Fundamentalist Christian College Accused of Using Students for Slave Labor

Image via TheState.com

Image via TheState.com

The president of an unaccredited fundamentalist Christian college is held on $250000 bond on charges of exploiting international students and using them for slave labor. Reginald Wayne Miller, the president and founder of Cathedral Bible College, brought in international students under the guise of training them to be pastors and missionaries. According to prosecutors for the Homeland Security and several of those students, he used them to do under- and unpaid work around the campus and his house, sometimes up to 50 hours a week with pay ranging from 0 to 50$ for the week. If they complained, he threatened to revoke their student visas and have them deported.

According to TheState:

Federal law limits those on student visas to a maximum of 20 hours of work per week and that work must be an integral part of the student’s educational program.

One student told investigators he had been promised $100 per week as part of a work-study program with the college. That student said he only makes $50 per week and regularly works between 46 hour and 56 hours each week. The student also said he worked for two weeks without any pay.

One student told investigators… that he was paid $50 per week for about 32 hours of work. Dr. Miller told [the student] if he did not like this work, he could go home or he [Miller] would call the Immigration and Naturalization Service,” the affidavit states.- [via Friendly Atheist]

This pattern of fear and control is a tragically familiar one at fundamentalist Christian colleges.

According to the school’s website, “CBC is approved by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education for VA students.” Which is another way of saying that the school, like many fundamentalist Christian Colleges, is unaccredited. But that seems to be a pattern. “Dr.” Miller received his doctorate from Indiana Christian University, which also lacks accreditation. His next higher degrees were “given” by, well, Cathedral Bible College. Additionally, all of Indian Christian “University’s” faculty also received their degrees from ICU – and one only has an Associates. The only teacher who has a Master’s (at least when the site was made) went to fellow unaccredited fundamentalist school Bob Jones University. BJU is infamous for its racism and segregation. It did not allow black students until the 70’s and has disallowed mixed-race dating up until the 21st century. The school is now also infamous for trying to cover up sexual abuse and covering up for those cover-ups.

What’s the connection? Besides some really harmful theology (that is extremely patriarchal and tends to trade in racism as well), there is an intentional lack of oversight. This is common in Christian fundamentalism and particularly Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches and colleges like BJU, Pensacola Christian University, and Hyles-Anderson College. Students and parishioners are fed an unhealthy, steady diet of messages subtle and not-so-subtle skeptical and defensive against outside authorities: Don’t trust scientists; our version of creationism is superior. Don’t trust public schools and accreditation; they are worldly. Don’t trust psychology; the bible has everything you need. Don’t trust police with sexual assault allegations; come to us – we’ll take care of it. Don’t complain about working conditions; you’ll be deported.

If this all sounds like a cult in plain sight, well, it is. It’s much more difficult to investigate an institution that is purposefully cloistered. And so it’s easier to declare themselves protectors even while they’re perpetuating exploitation. At the least, these schools need some proper oversight for their students’ protection.

And if you’re asking what these patterns of worker exploitation, racism, and sexual abuse have in common, consider that most of these fundamentalist Christian colleges were blatantly racist until recently. Consider the connections between Slavery Apologism and Christian fundamentalism (like with the Douglas Wilson, for instance). Consider also the fact that most of the exploited international students at CBC are not-white. Consider the deep, connected roots between Slavery Apologism and Rape Apologism (how one person can “own” another). And then consider this interesting little snippet from “Dr.” Miller’s recent history:

In 2006, the Horry County Police Department charged Miller with lewdness and prostitution after Miller exposed himself to an undercover police officer in a bath house at Myrtle Beach State Park, according to a police report.

This may mean something or it may mean nothing, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear many other testimonials against Miller of both worker exploitation and sexual abuse. In the meantime, I’m thinking we’re gonna need to change the laws to properly inform and warn people about unaccredited schools. And place some type of oversight for them.


jasdye

When he’s not riding both his city’s public transit system and evil mayor, Jasdye teaches at a community college and writes about the intersection of equality and faith - with an occasional focus on Chicago - at the Left Cheek blog and on the Left Cheek: the Blog Facebook page. Check out more from Jasdye in his archives as well!

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  • John

    unbalanced article

    • DrVonEvilPants

      Unbalanced comment

    • Unbalanced in what way? Are there blatant lies in the article or do you just not like the implications?

    • Ellen H.

      In what way? Is it not true that those colleges are unaccredited? Are you saying the international students are untruthful? In what way is it unbalanced? Is it unbalanced because it criticizes “Christianity”? I put that a in quotation marks because I don’t think Christ would try to exploit people or any of the things Miller did.

    • robingee

      Well, that’s almost a sentence.

      • Joyce

        Not really.

  • Angel

    What I don’t understand is how the students’ countries of origin approved visas for schooling at unaccredited universities. I’m going to India this summer for a class, and even India will not allow anything but an official and accredited university to be used for international students.

