Talk:Bob Jones University/Archive 1

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introductory comments

While I don't disagree with any of the facts presented, shouldn't this article say a bit more about the university? If the only goal is to criticize it, then you could mention that they have also been criticized for denying that Catholics and Mormons are Christians. Personally, I think it would be much more helpful for Wikipedia to include some basic information like when the school was founded, whether they offer postgraduate degrees, which academic programs or sports teams are strongest, and so on. And who the heck is Bob Jones? If someone comes to Wikipedia to learn about Bob Jones University, it's probably because they already heard it was racist and want to learn more background information. And if a prospective college student is wanting to learn more about the university from third party sources, it's fine to point out its racism, but we can serve those people better by also providing more factual background information. And no, I'm not volunteering to do the actual research for this one. ;-) --Wesley

Agreed, but, again, my interest in finding out more about an institution (one struggles to accept it as a university, with such an illogical attitude) with such ridiculous rules is about zero.

Oh, well - other than the dates, I added what *I* care about, which is the Museum. I can't tell you how odd it is to find a museum like this in Greenville, SC. --MichaelTinkler

One question I'd like answered is "Do any African-American students actually attend the university?" --Robert Merkel

Yes, there's usually at least one, Black student, usually one that believes in the same brand of Christianity that BJU espouses. When I was in Ghana in 1988 I ran into a guy who had been accepted to BJU, who was black, but I don't think he got a student visa. The guys who work for the State Department aren't that stupid: you can't get a visa if you're clearly planning on violating it. GregLindahl

Is it correct to say that Ronald Reagan "supported the school's racial discrimination", or that Ronald Reagan "supported the school's right to racially discriminate". There's a world of difference. I'm making the change right now on the assumption that Reagan, a semi-libertarian in some respects, might well have supported their right as a private institution to admit who they like, while at the same time not supporting their policy itself. --Jimbo Wales

Well, the issue was not about whether they had the right to racially discriminate; it was about whether they were entitled to a tax exemption if they were going to do so. Withdrawing the tax exemption still hasn't stopped the racial discrimination that lead to its withdrawal. Frankly, I think the main reason Reagan supported them was because of his desire to get conservative South Carolina voters, a significant percentage of whom like Bob Jones University. I agree though that he probably supported them being allowed to have the policy and still get a tax exemption, without actually agreeing with the policy. But I don't like the formulation "supported the school's right to racially discriminate" -- it seems to imply that they have a right to racially discriminate, and he was supporting their right -- it really should say he supported the school's alleged or claimed right to racially discriminate. -- SJK

I accept your change. My wording was based on my own view -- racial discrimination in any form is vile and despicable, immoral collectivist behavior -- but that private religious organizations do in fact have a right to engage in it if they so desire. Your wording is more limited and unless and until we find out what Reagan actually did say, is certainly less speculative.

For what it's worth, I am content to let any group adopt race as a standard for inclusion. I meet feel miffed about not being able to join, but freedom of association should take priority. I do think it strange that a church or university would have restrictions based on race, but I can think of no rule fair enough to apply to Bob Jones U., the "historically black" colleges of Atlanta, the senate's Black Caucus, etc. If a bunch of people want to isolate themselves from the mainstream, more power to them. But, the government shouldn't have to do them any favors. For universities, that means no tax-exemption unless they can convince the courts that their race policies (a) are an integral part of their religion and (b) . . . hmm, this issue is more complicated than I thought. I'm stuck between honoring freedom of religion on the one hand, and hating racial discrimintation with a vengeance on the other.

Anyway, good rewrite of the article.

Ed Poor

Ed, do you realize that there are many white people who go to historically black colleges? There are no race based rules. Big difference. I went to a school that's 70% Jewish, and they even gave me a scholarship in part because I'm not. GregLindahl

"traces its history to a school founded in 1927 by [Bob Jones, Sr.]?, an evangelist and revival-preacher."

Is "revival-preacher" even an English word?

