Bob Jones University regains nonprofit status

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The Larry King transcript

http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0003/03/lkl.00.html

KING: You are a private institution, you don't get the tax benefit because -- but you are entitled to the thing -- I'm trying to find out why you have the rule.

JONES: Yes. We have the rule, because it was a part of a bigger -- it was a -- it wasn't the rule itself. We can't point to a verse in the Bible that says you shouldn't date or marry inter-racial.

KING: You can't back it up?

JONES: No, we can't back it up with a verse from the Bible. We never have tried to, we have never tried to do that.

"JONES: No, we can't back it

"JONES: No, we can't back it up with a verse from the Bible. We never have tried to, we have never tried to do that."

 

And that is where B3 lost all credibility by lying directly to those of us who were there when he preached the message.

 

Oh Happy Day!

As a graduate of BJU, I thank God for this. It was good to hear the current president admit that the dating policy that was in the courts for years and cost BJU nearly $1,000,000 was based in culture. Those of us who there in those days remember it being defended as Biblical (I still have the booklet from the time of the court case) and having to try to explain BJU's position to outsiders. And it was a "big deal" in those days; incoming students were asked to identify their race and questioning the rule was not permitted.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Whatever your views about BJU

Whatever your views about BJU's past and its return to tax-exempt status, our changing culture will inevitably force BJU and other Christian schools to choose between tax-exemption and following their Biblical beliefs. Only a matter of time. Note the other article on this site about the Washington state decision. You may celebrate now, but that celebration may lead to some hard choices in the future. The question is whether the leaders at these Christians schools will have the character to make the Biblical decision, even if it means a declining school enrollment.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

Whatever your views about BJU

Whatever your views about BJU's past and its return to tax-exempt status, our changing culture will inevitably force BJU and other Christian schools to choose between tax-exemption and following their Biblical beliefs. Only a matter of time. Note the other article on this site about the Washington state decision. You may celebrate now, but that celebration may lead to some hard choices in the future. The question is whether the leaders at these Christians schools will have the character to make the Biblical decision, even if it means a declining school enrollment.

Wally Morris

 

At least the case against homosexuality is truly Biblical.  

Don't get me wrong. I am truly glad they regained their tax exempt status.  They should have sought that long ago.  It will truly help the school survive.

 

Wonder what the real cost is

First, agreed 100% with Wally that the end of tax exempt status is probably somewhere down the road for a lot of colleges, and then probably even churches.  

And I wonder what the full bill is for this--you've got the legal costs (I would guess that's Ron's number), and then you've got the amount of donations that didn't get made because the donor still had to pay income tax on that money.   Hopefully Steve Pettit gets people together to ask "why did we leave this on the table so long?" and "what other big gains could we have if we took action?". 

Caution

Jim wrote:

As for Bob Jones III ... "three decades" of consequence for hard-headedness & stupidity

Let him who is without guilt cast the first stone.

We all do hardheaded and stupid. Alot. 

In this case, there was much more complexity to the situation than critics generally recognize. No small part of the university's and BJIII's course (let's not forget there was a board running the institution, as there still is) back in those days was influenced by increasing--and not entirely unwarranted--fear of government intrusion and government control. This was the same era in which BJU wouldn't touch accreditation with a ten hundred foot pole... for similar reasons. It was era when many in fundamentalist leadership saw an infiltrating and corrupting "neo" of some sort behind every bush. And and one overriding strategy in responding to all these perceived threats was to not change anything at all ever--especially if outsiders want you to.

I understand all that. I don't have to agree or approve of any of it to understand it. Nor does anyone else.

Charity means we look for ways to understand and sympathize with those in positions that require extremely difficult decisions--even when we believe they made the wrong decisions.

Good Presidents

I think this speaks to Steve Pettit's leadership. I am very glad he was able to pull this off. MBU also has an outstanding President who is doing great things. Faith just got Tillotson a little over a year ago. I thank the Lord that fundamentalist institutions are in such good hands.

TylerR is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs here.

Boards and Precedent

On the BJU Board:

Today the Executive Board does appear to be managing the University's affairs. According to some who served in the old days that board was just a rubber stamp for the Jones' for many years.. That's also the impression one gets in reading the history of BJU.

Legal Precedent:

The BJU case did establish a legal precedent that will probably eventually cause churches and Christian institutions to lose their tax exemption if their practice of their faith conflicts with "public policy".

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

BJU Was Racist In The Past

Im glad BJU got it to.  I don't agree with BJU being racist but they never operated undercover with their policies. Wrong as they were you could never accuse BJU  being racist under the radar like other Fundementalist institutions did as much as BJU.  

I respect BJU for openly holding onto their principals when others do things with a disguise on to reap the benefits of looking like a convergent.

Good for BJU in my book their the only institution boldly holding on to their principals with a take it or leave it attitude.  To their success or failure who knows.  

Not so conclusive that BJU was racist

Not so conclusive that BJU was racist:

By this definition: "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race"

BJU was wrong on their policies (as they now publicly admit), but I don't believe they viewed blacks as inferior

I would say they had a flawed theological view on anthropology which they have corrected.

While it lasts...

WallyMorris wrote:

Whatever your views about BJU's past and its return to tax-exempt status, our changing culture will inevitably force BJU and other Christian schools to choose between tax-exemption and following their Biblical beliefs. Only a matter of time. 

Probably true. Still a good idea to hold on to it while it lasts... and do long term financial planning with that eventual contingency in mind.

