Bob Jones Drops Interracial Dating Ban
Witham, Larry, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
The fundamentalist Christian Bob Jones University yesterday dropped its rule against interracial dating, but defended its religious liberty as it was buffeted by presidential campaign accusations over its policies on race and Catholicism.
"As of today, we have dropped the rule," University President Bob Jones III said on CNN's "Larry King Live" last night. He said he spoke to school administrators yesterday and will change the rule.
Moreover, the school ran a full-page advertisement in USA Today and three newspapers in its home state of South Carolina in which Mr. Jones said, "Religious freedom is the core issue in this entire matter."
"To speak in defense of Bob Jones University does not align anyone with our beliefs but with the cherished principle of religious freedom," Mr. Jones wrote in the advertisements.
Last night, Mr. Jones agreed with Mr. King that the recent controversy has been the greatest the school has experienced in a long time.
"Somehow this has been brought up in the middle of a campaign," Mr. Jones told the talk-show host. He added that the flap was a "divide-and-conquer tactic" by news media and supporters of Sen. John McCain.
He said the university admitted its first black students in 1970, not long after some other U.S. institutions, but that for biblical reasons the school has been against a "blending of differences" and creation of one-world systems - a sign of the coming of the Antichrist.
"Interracial marriage is a very definite blend," he said. "There's an overriding principle here [against] a one-world government.
The school decided to change the rules, although not the underlying theology, since it has overshadowed its works and brought attacks on Christianity.
The controversy over the 5,000-student university arose after Republican presidential contender George W. Bush made a campaign stop there Feb. …