Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fast-Talking Phelps, Bob Jones U's Reward to Phelps for Resisting “Strange Women,” and the “Do Right BJU” Protest: What color will you wear on December 12th?

If you've forgotten the name and identity of Pastor Chuck Phelps, don't be too concerned. Bob Jones University remembers who he is.

Given some of the particular doctrines concerning women and sex held by those within the Independent Fundamental Baptist denomination (IFB) which they claim is not a denomination, I believe that the university actually rewarded Phelps after the events of 2011 concerning Tina Anderson. Phelps defended Ernie Willis who was found guilty by a jury of his peers for assaulting Tina Anderson at the age of 15. They recently appointed Chuck to the Board of Bob Jones University, despite his problematic testimony and the fact that, from the stand itself, Chuck claims to be a victim of the court and the press.

Strange Women

Many ministers within the IFB teach a doctrine concerning the “strange woman” (the expression used in the Book of Proverbs to describe prostitutes).

Essentially, certain women are very sexual and inherently have the soul and personality characteristics of a harlot, even from a very young age. Such women, strange women, elicit their own sexual assault/molestation through their sexual nature which is present with them always, even before they have a firm awareness of right and wrong. Patti Williams, the wife of the founder of Hephzibah House states that very young children have the power to entice men, essentially soliciting sexual behavior from adults and are therefore culpable for the abuse. The sexual prowess of a five year old has the ability to offer such temptation to a grown, Christian adult male that the adult loses all ability to control himself and cannot resist the child's wiles. Such children are not only called to repent of this character flaw, they are required to repent of the sin of enticing grown men and offer an unqualified, disingenuous forgiveness to their abuser under duress because failure to do so results in their own eternal damnation. They are the sinners and the first factor in the chain of causality that leads to their own molestation causing sin that not only effects them but entraps innocent men.

Hephzibah House is one such dumping ground for young women like Tina Anderson, one such strange woman for whom Chuck Phelps once served as minister. Ron Williams, the founder of Hephzibah House (HH), offers some thoughts about the strange woman HERE. (If you don't have the time to listen to the hour and 28 minute sermon, you may benefit from reading this blog post which addresses the strange woman doctrine, and a transcript of the entire sermon will soon be available.) One young woman who survived HH told me of how her head was shaved by her stepmother when at the age of six when she was found as a family member molested her. As her head was shaved, she was told by her stepmother that she was a strange woman just like her mother was, a term indelibly burned into her memory. It is unclear whether such informal and unwritten doctrines are taught at Bob Jones University, but the are definitely prevalent within the IFB. They are not universal throughout the group, but they are prevalent.

Do Right BJU

Many students at Bob Jones University have organized a protest for December 12, 2011 and plan to voice their offense concerning the appointment of Chuck Phelps to the BJU Board by wearing the color red to classes on that day. You can read more about the peaceful protest on their Do Right BJU Facebook page. I first read about the protest on the Chuckles Travels blog, so named for IFB Pastor Chuck Phelps, in a blog post entitled Do Right BJU: BJU Threatens Students With Expulsion.

Apparently, the original Bob Jones had a saying that is displayed in many of the classrooms at the university: “Do right 'till the stars fall: Do right.” So many students and alumni find the appointment of Chuck Phelps to the Board to be an act of hypocrisy on the part of BJU.

My only tie to BJU comes through the undergraduate training of the founder of the seminary that my husband and I attended. But just the same, my husband and I intend to wear read on December 12th, and I will also wear a copy of the Facebook logo.

Jeri Massi has also written a summary of the protest effort HERE, noting how BJU has repeatedly changed their position statement regarding Chuck Phelps, ostensibly to justify his appointment to the Board.

Chuck the Chuck Petition

If you are so moved to do so, please sign the petition of protest against Chuck Phelps appointment to BJU.

From the Petition Website:
Chuck Phelps was the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church when a 15 year old girl in the congregation was raped. He gave comfort to the rapist, a man who confessed to the pastor that he was the aggressor, made the young girl apologize for her part in getting raped, sent her away with her mother's help to another IFB church in Colorado where she would have her baby and give it up for adoption away from friends and family, and allowed the rapist to remain in the church.

On April 8, 2011, ABC 20/20 did an investigative piece about Tina Anderson's story:

Chuck Phelps had to testify at the trial of Tina Anderson's rapist. There are several news stories available about his testimony:
After trial was over, Chuck Phelps never contacted Tina Anderson to apologize to her. In fact, some witnesses at the trial described his testimony as evasive and defensive. 

In spite of his failure to protect a child and make sure a rapist was brought to justice, even allowing the rapist to attend youth activities with his children after Tina Anderson was sent away, Bob Jones University has added him BACK onto their board. He was on the board for a few years and stepped down when he took the presidency at Maranatha Baptist Bible College. 

Please add your signature in support of asking Bob Jones University to remove Chuck Phelps from the board. Bob Jones University preaches the need for repentance. Chuck Phelps has not demonstrated repentance for the way he treated Tina Anderson.

Please see for more information about Tina Anderson's story.

LINK HERE to sign the petition.

Fast Talk from Chuck

When the controversy first erupted, critics were criticized for failing to “get all of the facts” by talking directly to Chuck Phelps instead of relying on news sources such as the ABC 20/20 episode or from the transcripts and news media reports of the sexual assault trial of Ernie Willis.

Someone affiliated with “ChucklesTravels” waited a few months then phoned Phelps for information. I guess that Phelps didn't consider that what he said during that conversation would end up on the internet, including contradictory claims that no one had called to hear about how he had been victimized by the trial and the media. At first, he said no one had called him, then three people called him, and by the end of the conversation, Phelps allegedly reported that he had to get off the phone because within just those a day or so, he'd been swamped by a dozen calls.

Unhappy about the fact that the caller's impressions ended up on the internet, Phelps apparently made several attempts to contact the caller to pronounce a curse which I'm sure Phelps considers an ultimate blessing because of he likely considers implications. Cathy Harris reports on Facebook (via the Chance Rants blog):
"I was the caller from this post. Within minutes of this going live on Chucklestravels I received 3 phone calls from Chuck Phelps within the last few minutes. To say the least he refutes what I heard and wrote. I hung up on him the first time because he told me "I am praying that God will judge you for your wickedness and lies." He said I could quote him on that.
A few seconds later he calls back. He questioned my sanity.

I told him not to call me again.

Hung up.

A few seconds later he again called. This time, I told him that if he called me again it would be harassment. I didn't listen to anything else he said. Hung up. Clearly my memory and what I heard and what he thinks he said are two different things."

If you would like to call Phelps yourself to listen to his damage control directly so he can explain to you that you must let him have his cake and eat it too, here is his contact information:
(317) 253-5597
(317) 797-2962 (cell)

He cannot champion the anti-woman and anti-victim doctrines and the practices held informally within the IFB and also be seen as a hero in the eyes of the public. And BJU certainly should not have a need to appoint him to their Board. Surely there are more qualified and less controversial candidates that will allow BJU to “do right.”

To keep up with the events concerning Bob Jones University, Chuck Phelps, and the fallout in response to Tina Anderson's situation, I would regularly read Chuckles Travels or sign up to receive an email of new posts. They've done a great job of keeping up with related events as they unfold.