Bob Jones University Apologizes for Its Racist Past

Dozens of commentators and political pundits have pointed to the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States as a strong indication of improving race relations in the United States. But perhaps an even more striking sign of improving race relations is a recent statement issued by the president of Bob Jones University, the fundamentalist Bible college in Greenville, South Carolina, apologizing for the educational institution’s racist past.

Bob Jones University did not admit black students until the 1970s and until 2000 it prohibited black and white students from dating.

In an eloquent statement, Stephen Jones, the fourth president of Bob Jones University, said recently, “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.”