Look for the root sin

Bob Jones “University” tells rape victims to look for the sin in themselves that caused them to be raped. No, I’m not making a tasteless joke.

Coming from a conservative Mennonite family, Katie Landry, who at age 19 had never even held hands with a boy, was raped multiple times by her supervisor at her summer job. Two years later, haunted by the attacks, and attending Bob Jones University, she sought help from then dean of students, Jim Berg.

According to Landry,  Berg asked whether she’d been drinking or smoking pot and if she had been “impure.” He then brought up her “root sin.”

“He goes, ‘Well, there’s always a sin under other sin. There’s a root sin,’” Landry explained. “And he said, ‘We have to find the sin in your life that caused your rape.’ And I just ran.”

“He just confirmed my worst nightmare,” she added. “It was something I had done. It was something about me. It was my fault.”

Landry eventually withdrew from the school and didn’t tell anyone else for five more years.


But his intentions were good, right?


In interviews with Al Jazeera, other victims of abuse related how Biblical scripture was used to lay blame for the rapes on their own sins, and that their trauma was a sign that they were fighting God and would never be at peace until they forgave their rapists.

Called the “Fortress of Fundamentalism, ” Bob Jones University’s philosophical approach to almost all mental problems, beyond medical issues, is that they are the result of sin.

In a 1996 book, ‘Becoming an Effective Christian Counselor,’ written by former BJU Dean of Education Walter Fremont and his wife, counselors are instructed to emphasize that the blame lies with the abuser. However, the authors also state that being sexually assaulted is not an excuse for “sinful feelings” of discontentment, hate, fear, and especially, bitterness; calling unresolved anger “rebellion and bitterness against God.”

And that’s why goddy thinking is such a bad kind of thinking.



  1. Blanche Quizno says

    And remember, girls, whatever happens is ultimately YOUR OWN FAULT. That’s just the way God set everything up, so you need to submit no matter what, no matter who it is or what he’s trying to do, because that’s what God wants. And then God want you to forgive your attacker and never mention it to anyone so that we can all pretend it never happened.

    Hey! Don’t look at me! This is what GOD wants!!

  2. says

    However, the authors also state that being sexually assaulted is not an excuse for “sinful feelings” of discontentment, hate, fear, and especially, bitterness; calling unresolved anger “rebellion and bitterness against God.”

    Wow. That takes “of course it was your fault!” to a whole different level, and that’s an understatement.

  3. Ed says

    So if this idiot gets mugged and beaten with a tire iron I guess he’ll sit around trying to discover what he did wrong to cause it? Probably not, but he should. Bob Jones University should promote a very tolerant approach to all crimes against person or property. After all the offenders only doing God’s work.

    But I suspect that rape is a special case for them. Ghastly! This place should not be accredited if in fact it is. People with her experience should sue the nest of evil out of existence.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    I betcha that by age 19 Katie Landry had eaten at least one apple.

    Case closed!

  5. Omar Puhleez says

    Not to forget some of the glorious alumni of Bob Jones University, including Billy Graham no less. He was the greatest revivalist preacher since… I dunno… Elmer Gantry I’d say, and without fear of contradiction.. I knew I had come across that name before, so I did a google search.
    So the place is not a complete shit pile. It has at least one redeeming feature.
    😉 Pun intended.)

  6. culuriel says

    What about the “root sin” of the rapist? Why don’t these religious schools shame the perp for not controlling his (gender assumption, I know) lust?

  7. Bernard Bumner says

    What about the “root sin” of the rapist?

    Well, the rapist doesn’t usually come looking for help, support, or other things that can draw scrutiny upon your organisation. By guilting helping the victim to shut the fuck up or/and go away, the problem is magically disappeared solved.

    Besides, the rapist can always repent, and isn’t the eternal salvation of their soul really the most important thing? Really?

  8. Blanche Quizno says

    @7 Omar, were you aware that Billy Graham was “originally tentative on racial issues, separating such issues from the Christian faith”?

    For example, recall that in 1952 he told a Jackson, Mississippi, newspaper: “We follow the existing social customs in whatever part of the country in which we minister. As far as I have been able to find in study of the Bible, it has nothing to say about segregation or nonsegregation. I came to Jackson only to preach the Bible and not to enter into local issues.” “Divided By Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America”, p. 55-56.

    My father used to be in academia, specializing in Soviet/East European studies. He condemned Billy Graham for going over there to preach and reporting delightedly on how full the church was, therefore no religious persecution, when anyone with the slightest clue would have known that the church was filled with KGB who showed up to make the requisite good impression on a bumbling, clueless idiot preacher. So moron Billy Graham attained more publicity for himself while, yet again, going along with the status quo and the Powers That Be, happily throwing the suffering Christians looking to him for actual moral leadership and some statement of support right under the bus.

    On Mr. Graham’s first visit to Moscow in May 1982, the evangelist drew considerable criticism in the United States for appearing enthusiastic about the official structure of religious practice in the Soviet Union and for avoiding statements or actions potentially offensive to Soviet authorities. http://www.nytimes.com/1984/09/10/world/billy-graham-starts-second-soviet-tour.html

    Yet another Christian douche out to glorify himself, in other words.

    So yes. Another person affiliated with Bob Jones U who is a complete shitstain.

  9. A. Noyd says

    culuriel (#8)

    Why don’t these religious schools shame the perp for not controlling his…lust?

    Because controlling a man’s lust is the woman’s job. Duh.

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