Dan Eastwood reached out to me on FB and asked if I’d like to comment. I don’t know Camille Lewis that well. But we have a lot of common friends. I was told a few years back that she was at a PCA church and was left of BJU, but seemed to be a bit more egalitarian than many PCA churches would like. But I can’t speak definitively on that. Wherever she’s at now, she’s definitely not in the BJU sphere of fundamentalism. If you want to look into the history of racism at BJU, I’d highly recommend checking out her work.
As you can imagine, the spectrum of BJU grads runs from KJV only, YEC’s who think Ken Ham is too liberal to atheists and virtually everything in between. The more conservative evangelical crowd seems to take issue with how BJU handled this and with BJU’s racism. But they’re overwhelmingly still complementarian and very anti-LGBTQ, though probably more kind toward LGBTQ people than the older generation. The older generation are the hardliners with the money who give and send their grandkids to the school. So they’re wanting to go back to the way it was before.
From everything I’ve heard, including from personal friends of the the wrap coat designer who themselves are LGBTQ affirming, the student did not make the wrap coat to push an LGBTQ agenda. All of that narrative has come from the fear-driven commentary of his critics.
I’ve also been told that there’s a huge rift between the art faculty, who want to have more creative freedom from a place of healthy relationship with all of creation, and the powers that be who want to maintain the literalist Genesis 1 distinction and separation theology and force that on the art department.
So it’s a bit of an artist’s nightmare there right now. You literally have to create within a box designed by separation from all others.
From what I’ve been told, the designer hasn’t been punished. But the entire art faculty is now having a ton of restrictions put on them. I can’t imagine this ending well.
My goal for the article was to show how such a silly controversy actually had very deep theological roots that has changed shape through racism, sexism, and homophobia, but that is still the way BJU sees the world.
On a related note, I can’t figure out how on earth they’re accredited given their requirement to teach YEC and how their discrimination against people flows from that. They need the financial support of the older generation to survive. But they also need accreditation for the younger generation to be able to come. It’s a bit of a mess.
Anyway, as you can imagine, I’m no longer in the BJU world either. But I’m still friends online with a lot of my former professors. So it’s a bit weird to say the least. I hope some of that helps.
Sorry if this is a bit disjointed. I’m also a stay at home dad and keep getting interrupted by my kids!