Bob Jones Univ. Drops Race Date Ban (article) : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Bob Jones Univ. Drops Race Date Ban

By PAGE IVEY, Associated Press Writer


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The publicity nightmare that followed a visit by Republican presidential contender George W. Bush has prompted Bob Jones University to drop its ban on interracial dating.

''As of today, we've dropped the rule,'' Bob Jones III, university president and grandson of its founder, said Friday night on CNN's ''Larry King Live.''

Jones said the extraordinary national scrutiny of the fundamentalist Christian college led to the move.

''This thing has gotten so out of hand,'' Jones said. ''All of a sudden the university is at the center of a Republican presidential debate.''

Bush appeared at the fundamentalist Christian school last month, and told his audience that he shared their conservative views. He later apologized for failing to criticize the school's anti-Catholic views and racial policies. ''I'm pleased that they've changed the policy,'' Bush said Friday while campaigning in New York. ''Right after my speech, I spoke out against the policy. The university has made the right decision.''

The Greenville school banned interracial dating in the 1950s, when an Asian family threatened to sue after their son, a student, almost married a white girl, a school spokesman has said.

The school did not admit its first black student until the 1970s and lost its tax exemption in 1983 after a 13-year battle with the Internal Revenue Service, which said the school's policies were discriminatory. The school had defended the dating ban based on a biblical interpretation that God created people differently for a reason.

Jones said Friday night that the school still believes in the principle behind the rule, but that the public scrutiny was taking its toll on graduates and the school's reputation.

''If all anybody can see is this rule, which we never talk about or preach about ... it hurts our graduates,'' Jones said. ''This thing is of such insignificance to us. It's so significant to the world at large, the media in particular, why should we have this thing here as an obstacle?'' Jones said the school has a good reputation as a Christian school, ''but now we're being defined as a racist school, that's all the media talk about.''

Jones said he met with administrators Friday afternoon to discuss the rule change before flying to Washington for the TV interview.

Earlier Friday, the university used full-page newspaper advertisements in USA Today and South Carolina's largest newspapers to answer some of the national criticism it has received. Democrats in Congress this week introduced a resolution seeking to condemn the university.

The university is a popular stop for Republican candidates seeking conservative support.

Bush appeared at the school shortly after he lost to Arizona Sen. John McCain in the New Hampshire primary. The South Carolina primary was looming at the time, and Bush went on to win in the conservative state. After losing South Carolina, McCain's campaign made ''Catholic Voter Alert'' calls in the next states, Michigan and Washington, to tell them of Bush's visit to Bob Jones.

Of the school's rule change Friday, McCain said: ''It's the right thing to do.'' The school of 3,500 students in the Appalachian foothills has stuck to its fundamentalist guns and often doled out as much criticism as it received.

Jones III, president since 1971, and his father, Bob Jones Jr., who died in 1997, have been sharp-tongued about those they believe have abandoned the strict teachings of the Bible, including Billy Graham and the pope. Graham should not have reached out across denominations for his crusades, Jones III says. And rather than meet Pope John Paul II when he visited Columbia in 1987, Bob Jones Jr. said he would rather ''speak to the devil himself.''

-- (, March 04, 2000



-- (, March 04, 2000.

opps. just realized this story was posted below. Need more Pepsi...

-- (, March 04, 2000.

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