WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following is being issued by the Democratic National Committee:
Mitt Romney tried to smooth talk reporters yesterday about why he decided to turn a blind eye to the racist, anti-Catholic, anti-Mormon, and homophobic statements and policies of Bob Jones III and Bob Jones University when he accepted their endorsements. According to Romney, he's "happy to have" Bob Jones III's support because "we have the same things we want to fight for on issue after issue" and because "We love this country. We love families." (Boston Herald, 10/19/07; AP, 10/18/07)
Romney failed to say whether the issues he agrees with Jones on include Jones' divisive rhetoric and the university's shameful history of denying admission to African-American students, banning interracial dating until 2000, refusing to honor Martin Luther King, publishing textbooks that called Catholicism a "false religion," and banning gay alumni from campus. Despite the school's history, and despite the fact that Bob Jones III himself calls Catholicism and Mormonism "cults which call themselves Christian," Romney decided that his political ambitions are more important than sending a clear message that those policies and statements are wrong.
"Loving our country and families means respecting every American and our differences, not discriminating against them and not putting politics ahead of our country by embracing organizations or individuals who support divisive policies," said Democratic National Committee Communications Director Karen Finney. "It is time for Mitt Romney to give a clear answer about precisely which racist, discriminatory and anti-gay policies and statements he is so happy to be associated with."
Mitt Romney Proud of Bob Jones Endorsements…
Romney "Happy" To Have Jones Endorsement. Romney on endorsement from Bob Jones III: "We love this country. We love families. We want marriage before babies…We have the same things we want to fight for on issue after issue, so I'm happy to have his support." (AP, 10/18/07)
Romney: Bob Jones Endorsements "A Positive Step." Romney, making his first public appearance of the campaign in Columbus, told reporters that Jones' backing was "a positive step" in his effort to reach out to evangelicals who disagree with Mormon doctrine, although he conceded that he didn't know whether it's "100 percent resolved yet" that evangelical voters would support a Mormon for president. (Columbus Dispatch, 10/18/07)
Romney South Carolina Campaign Manager "Proud" of Jones' Support. Terry Sullivan, Romney's South Carolina campaign manager, said he doesn't think Jones' endorsement will turn off voters who may be wary of Jones' religious views. "We're proud to have the support of Dr. Jones and look forward to his help in delivering Gov. Romney's conservative message to the voters," he said. (Greenville News, 10/16/07)
What Exactly is He Proud Of?
BOB JONES III'S ANTI-CATHOLIC, ANTI-MORMON RHETORIC
Bob Jones III Protested Catholicism, Other Religions. In 1994, Jones III protested an agreement between evangelicals and Catholics in the south, saying that "The Christian Church has as much reason to separate from Catholicism as it does from Islam, Mormonism, or any other of the world's religious deceptions." The university's website referred to Catholicism as "a cult which calls itself Christian." Former university president and founder Bob Jones Jr. called the Pope the antichrist and referred the University's collection of Catholic art as false, saying that "There is not a lot of good Protestant Christian painting. I had to buy Catholic pictures, despite the falsehoods in them." (Associated Press, 4/8/94, 9/11/87; Christian Century, 5/5/93; Atlanta Journal Constitution, 6/30/91; Arizona Star, 3/7/00)
Jones III Reposts Anti-Catholic, Anti-Mormon Column on School Website. After it was reported that the message referring to Catholicism and Mormonism as cults in the "President's Corner" of the Bob Jones University website was removed, school President Bob Jones III reposted the attacked. Jones III reposted the comments to show that nothing had changed about his views, he said. Reports about the removal were "totally misleading" Jones III said, because they implied the removal was "for suspect reasons or because of embarrassment or cowardice." "In order to leave no doubt in anyone's mind of the university's integrity and absolute commitment to its biblical principles, the article in question has been reposted," Jones III said. (Associated Press, 3/16/00)
— Website Statement: The statement which Jones III removed and then reposted stated the following: "The diminution of evangelistic enterprise to cults which call themselves Christian, including Catholicism and Mormonism, is frightening." (Associated Press, 3/16/00)
Bob Jones Textbooks Condemn Catholicism. Bob Jones University's textbooks speak out against Catholicism. One book states that "Luther and other Protestant reformers exposed the false doctrines of Roman Catholicism that had clouded God's truth for centuries." A fifth-grade social studies book produced by the school said that Roman Catholics practice a "false religion" (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/17/96; Virginian Pilot and Ledger Star, 3/19/93)
