A Christian College’s Dating Rules January 3, 2012

A Christian College’s Dating Rules

No one’s forcing me to attend The Crown College in Powell, Tennessee, but holy hell, I can’t believe anyone would even consider it after going through their handbook (PDF). It’s dated 2009-2010, but it’s still the version they’re linking to today.

Not only do they suck any type of freedom out of you, but I would be in serious trouble if I hugged a female friend, gave a woman a ride home even if she desperately needed one, or dated a white person without first getting my parents’ approval:

Apparently, if you don’t ban interracial dating like Bob Jones University used to do, then it’s ok… as long as you treat it like it’s worse than dating someone of the same race.

Also, it’s hard not to notice that they don’t forbid homosexuality in that list… LOOPHOLE!

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  • Is it just me, or does this list passively endorse threesomes? 🙂

  • Yoav

    Holy crap Batman!
    Sitting at meals with a member of the opposite sex is dating, wow I was going on thousands of dates and I didn’t even know.

  • Men should treat their dates with respect and kindness at all times, observing all rules of courtesy.

    This jumps out at me as extremely odd. Why doesn’t it apply to women? Why are they given the freedom to be insensitive and disrespectful to their dates?

  • Went through their application process. On about the 8th page I was asked if I had accepted Jesus, and the next page asked about my parent’s Christian views. Sigh.

  • PJB863

    It looks to me like it’d be easy to be as gay as pink ink at this place as long as you say you accept jesus into your heart.  Or something.

    Is this nuthouse accredited?

  • MariaO

    I assume in the “clothing” rules women must cover their hair with hijabs and be sure to wear bulky clothes that cover the body shape?

    All fanatics are the same – regardless of religion!

  • Drakk

    They would need to be entirely homosexual threesomes (or n-somes, let’s use the general case) though.

  • Gunstargreen

    Good to know the old south is still alive and well.

    Oh wait, not it is. This is a travesty of racial and gender bias.

  • Nazani14

    College students ARE  allowed to date juniors in high school?  Ewww….

    I suspect a degree from Crown isn’t worth much.  Still, if you were a gay kid eager to get out of the house, and your parents offered to pick up the tab for this joint, you might do OK. 

  • Anonymous

    I thought it wasn’t gay if it’s a threeway?

  • Anonymous

    Because they are supposed to shut up and eat their food

  • patrick orlob

    On first read, I thought it said “no sexual contact…” and I was thinking, “well, what’s the big deal? That’s pretty much to be expected at a Christian college.”

    Then I reread it. Yeesh.

  • I used to wait tables a the Ruby Tuesdays in Powell. “Crownies” would come in Wednesday evenings after church and talk about what good Christians they are even stating, quite audibly, their superiority well past closing time. I would be vacuuming around them that they wouldn’t even notice that I was trying to clean up and go home. They would tell me, not ask, to refill their coke as I would pass them with the vacuum running. If I was lucky, I would avg about 9% off of them. They are very invasive, thinking nothing about asking people around them about their belief structure and arrogantly telling people how their views are wrong. 
    Knoxville is a fairly evangelical area and even here they are seen as religious freaks.

  • > I would be in serious trouble if I hugged a female friend,

    Or shook her hand…

    > gave a woman a ride home even if she desperately needed one

    No, it’s okay for you to do that. It says she’s not allowed to be in the car with you,  it doesn’t say you’re not allowed to be in the car with her. But that’s okay, you have to treat her with respect and kindness at all times, but she doesn’t have to return the courtesy.

  • Some enterprising ordained person and a lawyer should team up to do on the spot weddings and wedding annulments/no-fault divorces. Then the students who want to be with or touch a member of the opposite sex could get married, spend a bit of time together, then get divorced all in an evening. 😉

  • That’s in 1.6 Dress Code

    women’s clothing may be addressed and the dress code
    amended during the academic year as the need arises.

    Ladies’ Dress Code:

    • Church dress is considered a nice dress or
    coordinate top and skirt appropriate for
    church services (no denim), dress shoes,
    and hosiery. Backless shoes may not be
    worn to class or church services.

