Revising History

In March, 2014, Camille Lewis and her husband Grant were both teaching at North Greenville University. Grant had been there since leaving BJU in the summer of 2007. Camille was an adjunct prof (meaning part-time) and had only been in their employ for that school year.

In February of that year, Camille had an article published on a blog called “The Wartburg Watch” and crowed about it everywhere, including to me. I have addressed my part in that unfortunate series of events on another page.

My commentary was only about one small section of the article—the portion where she used my story without vetting it—but the whole article is like that. It consists of supposed incident after incident from Bob Jones University’s history, showing how evil and horrible they have been, and presumably still are.

In addition to the Wartburg Watch article, there was also a bit of controversy raging about the anticipated GRACE report, and Camille was all over the place, very actively posting at Truth Seeking Graduates of Bob Jones (Facebook page). The mainstream, national media had gotten into the picture, interested in the story of the small religious college facing these allegations of improper handling of sexual abuse situations. Camille was eating this stuff up.

But there was a problem. For those who might not know it, Bob Jones University and North Greenville University are both in the Greenville, South Carolina area, separated by only 15 miles.

The folks at North Greenville, a Baptist school, wanted no part of the controversy surrounding BJU. No university would. Every university is vulnerable to this sort of criticism and all of them want to stay out of the spotlight, thank you very much. It’s completely understandable.

So, the administration at North Greenville decided that it really wasn’t a good idea to have one of their faculty (even a lowly adjunct) rattling sabers and calling attention to herself at their potential expense. They explained this to her.

Camille secretly (and totally legally in SC) recorded the meeting. She then transcribed the conversation and presented it everywhere you can imagine as soon as she left their employ in May of that year. Here’s what she put on her blog: [Randall Pannell was the administration member talking with her.]

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Let’s look at that last part again:

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Notice the highlighted ellipses? Ellipses are most often used to indicate that something has been omitted. They can also indicate that the speaker sort of trailed off without completing the sentence, but generally, we’re talking here about omitted stuff. And usually, the omitted stuff is unimportant—not germane to the point being made. Furthermore, the use of ellipses is supposed to indicate that even though something has been removed, the removal isn’t changing the gist of what is being quoted in any meaningful way. Keep that in mind.

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As an aside, do note how Camille sucks up to Parnell. She agrees with him repeatedly. “I can affirm a pause.” “That’s fair.” She was lying, of course. She didn’t think it was “fair.” She thought it was an infringement of her supposed “academic freedom” and she blasted away at NGU as soon as the paycheck ceased. Camille can be bought, we find out.

And that was pretty much that, for 18 months—until this week, when video was released that purports to show the former president of NGU being caught in an affair with a school employee by his son. I am not going to link to the video. It’s really not the issue at all, and it’s some sleazy shit.

It has led to all sorts of questions about Dr. Epting (the former president) resigning and who knew and who didn’t know and why did he really resign and was this a cover-up. All stuff that is fascinating indeed to people connected with NGU and completely boring to me. A religious college president was having an affair. So what? Is anyone really surprised by this?

But Camille is almost apoplectic about it. She is in a tearing frenzy, tweeting madly and writing blog stuff and carrying on as though it was the end of the world. Remember—this is a woman who embodies the word “revenge.” She has been peeved at NGU ever since they hushed her up in the spring of 2014. Not as peeved as she is at BJU, but still peeved.

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So we get this. I cannot link to it because she has my IP address blocked and that makes it difficult for me to get the URL, but you can Google “A time to laugh Camille Lewis” and you’ll find it quite easily. Unlike her, I don’t try to hide stuff.

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Notice the highlighted part? It’s the same bit of conversation as was in the screen shot above, with other stuff added in. And more ellipses. And I may be mistaken, and will correct the record if somebody presents me with evidence, but I do not remember that highlighted phrase ever being in any of the previous releases of that transcription. It suddenly appeared in the last day or two.

Pannell is talking about the Wartburg Watch article which is chock full of bullshit stories poorly vetted. And he references the article by saying “it was the one about one of the Joneses having an affair.” NGU was concerned about that article. They were right to be concerned. It is bullshit. It’s full of guesses, innuendo and stories like mine that were not vetted. Camille does not have proof for any of her conclusions. She just makes stuff up.

And now she’s making stuff up about North Greenville.

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Camille has lived in the south for decades and I bet people in the south hate her. Remarks like that second sentence: “Let me translate Southern code into Detroit truth” just don’t go over well. You’d think she’d know that. She thinks she’s smarter than all those damn southern crackers.

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That’s her “proven historical fact” that Dr. Bob Jr. had an affair with Ruth Flood, which produced an illegitimate child. That’s the sort of crap her article is full of. She tells us that Dr. Bob Jr. “invited” Ruth to “join” him on a trip to Europe. She does not tell us if anyone else went too. I bet you money they did. Fundies simply don’t do the “unmarried women travel to Europe with men” thing.

