I have my own theories, as well, but today I am just delighted that nearly 100 years after it’s founding, a little light has shown through the chinks of BJU’s racist and segregationist past. Thanks to Amber for the link) About Hemant Mehta Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on You Tube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast.
A fundamentalist Christian University has apologized for racist policies including a one-time ban on interracial dating that wasn't lifted until nine years ago and its unwillingness to admit black students until 1971.
Pettit called the university’s racist policies a social issue that was not biblical.“The Bible is very clear,” Pettit said as he announced the change to the university Wednesday night.“We are made of one blood.”Bob Jones University lost its tax exemption after a 13-year battle with the IRS over whether the university’s policies against interracial dating precluded it as a non-taxable religious educational institution.grew increasingly concerned about the secularization of higher education and the influence of religious liberalism in denominational colleges.Children of church members were attending college, only to reject the faith of their parents.The university didn’t admit any black students until 1971, 17 years after .
It then wouldn’t admit any students who were in a mixed-race marriage and created rules to prohibit students from interracial dating.For the first time in the school’s history, Bob Jones University observed Martin Luther King Jr. That’s a pretty big deal for a fundamentalist Christian school that didn’t even accept black students until the 1970s and banned interracial dating until as recently as 2000 because “it breaks down the barriers God has established.”To be sure, they didn’t exactly “celebrate” anything today. Jeffrey Hoffman, the Executive Director of BJUnity (an LGBT-affirming group for BJU alumni and students), said this is a big deal for the campus even if it may not seem like much outside that bubble.They just closed the campus, which is a small way of acknowledging the federal holiday. When I was growing up at BJU, there was not a single name mentioned, when it was mentioned, with more revulsion than the name of Martin Luther King, Jr.But the university didn’t seek to reinstate its tax-exempt status until 2014 after Steve Pettit took over as the fifth president in the school’s 90-year history.“Organizing as a tax-exempt entity is something BJU has needed to do for quite some time,” Pettit said.In his first meeting with the university’s cabinet, Pettit said he believed it was appropriate for the school to seek its tax-exempt status because the it no longer believes the positions it once held about race.He took over for his father, also named Bob Jones, in 2005.