On September 24, 2015 Marquette University rescinded an honorary doctorate that it gave to Bill Cosby in May 2013. Marquette felt like it had to act on the allegations and evidence that Bill Cosby was involved in obtaining narcotics to give to women for sex. Marquette’s behavior is a light in a dark world, and I would suggest that Al Mohler and Mark Dever could learn from Marquette in regards to the C.J. Mahaney controversy. C.J. Mahaney is unqualified to teach, let alone be an Elder. For individuals like Mark Dever and Al Mohler who are ethically bankrupt I suggest they learn from Marquette University’s behavior.
“Initiative is doing the right thing without being told.“
“By his own admission, Mr. Cosby engaged in behaviors that go entirely against our university’s mission and the Guiding Values we have worked so hard to instill on our campus.”
Marquette Statement on Bill Cosby
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”] 34 Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.
1 Corinthians 15:33-34 NIV
It today’s post I want to go back to the issue of C.J. Mahaney. There are a number of posts I have written about C.J. Mahaney which I want to feature. In this post I wonder why he is so sacred, how much money has he thrown around, and if God has foreordained that he be involved in an alleged cover up of child sex abuse in his denomination? I also thank those who filed the lawsuit against SGM for their courageous action as it helped an agnostic stuck on the problem of evil. In response to Thabiti Anyabwile’s article I ask if C.J. Mahaney is the “Bill Cosby of Neo-Calvinism.” In this post I look at the public rebuke that Marquette University did to Bill Cosby, and what Al Mohler and Mark Dever should learn and emulate in their relationship with C.J Mahaney.
Bill Cosby’s Commencement Address to the 130th Class at Marquette University
Commencement is a unique time, it signals the official end of one time in life and the start of a new chapter. In 2013 a number of universities around the nation had unique candidates that spoke to graduating classes. At the University of Maryland at Baltimore Stanley McChrystal spoke directly in his style. President Barack Obama gave parting advice to graduating students at Moorehouse and Ohio State University. At Bowie State University Michelle Obama won the crowd before here. Meanwhile Michael Bloomberg addressed Stanford, and Stephen Colbert got the stage he wanted at the University of Virginia. Legendary baseball player Cal Ripken Jr gave his advice to the graduating class at the University of Maryland, while Steve Wozniak challenged individuals at the University of California Berkley.
In Milwaukee Bud Selig, the Major League Baseball Commissioner, talked to the graduating class of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. While the graduating class of Marquette University had a treat in the sense they had Bill Cosby speak to them. Bill Cosby during this time was ‘America’s Dad,’ and he was going to address the 130th graduating class from Marquette University. Before Bill Cosby spoke Marquette awarded him an honorary doctorate. After being recognized and a crowd responding warmly Bill Cosby put on a Marquette cap, and dawned a sweatshirt. The Bradley Center roared in seeing Bill Cosby wear Marquette colors. He then proceeded to speak to the graduating class about life, and the values of Marquette and the Jesuits. He spoke of integrity and doing the right thing. Watching this video in light of what happened two years later is eerie. Bill Cosby also spoke of his mother. I included both videos up top for you to watch if you so desire. This is what Marquette President Scott Pilarz wrote about that commencement and Bill Cosby speaking.
I remember my graduation, and a couple of friends showing up for it. It was an emotional time and it was hard to believe that my time at Marquette was coming to a close. I loved Marquette and the values of the university and all that it stood. It was academically challenging and stimulating. The late nights in the computer lab, while living in the library asking for help from the reference librarian all were a challenge, and a part of life. I adored Marquette and fell in love with the school. I attended as many Marquette basketball games as I could and screamed in the Bradley Center until I was sore for at least a day after each game. I remember when I was a student when legendary coach Al Maguire passed away. I remember hearing the news…the balloons had popped, and the seashells were broken. There would be no more talk of French Pastries. I saved the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel of that day and have it in the corner of my closet along with the papers of September 11. Today I still bleed blue and gold and I’m proud to be a part of the Marquette family. I’m away from Milwaukee, living here in the Washington, D.C. area but Marquette has a special place in my heart. If you were to enter my home you would see the Golden Eagle flag hanging in the living room, and a Marquette University rug in my kitchen. If you opened up my closets you would find at least 5 sweatshirts and maybe about 20 t-shirts. Writing about Marquette now makes me sentimental as I have so many memories. Marquette was a major part of my life and in many ways it still is.
Bill Cosby’s Long Fall from Grace
In this post I am not going to get into all the details about the rape and sexual abuse allegations against Bill Cosby. I wrote about that in this post here. What I would like to do is spend a chunk of time re-telling and re-tracing Bill Cosby’s fall from grace. As the allegations grew, corporations, entertainment companies and universities all distanced themselves. I borrow heavily from this Wikipedia article, but this is how it unfolded.