    Church dress is required for all church services and
    special meetings.

    • Class dress is considered an appropriate
    dress or coordinate top and skirt (no
    denim), shoes (no sneakers), and hosiery.

    Class dress is required for registration and on all class
    days through lunch.

    • Casual dress is considered an appropriate
    skirt and top, including denim skirts and
    dresses (not faded) and casual shoes (no
    flip-flops). Hosiery is not required.

    Casual dress may not be worn in the college buildings
    until after normal class hours on days when classes are
    in session.

    • Recreational dress includes approved fullfitting,
    knee-length culottes, appropriate
    sport shirts or t-shirts, and sneakers or
    sandals (no flip-flops).

    Recreational dress is not appropriate for the college
    campus. Students must wear class dress (during class
    hours) or casual dress (after class hours) when in the
    college buildings.

    Recreational dress is allowed for some college
    activities, and when students are playing ball at the
    ball fields, volleyball courts, or gymnasium.

    Ladies’ General Appearance

    All ladies’ apparel must be modest in appearance.

    Students are never to have a sloppy appearance, even
    in casual or recreational dress.

    Hairstyles should be neat, orderly, and feminine.
    Cutting-edge fads should be avoided along with cuts
    so short that they have a masculine look.

    Jewelry, make-up, nail polish, and hairstyles may not
    be excessive, gaudy, faddish, or unnatural in color or

    Cloth, shell, or choker necklaces are not to be worn.
    Ankle bracelets, toe rings, and thumb rings are not

    Earrings may be worn only in the lobe of the ear
    (maximum of two matched sets). All other body
    piercing is prohibited.

    Students are not allowed to get tattoos or body piercings.

    Dresses, Skirts, and Recreational Wear

    Hemlines and slits or other openings may never
    come higher than the bottom of the knee (when
    standing or sitting).

    Altered slits must be sewn, not pinned.

    Skirts and dresses must have a hem (no frayed hemlines).

    Denim skirts may be worn when casual dress is
    permitted (not to classes or church services). Faded
    denim is not allowed.

    Skirts and recreational wear may not be worn below
    the waistline. Hip-hugger skirts are not allowed.

    Full-fitting wear for recreational use will be approved
    by the Dean of Women on an individual basis.

    Formal dresses must be individually approved by the
    Administration. Spaghetti-strap dresses may not be worn.

    Dress clothing is to be worn for all church services
    and special meetings. A skirt or dress having a zipper
    in the front is considered too casual to be worn to a
    church service.

    Ladies should always wear conventional hosiery
    and a slip beneath their clothing, except when in
    recreational or casual dress.


    Necklines should be no lower than three fingers width
    below the hollow of the neck.

    Sleeves are required (no capped sleeves). Sleeveless
    dresses and tops may be worn with a blouse, jacket, or

    Tops must be long enough that the midriff is never

    Ease of Fit

    Clothing must be loose-fitting, having a minimum of
    three inches of ease at the bust and hips.

    One way to measure the ease of fit is to stand up
    straight and pinch the loose fabric on both sides of the
    hips or at the bust line. Without strething the fabric,
    there should be at least ¾ inch of fold in the fabric on
    both sides.


    Ladies are not permitted to have jeans, slacks,
    gauchos, sweat pants, spandex, or shorts. Students are
    not to have these items of clothing with them while at
    Crown College, nor wear them while traveling to and
    from the college.

    In the dormitories, ladies must be fully dressed or
    wearing a robe when outside their rooms.

    One-piece bathing suits are to be worn at any
    scheduled swimming occasion.

    Full-fitting culottes may be worn for recreational or
    work purposes but should not be worn off campus
    except when allowed for an approved college activity
    or when approved for work.

    Ladies should wear casual dress, not recreational
    dress, when attending ball games as a spectator.

    Garments having the appearance of lingerie may not
    be worn as outer wear.

    No clothing having the appearance of underwear may
    be visible.

    Sheer clothing is only permitted when the garment
    underneath conforms to the dress code.

    Hiking and combat boots or shoes that give this
    appearance are not permitted.