Somebody up the thread says he remembers BJIII preaching the dating policy from some particular text. I have to say that I don't remember ever hearing that from his generation. And this may be what he meant by "we have never..." I do recall reading old transcripts of BJ senior making an argument from an out of context OT passage... and I think maybe BJII repeating or alluding to it. What I was hearing in the 80's was a completely different attempt to defend the policy using results arguments and appeals to broad principles--and a lot of resisting "the world" rhetoric. But even that--I think it might have come up maybe twice in four years, or something like that.

Jim wrote:

Jim wrote:

Not so conclusive that BJU was racist:

By this definition: "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race"

BJU was wrong on their policies (as they now publicly admit), but I don't believe they viewed blacks as inferior

I would say they had a flawed theological view on anthropology which they have corrected.

There is no doubt at all that that the BJ's were racist in that they felt that black people were inferior to white people. An obvious example of that was the letter that BJ Jr (I believe) wrote to a black person telling him that he was more fit for serving in the kitchen. I don't remember the exact wording but the letter is documented in a book online. Perhaps someone will remember where.

Well that would be racist for sure

GregH wrote:

There is no doubt at all that that the BJ's were racist in that they felt that black people were inferior to white people. An obvious example of that was the letter that BJ Jr (I believe) wrote to a black person telling him that he was more fit for serving in the kitchen. I don't remember the exact wording but the letter is documented in a book online. Perhaps someone will remember where.

Well that would be racist for sure

The Pamphlet

I have the pamphlet. It's entitled "Religious Freedom Imperiled: The IRS and BJU" (1982). It deals with the court case and the dating rule and cites the figure of $800,000 spent in court cases over 12 years. In it DB III says on page 2 "Since the rule is part of the University's religious beliefs,.........." On page 11 he states "The rule is based on a sincere religious belief."

The booklet also quotes the rules "Students who become partners in an interracial marriage will be expelled". And "Students who are members of or affiliated with any group or organization which holds interracial marriage as one of its goals or advocates interracial marriage will be expelled. And "Students who date outside their race will be expelled." (page 10)

I'm glad this ugliness has been owned and repented of. But it also helps me understand why some people cringe when they're told that it was only "cultural" and was "no big deal".

 

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

My BJU student debate

When I was in seminary one of my best friends is a man married to a Japanese woman (we are still friends although we live 700 miles apart / we just were in their home last May)

That man has a twin brother who is married to a woman who is some fraction American Indian (much more than Elizabeth Warren)

The twin and his spouse were in graduate school at BJU at the time

We were all (the six of us) at St. Clair Shores, Michigan on a yacht, relaxing on cushions in the forward section.

The BJU preacher boy gave a spirited defense of the BJU race policy. It was their dad's yacht so I held back as much as possible for politesse.

Finally I pointed out the hypocrisy of the man's position in light of his so-called "miscegenation" with an American Indian

Kind of ended the debate

It was a genuine problem

In 1972, I was the leader of a BJU Summer Ensemble (now called Ministry Team) to the northeastern states.  I was coached in how to respond to those who asked about the school's racial policy.  The textual support was Acts 17:26:  "And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings."  The point to be made was that God appointed Negros to live in Africa, and if in America, to live in communities of their own kind.  I had a real struggle with this, as I had an ethical duty to properly represent the school, and yet I did not believe that this text supported the school policy, nor did any other Biblical text, properly interpreted.  I believed the text actually teaches the opposite, that there is only one race, namely, the human race.  I had several awkward moments during that tour.  In short, I said, "This is the statement given by BJU to support its policy."  Sometimes that ended the discussion.  At other times, I was then asked, "Do you believe this?"   In such cases, I had to honestly answer, "no."

That said, I can also testify that the tour was a wonderful time of learning and maturing which enabled me to move into pastoral ministry shortly thereafter.  I thank God and BJU for giving me that opportunity.

G. N. Barkman

Paranoid Grad Student

Then there was the paranoid first year grad student in 1981 who was afraid to hold the hand of the Chinese girl next to him in chapel when all of us were singing "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" before we left for Christmas break.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

extended family

A member of my extended family who came to BJU from Hawaii (his folks were missionaries there), along with his Hawaiian girlfriend, had to declare himself Hawaiian, so as to continue to date his girlfriend while at school. They eventually married and returned to Hawaii. 

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

Miscegenation

I'm a Buckeye by birth, and my wife is a troll or "looper" from Michigan.  I think I've got Jim beat!  :^)

There was a booklet, too.

And that is where B3 lost all credibility by lying directly to those of us who were there when he preached the message.

Not only that, but I remember picking up a little booklet at the Information Desk on a visit when I was either in 7th/8th grade or during High School.  This would have been late 80s or early 90s.  I missed that someone linked to this already, so..

I'm glad for BJU.  I'm sure that this will help them with their mission and their fundraising efforts, and I hope that they are able to build a very healthy endowment that will protect them from financial difficulties down the road like those that befell so many other Christian schools.

As for Aaron's statement here:

Charity means we look for ways to understand and sympathize with those in positions that require extremely difficult decisions--even when we believe they made the wrong decisions.

Amen to this.  I don't think anyone is out to 'get' BJU by throwing this in their face - the sense I'm getting from the other participants is a sense of relief that BJU finally made this issue right in the '90s.  I hope that trend continues, and continue to be encouraged and optimistic about Steve Pettit's leadership there.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells


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