On November 19, 2014 both TV Land and NBC distanced themselves from Cosby. Re-runs of The Cosby Show were canceled. Also in that same month universities began to sever ties to Bill Cosby. The University of Massachusetts Amherst, one of Cosby’s alma maters asked him to step down as an honorary co-chairman of the university’s fundraising campaign. The Berklee College of Music which honored Cosby with an honorary degree ended the scholarship it offered in his name. High Point University in North Carolina yanked Bill Cosby from their advisory board. On December 4, 2014 the United States Navy revoked the honorary title of Chief Petty Officer which it gave him in 2011. The United States Navy said the following in a statement, “allegations against Mr. Cosby are very serious and are in conflict with the Navy’s core values of honor, courage, and commitment.” Also in December Bill Cosby resigned from Temple University under pressure. Spelman College in Georgia suspended the professorship named after Bill Cosby’s wife. When the 2005 deposition went public the professorship was ended. Back in Hollywood, Bill Cosby lost his agent as his talent agency dropped him as a client.
In July 2015 the last two networks that broadcast either Cosby or The Cosby Show pulled them in its entirety. In both cases the networks aborted the re-runs abruptly amidst the results of the unsealed depositions where Cosby admitted to giving drugs to women for sex. On July 7, 2015 Walt Disney World removed a statue of Bill Cosby that had stood prominently in the part of the theme park called, “Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza.” Meanwhile here in the Washington, D.C. area a local legend known as Ben’s Chili Bowl had a major debate about whether the mural of Bill Cosby should be removed. On July 20, 2015 an upcoming documentary called Painted Down which is about the history of African-American stuntman canceled Bill Cosby’s appearance. This is significant because Cosby is often credited in helping to create the Black Stuntman’s Association in 1967. All references to Bill Cosby were removed. On July 23, 2015 Simon & Schuster confirmed to the Associated Press that it would not release a paperback version of Bill Cosby’s approved 2014 biography. The book was called, “Cosby: His Life and Times,” while that occurred both David Letterman and Jerry Seinfeld allegedly asked to be removed from endorsements of the biography.
August started out for Bill Cosby with word that the University of San Francisco told the San Francisco Chronicle that it was looking into revoking an honorary degree given to Bill Cosby in 2012. Mounting pressure resulted in the university removing all references on its website to Bill Cosby. On August 17, 2015 New York University’s free 12-week film program for high school students cut all ties with Cosby. In light of the information coming out about Bill Cosby NYU removed all references to the man who was once called “America’s Dad.” On September 11, 2015 Central State University officially and permanently removed Bill Cosby’s name from the Camile O & William H Cosby Communications Center and renamed it the CSU Communications Center. What stung Bill about this is that he donated over $2 million dollars to Central State University over the course of time.
Marquette University Revokes Bill Cosby’s Honorary Doctorate
In September my alma mater entered the fray and decided to act on the situation with Bill Cosby. Here is how things unfolded; as the news started to grow about the controversy with Bill Cosby there was discussion internally as to what to do to the growing allegations. These discussions took place between faculty members and administration. On September 24 the president of Marquette University Michael Lovell and the provost Daniel Meyers presented a resolution to the Board of Trustees to rescind the honorary doctorate that was given to Bill Cosby two years prior. The Board of Trustees passed the resolution and the honorary degree was rescinded effectively immediately. The following message was sent out to the Marquette community.
Marquette University statement on Bill Cosby’s honorary degree
Sept. 24, 2015
Marquette University President Michael R. Lovell and Provost Daniel Myers today sent the following letter to the campus community regarding the rescinding of Bill Cosby’s honorary degree:
Dear members of the Marquette community,
As the president and provost of Marquette University, we are writing to inform you that earlier today, we presented a resolution to the Board of Trustees to rescind the honorary degree granted to Bill Cosby in 2013. The Board approved that resolution, and the degree is rescinded immediately. Over the past several weeks, we’ve had extensive conversations with campus leaders and faculty members who showed overwhelming support for the action our board took today.
By his own admission, Mr. Cosby engaged in behaviors that go entirely against our university’s mission and the Guiding Values we have worked so hard to instill on our campus.
Every day, we live these values by challenging our students to integrate knowledge and faith into their real-life decisions in ways that will shape their lives.
With those values in mind, let us all remember that the foundations on which our great university was built remain as important today as ever.