It is understood by speakers of English. It is well formed (see Morphology (linguistics), entry compounding; still to be written)

I am a speaker of English and I don't understand it. :-)
OK, but at least you probably can deduce that it must mean a person who preaches revival (whatever that is specifically ;-) ). I just was opposing the question that it is not an English word. It is. Another thing is if it is understood here what it means. Anyhow this talk seems OT.

"After that it adopted its current racially discriminatory policy, which it retains to this day (2001)."

I would like very much to see some expansion/explanation re this policy.
The policy is the one mentioned in the article -- students who marry or date members of a different race from their own are expelled.
Added/clarified this in the entry. Thanks.

"The college, like many other fundamentalist Christian schools, is not accredited due to concerns about governmental control over policy or curriculum."

- changing this to: "The college, like many other fundamentalist Christian schools, has not sought accreditation due to concerns about governmental control over policy or curriculum."

I assume this is correct and more acurrately reflects that BJU's lack of acreditation is their idea rather than imposed by government. If this is wrong please correct.

BJU is getting accreditation - I checked their website and I can find nothing about them dropping their policy against interracial marriage or dating. Can you please provide an exact reference? -- SJK

Removed from the main article:

Interracial Dating and Marriage: Why is the focus being placed on something which is such a small and insignificant part of the University's whole, making it a media obsession? The last two or three generations of students who have graduated from this institution never once heard a discussion of this policy. It is not something that is preached or talked about. Because of its insignificance to us, it has been dropped in the interest of the greater good of the University's Gospel and Christian educational mission. ... Bob Jones University's policy regarding interracial dating was more of an opposition to the rebellious and defiant antichrist spirit of the promoters of one-worldism than to interracial dating itself. Many who date and marry interracially are just as opposed to one-worldism and the spirit of Antichrist as we are.

This is a commentary on the article, rather than something that can be integrated into it. If you want to comment, do so here on the talk page. If you wish to edit the article, do so, but do so in accordance with wikipedia policy, particularly the neutral point of view. --Robert Merkel 15:27 Sep 19, 2002 (UTC)

Whoops! I should read the article more carefully. I assumed that this was just some random undergraduate's commentary on the article. Sorry. It takes a bit of getting used to a university that would make such a statement.... --Robert Merkel 15:30 Sep 19, 2002 (UTC)

A note on the University Creed:

The creed embodies the foundational truths of the Christian faith. While the students are required to memorize the creed, they are not required to sign it as a statement of faith, nor is an affirmation of this creed a prerequisite for admission.

On interracial dating:

The University's policy on interracial dating at one time was that such dating should not take place without parental permission. The history of the policy is as follows: A student of Oriental disposition began dating a Caucasian. The Oriental student's parents complained to the University about the fact that their child was dating someone from another race. In order to solve the problem, the University decided to require parental permission before dating between races could commence.

The University has since removed the policy. (By the way, the University is constantly reviewing and updating its rules and policies in order to better accomplish its goal of growing Christlike character.)

I'm curious as to why Mr. Merkel (above) is so concerned about the African-American students while he seems to be unconcerned about students whose origins are Asian, South American, Mexican, European, etc. Do I detect any racial bias on his part?

Many Asian students get their higher education at the University. There are also students from Africa, South America, Europe, etc.

--just some commentary from an undergraduate who actually knows what he or she is talking about
04:00 Aug. 24, 2003 (UTC)

