Bob Jones Bends
By Guide Kimberly
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
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
BJU in 1998. The University's response to
his application was not unlike their standard defense of their policy. In
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
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?")
there probably isn't much likelihood that an interracial couple on
campus would really be identifiable as a couple anyway; or any couple for
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
What do you think?
attend BJU if you are/were part of an interracial couple?
Take the poll!
off in the forum!
Bigotry in 2000 Presidential Race" - Alternative Religions
Jones University v. United States" - Agnosticism/Atheism
Drops Interracial Ban" - Greenville, SC
Bush and Bigotry" - U.S. Politics