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She says, “I have evidence for every last bit of that.” Well, sure. I’m certain that she has “evidence” that Bob Jr and Ruth Flood (along with who knows how many other folks) went to Europe, and that Ruth Flood later went on a leave of absence and subsequently left the school. That is not sufficient evidence to do what she’s doing here and imply that there was an affair and a bastard child.

One other oddity about all this is the fact that over the years, I have heard variously that Bob Jr was gay, that Bob Jr got off watching Carl McIntire rape Cathy Harris when she was a pre-pubescent child, and now that Bob Jr was a womanizer with bastard children strewn about the landscape. I suppose it’s possible for all three of those sexual proclivities to be present in one person, but seriously, what are the odds?

She goes on to tell us that she is “proud” of the article (dear Flying Spaghetti Monster, it’s unbelievable), and that it’s just a hint of what’s in her book for which she cannot find a publisher. The great book needs to stay in her computer and die there. If this bullshit is a “hint,” I don’t want to see the rest.

It’s actually just as well that Camille Lewis is an unknown, unemployed, failed “scholar” talking about arcane religious matters that almost nobody cares about. She would have made a terrible scientist or historian. What she’s doing is deciding what her narrative is going to be (“bad, bad Bob Jones University” or “bad, bad North Greenville University”) and then she goes hunting “proven historical facts” to back up her already determined narrative.

I can’t decide how much of all this she is doing deliberately, knowing she is completely dishonest and disingenuous, and what part of it is the result of her just convincing herself that she’s really doing a great job. I do know that she makes up outright lies when it suits her purpose, but generally she hides behind fake identities to do that.

At any rate, it turns out that there are other folks, one of them a reporter, who don’t vet their information as well.

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This is from an article about the NGU affair controversy that appears at Baptist News.com. I’m not sure what the point was in including this stuff about Camille. The paragraph is just sort of tacked onto the bottom of the article for no apparent reason.

Camille, of course, believes this is some sort of validation. It’s not. It’s just some lazy-ass guy writing a online article. He doesn’t say she’s accurate in what she says. He just states what she claims.

NOTE: The Baptist News appears to have removed the paragraph cited. Many, many kudos to them. It was irrelevant to the subject, and offered up nothing except Camille’s innuendo and fake “history.”

And that brings me to something else. I want to know why Camille transcribed that recording. Why didn’t she just post the whole recording to YouTube, complete with transcription on the screen as one listens? She has the technical skills to do that, or she knows somebody who would do it for her. But she didn’t. Instead, she transcribed it. And she did so using lots and lots of ellipses. Look back and see how many of them there are.

That leaves me with only a few conclusions I can draw:

1. There is no recording. She just wrote down her recollections of what was said.

2. There is a recording, but it’s really poor quality. But she could still release it along with screens of transcription.

3. There is a recording and it’s decent quality, but she doesn’t want us to know what is in the ellipses. She doesn’t want anyone to hear the whole thing.

There might well be an option 4 or 5 but that’s all I can think of for now.

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What Camille has done is take that one highlighted phrase and decided that Dr. Epting was afraid of getting caught in an affair and since Camille had implied that Dr. Bob Jr had such an affair with a resultant pregnancy back in 1935, based on the flimsiest of “evidence”, he was going to make her shut up.

If you haven’t already done so, please go now and read the page about context. You’ll see there an example of how Camille does this. That’s just one example. It’s a pattern with her “research.” If I were to write “I despise people who cheat,” Camille would say that I said that I “despise people.”

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Really. This is her interpretation of these events. Dr. Epting was just terrified of Camille the Researcher and just knew that she was getting way too close to his deep dark secret because she conjured up some silly “evidence” that Bob Jr had an affair in 1935.

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I burst out laughing when I read this. Camille acted with “integrity”—as she secretly taped a conversation, totally agreed with the man to his face, and then bashed her former employer to anyone who would listen for a solid year.

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Wow. Really? Is “I affirm that” when you don’t mean it at all not a lie?

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Uh, Camille. I’ve been Lewis-watching now for a long, long time, and yes, Grant parrots your bullshit everywhere.

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What happened here is that Camille gets busy on Twitter, and she spews out more shit than my chickens. All of it is tagged with multiple people or organizations, from Bob Jones, to GRACE, to the Department of Education to President Obama. When you tag somebody on Twitter, your comment shows up in their feed. BJU got sick of Camille’s bullshit showing up endlessly, so whoever monitors their Twitter account simply blocked her. That stops the incoming shit. If I were them, I’d do it too. I’m honestly surprised GRACE didn’t do it as well.

This is rich coming from somebody who has blocked so many people from so many different sites that she probably has trouble keeping up with it.

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But this has to be the worst. I’ve seen Camille spout some real crap, but gee whiz.

As far as I know, Dr. and Mrs. Epting are still married, as are the woman in the video and her husband. They seem to have worked through whatever actually happened. It’s not up to me to figure out if Mrs. Epting is a sucker or if the woman’s husband is deceived.

But now we have a shitstorm. The video has been seen by thousands of people, thousands of views.

We don’t know who put the video on YouTube. It might have been Paul Epting, the son. It might not be. We just don’t know.

