African-American students were banned at Bob Jones University until 1971. Interracial dating was banned at the university until 2000.
On November 21 the administration of Bob Jones issued a public statement apologizing for its history of racism. Here is an excerpt from the university’s “Statement About Race.”
BJU’s history has been chiefly characterized by striving to achieve those goals; but like any human institution, we have failures as well. 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.
The statement was prompted Please Reconcile, a group of BJU alumni who have been pushing their alma mater to issue such a statement of regret for past sins.
Bob Jones University should be commended for this statement. It is certainly a step in the right direction. BJU was held captive by the segregationist culture of the American south for too long. They have finally managed to see, at least on this issue, the merits of a “Christ against culture” view of the world.
Now if we can only get more 21st century evangelicals and fundamentalists to address the other ways in which the Church has been held captive by the culture.