Bob Jones Bends
By Guide Kimberly Hohman
In an interview with Larry King on Friday, Bob Jones III, the president of the now-famous University which was at the center of a George W. Bush controversy, made an announcement that surprised many: Bob Jones University‘s policy against interracial dating, which they believe to be against the teachings of God, has been dropped. In his words, “We don’t have to have that rule. In fact, as of today, we have dropped the rule.”
KING: Do you think maybe — I mean, you could change that, you think it is a stretch maybe? In other words, have you given thought to maybe that’s taking it too far, down to two people into a whole one world concept?
JONES: I don’t think it’s taking it too far, but I can tell you this, we don’t have to have that rule. In fact, as of today, we have dropped the rule. We have dropped the rule for this reason.
So sudden and unexpected was the announcement that even current students of the university were said to have gasped at an assembly in the school’s auditorium where they watched the interview on CNN’s “Larry King Live.”
This interview came after a March 3 announcement on the school’s website responding to recent media attention. In the letter, Bob Jones, III addressed the issue of religious freedom as well as asking the nation to decide if their institution is “racially bigoted” or not. Jones, III stated in the letter, “We work hard at promoting racial harmony in our local community.” I guess that’s as long as that racial harmony doesn’t get too harmonious, if you know what I mean.
A Multiracial Activist’s History with BJU
Bob Jones’ students weren’t the only ones who were surprised at the announcement. Shortly after King’s interview with Jones ended, James A. Landrith, Jr. of The Multiracial Activist posted the following message to our very own Race Relations forum.
Landrith has his own history with Bob Jones University. In addition to maintaining an extensive collection of links to articles and information about Bob Jones University, Mr. Landrith, who is interracially married himself, sent an application to BJU in 1998. The University’s response to his application was not unlike their standard defense of their policy. In a letter to Landrith, Jonathan Pait, the university’s community relations coordinator reiterated their policy all the while maintaining that, “Although there is no verse in the Bible that dogmatically says that races should not intermarry, the whole plan of God as He has dealt with the races down through the ages indicates that interracial marriage is not best for man. We do believe we see principles, not specific verses, to give us direction for the avoidance of it.”
|From: James A. Landrith, Jr.
Mar-4 12:37 am
Wonders never cease. Tonight, on Larry King Live, Dr. Bob Jones III eliminated BJU’s ban on interracial dating.see: http://cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0003/03/lkl.00.html
James A. Landrith, Jr.
Bob Jones, himself said as much in his interview with Larry King. “We can’t point to a verse in the Bible that says you shouldn’t date or marry inter-racial,” Jones said to which King replied, “You can’t back it up?” Jones conceded that he had no bible verse to back it up. And that’s when he dropped the bomb, in what almost seemed to be an impromptu decision at the nudging of Larry King.
What Does It All Mean?
So what does this decision mean for all of the interracial couples who were chomping at the bit to be admitted to Bob Jones and now have free reign to attend the school with the full permission of the administrators? Probably not much. See, students at Bob Jones aren’t permitted public displays of affection, anyway. No hand holding for young lovers on that campus. Dancing is apparently a no-no, as well. (Can somebody say, “Footloose?”) So there probably isn’t much likelihood that an interracial couple on campus would really be identifiable as a couple anyway; or any couple for that matter.
Which sort of makes the whole ban on interracial dating seem even more silly, doesn’t it?
But maybe that’s why Bob Jones III was able to make the decision so easily. Because it was “of such insignificance,” as he put it, in the first place. It was, in fact, the press who made the issue of the situation, not the school’s administrators, according to Jones III. And in the end, it would seem it was the press, and possibly people like Landrith, who ultimately convinced Bob Jones University to change their policy.
“Religion, Bigotry in 2000 Presidential Race” – Alternative Religions
“Bob Jones University v. United States” – Agnosticism/Atheism
“BJU Drops Interracial Ban” – Greenville, SC
“George Bush and Bigotry“ – U.S. Politics