BJU and ROTC

According to Today’s Military—a Department of Defense (DOD) website “developed as a resource for young adults, parents and educators curious about military service” that “is not intended as a recruiting tool for any branch of the U.S. Military” (yeah, sure):

Founded in 1916, ROTC stands for Reserve Officer Training Corps. It’s a college program offered at over 1,700 colleges and universities across the United States that prepares young adults to become officers in the U.S. Military. In exchange for a paid college education and a guaranteed post-college career, cadets commit to serve in the Military after graduation.

Each branch of the military has its own ROTC program. Relevant to BJU, as we shall see, is the Army’s and the Air Force’s ROTC:

Army ROTC is one of the most demanding and successful leadership programs in the country. The training a student receives in Army ROTC teaches leadership development, military skills and career training. Courses take place both in the classroom and in the field and are mixed with normal academic studies. Additional summer programs, such as Jump School, may also be attended. Upon completion, an Army ROTC graduate is awarded officer status in the Army.

The Air Force ROTC mission is to produce leaders for the Air Force and build better citizens for America. Headquartered in Montgomery, Ala., the Air Force ROTC commands 145 units at college and university campuses throughout the United States. Air Force ROTC offers a four-year program and a three-year program, both based on Air Force requirements and led by active-duty Air Force officers. Courses are a mix of normal college classes and Air Force ROTC curriculum, which covers everything from leadership studies to combat technique. Upon completion, a student enters the Air Force as an officer. The Free Society Laurence M. Vance Best Price: $899.99 Buy New $19.95 (as of 03:55 EDT - Details)

Founded in 1927, Bob Jones University (BJU) is a Christian liberal arts university in Greenville, South Carolina, with around 3,000 students. Its stated mission is:

Within the cultural and academic soil of liberal arts higher education, Bob Jones University exists to grow Christlike character that is scripturally disciplined, others-serving, God-loving, Christ-proclaiming and focused above.

One would think that BJU and ROTC would have nothing in common. After all, BJU is a “Christian fundamentalist educational institution” that believes “in the inspiration of the Bible (both the Old and the New Testaments)” and ROTC staffs the U.S. military—the president’s personal attack force staffed by mercenaries willing to obey his latest command to bomb, invade, occupy, and otherwise bring death and destruction to any country he deems necessary.

Think again.

As a Christian liberal arts higher education institution, BJU seeks to “educate the whole person through a biblically integrated liberal arts curriculum” and “equip individuals with a biblical worldview and with the ability to defend that worldview.” As a Christian higher education institution committed to helping Christian students grow in Christlikeness, BJU seeks “to teach individuals to apply the Scriptures to practical Christian living,” “to develop individuals who are committed to Jesus Christ as Lord, who are engaged in service and leadership in a biblically faithful local church, and who have a compelling concern for reaching the unconverted with the Gospel.”

ROTC helps students to enter the U.S. military as an officer. The U.S. military is a bombing, maiming, killing machine. It invades and occupies other countries. It is a widow and orphan maker. It helps to carry out an aggressive, reckless, and belligerent U.S. foreign policy. It engages in offense and calls it defense. It fights foreign, immoral, unnecessary, senseless, and unjust wars. It is the policeman of the world. It destroys foreign industry, culture, and infrastructure. It unleashes sectarian violence around the world. It takes sides in civil wars. It fights wars that have never been constitutionally declared. It spreads democracy at the point of a gun. It garrisons the planet with troops and bases. It commit atrocities and war crimes. It kills civilians and calls it collateral damage. By its actions, it creates terrorists, insurgents, and enemies of the United States. There is nothing positive about it. It is a global force for evil.

So, what possible connection could there be between BJU and ROTC?

After the resignation of Stephen Jones (who once said that he didn’t think he had a political bone in his body)—great-grandson of the founder of BJU, Bob Jones Sr.—the BJU Board of Trustees named Steve Pettit the school’s fifth president on May 8, 2014. Pettit is a graduate of both The Citadel (a U.S. senior military college) and BJU and is a child of Air Force parents.

In the May 2018 issue of From the President—a “Newsletter from the President of Bob Jones University”—there is a “Message from the President” on the first page:

One of my initial goals when I became BJU president was achieved this spring with the U.S. Air force and U.S. Army approved BJU student participation in Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) beginning with our fall 2018 semester.

BJU has seen a growing interest in ROTC. In the last five years, well over 200 prospective students and their parents have inquired about ROTC, and this academic year nearly 100 current students have talked with Air Force and Army recruiters on campus. With this interest, as soon as we received regional accreditation last year, we began aggressively pursuing ROTC approval.

BJU has entered two crosstown partnerships—the first with Air Force ROTC Detachment 770 hosted by Clemson University. BJU joins Southern Wesleyan University, Tri-County Technical College and Anderson University, becoming the fourth crosstown partner in Clemson’s program. The second agreement is with Furman University by which our students, along with students from North Greenville University, will participate in Furman’s U.S. Army Paladin Battalion. Free Trade or Protecti... Laurence M. Vance Buy New $3.20 (as of 03:55 EDT - Details)

These crosstown agreements provide our students a variety of options for military service, including military leadership as commissioned officers and active reserves, and our students will gain superb leadership experience that aligns with our emphasis on leadership development.

We are grateful to both Clemson University and Furman University for including BJU in their crosstown partnerships. I’m also thankful for the encouragement and assistance South Carolina Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, along with Congressmen Trey Gowdy and Jeff Duncan, provide during the process.

Students apply directly to the Air Force and Army for admission into ROTC programs. To assist students, we’ve set up an on-campus ROTC office where recruiters meet with students and assist them through the application process. We’ve also designed retired U.S. Navy Commander Al Carper—faculty member—as campus ROTC advisor.

Why would a conservative Christian institution, whether it be a church or a school, facilitate young people joining an unholy institution like the U.S. military? And especially today’s military, where—in addition to its mission of intervening, bombing, maiming, and killing—sexual assaults are rampant (including male on male assaults), pornography is widespread, women serve in combat roles, homosexuals and transgenders serve openly, LGBT Pride Month is celebrated in June of each year by the state department and the military, male Navy sailors secretly film female sailors undressing and bathing, military chaplains marry same-sex couples, and U.S. soldiers support a network of brothels around the world.

BJU should be focused on training young people for Christian ministry, not the military.