total personal destruction.¹

And then Hillary Clinton, The Woman of All Women, who enabled her husband’s predatory behavior, rode her husband’s coat-tails to power and made every effort to destroy sexual assault victims, feigns outrage (amplified by a willing media) at the words of Donald Trump —

“My god! Children may be listening and watching!”

No thought of that back in the late 1990s when the radio and TV routinely talked about “oral sex,” DNA off of a stained blue dress and “I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky…”

The outrage at Trump — fake.

The concern for sexual assault victims — fake.

Hillary and her entire campaign smell of fecal matter…

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Even the flies know it.

Nope, Bill “still dicking bimbos”² Clinton is not running for President. But something much worse is…

His Enabler in Chief.

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¹“Can’t we just drone this guy?” — Hillary Clinton referring to Julian Assange of Wikileaks, proposing the idea of killing Assange by military drone to stop Wikileaks.

²as stated by General Colin Powell, thanks to Wikileaks.

Feigned Outrage

Not having grown up around saints, angels and girly-men, the content and nature of Donald Trump’s comments were no surprise to me. In fact, they sounded familiar. The harshest word I would use to describe the comments would be “immature” or “male bravado” — because the last time I heard such talk, my friends and I were much younger and were more interested in impressing each other than grabbing what Donald Trump wanted to grab.

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What really irritates me is the feigned moral outrage at Donald Trump’s comments. This feigned outrage among men is nothing more than a cover for their own personal guilt at having made similar comments about women to their buddies…

And they thank God above that there were no cameras around to record the event for perpetuity.

The disproportionate reactions to Trump’s off-hand remarks remind me of my own “Religious Rules of Life,” Rule #1 which states:

1. A preacher or minister will tell you what his greatest sin, weakness or obsession is; it will be the subject he preaches on most often.

The commonality is this: An irrational overreaction to a proven weakness in another person is usually a sign of the exact same weakness in your own life.

To quote comedian Bill Engvall: “Here’s your sign.”

And, ladies, please, I know for a fact that you all are just as bad when discussing men — and various parts of men. And “objectifying women?” Really? Whole multi-billion dollar industries could not function if it weren’t for attractive and willing females.

So, stop faking it.

Keep your fake “outrage” to yourself.

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BJU: Declining Enrollment

…was predicted — 20 years ago — and should not come as a surprise.

Since 2010, overall, college enrollment is down across the country — not at every school, but nationally, the number of enrolled college students is down. A slowly improving labor market is cited. Students tend to find available work rather than attend school.

According to a CNN survey, two types of colleges/universities showed the biggest declines in enrollment: community colleges and for-profit universities. These types of schools tend to draw from a pool of lower/middle class students. When the labor market improves, income, even a small income, is a bigger draw than a large expense, such as school.

Individual states have made it easy for parents to send their kids to public universities for a fraction of what BJU now costs. Florida’s “Bright Future Scholarship” is one and the reason my kids took advantage of Florida’s institutions of higher learning rather than go to BJU.

For the most part, Bob Jones University fishes in an altogether different pool — and that pool is shrinking, as well. Conservative, fundamental churches, the type that BJU would associate with, seem to be slowly disappearing. For example, back in the mid-1990s, the area where I grew up in central Illinois was home to several “BJU” churches. Now, there are zero. In some cases, even the church itself is gone.*

Among those conservative churches that do remain, some have become “more conservative” and embraced beliefs that are to the right of BJU. Other schools like Pensacola Christian College or Ambassador Bible College, just to name two, appeal to this crowd. They tend to see BJU as drifting to the left toward liberalism. The rule changes at BJU only confirm that perception of a leftward drift. The changes in rules, or “standards,” then become a reason not to attend BJU rather than an enticement for new students.

Bob Jones IV’s prediction, as heard in the above film clip, of a “remnant” of students is eerily spot on. Even his fewer people will believe as we do statement was accurate, although not as Bob Jones IV meant it.

What I’d like to know is…

Was anyone listening?

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*Another reason to Get Out of Greenville.

Get Out of Greenville

…South Carolina.