The article does not suggest that BJU is racist, other than to point out its erstwhile policy against interracial dating, although this talk page does have some comments suggesting that BJU would be inhospitable to black people.
But, I find your story of the interracial dating ban as being a kind of convenience to solve the parents problems to be somewhat dubious. I should note that BJU's web site at [1] makes a similar-sounding claim: "Did the University?s dating policy originate to regulate black-white relationships? No. It was first stated in the mid-1950s when dealing with an Asian-Caucasian dating couple."
It might be helpful to verify this. I find the story rather strange because:
  • This would mean that BJU has invented a story about how interracial dating is related to "one-worldism" just as a favor to one student's parents in the 1950s. At the above page, they write "Bob Jones University's policy regarding interracial dating was more of an opposition to the rebellious and defiant antichrist spirit of the promoters of one-worldism than to interracial dating itself." The "One-worldism" section of [2] suggests that a prevailing view at BJU is that one-worldism, a single world government, will make it easier for a corrupt ruler to do the Antichrist's work, and thus "The more divided the world, the easier it is to preach the gospel. A united world is not in the interest of God's people". It strikes me as amazing that people at BJU would, to acquiesce to parents, either (1) make up a whole story of how concerning one-worldism is, just to justify the anti-interracial dating policy or (2) make an association they believe to be spurious between interracial dating and their true concerns about one-worldism.
  • The current Wikipedia article says that BJU lost its tax-exempt status because of the interracial dating ban, although the BJU site does not say why it lost its tax-exempt status. If the current Wikipedia article is correct, it's odd that BJU would go to the trouble of lengthy court cases in the 1980s for an event that happened in the 1950s.
  • I doubt many universities would make up racially based policies in order to serve parents' concerns.
For these reasons, it seems that the now-defunct BJU policy against interracial dating was based in some strong views, and not a simple innocent policy invented and forgotten. I should concede, of course, that the fact that BJU repealed the policy in the face of the negative media attention during the 2000 presidential election does suggest that the policy is not of totally absolute importance. I wonder what the real history is.
Zashaw 05:13, 23 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Weakened the statement

He donated his paintings to a museum at the University. The BJU Museum & Gallery now is considered the greatest collection of religious art in the Western Hemisphere.

to say " of the greatest...". Saying "the greatest" sounds pretty suspicious, and would need more support or qualification: who says it's the greatest, and what criteria are they using (largest collection? largest building? best curation? etc.)? Based on a couple of google searches, I'm convinced that "one of the greatest" is reasonable, but the superlative requires more support.

Zashaw 23:06, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)

It may not be the greatest, but it is the largest.

Mydotnet] 5 Sep 2004

Fixed a number of things vs. the previous version in the campaign section:

  • The previous version gave the misleading impression that Bush's speech actually denounced the University's policies. Not true: the Bush campaign only denounced them afterwards, though perhaps on the same day (I'm unable to find documentation of this, so I wrote "promptly").
  • The previous version stated that Bush apologized for appearing at the University. Not true: Bush apologized for failing to speak out about the racism and anti-Catholicism. (Even John McCain, Bush's opponent in a very hard-fought primary, said that it's fine to speak at places whose policies you disagree with, so long as you speak out against those policies.)
  • The previous version said "what some view as" BJU's anti-Catholic sentiment. Now, I'm all for NPOV, but when the University's founder calls it a "satanic cult" (there's a lot more where that came from, BTW), most reasonable people would conclude that there is at least a history of anti-Catholic sentiment. I understand that BJU is currently officially ecumenical, so I changed the paragraph to say "history of".

k.lee 20:34, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Interracial dating, further notes

A couple of relevant links:

An excerpt from the FindLaw summary of the case:

The sponsors of the University genuinely believe that the Bible forbids interracial dating and marriage. To effectuate these views, Negroes were completely excluded until 1971. From 1971 to May 1975, the University accepted no applications from unmarried Negroes, 5 but did accept applications from Negroes married within their race.

Following the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in McCrary v. Runyon, 515 F.2d 1082 (1975), aff'd, 427 U.S. 160 (1976), prohibiting racial exclusion from private schools, the University revised its policy. Since May 29, 1975, the University has permitted unmarried Negroes to enroll; but a disciplinary rule prohibits interracial dating and marriage. That rule reads:
"There is to be no interracial dating.
"1. Students who are partners in an interracial marriage will be expelled. [461 U.S. 574, 581]
"2. Students who are members of or affiliated with any group or organization which holds as one of its goals or advocates interracial marriage will be expelled.
"3. Students who date outside of their own race will be expelled.
"4. Students who espouse, promote, or encourage others to violate the University's dating rules and regulations will be expelled." App. in No. 81-3, p. A197.
The University continues to deny admission to applicants engaged in an interracial marriage or known to advocate interracial marriage or dating. Id., at A277.