Michael R. Lovell
Daniel J. Myers
Some in the Marquette community asked, “what took so long?” Lovell later tweeted that he was proud of Marquette “taking this important stand.” On September 29 I was checking CNN and I saw the story about both Fordham University and Marquette rescinding the honorary doctorates that were given to Bill Cosby. Honestly I didn’t even know they gave an honorary doctorate to Bill Cosby. In light of the situation I was thrilled that Marquette acted the way that they did. Since the founding of Marquette in 1881 this was the first time in its history where it has rescinded an honorary degree. It made local news from TMJ4 to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Why Al Mohler and Mark Dever Need to Rebuke CJ Mahaney for his Alleged Cover Up of Child Sex Abuse
Can I tell you something? I found my alma mater’s behavior toward Bill Cosby refreshing. It took integrity, courage, strength, wisdom and discernment to do what they did. Marquette proved themselves to be true to their values. As an alum I was proud to say that I am from Marquette. Many parts of evangelical Christianity are noticeably sick and diseased, chief among them is the Neo-Calvinist movement. Al Mohler and Mark Dever could learn quite a bit from how Marquette University conducted itself. Actually I have to say the following as I was researching and putting together this post when I discovered that Bill Cosby gave $2 million dollars to Central State University. I am amazed they canceled the relationship with him, yet C.J. Mahaney gave Al Mohler at least $200,000 (according to my East Coast Mom) and Al Mohler clings to and defends C.J. Mahaney. What is wrong with this picture?
It leaves me to ask the following question in the end….how much money did Al Mohler accept from C.J. Mahaney? But again I also ask the question…since C.J. Mahaney was throwing around money more than what you could find in the political machine in Daley’s Chicago or Boss Tweed’s Tammany Hall….the question I have is did Mark Dever take money? Was the Senior Pastor of Capital Hill Baptist up for sale? If money did exchange hands or C.J. did give generously to CHBC or Mark Dever…my question is how much? Is it $40,000, $45,000, $50,000 or something greater? I could never be a Neo-Calvinist because in situations like this it means that Al Mohler and Mark Dever’s corruption is foreordained by God. But its particularly disturbing because as Al Mohler goes on about the culture wars and society, many parts of society have proven themselves to have more integrity and character than Al Mohler. Stop for a second and consider how the allegations of Bill Cosby were reacted to, versus the allegations of C.J. Mahaney. Where is the decency? Why do other parts of the world react differently and more appropriately to scandal and corruption? I have to tell you to watch this corruption from C.J. Mahaney spread and taint many parts of Christiandom is disheartening. Its a kind of corruption you’d expect to find in Africa, Latin America or elsewhere. Not in an environment where people are clamoring to talk about the strength of the gospel. Do Neo-Calvinists understand their own sin and depravity? I honestly question if they do…
There’s another thing that also pops in my mind that I want to explore. In this post I explore the alleged blackmailing of Larry Tomczak by C.J. Mahaney. Is the reason why some of these individuals are so devoted to C.J. Mahaney because C.J. has dirt on them and has them in a corner? Is the reason why individuals like Mark Dever respond to C.J. like they do because there’s some dark, illicit secret in the history of Capitol Hill Baptist only known to a couple of people including C.J. Mahaney, and given his history of what he allegedly did with Larry Tomczak is that what is being held over the head of someone like Mark Dever? It’s an honest question that I have…what drives this Neo-Calvinist mafia corruption? Is it money? Is it fame? Is it something else? I was disgusted when I saw that C.J. Mahaney is resuming speaking at T4G in April 2016. Its with that news that I celebrate how Marquette conducted themselves in regards to Bill Cosby. They did the right thing in the end. What Marquette did to Bill Cosby in distancing themselves from him and letting it be known is really what Mark Dever and Al Mohler need to do to Mahaney. They need to confront him, publically call him out, and distance themselves from him. It’s over due and it’s time. You can still be friends and support someone behind the scenes. But C.J. Mahaney needs to stop teaching. Having C.J. teach after allegedly blackmailing someone and allegedly covering up child sex abuse is like having Bernie Madoff be the Treasurer of the local PTA. It’s like having Ted Bundy run eHarmony. It’s like having Jared Foggle be a Big Brother. All of those are inappropriate and wrong. As I reflect on this I often wonder…why doesn’t the evangelical Christian church have a proper understanding of ethics and conflict of interests? Shouldn’t the ethics of the church and a pastor be higher than the ethics of the world? Al Mohler and Mark Dever need to back away from C.J. Mahaney, and my alma mater Marquette University illustrated how it should be done. Mark Dever and Al Mohler need to take notice and learn from this act. It’s with that I will leave you with a couple of videos from Marquette’s basketball and university. The motto for Marquette is “Be the Difference” Al Mohler and Mark Dever, “Be the Difference” and stop publically supporting C.J. Mahaney and call him out. Tell him to shut down his racket in Louisville and go back to Gaithersburg. For God’s sake tell him to be a man. Love you guys!