The exact number escapes me, but almost every state in these United States has a town named “Greenville.” Illinois, where I’m originally from, has a Greenville just off Interstate 70 on the way to St. Louis. Florida, where I have lived for over 30 years has a Greenville off Interstate 10 just past Tallahassee. There’s also a Greenville, Alabama off Interstate 65 on the way to Montgomery.

There’s also a Greenville, North Carolina, which, I have heard, has caused more than a few destination errors, when one intended to be in Greenville, South Carolina.

And that’s the “Greenville” I’m talking about — Greenville, South Carolina.

I have never done this, but this was too good to pass up. Much of this particular post came from this 09/26/2016 blog by Dr. Mark Ward, “WHAT HAPPENS IN GREENVILLE…” — this line especially made me laugh:

This post is not for all readers, just for those who have attended Christian universities in Greenville, South Carolina. Of which there are two. And kind of three. And there are seminaries there. All of which helps make my point.

“And kind of three” — when Dr. Ward, the earner of three degrees at Bob Jones University, says this, I get it. Even though I was neither a ministerial student, nor was I ever engaged in advanced study of scripture, languages and doctrine, I was required to take basic Bible courses taught by men who did understand and teach those advanced courses. For me, this was the late 1970s and early 1980s, and I remember the opinions expressed regarding various religious organizations. So, when I read “kind of three,” it reminded me of being in Bible Doctrines class at BJU…

Dr. Ward writes from a church ministry standpoint. I don’t.

I have lost track of the number of college friends and acquaintances that came to Greenville, SC as a Freshman — and are still there. Decades. Multiple decades. As I have often said, they attended The Fortress of Faith and never left the shadow of their alma mater.

But without blaming any individuals—only God knows—I can’t help but think more of my fellow Christian college graduates should leave that beautiful little gem of a city and scatter out…

Greenville, SC was no “gem of a city” 35 — nearly 40 — years ago when I first discovered it. Downtown was to be avoided — especially at night. Activity was limited to three local malls: McAlister, Haywood and Greenville. In 1980, I had a car at BJU and was able to get away from the city and drive out to Traveler’s Rest and to the mountains beyond. That’s where I learned rock climbing (and falling) and the value of “walks in quiet solitude, the forest and the streams, seeking grace in every step [I took].”

I spent the very hot and dry summer of 1981 in Greenville. It was during that summer I tried to convince myself I wanted to live there or, at least, near Greenville. I enjoyed the mountains, the hiking and the climbing, but—

I hated the city.

Now, I keep hearing how great Greenville is — a “gem of a city.”

Last time I was in Greenville was a decade ago. Still seemed the same to me, only the traffic was worse. Those weekend mountain retreats I used to run to were gone or replaced with state parks. “More people. More scars upon the land.”

As of now, I have no plans to ever go back to Greenville. I don’t miss it in the least and I don’t understand the attraction —

Unless the “attraction” is never leaving the familiar warm glow of religious comfort you acquired while attending college there.

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Witch Switch

Read the following. “What in the World, BJU” (Facebook) is written by Camille K. Lewis. Pay attention to the portions of the post with the red underline…

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Reading this in context, the “they” in “they cast me” means Bob Jones University, the former employer of Camille K. Lewis and her favorite target, whipping boy, scapegoat and source of all evil.

The post could read: “And in time, [BJU] cast me as the great Witch.”

Only, “they” (BJU) didn’t. Bob Jones University has yet to say or do anything similar to labeling Camille K. Lewis as anything other than a graduate and former faculty member. BJU hasn’t “cast” her as anything other than what she admits to: being unhappy with the university and its policies. They certainly haven’t “demonized” her. BJU’s lack of response infuriates Camille Lewis. I think those in-the-know at BJU understand this and remain (wisely) quiet.

And I (me) never called her a “witch” either. That’s right. Look carefully at some of my old stuff. I called her “The Queen” — a label Camille K. Lewis came up with…

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…I only drew her as a comical “witch,” commanding her flying monkeys and acolytes from The Castle of The Disaffected.