And furthermore:

Petitioners contend that, even if the Commissioner's policy is valid as to nonreligious private schools, that policy cannot constitutionally be applied to schools that engage in racial discrimination on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs. 28 [461 U.S. 574, 603] As to such schools, it is argued that the IRS construction of 170 and 501(c)(3) violates their free exercise rights under the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment. This contention presents claims not heretofore considered by this Court in precisely this context.

Judging, therefore, by the public, on-record statements of the University, its claim that the interracial dating ban was instituted at the request of the parents of an Asian student is at least misleading. The lawyers for the school argued quite specifically that, because they had a sincerely held religious belief that interracial dating was un-Christian, it should be constitutionally protected from being classified as a non-charitable organization. Furthermore, the specific prohibition on enrolling "unmarried Negroes" reveals quite clearly the primary aim of the restrictions in practice (namely, to prevent intermingling of black and white students), regardless of whence the policy was first invoked.

Moreover, the suggestion that interracial dating could occur "at one point" with parental permission is misleading. The ca.-1970's policy quoted in FindLaw makes the ban quite clear. Students who date or marry interracially shall be expelled. Students who advocate interracial dating shall be expelled. Students who associate with groups that advocate interracial dating shall be expelled.

Simply stated, judging by BJU's own statements in the public record, BJU's description of its interracial dating ban is revisionist history. k.lee 05:14, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)


Neilc, on your reversion. The text that had been inserted, looking at it, was pretty loaded and POV. But it would have been better to edit it into something constructive. Then again, do as I say not as I do; I guess I could be more helpful by actually doing that myself, but I'm not sure how. Just a passerby, don't know much about BJU. And you'd probably just revert me too? But the point is: the facts are, Bob Jones University is popularly associated, whatever the truth with racism and segregation, partly including/due to its interracial dating policy. This is a fact. In fact, it is probably what it is most known for to those who don't know much else about it. Leaving that out entirely of the article I think does a disservice to Wikipedia. Sorry for not contributing much actual text, but given that someone's reverting, there's clearly no point to it, and I'm not very keen up on BJU you can argue. But, thoughts? Shouldn't this be mentioned? D. G. 08:46, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)

No response two days later. Apparantly you prefer to revert first and answer questions never. Neat. I've taken that as a mandate to revamp the article. Please, instead of reverting, do not remove information blanketedly but take the time to actually change the article to make it better, rewording or reforming what you believe needs to be done so. Obviously there's controversy; that is what this talk page is for. Communications solves problems! Communicate! Communicate, please! D. G. 09:58, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Again reverting "==Movie references== In the Tom Hanks motion picture remake of The Ladykillers, an old black woman makes frequent reference to donating frequently to Bob Jones University in a case of dramatic irony.". Sorry to have not started the discussion on my previous reversion. If you want to say that BJU is popularly associated with racism, then say that. I think the current article does (and, for that matter, previous versions did). I found the movie reference to be a bit smarmy and irrelevant (and, I admit, a bit entertaining). Moreover, it requires the editorial judgement that the references are intended ironically -- if you know that the character must have intended the lines ironically, why not just say that many people think BJU racist? Zashaw 23:38, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Actually, I thought about it; you're probably right. I'm not putting the movie reference back in. I wasn't entirely sure whether it was appropriate to put a movie references section for a university, but I had seen many such "movie references" sections on other articles, so, that lead me to it. But on more consideration, yeah, not really very relevant. It's just that I'm concerned at what looks to me like some sort of weird bizzaro-world revisionistic article. D. G. 00:22, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Word usage: Blacks/Negroes/Whatever?

