Pensacola, Florida is not a town that people really think about visiting when they come down south. That’s because there isn’t much going on there. (Although, we do enjoy the National Museum of Naval Aviation, which is really cool and you should check it out if you can).
A little over 10 miles north of the museum, on FL-295 and then up Interstate-110, you’ll find the campus of Pensacola Christian College, a fundamentalist Christian Baptist institution – hey, if you’re going to dedicate your life completely to Jesus and reject every other political or religious philosophy but fundamentalism then you might as well enjoy the sun.
Dr. Arlin Horton and his wife Beka moved to Pensacola and founded the Pensacola Christian School in 1954. 20 years later, they opened the Pensacola Christian College (unaccredited) to further their vision of “Education from a Christian Perspective.” The school has an in-house publisher which provides a K-12 curriculum. (it’s one of the largest Christian textbook publishers in the USA). Thousands of delegates attend clinics and seminars sponsored by PCC every year.
All students seeking a degree are required to complete Bible study including courses named “New Testament Survey” and “Old Testament Survey”. PCC teaches young Earth creationism and flood geology. (ie: that God created the earth in literally six days). Archeology is taught using a Biblical timeline. This probably means that Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs. The Textus Receptus is considered the “superior Greek text” of the Bible; using this as a basis, the King James version is accepted.
PCC rejects Calvinism, Modernism, Neo-orthodoxy, Pentecostal, and the charismatic movement. They reject liberals. That’s liberal theology, not “liberal” in the political sense. Don’t even ask what they think of liberals in the political sense. If a liberal accidentally wandered on campus the police might be called. If an atheist wandered on campus they would probably be burned at the stake.
To say that PCC’s policies are strict is an understatement. In the blog Restless Wanderings, portions of the 2001 student handbook, which is apparently well-guarded and difficult to obtain by any infidels, include the following rules:
- Banned music: Current popular music, Jazz, rock, rap, folk, “Nashville” type, or new age, Religious music performed in the folk, western rock, or gospel rock style, “Soundtracks from movies rated PG-13, PG, or below”
- Pensacola’s 89.5 Rejoice Radio is recommended
- No internet
- “PCC reserves the right to check the computer files on any personal computer on campus if, in the opinion of the Administration, it is reported or suspected that said files or related medium may be in violation of the policies and standards of the College.”
- “For their safety and well-being, women going to [Fort Pickens] beach must be in groups of at least five and must stay together as a group. Each group must be accompanied by a junior or senior chaperone who is an APL or PL and has been a student at least two years at the College. Women are to turn right after the toll bridge and drive west toward Fort Pickens to go to the beach.They may never drive east toward Navarre. Men going to the beach must be in groups of at least three.Men are to bear left after the toll bridge and drive east no more than five miles past the residential area to the open beach space between Pensacola Beach and Navarre. They may never drive west toward Fort Pickens.
- “For safety reasons we ask our women students not to go to the County Market/Brent Oaks Shopping Center after dark.During daylight hours, women students may go to this shopping area by walking down Brent Lane and over the overpass.Women students are never permitted to walk down the dirt road by the railroad tracks, nor are they permitted to go down Sycamore and cross the tracks under the overpass when going to the County Market shopping center.”
- Circle K stores and the Boardwalk Mall on Santa Rosa Island are off limits to all students.The Chimneys and Bluffs areas along Scenic Highway are off limits at all times…
- No “charismatic activities”
- No Hyper-Calvinism
- No dancing, no gambling (including the lottery), no renting or watching movies, no card playing, no alcohol or tobacco, no profanity or obscenity, no pornography, no premarital sex, no homosexuality, no “other sex perversions”
- No fleshly magazines and books, no games that are of the occult, no games with graphic violence or nudity
- No symbols, pictures, writing, flags, banners, slogans or any “divisive activism”
- Couples are not permitted to be alone in classrooms or other areas of any building or unchaperoned.
- No physical contact between members of the opposite sex.
- Students should never go to the beach as couples, be at a park after dark, or visit in the home of unmarried members of the opposite sex.”
- Men shall cut their hair so it does not come over the ears, eyebrows, or collar. Sideburns should be no longer than the middle of the ear. “Styles related to counterculture…are not acceptable.” No beards or mustaches. Socks always.
- Women’s Dress and skirt lengths and slits should come no higher than the top of the kneecap when sitting and standing. No sundresses or spaghetti straps. “Anything immodest, tight, formfitting, scant, backless, and low in the neckline is unacceptable.” No pants or shorts. ” Young ladies should dress in a manner that others will focus on the face and particularly the eyes, for some say, the eyes are the mirror of the soul”
The Demerit system is complex and throrough. 1 to 3 demerits for tardiness, littering, improper dress, chewing gum, etc… That’s grade school stuff. But you could get 10 demerits for “horseplay” or “bad attitude”, 25 demerits for guaranteed approval payday loan“borrowing automobile” or going off campus without a pass. “Improper social behavior” gets 50 demerits. 75 to 100 demerits for cheating, unauthorized possession of firearms, possesion of tobacco, going to the movies (!), watching porn. You’ll earn 150 demerits for meeting the opposite sex off campus or having alcohol, sexual misconduct, “immorality”, “Involvement with witchcraft, séances, or any other satanic or demonic activity” or gambling (Accumulation of 150 demerits gets you expelled)
The “Optical intercourse” Incident
One student told of how a group of men and a group of women from the college happened to meet at a McDonald’s last spring. Both groups were returning from the beach (they had gone to separate beaches; men and women are not allowed to be at the beach together). The administration found out, and all 15 students were expelled.
Even couples who are not talking or touching can be reprimanded. Sabrina Poirier, a student at Pensacola who withdrew in 1997, was disciplined for what is known on the campus as “optical intercourse” — staring too intently into the eyes of a member of the opposite sex. This is also referred to as “making eye babies.” While the rule does not appear in written form, most students interviewed for this article were familiar with the concept.
Check out the following clip which comes from an informational VHS, containing facts about PCC. After the short introduction, there is a seminar/sermon given by the VP for Administration Dr. Greg Mutsch, who comes right out and says that they are fundamentalist and that they don’t like anybody else and that they preach a doctrine of separation from all infidels (yes, he actually uses the word “infidel” in his speech). He blasts the “New Evangelicals” and their attempts to try to accommodate those who don’t believe stuff like God literally created everything in 6 days only a few thousand years ago. Those people also have the indecency to listen to Christian rock and Christian rap music. Sacrilegious. Also have a chuckle when he refers to Mormonism as a cult. He’s got spirit though – and he kinda sounds like Casey Kasem.
You may be a bit confused about all these disciplines that Mutsch refers to. First off, remember that when he says “liberals” he doesn’t mean Michael Moore; he’s talking about Liberal Christianity, which keeps a more open mind in regards to Biblical interpretation. Peter Ruckman is a Baptist pastor who started the Pensacola Bible Institute (not the same as Pensacola Christian College). Ruckman calls the King James Bible an “advanced revelation” and considers it the final, preserved word of God for English speakers. Brother Jack Hyles from Indiana also believed in the KJ, once saying “Don’t come to me with your stinkin’ ‘only the original is inspired’! You’re not intellectual… you’re retarded!”
Just remember, prospective PCC Students: The #1 measurement of your spiritual condition will be how well you obey the rules, and secondly, how much you turn in others who don’t obey the rules.
Pearl M. Kasirye is a writer at La Dolce Studio, editor, and researcher who spends most of her time reading. When she isn’t reading or working, she can be found sitting on her balcony writing her own novels or traveling.