To refresh your memory…

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And, of course, the popular “Flying Monkeys” picture…

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These were mine. Bob Jones University had nothing to do with them. BJU wouldn’t. BJU is just too nice. (I sometimes wish Dr. Bob Jones, Jr. was still there, spouting off in chapel and to the media. Would Dr. Bob Jr. embrace the “witch” thing? Don’t know.)

So, remember, BJU did not create the “witch” label. I didn’t either. I may have drawn a witch, but I have always labeled her…

camille-k-lewis-always-queen-of-the-disaffected

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Tearing Down & Building Memorials

Last Sunday marked fifteen years since the 9/11 attacks in which nearly 3000 (2996) people were killed and twice that number injured. It is only fit and proper to remember those who died on that horrible, unforgettable day. In New York City, at Ground Zero, they read the names of those who died. Others display flags. A pastor friend of mine in Illinois places 2996 white crosses on a hillside of his farm, a reminder, he says, of how fragile and short life really is — and he can relate since he is suffering with pancreatic cancer.

At Bob Jones University an on-campus display memorialized those who perished. Twin beams of light represented the fallen towers. Flags and illuminated plaques with names surrounded the twin skyward pointing lamps.

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A fitting memorial. Who could find fault or disparage it?

Anyone? Anyone? Lewis? Camille K. Lewis?

Oh, yes. Surprise, surprise — The Queen of The Disaffected has found fault…

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Lots of people blamed 9/11 on many things. Dr. Jerry Falwell, founder of Liberty University, said this to Dr. Pat Robertson…

“[T]he pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.'”

“Well, I totally concur,” responded Robertson.

President Obama’s Chicago pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, in 2003 famously blamed the 9/11 attacks on the way the United States treats people of color around the world…

“The [U.S.] government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people! God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”

But, I doubt that Camille Lewis would find the “God damn” rhetoric shocking since one her own buddies from The Disaffected took time to orbit BJU during the spring Bible Conference with this slogan attached to the top of his minivan…

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“God damn America” makes Dr. Bob Jones III’s 2001 remarks…

“Surely Lord, we do not deserve your mercy; we deserve your judgment.”

… seem pretty mild in comparison — almost reserved.

Before you think otherwise, The Disaffected are not “anti-memorial.” In fact, some of Camille K. Lewis’ “What in the World, BJU?” devotees believe that BJU has neglected to erect a more important memorial — a memorial so important that it rivals that of 9/11 where we lost nearly 3000 lives…

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How dare BJU memorialize 9/11 before memorializing the non-news/non-event that was the pointless G.R.A.C.E. Report! How dare they!

One of the silliest and laughable recommendations produced in December 2014 (after many delays) by the “G.R.A.C.E. Team” was this…

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As far as anyone can tell, all this “exhaustive” G.R.A.C.E. Report did was demonstrate just how out of touch some of the counselors and disciplinarians were at BJU — if we can believe the report. There was no evidence of sexual abuse — and by that I mean of the kind you hear and read about at other colleges and universities. Just did not happen. Sexual contact at BJU was brushing up against a girl in the library. Don’t laugh. They expelled the guy who did that — and classified it as “sexual assault.”

We’re not done yet…

According to these Wizards of Smart on “What in the World, BJU?,” Bob Jones University’s 9/11 memorial is “grooming its public image.” That word “grooming” was used on purpose. Why? Because, apparently, that’s what sexual predators do…

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…and it goes on and on. Basically, BJU’s 9/11 memorial is a cover for “grooming,” for promoting trust and isolation, so BJU can once again prey on the helpless individuals that yearly choose to enroll.

You want a G.R.A.C.E. memorial, Camille K. Lewis?

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I apologize for the lack of sheet-metal.

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Prime Suspect: Cartoon Abuse

Special to inktrekker by NETGRACE.INFO —

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TRIGGER WARNING: Many of you who have suffered or tolerated cartoon abuse in the past may find this blog difficult to process. We urge you to take steps to care for yourself in protective ways, seek support and only read this blog in a place of safety like a) at your local police station, b) or with a friendly FBI agent, c) or with an unlicensed attorney and, most importantly, d) with the encouragement of a faithful companion that we caring individuals at NETGRACE.INFO call a “Reading Buddy.”

