Jewish Journal


November 21, 2008

Bob Jones U. apologizes for racist past



It’s Bob Jones, not Jim Jones, whose name is on a South Carolina fundamentalist Christian college that until 1971 wouldn’t admit blacks and didn’t allow interracial dating until 2000. Yesterday, though, BJU offered an online apology for its racist past:

“Bob Jones University has existed since 1927 as a private Christian institution of higher learning for the purpose of helping young men and women cultivate a biblical worldview, represent Christ and His Gospel to others, and glorify God in every dimension of life.

“BJU’s history has been chiefly characterized by striving to achieve those goals; but like any human institution, we have failures as well. For almost two centuries American Christianity, including BJU in its early stages, was characterized by the segregationist ethos of American culture. Consequently, for far too long, we allowed institutional policies regarding race to be shaped more directly by that ethos than by the principles and precepts of the Scriptures. We conformed to the culture rather than provide a clear Christian counterpoint to it.

“In so doing, we failed to accurately represent the Lord and to fulfill the commandment to love others as ourselves. For these failures we are profoundly sorry.”

The school’s racist policies entered the 2000 presidential race when then Texas Gov. George W. Bush visited the campus while campaigning; you can see from the cartoon what the media thought of BJU and Bush, too. The CT Liveblog says the apology followed an eight-month online campaign for “a statement of regret and reconciliation from the current administration and board.”

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