    • Jimbo

      Countries of origin don’t approve visas. The US consulate or embassy is the one who approves visas for international students to come to the US. Just like your India example. It is the receiving country that has to issue and approve the visa.

  • Edward Krebbs

    “consider that most of these fundamentalist Christian colleges were blatantly racist until recently”

    Having lived in the deep south during the desegregation of the shools, I’d go as far as to say that when faced with the prospect of their children going to a racially mixed school, parents and churches embarked in a flury of building private schools from elementary to “college” (quotes intentional).

    • Edward Krebbs

      I think it is easy to predict that one of the first moves he will try is to point out that the college mission, prominently on its web page, involves giving students real-life experience in their ministry.

      Another easy to predict is that he will ask how it can be working to have a home on the highly desirable vacation spot, Myrtle Beach, SC.

    • Edward Krebbs

      Late Edit: Aaargh. Just did a little more looking at their web page. They have a small note that they have a new campus in Marion, SC and that internationals can only register at the Marion campus.

      If you are familiar with SC, Marion is in the middle of nowhere, nothing there. Hot, humid, uncomfortable. In short, one of the last places on earth that I’d want to be.

  • Mason Burdette

    Exploitation and threats are common among the “cult” religions. More needs to be done to protect these people becoming victims. Of every 100 honest people out there, there will be one that exploits and cons others. How do you instill ethics and humanity into a person of no conscience?

  • AntiLies

    OMG you have a ‘religion’ section but all you do is bash conservatives and christians. Where are your anti Islam section? That’s right, you don’t have the BALLS to take on those who STONE TO DEATH homosexuals. You don’t have the BALLS

    • Terry Evdokimoff

      You know, Bimbo, all you evangelintus do is practice Islamophobism when you are not praying to your phony Santa in the sky. I hope you never shoot an abortion doctor. And why we are on the subject, stop raping women with those vaginal probes when they make their own intelligent choice to have an abortion. You and your ilk are all sickos!!

      • AntiLies

        Just like warning you lot of low iq assholes about obama, we’re warning you about islam. It’s YOUR choice not to listen. Wait and see, my words will be true, you will WISH for Christians amongst you, but when they’re all gone or isolated, you will be overrun with muslims filling the void, mark my words. It’ll be like in London, where they claim neighborhoods and beat up dim-witted fools like you with your own good intentions. GO TO LONDON AND SEE WITH YOUR VERY OWN EYES.

      • Bil Wood

        How many times have you been attacked and beat up in London by Muslims?
        A friend of a friend of a friend story does not count BTW.

    • Derpington_The_Third

      Because how is Islam a major political faction in the US?

      Name me a majority group in the US Senate or House that are Islamic and I’ll give you a cookie.

      Christians are hypocrites. Muslims are hypocrites. Jews are hypocrites.

      You religious whackjobs are hypocrites. Get over it.

      Most Muslims in the US don’t use the government to force their religion onto people, that’d be the Bible thumping retards who think a sky daddy put two of every animal on a boat and flooded the planet.

      • AntiLies

        haha derp. YOUR BELOVED OBAMA IS AT WAR WITH THEM, remember? Or what do you think the troops are doing in Afghanistan? Picking daisies? And let me tell you this, muslims are slowly taking over, and before you know it, your town will have a muslim mayor, or be on some rule making panel, and so on, and then your stupid ass is going to start feeling the pinch of sharia, and you will walk around in a daze and think ‘how did this happen? this must be bush’s fault!’

        here’s something for you to think about, if you can: scandanavia is overwhelmingly liberal. You people and your Dear Leader DRIP whenever you think about changing america into european multi-culti bullshit, but in case you haven’t noticed, those very same liberals are now voting for conservative people in order to stem the influx of muslims and the associated trouble those trash immigrants bring, like it’s a disease, and what the hell makes your stupid ass think you won’t want to do the same when it happens in your back yard, to YOU, to YOUR daughter and wife, then what? You’ll blame conservatives, and lemme tell you another thing: you will sorely mis those humble, mind-you-own-business CHRISTIANS. JUST YOU WAIT.

      • Thomas B Robson

        Wow. I don’t know much about Christianity- how can people follow a man (Jesus) who taught so much hate and sarcasm as evidenced by AntiLies post?

      • mrichardson84

        Antilies is the exception to the rule of the No True Scotsman fallacy. He is a clear example of how NOT to be a Christian. He hates everyone who isn’t just like him, and he hates Jesus, clearly. Otherwise he wouldn’t be such a bigot.

    • mydadsays

      For goodness sakes, they were arrested by Homeland Security for slave labor!!!! And you complain because the article mentions that they are Christians??? It was a “Christian College” not a Muslim College and it happened in the United States!!!