In 2008, past president Stephen Jones, great-grandson of evangelist and university founder Bob Jones, apologized for the school’s past racial discrimination.
— Bob Jones University says it will regain its federal tax-exempt status on March 1, more than three decades after the IRS stripped its nonprofit ranking following a landmark U. The conservative Christian university dropped its interracial dating ban in a nationally televised interview with past president Bob Jones III on CNN in 2000.
It’s a jarring moment in the universe: One of the college’s few black students being told how to perform for a lily-white Bob Jones audience what it means to be enslaved in 1843.
I can’t help but wonder how the 11th grade curriculum will treat the era of desegregation, but no one else in Studio 5 seems worried about it.
“And I reject the politics of those who try to pit one group of Americans against another, of those who try to divide us based upon our race or based upon our faith.” Jeb Bush, a converted Catholic and governor of Florida, then came to his brother’s defense on “The Today Show,” offering examples of other politicians who had addressed audiences with whom their values didn’t align.
The governor added he would be willing to speak there as well (fast forward 15 years, there’s no word of a Bush-Bob Jones sequel).
The grandson of the school’s founder and president of the university, Jones explained to King that the ban, which had cost the school its tax exempt status in 1983, was part of the school’s resistance to “one world order.” Part of Biblical literalist doctrine, “one world order” is believed to signify the end of time, as governments, religions, and races come together and the antichrist appears on Earth.
But it was consistent with the school's general message as articulated by its leaders, its rules for student life, and its areas of study: Don't trust anything you hear off campus.
At the University bookstore (located right next door to "Great Awakenings" coffee shop), for instance, pamphlets about the Freemasons and the "the facts" about the Roman Catholic church are sprinkled in amongst anti-Darwin screeds and American exceptionalist tracts.
—Some of you may know Bob Jones University as the fun-loving school that briefly held the Guinness World Record for largest kazoo ensemble.
More likely, though, you know it as a bastion of the far right: For decades, big-shot conservative politicians from Ronald Reagan to George W.