Daily Hydrant GRACE Report

It’s tragic but cartoon abuse continues. Our latest case of cartoon molestation comes via Twitter.

1. The Act of Abuse — see the following (please re-read Trigger Warning!)

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2. Recognizing Abuse —

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3. Talk About Abuse — we’re doing that now. Look it in the face. Don’t be afraid (re-read Trigger Warning).

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4. Prevent Abuse — encourage those who can’t draw and come up with their own original ideas, as well as those who cannot properly use Photoshop, Illustrator or CorelDRAW, to stop — Stop. The. Abuse. And seek help before they suffer a psychotic break or are issued a restraining order.

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5. Read our G.R.A.C.E. Retort see our findings below:

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Special thanks to all of the folks at inktrekker for allowing us to highlight cartoon abuse. You can always find more information here at our website:

www.netgrace.info*

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*As of March 22, 2017, this domain has been cancelled. But Greg’s Response to Abuse in the Cartoon Environment (G.R.A.C.E.) lives on. See this page for details.

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Hard to Swallow

INTERNET, UNITED STATES — The internet was abuzz with chatter regarding the two mysterious green globs that Democrat Presidential Candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton managed to expel before making another failed attempt at talking during a campaign event in Cleveland, Ohio.

Hillary Clinton Hard to Swallow

“I’m allergic to Trump,” Clinton managed to croak. The Democrat audience dutifully responded with laughter and applause. After coughing, and coughing — and more coughing, a Clinton aide jumps toward the lectern and hands the still hacking Hillary what appears to be a cough drop. Ricola? Halls? Ludens?

But the bulk of speculation was about those two green globules that managed to escape Clinton’s mouth. Gum? Throat lozenges? Mucus (“loogies”)? Post-nasal drip? Dentures?

“I’ve see thousands of exorcisms,” said famous exorcist Bob Larson, “And many times, the devil reluctantly leaves a human body during a fit of coughing and gagging accompanied by the extrusion of greenish ectoplasmic ooze. That’s clearly what happened to Hillary Clinton.”

Most medical doctors disagreed with Larson’s supernatural diagnosis.

Unnamed sources close to the Clinton camp claimed that the high degree of airborne Truth Spores were responsible for the nearly debilitating coughing fit.

“I don’t know if you’ve checked the count lately,” said the anonymous Clinton aide, “But, with all of the emails released by Wikileaks and Russia, plus the promise of a Watergate-type investigation into the Clinton emails and Clinton Foundation pay-to-play, the Truth Count has risen to a level that Mrs. Clinton just can’t tolerate. Her allergies kick in.”

Renowned allergist Dr. Delmo Kiltsapp agrees and states that,”Truth allergies are some of the hardest to medicate and treat. Normally we recommend an EpiPen injection to stop the anaphylactic reaction.”

When asked why an EpiPen was not provided to Mrs. Clinton, a Clinton spokesperson replied that Mrs. Clinton’s “Obama Care” Health plan would not pay for it.

“We had to settle for the cough drops we picked up at CVS.”

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BJU & Focus Brands Cook Up a Partnership

For Bob Jones University grads of the last century, used to creamed eggs (chicken abortions), Welsh rarebit (which may or may not have contained actual rabbits), and rainbow-hued ham slices (what was that stuff?!), the scene would be considered surreal —

And too good to be true.

In the latest effort to increase enrollment, Bob Jones University has made some changes to the old Dixon-McKenzie Dining Common.

And we’re not talking about removing planters and a new paint job.

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As you enter the Dining Common, or “DC”*, as it is known among the students, you are greeted by a sign for McAlister’s Deli, and, just to the left of the deli, an arrow points the way to Moe’s Southwest Grill, should you feel like some “Tex-Mex” before class. (I’m sure your classmates will appreciate the extra helping of refried beans you had…) At the other end of the DC’s huge interior, there’s a sign for Schlotzsky’s—

Ahh – what’s that smell?!

There’s a CINNABON!!

We asked the BJU spokesperson where the Auntie Anne’s and Carvel’s were located.