    Flip-flops may not be worn outside the dormitory.

    Sweatshirts may not be worn to classes or church
    services. Nice-looking sweatshirts are considered
    casual dress, and athletic sweatshirts are considered
    recreational dress.

    So yeah. Basically nothing that shows off the shape of the female body or looks masculine. They very strictly define the gender role every woman must fit into.

  • Sheesh. And I thought the Christian university that I attend was bad. We have the no gay rule, of course. No sex outside of marriage. If a girl gets pregnant outside of marriage, she’s pretty much forced to drop out of school, though of course, the guy doesn’t get punished. Not to mention the fact that their internet blocks a lot of sites. Four semesters of chapel is required, etc. It’s much better now that I’m married and live off campus. Even though we were forced to live off campus because they offer no married housing. Anyway, I feel much better now. Still can’t wait to get the hell out of here.

  • this whole handbook is creepy. They define the gender roles so deeply and strictly it might as well be a cult headquarters.

  • Only with a honey in the middle is there some leeway.

  • /agree

  • All three could be men. The worst case of a devil’s threeway. Or not, if you ask the greeks. I dunno.

  • Hemant, thanks for the post. 

    It should be noted that this college is accredited. They’re essentially illegal. And therefore, their rules could be construed as a violation of basic rights.


  • How do they reasonably expect to enforce any of this stuff, especially off campus? Even the Mennonite college I went to in the early 90s was not that strict. Dorm floors were segregated by sex, yes, but you could still go visit with you significant other in their/your dorm room, in private.

  • Damn, I would have been kicked out of that college within a semester, and I was one of the “good girls” at my school. I think I’ve violated every single one of those rules – including interracial dating, if you define dating as they do. My closest friends in college were men, I was frequently off campus and alone with them (on walks and study times at 24 hour restaurants), my friend David’s dorm room was one of my favorite places to sit and read as it was quieter than my own (and we frequently sat there with the door shut! oh noes!), I traveled with these guy friends on camping trips and holidays, and I hugged them frequently. I would have been the local harlot, apparently, which is kind of ironic considering I only had one actual date in college and zero romantic relationships. Huh.

  • James Kane

    Unless I am reading it wrong it says the college is not accredited. They applied but had their application deferred.

  • if they’re anything like Bob Jones, they enforce it via a culture of rewarding tattle tales

  • Liz Heywood

    Wow. But I guess if you’re a far-right Christian homeschooler, this place sounds wild.

  • Re: homosexuality… I’m guessing they realize that no homosexual would attend this university, unless he or she were stuffed thoroughly in the closet.

  • The FUCK?
    Just nuke this place from orbit.

  • Eat their food? Make OUR food, HA!

  • In other words, the ban on interracial dating is still in effect, because they presume getting the consent of all four parents either won’t happen or will be too humiliating for the two kids to attempt.

    Did I say “kids”? I meant young adults who don’t need parental consent to hold hands with another human being.


  • Leia

    And I thought BYU was bad. My goodness.

  • Marie

    Great article and site. Thanks for the read! Just some friendly feedback here, the text on your banner for “friendly atheist” is barely legible. It looks like something you might get tattooed during a bender and come to regret the instant you’re sober.

  • You can give your dumb wimin as many rides home as you want. Just make sure you stuff them in the trunk.

  • mcarp

    If you haven’t yet, please read, “An Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University”

    Liberty University’s rules are almost this bad, but what Kevin Roose discovered is that there is a certain amount of dating, making out and sex happening on the sly. 

  • leeway with a threeway?   hmm

  • Neatospiderplant

    I’m sure its because they think that goes without saying. Women are supposed to be respectful and kind all the time, date or no date!

  • Ambigram. Check it out!

  • James Kane

    From a strictly legal standpoint the Age of Consent laws in TN state that the AOC is 18 but there is a “close in age exemption” of 4 years from the ages of 13-18. The average high school junior is 16-17 so unless you are a senior or post grad you are fine. I’m not commenting on any moral implications, just the legal ones.

