Fundamentalist Christian College Accused of Using Students for Slave Labor

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.

 

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