“Food trucks,” replied the unnamed BJU spokesperson as we walked under a covered walkway. “We have food trucks along East and West Drive. You did see Fudgie the Whale waving as you drove in, didn’t you? We usually have him out along Wade Hampton to welcome students and visitors. Beats the old “gate house,” doesn’t it?” The spokesperson laughed and continued, “I think we put a Bruins shirt on Fudgie just to give him that ‘BJU student’ look.”

Recently, current BJU president, Steve Pettit, talked about the “3000” —

“No, not enrollment goals,” our BJU spokesperson corrected as he gulped down the last of a Caramel Pecanbon, “calories. He was referring to calories. Feel like a Oreo Carvelanche? Ice Cream truck dead ahead…”

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In a seemingly unrelated story, Focus Brands Inc. has named Rick Altizer (above), BJU graduate and current member of the BJU Associate Board of Trustees, as president of its McAlister’s Deli division. This hiring of Mr. Altizer was confirmed by an anonymous Focus Brands Inc company spokesperson.

Mr. Altizer did not return our calls for comment, but did email us free coupons good for any McAlister’s Deli sandwich (hot, grilled, club or classic). What? No Cinnabon coupons?!

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*Not to be confused with DC as in “Discipline Committee.”

 

 

BJU Bruins Suffer Unexpected Defeat

Pensacola, Florida — What was supposed to be another easy win for the Bob Jones University Bruins Sword Drill Team, turned into an unexpected and agonizing defeat after losing their final pre-season sword drill to another conservative Christian school, Pensacola Christian College.

“I guess we got overconfident,” said an unnamed BJU Bruins spokesperson. “We were undefeated up until this point and the university had just been named third most affordable university for 2017 — I guess that went to our head. ‘Pride before a fall’ and all that.”

Pensacola Christian College, which was named third most adorable college for 2017, was not expected to win against the dominant BJU team. But, by using one of the oldest tricks in the history of sword drills, the PCC Eagles managed to trip up and ultimately defeat their rivals.

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“We knew that BJU no longer exclusively used or taught the King James Version of the Bible,” PCC president, Troy Shoemaker, told our reporter, “so we were pretty sure the old ‘Book of Hezekiah’ trick would work. And it did!”

“I can’t believe we fell for it,” said the BJU Bruins team captain dejectedly, “we are better than that.”

It should be stated that, after watching the jubilant celebration of the PCC Eagles Sword Drill Team, no one in the stadium had the heart to tell them that the Book of Hezekiah is not in the King James Version — or any other version of the Bible.

Just As I Am EXPRESS

The sermon concludes.

The invitation is given.

The congregation sings a muted version of Just As I Am (while silently hoping for just the first and last verse.)

And walking down the aisle seems impossible.

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You need Just As I Am EXPRESS.

Mega-Church Replaces Ushers With Drones

Fort Worth, Texas — The Big McLargeHuge Potential Prosperity Church took a bold step yesterday during their Sunday morning worship service and replaced all ushers with remote controlled drones in the shape of flying crosses.

During the offertory, the assembled congregation seemed unfazed by the intermittent buzzing as the drones swept over them, pausing only to have bills placed into the hovering offering plates.

Church Drones in Mega Church

“It’s time our church embraced twenty-first century technology,” a church spokesperson commented. “It helps us cut personnel costs, plus the drones seem to intimidate— I mean, convict those reluctant to tithe into giving something to make the drone leave them alone.”

This was in response to post-service allegations that a few of the drones seem to “dive bomb” those who failed to acknowledge the passing offering plates.

The company that makes the drones, I’ll Fly Away, Inc., is pleased to see their product debuting in such a large church. A company official stated they were already receiving orders from other mega-churches.

“Won’t be long, ushers will be a thing of the past,” remarked the Big McLargeHuge Potential Prosperity Church spokesperson, “and, let’s just be honest, ushers have always been drones anyway.”

This blog sponsored by:

Church Drone GEaston 2016

BJU Announces Post-Rapture President

Greenville, SC — In an unprecedented show of foresight, and after weeks of intense, sometimes confrontational negotiations, Bob Jones University has negotiated a deal to make former faculty member, Dr. Camille Kaminski Lewis, President of Bob Jones University after The Rapture occurs.