  • What about riding on the luggage rack? When I was a kid, my parents always told me that that was an acceptable place for me to ride if I wanted to misbehave. 😉

  • MariaO

    I know it! 

    Someone must have a really weird sense of priorities and sexuality to bother to create such detailed dress rules. Maybe some kbt for the leaders of this pplace so they don’t get a hard-one from those sexy bare elbows in church?

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately for this case, space-based nuclear weapons are illegal. The SALT treaty even bans fractional orbital bombardment systems

  • I guess that’s why they put that condition in. I know if that was me, I am NOT begging my parents PERMISSION to date someone I love. NO WAY

  • Anonymous

    Or not yet out to even themselves. There are plenty of people who don’t figure out that they are gay until their early 20s

  • Drakk

    So it is. Mind = blown.

    Also neck = hurts, but how else would I have checked?

  • At least culottes are OK! If you can find any place to purchase culottes outside of 1992.

  • It’s especially creepy that the parental consent needs to be in writing.

  • T-Rex

    Can you say CULT?

  • Anonymous

    I had to look up wth culottes were.  If anyone else didn’t know, the answer is hideous knee length skorts: 

  • T-Rex

    or heels. No open back shoes lest you blow your wad looking at those caloused heels. Mmmmmmm, caloused heals.

  • Anonymous

    I was actually thinking some of the Christian homeschoolers I know would fit in just right there.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, you don’t have to be accredited to be legal. It’s more that their academics are in question. Their standing is not good enough to spend the money.

  • Anonymous

    Well, foot fetish takes up a reasonable large percentage of porn

  • Anonymous

    From their mentality, that’s more than a century in the future

  • Ha. Ain’t that the truth.

  • Anon

    Fuck that shit. Girls can’t even OWN jeans. That’s my entire wardrobe out.

    Also I dread to think how many of their dress code rules I’m violating right now with my low cut strappy tank top, jeans and Doc Martens with purple ribbon laces.  Oh, and a thumb ring.

  • Jesse

    The Crown College is not accredited by any accrediting agency. In 2011, it made application to the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS). TRACS deferred its application for several reasons, including not having faculty with sufficient credentials. [7] The school is authorized for operation as a postsecondary educational institution by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.[8]


  • sceptinurse

    You’re right those are hideous. When they were popular and not homemade they looked more like a skirt that happened to be split. Or sometimes like shorts from the back and a skirt from the front. I never found them very comfortable to wear either way.

  • Silo Mowbray

    JMFC! We’re back in the 18th century American Colonies!

  • Anonymous

    Wait… nowhere in all of that dress code do I see any requirement that women wear underwear.  With all that obsession with the details of women’s clothing, how did they miss that?

  • Manticore

    I wouldn’t even be allowed in the gates with my tattoos. lmao

  • Sware

    Me too!  So when they catch people behaving against these rules (or as sane people would refer to as “normal college aged student behavior”) I have to wonder if there is some scarlet letter discipline doled out.

  • Anonymous

    You missed it:
    “Ladies should always wear conventional hosiery and a slip beneath their clothing, except when in recreational or casual dress.”

    So going commando is only ok in casual situations

  • As long as you get the administrative approval…. 

  • Caitlyn

    -Finally-, an excuse to wear my culottes.

  • Dormitory ladies may not work at a mall or fast-food

    Because a crappy minimum wage job at McDonald’s is nothing more than a den of vice.

  • Anonymous

    Conventional hosiery could be knee socks, or could be hose with a garter belt, either of which would leave the commando option open.  Yeesh, this is starting to sound pretty creepy, on top of being overwhelmingly authoritarian.  Blecchh.

  • doesn’t say underpants or a bra, though

  • Anonymous

    Luckily, this website from 1992 can help with those purchases

  • That means I’ve been on on group dates! OMG, I wonder if those led to orgies??

  • By their definition of dating, you can’t even sit with someone of another race. I thought that sort of BS went out a few decades ago??

  • Seniorskeptik

    I find it a bit ironic that the college does not permit demim clothing on girls inasmuch as the college is now located in an old Levi Strauss building.-)

  • Roz

    How is this legal?

