(ETA – I’m adding a link to Dr. BA’s excellent blog post about this, so go read it and digg it up if you haven’t already.)
South Carolina has passed legislation to allocate funding for Bob Jones University to prey on the economically disadvantaged of the state while simultaneously refusing to increase funding for lower-income students to attend actual institutions of learning.
A peek above our garters to the very angry Rev. Big Dumb Chimp for pointing us to this article in the Charleston Post and Courier, where we learn that although the new legislation doesn’t mention BJU by name, it is in fact the only new school to qualify under the now lowered standards for qualification for state funding. In other words, this legislation was drafted specifically to surreptitiously send state taxpayers’ money to this particular religious institution despite the facts that it is proudly without credible accreditation, has a history of racial discrimination, and teaches the ridiculous mythology of creationism as though it were actual science.
Bob Jones University is not an institution of learning, but one of fundamentalist indoctrination.
State lawmakers shot down a request for extra financial help for low-income students who will attend South Carolina’s public colleges and universities next year.
Meanwhile, they approved $2.5 million to help low-income students attend Bob Jones University, a private school in Greenville.
The State Commission on Higher Education had requested $10 million to increase grants for some needy students attending public colleges and universities. Last year, low-income public school students received, on average, $1,158 in grants while their private-school counterparts received $3,100, nearly three times as much.
Layton McCurdy, chairman of the commission and former dean at the Medical University of South Carolina, said “the Legislature didn’t think it was important enough. I’m not very happy about that.”
Just exactly what South Carolina students need – a push away from a useful education based on knowledge, information, and inquiry, and even less protection from predatory extreme religious brain washing.
Unsurprisingly, this measure was pushed through by Mike Fair, a Republican well known in state government for repeated attempts to violate the First Amendment to the Contitution through legislation to promote creationism in public schools. His co-sponsor was at first a bit of a surprise though.
Democrat Darrell Jackson, an African American, assisted in the legislation’s passage. What’s surprising about that, in case you were unaware, is that BJU refused admittance to black students until 1971. They then only admitted black students if they were married until 1975, just before the United States Supreme Court ruled the practice illegal.
In May 1975, as it prepared to allow unmarried blacks to enroll, BJU adopted more detailed rules prohibiting interracial dating and marriage—threatening expulsion for any student who dated or married interracially, who advocated interracial marriage, who was “affiliated with any group or organization which holds as one of its goals or advocates interracial marriage,” or “who espouse, promote, or encourage others to violate the University’s dating rules and regulations.” – Wikipedia page with link to the Supreme Court case at FindLaw.
BJU only dropped this policy in 2000, after the controversial policy of racial discrimination and hatred was brought into the national spotlight because of the visit by His Holiness, The Glorified Houseplant Who Would Be Caesar. While that may be coincidental, it would appear much more likely that it was simply politically expedient and begrudging.
So why would an African American politician choose to sponsor a bill to favor an institution with such racial hatred so deeply ingrained that only the prospect of Theocracy would move them to shove it in the closet?
Turns out, the culprit is religion. Senator Jackson is a preacher. In fact, he is pastor of the only South Carolina mega-church listed in the first volume of America’s Most Influential Churches by Dr. John N. Vaughan, as well as founder and owner of the state’s oldest African American owned PR firm. (Here’s his church’s page making both those claims.)
So the long and the short of Senator Jackson is that he holds three jobs: Spin Doctor, Spin Doctor, and Spin Doctor. Snowing people is his game, and he is apparently very good at it.
These two men have with one bill betrayed the low-income students, the African American community, and the citizens at large of the state of South Carolina. Shameful men, both.
Whence came the art: