Bob Jones University President, Stephen Jones, Apologizes for ‘Racially Hurtful’ Policies of the Past

November 22, 2008 at 11:30 am Leave a comment

bob-jones-university.jpgBob Jones University is apologizing for racist policies that included a
one-time ban on interracial dating and its unwillingness to admit black
students until 1971.

In a statement posted Thursday on its Web site, the fundamentalist Christian school founded in 1927 in northwestern South Carolina says its rules on race were shaped by culture instead of the Bible.

The university says president Stephen Jones decided to issue the
apology because he still receives questions about the school’s views on
race.

In the statement, BJU said that it was founded to help young men
and women cultivate a Biblical worldview, and to represent Christ and
his teachings to others, “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. Though no known antagonism toward minorities
or expressions of racism on a personal level have ever been tolerated
on our campus, we allowed institutional policies to remain in place
that were racially hurtful.”

The school, which has about 5,000 students, banned interracial dating until 2000.

President George W. Bush was criticized in 2000 for a campaign
speech at the school while the interracial dating ban was in place.

Source: CBS

Read the Full Statement Below

Statement About Race at Bob Jones University

At Bob
Jones University, Scripture is our final authority for faith and
practice and it is our intent to have it govern all of our policies. It
teaches that God created the human race as one race. History, reality
and Scripture affirm that in that act of creation was the potential for
great diversity, manifested today by the remarkable racial and cultural
diversity of humanity. Scripture also teaches that this beautiful,
God-caused and sustained diversity is divinely intended to incline
mankind to seek the Lord and depend on Him for salvation from sin (Acts
17:24-28).

The true unity of humanity is found only through faith
in Christ alone for salvation from sin–in contrast to the superficial
unity found in humanistic philosophies or political points of view. For
those made new in Christ, all sinful social, cultural and racial
barriers are erased (Colossians 3:11), allowing the beauty of redeemed
human unity in diversity to be demonstrated through the Church.

The Christian is set free by Christ’s redeeming grace
to love God fully and to love his neighbor as himself, regardless of
his neighbor’s race or culture. As believers, we demonstrate our love
for others first by presenting Christ our Great Savior to every person,
irrespective of race, culture, or national origin. This we do in
obedience to Christ’s final command to proclaim the Gospel to all men
(Matthew 28:19-20). As believers we are also committed to demonstrating
the love of Christ daily in our relationships with others, disregarding
the economic, cultural and racial divisions invented by sinful humanity
(Luke 10:25-37; James 2:1-13).

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. Though no known antagonism toward
minorities or expressions of racism on a personal level have ever been
tolerated on our campus, we allowed institutional policies to remain in
place that were racially hurtful.

On national television in March 2000, Bob Jones III,
who was the university’s president until 2005, stated that BJU was
wrong in not admitting African-American students before 1971, which
sadly was a common practice of both public and private universities in
the years prior to that time. On the same program, he announced the
lifting of the University’s policy against interracial dating.

Our sincere desire is to exhibit a truly Christlike
spirit and biblical position in these areas. Today, Bob Jones
University enrolls students from all 50 states and nearly 50 countries,
representing various ethnicities and cultures. The University solicits
financial support for two scholarship funds for minority applicants,
and the administration is committed to maintaining on the campus the
racial and cultural diversity and harmony characteristic of the true
Church of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

Source: BJU.edu

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