  • The Vicar

    “No physical contact between members of the opposite sex”? Egad, they can’t even get their grammar to be unambiguously correct. As written, that means “no two people who are not of the gender of the writer can touch”. Presumably the author was male, so women aren’t allowed to touch each other here. The proper phrasing would be “no physical contact between members who are of different genders” (or “sexes” if you prefer).

    But seriously, if I drop a pencil and the woman in the chair next to me picks it up to hand it back to me, and brushes my hand by accident, does that mean we’re both to be expelled, or is this just yet another case of “we’ll forbid everything and then use the inevitable violations to kick out the people we don’t like”?

  • Honestly, I’m not sure it is legal.

    Hey, we got any lawyers here?

  • Zack Krowchuk

    In all likelihood.

  • Anonymous

    Religion can get away with basically anything. Even atheists have largely bought into the “As long as something is privately funded, they can do anything they want” ideology. This is just one example of how incredibly dangerous this is. Clothing and dating guidelines are may one of the more harmless consequences. They probably aren’t bound by any rules about what they teach either.

  • Third most common fetish, after boobs and butt.

  • Draba30

    seriously.I wear “combat like boots” to work everyday. Along with pants. The thing that gets me is that people pay good money to go to this school. (well, i guess their parents do).

  • Hah!  I live a mile away from this place!  Oh to be a liberal atheist in Tennessee!

  • Oh you’re the one! I’d heard there was one.  😉
    Nice to meet you. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    To be fair, they do make gender distinctions for everyone. For example, they say “Men should treat their dates with respect and kindness at all times, observing all rules of courtesy” but they make no requirement for women to do the same.

  • Charles Black

    Something tells me that they can’t possibly enforce ALL of those rules.
    If this is what a theocracy looks like I’m out.

  • One of my friends grew up in a fundamentalist cult.  The cult had a community center and allowed dating only in the sense that a couple could meet in a well-lit room of the center and chat under the supervision of chaperones.  Nice. 

  • Regarding the loophole, this is one of the strangest things straight people will never experience about same-sex relationships: the general assumption that such things never happen, and therefore do not need to have their own rules and regulations. In some ways, it makes it easier to sneak off together; nobody would think to stop two young men or two young women headed off into the woods together. Of course, it also reinforces the “less-than” mentality that many people have about non-heteros, and I shudder to think what might happen to any young same-sex couple that was discovered at this institution…

  • Jess

    Sadly, this does not shock me AT ALL. I’m a member of several survivalist/prepper forums and I’ve giggled through more than a few threads that discussed TEOTWAWKI and how there won’t be any electricity or gasoline and everyone will go back to Amish living. The women bemoan the lack of patterns for such cutting edge fashion as ankle length jumpers and turtleneck long sleeve tops to go with them. I suggested a sarong on one thread, as an easy no fuss clothing option and the way they went into orbit, you’d have thought I suggested they all just coat themselves in butter and run naked through the fields. Hilarious.

  • Dan W

    Well, after just reading a few pages of the handbook, I imagine I’d be kicked out of Crown College in days. Just the church attendance requirements alone would get me tons of demerits there. The men’s dress code would get me too, since I wear jeans a lot.

    Why does any college need this many ridiculous rules controlling so much of their students’ lives? It seems that every fundie college handbook I look at has tons of these sorts of rules. And of course, they encourage students to tattle on anyone who breaks the rules. It’s incredibly cult-like.

  • Mambocat

    Crikey.  Where’s the burkhas? 

    Decades ago, I bartended and waited tables in a city with several colleges, both the real, academic kind and the Bible kind, as well as many, many conventioneers and tourists.  I once worked VERY briefly at a place near the Bible college. 
    Bible students?  Worst. Tippers. Ever. Anywhere.  Second worst tippers: Parents of Bible students and conventioneers attending Bible school teaching seminars (grade school and high school Bible teachers) and people attending preacher’s conventions and, lastly, speakers at religious motivational seminars.  The thought of that last group gives me nightmares to this day.  Effin’ creepy dudes, those.I’m sure they would defend their stinginess with the Biblical admonition against giving alms in public.  