BOB JONES UNIVERSITY'S RACIST HISTORY
Bob Jones University Lost Tax-Exempt Status Because of Racial Discrimination. Bob Jones University lost its tax-exempt status in 1970 for refusing to admit African-Americans. The school then changed its policy but still prohibited any interracial dating or marriage. In 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court supported an IRS decision to remove tax-exempt status from the school for its dating policy, which included rules such as "students who date outside their own race will be expelled." (The Tax Lawyer, Winter 1984; World News Digest, 5/27/83)
University Still Banned Interracial Dating in 1998. In 1998, James Landrith, who is white, tried to apply to the school even though he is married to an African American woman. According to NPR, Landrith received this response to his application: "I noticed on your application that you are interracially married. Bob Jones University does not endorse this. It would be no problem for you to be a student here as long as your wife was not or vice versa." (NPR, 4/15/99)
Bob Jones University Dropped Ban on Interracial Dating in 2000. On "Larry King Live" in March 2000, Bob Jones III said that the university had dropped the ban on interracial dating as of March 3, 2000. Jones said the national scrutiny the school has received since Bush's appearance led to the decision to drop the policy. Jones III also said that the foundation for the ban was still true — "that God made the races separate for his own purpose, and it is wrong to break down the barriers God erected, that it could lead to dangerous 'one-worldism,' just like globalism …" according to the Globe and Mail, but that students and alumni were coming under too much criticism for the policy. The ban was put in place in the 1950s, when an Asian family threatened to sue the school after their son, a student there, almost married a white student. (Larry King Live, 3/3/00; Associated Press, 3/5/00; Globe and Mail, 3/9/00)
— Interracial Dating Still Requires Parental Permission. Three days after announcing that the ban on interracial dating was dropped from school policy, BJU President Bob Jones III announced that students must tell their parents if they become involved in an interracial relationship. "We will carry out the will of your parents," Jones III said at the school's chapel service. "They will need to have a say in this." The new policy says that parents must send a letter to the dean of men or women approving the relationship before the school will allow it. Jones also said that most people disapprove of interracial dating and marriage. "I think that's evidenced by the fact that so few people are interracially married," Jones said to students. "When you date interracially or marry interracially, it cuts you off from people. (Associated Press, 3/7/00)
Bob Jones University Refused to Honor Martin Luther King, Jr. According to a former student of Bob Jones University, the school refused to fly the campus flag at half-mast after Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, and the president referred to King as an "apostate," one who abandons the Christian faith. (Chicago Tribune, 6/4/92)
BOB JONES UNIVERSITY IS ANTI-GAY
Bob Jones University Threatened to Arrest Gay Alumni. In October 1998, Wayne Mouritzen, a retired minister and Bob Jones University graduate, received a letter from university officials telling him to not return to the school because he is gay. The letter from the school's dean said that "as long as you are living as a homosexual, you, of course, would not be welcome on the campus and would be arrested for trespassing if you did visit." Bob Jones spokesman Jonathan Pait said the policy applies only to graduates, and also covers cult members, unrepentant criminals, or other alumni who are believed to have strayed from the school's teachings. "We can't tell our alumni what they can and can't believe," Pait said. "But we can say, 'You've made your decisions; please do not return.'" The school did allow those banned alumni to visit its religious art gallery so the gallery does not lose its tax-exempt status. (Boston Globe, 10/24/98; Christianity Today, 12/7/98)
FLASHBACK: Romney Opposed Discrimination Against Gays. Romney said, "'I'm not in favor of discrimination. I do not oppose and I very much support equal opportunity in education, equal opportunity in employment, in housing and so forth for gay people.' He added that as Governor one of his cabinet members was gay. Romney's statement of support for 'equal opportunity in employment' might serve to remind his Democratic critics that he once was a supporter of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act during an earlier, more moderate, period of his career but has more recently become an opponent of the federal legislation which would protect gays and lesbians from employment-based discrimination." (ABCNews.com, 10/10/07)
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SOURCE Democratic National Committee