“It seemed like the thing to do,” former BJU president, Dr. Stephen Jones said, “especially after she helped me get the earned doctorate my dad wanted me to get.”

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“We couldn’t be more pleased,” said current BJU president, Dr. Steve Pettit, after the formal announcement. “We hated to leave the university in the hands of the cinema and business majors. We needed someone with a quasi-scholarly background and, because of our repeated correspondence over the past decade, I immediately thought of Camille Lewis.”

When asked about the deal with BJU, Dr. Lewis quipped, “I’d show you the signed papers, but they’ve already put them in the BJU archives and I don’t have access to them. Just wait,” she continued, “after The Rapture, I’ll be first in line! I’ll open the BJU archives and make them accessible to everyone!”

Details about Dr. Lewis’s future post-Rapture BJU presidency are sparse, but an unnamed BJU spokesperson mentioned that there are instructions for Dr. Lewis to make contact with Buck Williams, Rayford Steele and the rest of The Tribulation Force and work with them. Presently, there is no way to confirm these alleged instructions.

When asked, Dr. Camille Lewis denied there were any “commands” given or dictated to her.

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“It will just be nice to finally have all of these ‘fundamentalists’ out of the way,” Dr. Lewis commented. “I can finally make the changes necessary to make BJU a first class institution!”

When asked what those changes may be, Dr. Lewis replied that, “a group of respected, secular scholars would decide.”

“But I will say this,” Dr. Lewis added. “The fish they serve will change. Fish is not square or round. Fish is fish. And, when I become president, it will look and taste like fish.”

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BJU Reclaims the Goatee for God

After viewing photos of faculty and students on the Bob Jones University website, some conservative BJU alumni voiced concern that the growing popularity of facial hair among Christians is just another sign of worldly influence. Some even made comments alluding to the fact that “the rapture” is near.

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“Did they ban razors at BJ?” one pastor asked.

“Men who don’t shave are just not trustworthy,” said another BJU graduate. “It means they have something to hide.”

“My son will go to PCC¹,” responded one mother of a potential student. “I think they make them shave there.”

An anonymous BJU spokesperson responded to our queries.

“The Devil has claimed the goatee long enough!” our BJU spokesperson said. “We are declaring a reclaiming of — a reclamation of the goatee for God. It’s time we started looking like the Jesus we claim to worship.”

This embracing of male facial hair (female facial hair has never been a widespread problem) by BJU is an abrupt change from the rules of old. Rules appearing in the BJU “Student Handbook” were very clear:

Bob Jones University Hair Regulations 1982

“Back then,” the anonymous BJU spokesperson said, “facial hair was associated with beatniks, hippies and those in rebellion against society and the Lord. Remember, there were a lot of beards at Woodstock! But, that has changed now.”

It could be that “the change” began nearly a decade ago when former BJU president, Dr. Stephen Jones, debuted a naturally grown goatee for a stage role. But, the goatee was fleeting, making occasional appearances, shyly coming and going, doubting and hesitating —

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“The rules were a bit of an issue,” our BJU spokesperson said, “as they always are here at BJU. The ‘Old Guard’ still viewed facial hair as a sign of rebellion, a sign of evil — like The Evil Spock in that episode of the old Star Trek. But we watched Dr. Jones very closely while he had a goatee and detected no significant rise of evil.”

It was that observational “Jones Goatee Data” that was the catalyst for the eventual facial hair rule change.

“And, unlike Lot’s wife, we haven’t looked back!” the BJU spokesman laughed. “Finally — after years of being associated with sin and evil, the goatee is now God’s. And that’s where it’s going to stay.”

When asked if the current BJU president, Dr. Steve Pettit, will grow a “goatee of solidarity,” the BJU spokesperson took a serious tone.

“It is a very serious personal commitment,” he said, “not something to be taken lightly. Growing a goatee will be Dr. Pettit’s decision based on God’s will for his life and that of the university”

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¹PCC = Pensacola Christian College, Pensacola, Florida