February 18, 2014, New York, NY — Bob Jones University, currently embattled for cancelling an independent sexual abuse investigation one month before its completion, is often described as the “Fortress of Fundamentalism.” The Greenville, SC college, which lost its tax exempt status in a landmark 1983 Supreme Court decision and also nearly lost George W. Bush the Republican nomination in 2000 for its racist policies, is also known for its hostility to LGBT+ students and alumni within its community. The school’s chancellor, Bob Jones, III, notoriously called for the stoning deaths of “homosexuals” from the steps of the White House in 1980 and has been on record with regular anti-gay pronouncements like “AIDS is God’s punishment for the sin of ‘homosexuality’” and equating homosexual orientation with pedophilia, rape and murder. (http://www.change.org/
BJUnity board member Lance Weldy, Ph. D., a graduate of Bob Jones University and Associate Professor of English at Francis Marion University will address the topic “Queer Life at Bob Jones University” in a lecture to CUNY’s Center for Gay and Lesbian Studies Wednesday evening, February 19, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at Room 9207,The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. This event will also be available via LIVESTREAM. Details and reservations are available on the CLAGS website, which says:
“Growing up in fundamentalist environments, queers often have to learn to assume a public persona and how to traverse the difficulties of entangled identities and unaccepting spaces. In this presentation, Lance Weldy discusses how fundamentalism has served as a social construct that greatly influenced his own upbringing and the ideological outlook of his generation, while also serving as an unlikely paradigm to see traces of similarities between various queer communities, institutional and otherwise. Weldy will describe the cultural climate of Bob Jones University to better illustrate how its fundamentalism plays a strong part in the overall queerness of the campus. This presentation is part of a larger project where Weldy is creating a collection of first-person narratives titled Voices from the Fundy Closet: Queer Life at Bob Jones University, some of which can be found at http://bjunity.org/who-we-are.
About Lance Weldy, Ph. D.:
Lance Weldy is Associate Professor of English at Francis Marion University, where he teaches children’s and young adult literature. In 1998, he received his BA in Creative Writing from Bob Jones University, and he finished his PhD in English from Texas A&M-Commerce in 2004. He recently co-edited a new collection of scholarly essays about The Chronicles of Narnia, published by Palgrave Macmillan, and he co-edited a special issue on Sexualities and Children’s Cultures for Children’s Literature Quarterly. Currently, he is working on a book proposal tentatively titled Voices from the Fundy Closet: Queer Life at Bob Jones University.
BJUnity provides a safe harbor—a network of people and resources—for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and straight affirming people affected by fundamentalist Christianity.
BJUnity affirms and empowers lgbt+ from Bob Jones University and other Independent Fundamental Baptist organizations.
BJUnity confronts homophobia in compassion, dignity and love, with the objective to promote dialogue and change.