Monday, November 17, 2008

Please-Reconcile

If you're in any way a part of BJU; student, alumni, faculty or staff-present or former... please consider signing the open letter at Please Reconcile if you have not already done so.

If you want our take on it, read here.

For the record, the letter doesn't actually call for an apology for past actions (as a LOT of it's detractors claim), rather (at least as I read it) asks the admin to reconcile between statements made in the past (that haven't been repudiated) and their current position.

Even on Larry King Live, Dr Bob III said the rule was being dropped but the principle behind the rule was an important one.


JONES: Well, being a Bible believing institution, Larry, we try to base things on Bible principle. The problem we have today is that our principle is so greatly misunderstood. People think we don't let them date because we are racist, in other words to be racist you have to treat people differently. We don't. We don't let them date, because we were trying, as an example, to enforce something, a principle that is much greater than this.

We stand against the one-world government, against the coming world of anti-Christ, which is a one world system of blending, of all differences, of blending of national differences, economic differences, church differences, into a big one ecumenical world. The Bible is very clear about this.

We said, you know, way back years ago, when we first had a problem, which was -- by the way, we started this principle, back in the mid-'50s, I was a college student at BJU at the time and it was with an Asian and Caucasian is -- we didn't even have black students for another 15 years. So it was not put there as a black thing, I think people need to understand that.

KING: So the fear of one world relates back to two people dating?

JONES: Now, we realize that a inter-racial marriage is not going to bring in the world the anti-Christ by any means, but if we as Christians stand for Christ and not anti-Christ, and we see -- we are against the one world church. We are against one economy, one political system.

We see what the Bible says about this, so we say, OK, if they're going to blend this world -- and inter-racial marriage is a genetic blending, which is a very definite sort of blending -- we said as -- let's put this policy in here, because we are against the one world church and, way back, 17 years ago when I was on your program, I was saying on programs all across America, we are not going to the Supreme Court fighting for our rule and our -- we are fighting for our right to it. There is a religious freedom issue, that's all we ever fought for.

KING: You are a private institution, you don't get the tax benefit because -- but you are entitled to the thing -- I'm trying to find out why you have the rule.

JONES: Yes. We have the rule, because it was a part of a bigger -- it was a -- it wasn't the rule itself. We can't point to a verse in the Bible that says you shouldn't date or marry inter-racial.

KING: You can't back it up?

JONES: No, we can't back it up with a verse from the Bible. We never have tried to, we have never tried to do that. But we have said there is a principle here, an overriding principle of the one world government. But let me tell you how insignificant this is. Students never hear it preached. There have been four, five, six generations of students that graduated from there have never heard this preached in our chapel or taught in our school. To us...

KING: But it's a rule, though, they know they can't.

JONES: It is a rule, it is, but it's the most insignificant thing, but now, we are being defined as a racist school. I mean, that is all the media talks about.

KING: Partly, during the era -- you know -- the era of segregation, segregationists said, well, we are not racist, we just think the races should be apart, they should be treated equally, but not together, and that was regarded as a kind of a cop-out.

JONES: Yes.

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.

KING: Today?

JONES: Today. I met with the administrators this afternoon before coming here. But let me tell you why we dropped it. We don't want this to be a -- here is a great institution, one of the premier academic institutions in America, one of the premier Christian colleges of America. We have a broader testimony. And if all anybody can see is this rule, which we never talk about or preach, which most of our students couldn't even tell you what it is. It is that unimportant to us.

I said to our administration, you know, guys, this thing is of such insignificance to us, it is so significant to the world at large, the media particularly, why should we have this here as an obstacle? It hurts our graduates, we love our graduates greatly, it hurts maybe the church, as well. I don't want to hurt the church of Jesus Christ.

Later...

JONES: It is ended, and I want it to be very clear why it has ended. Our concern for the cause of Christ, our concern for our graduates, our concern for our testimony, our concern for the school's broader usefulness is greater to us than a rule that we never talk about and that is meaningless to us. The principle upon which it's based is very, very important.

(Emphases mine)


Of course, that's not quite so hard a stance as saying it's a Biblical rule (like they said in the Supreme Court in the 70's...), but the fact remains the principle is "very, very important"??? Um..... What?!?!?

These clips from this interview are what has grieved me the most through all of this... "BJU is a racist school" stuff. I was a student at BJU during the "four, five, six generations of students that graduated from there have never heard this preached in our chapel or taught in our school." Believe me--"this" WAS taught. It was NOT just a dusty old rule that no one heard about. Students of certain minorities heard about the rule--loud and clear, and some times frequently. Please do not misunderstand, I AM grateful the rule was dropped; but I am also grieved at the representation given on LKL.

What the signatories of the open letter are asking of BJU's leadership is not an "apology for past actions" per se, but some attempt at reconciliation of these two facts.

1. The rule was indeed dropped.
2. But, even in the dropping, the principle behind the rule was called "very important."

6 comments:

lietofine said...

Wow. I think I heard about this rule a long time ago, but I think I always assumed it was just a carry-over from segregation times. Who knew it had something to do with genetic mixing which would result in a world closer to a one world order. I always find it so funny though that the rapture/tribulation theology people are so convinced it's a sign of the end times and yet instead of saying "hooray! Jesus is on his way!" they say "oh my gosh, we've got to keep this stuff from happening".

Lisa said...

Just shaking my head in wonderment over this... unbelievable.

Terry @ Breathing Grace said...

You know, as I read the transcripts you posted of that interview, I was left thinking: "I am a semi-intelligent woman. Why does this man's reasoning seem incoherent to me? It doesn't make sense."

I think it's because the "significant principle" he kept speaking of was not at all a Biblical principle. We are ALL descendants of Adam. The distinctions and boundaries handed down by Moses to the children of Israel were for the purpose of securing their spiritual legacy, not their physical one. If that was the intent, why was Ruth, the Moabite allowed to be included in the Messianic lineage? What of Rahab the harlot who assisted the spies? I'm sure there are other instances that I can't remember right now.

This is a racist policy. Either we are all one in Christ or we are not. And if all Christians are of the same body and share the same inheritance, then why the need for rules forbidding intermarriage based on ethnicity? Is "intermarriage" even correct phraseology for two heterosexual, Christian human beings?

Me thinks he does protest too much!

The Savage said...

Terry--You're more than semi-intelligent (as anyone reading your blog can attest to), and your comments are spot on.

There is much that is despicable in the history of the Deep South. Christians--true believers--ought to have been the ones spearheading desegregation in all forms, not dragging their feet for as long as possible to avoid it. At times they did promote justice, but I'm afraid several generations worth have clung to any excuse they can find to promote inequality between fellow human beings created in God's image. And to do so under the guise of adherence to "biblical principle" is egregiously un-Biblical.

We are one in Christ. We will sit down together at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb as one Bride.

The Savage said...

Please be sure to see the Statement about Race at Bob Jones University which was posted to their website November 20th, 2008. It is, among other things, a clear and concise proclamation of our unity in Christ because of the Gospel, and as such it is a joy to read.

The Savage said...

Bah--I hate it when people change links... but I'm too lazy at the moment to delete my previous comment, so here's the corrected link for BJU's Statement on Race.