But I will tell you one thing that is not happening. Mrs. Epting is not saying, “Oh, Paul, thank you so much for putting that video up on the internet so everyone on earth can see what a fool I’ve been to stay married to that creep, your father.”

Does anyone in their right mind think for a single minute that Anna Duggar is delighted that Josh got outed and that the whole country knows he cheated on her? Do you suppose that she sent the Ashley Madison site a thank-you note and box of chocolates? We don’t know if Anna knew about Josh’s extracurricular activities or suspected something was going on or not. And there’s an argument to be made that the truth is better than living in a lie even if the truth hurts.

But Paul Epting could have taken that video and shown his mother privately and let her deal with the situation as she saw fit—and the public need never have known about what was a private marital infidelity (if that’s in fact what was happening).

I can’t help but wonder how grateful Camille would be if somebody caught Grant cheating on her and displayed the whole thing on the internet.

Pictures: Worth a Thousand Words?

Here’s one of those memes you see all the time on Facebook. It purports to give you some information, in this case about genetically modified foods.

The eight “most common” GMO foods, it says, implying that there are a zillion others.

It doesn’t say that those are pretty close to all the GMO foods currently on the market, with just a few exceptions (papayas, one strain of rice, and one type of potato).

It also pictures sweet corn, which is rarely if ever GMO (I believe there is only one type on the market and it’s not selling well), instead of field corn which is almost all GMO. Sweet corn is more photogenic, I suppose.

And from what I can find out, squashes constitute a very small portion of the American diet in the first place, and genetically modified squash occupies an even smaller niche. Zucchini tend to take over the garden without any help from science.

But the point is that this meme has some truth in it, and it also is misleading. Typical for these types of memes, regardless of the subject matter.

First off, this is interesting because the source is “Rivers of Justice.” This is the group that held a conference at Camille’s church – the one she never mentioned.

And calling post-traumatic stress disorder a “worship disorder” is simply beyond silly.

But Amena McShea’s remark (at the bottom in the commentary) that “We can prove that PTSD is a biological fact” is also a bit of a stretch.

When I saw this, I thought, “Really?”

That’s sort of what I do. I look at GMO memes and say, “Really?” and then I look at this and say “Really?”  I’m a skeptic.

So I blew up the meme so I could read the itty-bitty little letters over on the right above the photos. It says “De Bellis et al, 1999.” That’s the name of scientist who did the study they are citing in the meme.

I looked up the study, finding an article that Dr. De Bellis (name spelled variously as De Bellis, DeBellis, and Debellis – take your pick) wrote summarizing the findings. [Note: the site requires registration in order to read the whole thing.]

Turns out that Dr. De Bellis isn’t quite so adamant as Amena McShea about the results of his studies.  Here are some quotes:

Child abuse experiences may cause delays or deficits in a child’s ability to achieve age-appropriate behavioral, cognitive and emotional regulation.
This is fairly typical.  “May cause” stuff. That sort of qualifying language is expected. But then he goes on to tell us this:
There is little research on the neurobiological effects of trauma and PTSD in developing children.

Okay, that’s not a good sign.  “Little research” means just that.  It means hardly anyone has studied this stuff. The more something is studied, the more likely the results are to be accurate, or if inaccurate, for us to know that.

Then he tells us about two studies. One involved 28 subjects (two different types) who had urine collected and they found that there were “significant” differences between the subjects and the controls in the excretion of substances that indicated PTSD.

The second study involved 44 subjects (plus controls) and this is the one with the brain scans that indicated differences with children with PTSD.

That’s proof, isn’t it?  It’s proof, I tell you.

Isn’t it, Dr. De Bellis?

Although causation cannot be proven because these findings were based on a cross-sectional analysis, the data are intriguing and may have important social policy and treatment implications.

What does he mean by “cross-sectional analysis”?  He means that the studies were snapshots. One-time events. Urine specimens taken for a brief period of time. One MRI.

Dr. De Bellis ends this article like this:

Accordingly, prospective longitudinal studies in developmental traumatology are critical to this development of early interventions to attenuate the psychobiological dysregulation and adverse effects on brain development that are associated with maltreatment.

What’s a “longitudinal study”?  It’s a study done over a very long period of time – months, years.

In short, Dr. De Bellis is saying that these two studies are interesting (they are) and probably point to the need for more, longer, better studies (absolutely yes).

What they do not do is prove anything at all.

From the people who told us when I was a girl that eating margarine was healthier than butter and that smoking cigarettes would make you sexier (not dead) to the guys who tell you that you really, really need to have the timing belt replaced in your car ($650—what in the hell is a timing belt in the first place—turns out a timing belt is really important, but you may or may not need another one) or the dentist who insists that you absolutely “need” to have six cavities filled (40 years ago%mdash;all six teeth are fine and were never filled)—you just can’t believe everything you hear.

This is a pretty decent book on the subject.

Oh, and yeah, PTSD is not a “worship disorder,” but anyone with half a brain already knows that.