Bob Jones III announced an astonishing, seemingly spur-of-the-moment decision March 3 on Larry King Live. Remember that little rule BJU had against interracial dating? The one that (as Chatterbox pointed out in an earlier item) BJU, in a recent online reply to its critics, couldn't seem to decide was essential or negligible in the great battle against the Antichrist? The one that caused BJU to lose its tax exemption? Well, guess what? Jones decided the damned thing wasn't worth all the indigestion it was giving him!
Here is what Jones said on the CNN program:
[W]e don't have to have that rule. In fact, as of today, we have dropped the rule. ... 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. ...
Does this mean BJU gets its tax exemption back? Apparently not. Here's how Jones fielded a call on this question from a 1994 BJU alumna:
CALLER: With the rule being dropped, how will this affect BJU's tax exemption? Was there any provision in the Supreme Court ruling for tax exemption to be reinstated if the rule is dropped?
JONES: Great question, I'm glad you ask. It won't make any difference at all. There was no provision, and we are not going to take it back. I don't want anybody to think that this rule was dropped for any reason of gain. ... The only gain I want is for everybody to understand that the liberals were all wrong when they said we were racist. They were wrong when they looked at our rule and drew a conclusion about us that was so unflattering and so untrue. I just want to, you know, take this club out of their hand. That's the only thing I want to do.
At this writing (Saturday, 12:30 a.m. EST), a "letter to the nation" that Jones posted today on BJU's Web site makes no mention of the new policy, but Chatterbox doesn't see how Jones can take it back now. So hurrah! Students of different races may now date at BJU! They still can't hold hands, of course--even white students at BJU aren't allowed to do that with one another--but it's a start. ...