    Best tippers:  Gay tourists in New Orleans for Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, scientists, people on sci-fi conventions, and people on non-profit organization conventions.

  • mambocat

    Apparently you are allowed to date high school juniors and seniors IN SCHOOL.  No-homeschooled ones.   

  • mambocat

    Am I the only one who noticed no rules for pajamas?  Robes are to be worn in the dorm hallways, but what about the PJs?  Is this a loophole for au naturel?

    I am imagining these students having each and every personal item inspected before moving into the dorm.  SCARY.  But why anyone would even want to attend such a school is light years beyond my comprehension.  

  • I was just thinking back to all the times I’ve worked a late shift with a female colleague. I never knew we were dating. To make it worse we would end the date by going home to our respective partners too. Oh the sin I have lived in.

  • Best tippers…Harley conventions and hot rodders. An honorable mention goes to Jehovah’s Witnesses. At least in my area they are told to distinguish themselves from other Christian groups and actually tip in the 20% range. 

  • Anonymous

    They call that “courtship”. The expectation is too get engaged as quickly as possible

  • The Other Weirdo

    But if they mix different types of cloth, THEY’LL ALL BURN IN HHHEEELLL!!!

    Umm. Yeah, sorry about that. Had to get that out.

  • The Other Weirdo

    It’s essentially a church. So, by definition, a cult.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Don’t be so sure it was a man who wrote that. After all, some of the staunchest defenders of the burka are women themselves, for a variety of bizarre reasons.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Page 30: Students may not go to movie theaters.

    Because, you know, introducing new ideas outside faculty control would be bad. And wrong. It would be badong.

  • I think it is hard to underestimate the effectiveness of informers.

  • Stephlmanson

    I knew a few girls who went to Crown Academy (their high school) when I was young. One lost her virginity in the school broom closet at age 15. Her parents were so positive she was the perfect little christian that they had no idea how wild she was. My dad met her for the first time & didn’t want me hanging around with her because he could tell she was “as wild as a buck.” She & a Seventh Day Adventist girl in my neighborhood were the biggest tramps I knew, but pretended to be the most godly.

  • Stephlmanson

    I live very close to it too, graduated from Powell High School in 1990. I’m a liberal agnostic, so I feel your pain, man! We started going to a Unitarian church after we had kids just so we can be around other atheist/agnostic & liberal people in this area & have our kids grow up in a liberal community that’s okay with nonreligious people.

  • For me, there’s nothing wrong about having dates during the college days. Maybe this depends on how a person sees it.

  • Ssandiegodave

    This institution is just a freakish cult. Their position on interracial dating frankly leaves me speechless. Since when do legal adults need parental permission? And, demerits? I would encourage my child or friends to avoid this place. One can be an outstanding Christian without being brainwashed by this outfit of nut jobs.

  • Ssandiegodave

    So called schools like this one concern me because of the social and psychological effect they have on their victims (students). Sadly, as long as enough people are willing to fund these cults, they will be doing business.

  • Ssandiegodave

    I’m not a lawyer, but as mentioned the legal loophole here is “privately funded Christian school or college”. I went to a very similar school in Knoxville also, JBC, and they are free to do virtually anything they want, all in the name of Jesus, of course.

  • Moses married a black woman in the Bible… it doesn’t get clearer than that on interracial relationships.  Obviously these people don’t know the Bible.  Pathetic.

  • Guest

    I’m not sure about other bible college students… But the reason why I tip at such a low percent is because we believe in tithing at least 10% of our earnings… I’m not going to give a waiter or waitress more money than I give to God’s work.

  • Never you mind that the wait-staff needs the money more than your god ever will, no, just keep being a douchebag for Jesus…

  • Hodgemark55

    GOD only ask’s for 10% of what he gave you. Now, what you feel is good in your heart is much different, If I get good service then I’ll tip 30%-75% because it feels good to share in such a manner. Be wise, those people handle your food and don’t easily forget.

  • Preachercurtis

    You are obviously not spiritually mature enough to attend this school. I am quite confident that you’ll quit or be booted out in your first year.

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