Lose Religious Freedom?
This myth is simple. Before attending Bob Jones University accreditation would often come up (this was in the days before BJU had any accreditation) and someone would reference freedom of religion or some such thought and say, "Bob Jones can't get accredited because then they'd lose their freedom to stand for Christ." Or something pretty close to this. The idea was that BJU's mission and curricula was focused pretty solidly on the Bible and biblical principles. As such a secular accreditation agency would likely frown upon it and before you know it they wouldn't be allowed to have daily chapel and Bible classes couldn't count for credit. Soon after that BJU would be like every other Christian college before it that fell by the wayside.
Not 5 years later Bob Jones University suddenly revealed that not only were they going to attempt accreditation, but that they'd already finished the process and that they would be accredited through TRACS (which means they had been thinking about it for a while). receiving accreditation allowed this myth to live on because they obtained accreditation through a Christian organization. So, the thought went, perhaps they were right to fear regional accreditation, but how can they ignore Christian accreditation. It basically allowed BJU to avoid having egg on their face for not obtaining accreditation years before.
For some reason at both times (pre and post accreditation) I just believed the myth even though my choices for college included Maranatha (a regionally accredited school). And that brings me to debunking the myth. TRACS still has to meet specific standards in order to be recognized as a valid accreditation body by the federal government. If you were worried about any accreditation body taking away your freedom particularly with pressure from the feds TRACS won't be much different then a regional accreditation body. But more importantly Christian schools not only can obtain regional accreditation, but they can do so and keep their religion/Christianity in tact. Maranatha is a prime example. Students still have to take Bible class, classes begin with prayer, and chapel starts promptly every day; oh and yes they still have their handbook. Add to Maranatha thousands of other Christian/religious (albeit different flavors from BJU) Universities and it is pretty obvious that regional accreditation bodies have no desire to take the religion out of an institution within their purview.
If TRACS equaled SACS then I'd say BJU made a fine decision. Unfortunately they are not equal, and barring any real evidence of religious freedom suppressed through regional accreditation I think it is safe to state this fact: BJU could have gotten SACS accreditation decades ago without any fear of religious persecution.
Related: The Higher Ground
Related: Which Accreditor is More Invasive