Chris Sligh & Bob Jones

As you probably already know, former BJU student Chris Sligh is one of the front-runners to win this year’s American Idol competition. Today, someone at the AP finally asked the University what they thought. This quote came from an article with the somewhat unfair title of “‘Idol’ Contestant’s Faith Questioned.”

Jonathan Pait, a spokesman for fundamentalist Bob Jones University where Sligh attended for several years, said: “We really are somewhat disappointed with the direction he has gone musically.”

I’m genuinely surprised that it’s taken this long for the media to figure out that BJU, which bans jazz, rock, country and Contemporary Christian music, might not approve of a former student singing rock and pop songs on national television.

I can understand where the university is coming from here; a lot of the really popular music out there right now glorifies sex and violence with ever racier and bloodier lyrics. For a conservative Christian university, there’s really no way that they can put their stamp of approval on that.

I don’t agree, however, that this means that Christians need to expunge all rock, jazz, pop, and country music from their music libraries. There is good, acceptable music in all of these categories. The problem isn’t the genre, it’s the overall message of the individual songs and artists.

Anyways, best of luck to Chris! I’d love to see him win this thing.

The Great Firewall of China

 

Free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.

Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri

“The Great Firewall of China” refers to China’s internet censorship program. Vast swaths of the internet are restricted from the average Chinese internet user, sort of like at Bob Jones University or your average Fortune 500 company. Only in addition to filtering things like pornography, violent content, and Homestar Runner, the Great Firewall of China blocks things like the BBC and references to the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Of course, there are ways around any kind of censorship on the internet, such as the Tor Anonymity Network or a secure VPN connection.

Today I discovered a site that tests if any site is behind the Firewall. It’s running really slowly right now, because it’s been discovered by a number of popular websites today, but it works. It turns out that you can access this site from China, for now.

So, to my friends who may be enduring the oppression of internet censorship: In case you cannot access Tor’s homepage at http://tor.eff.org, I have saved a list of sites that you can download Tor software from at http://www.jdharper.com/tor/. Install it, and see what your authorities have been hiding from you.

Let freedom reign.

Blog Jones is Blocked at BJU

So, a friend stuck in the dorms at BJU tells me that blogjones.com, my old blog, is blocked at BJU under the classification of personal pages.

I really hate censorware. It’s the primary reason I didn’t want to stay in the dorms at BJU. I wouldn’t mind if they only blocked obviously offensive material. But they block “personal pages” and humor sites like Homestar Runner. They even block some sites under a category of “anime.”

They block every free blogging service, they block Flickr, and they block all the images hosted by yahoo.com.

They have a tremendously fast connection, but you can’t get to half of the internet.

Fortunately, BJU users can still get here to read this. For now.

BJU Starting Soon

My little brother just went in to check-in at BJU today. This is so weird… I don’t have to check-in. I don’t have to read the rulebook. I don’t have to worry about speeches or semester projects or big tests. I’ll be able to walk on campus unshaven wearing jeans and a T-Shirt. I won’t be tired all the time any more.

<braveheart>FREEDOM!</braveheart>

(Of course, there’s the minor issue of figuring out what to do after my current job ends later this year. And figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. And figuring where to meet good women now that I’m out of college. And figuring out where I want to live next. And… you get the idea. But still, better than college.)