Some dope edited "Negroes" to "Blacks", claiming it was a "typo." (While leaving the reference to Negroes just a line underneath intact, yeah, we love inconsistency.) I've reverted it-- I believe that's the term the school used, so that makes it the most appropriate. Still, I'm not sure. What word should be used? Tell me? In fact, are there any standards on this sort of thing on Wikipedia, does anyone know? I just don't want to end up putting some stupid long-winded total baloney like "persons of African-American descent." D. G. 10:11, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The KKK has several choice words for black people, none of which are used in the article Ku Klux Klan. We don't follow the subject's choice of language in articles. We can say that BJU uses the word "negro" but we shouldn't use that word ourselves. I changed it to "black people." The manual of style prescribes that we use terms by which groups self-identify. "Black people" is preferable to "blacks" but in my opinion, both are acceptable. Both terms are much better than the term "negroes." Rhobite 21:01, Nov 29, 2004 (UTC)
Alright, thanks for pointing out the MoS. Not 100% sure it addresses the issue though, but, alright, this is good for now. D. G. 04:09, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I think using "persons" instead of "people" is very awkward. Why did you make this change? And I'm curious about how this doesn't address the issue. What is the issue? Obviously there's no perfect term here, but frankly "black people" or "blacks" are both about 100 times more preferable than "negroes."Rhobite 05:14, Nov 30, 2004 (UTC)

Blacks and black Americans are the best terms because it is most recognized around the world among all alternatives.

African/Afro-American is confusing, especially to non-Americans because it seems to imply actual recent African lineage. Negro is perceived by many (wrongly) to be derogatory, like Oriental (also wrongly). The time when American blacks thought that the term African-American was somehow empowering has past and most people (including blacks) think it sounds nearly as antiquated as negro.

If there is a direct quote from official BJU materials that says negro, then the term should be retained in the quote. But the term should not be used in the general text of the article. -Willmcw 10:02, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)

"Official BJU materials" do not even mention race any longer.--RaiderRobert

That may be, but if they did so in the past then that is still relevant to this article. Regarding interracial dating, the article now concludes that section by noting: In 2000, the policy was dropped in its entirety[1] (after some experimentation with a policy of parental consent for interracial dating) shortly after the State of South Carolina formally legalized interracial marriage. That seems to make it clear that the issue is no longer active. -Willmcw 19:27, Mar 28, 2005 (UTC)

Famous Alumni

Ian Paisley is NOT an alumni - he got an honorary degree but he is NOT an alumni. Mydotnet 18:22, Nov 30, 2004 (UTC)

Ian Paisley. Dear God! Birds of a feather, huh? (Ok, ok, I admit, there is no way I could ever write something NPOV about BJU because I am the product of a mixed marriage, in a mixed marriage, and an evolutionary biologist. I shuddered just driving past the place) Guettarda 01:57, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Likely he was a graduation speaker - they are usually awarded honorary degrees. -Willmcw 18:43, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
actually he was a very good friend of Bob Jones, Jr., has spoken many times in the chapel services. -Mydotnet 23:00, Feb 7, 2005 (UTC)
If you can find a citation that would be an interesting fact to include. -Willmcw 23:05, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Accreditation & Being Black

Can we settle on the correct accreditation status of BJU? And is there a reason to keep deleting the "Being Black at BJU" link? It seemed like a solid article to me. , Cheers, -Willmcw 18:43, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Order of Paragraphs

A lot of people are making great changes, with no justification. Do we want to do this alphabetically, standardize all colleges, or what? -Mydotnet 04:49, May 24, 2005 (UTC)

Copying rules out of the student handbook

Hi, I'm one of the several people who's been doing a lot of work on the Pensacola Christian College article lately. PCC has some rules for students similar to what BJU has. I was wondering... it it ok to take rules verbatim out of the student handbook and put them in the article? Or is it copyvio? It looks like you've done that in the BJU article, but I (and the other editors on the PCC article) would like to know if that's ok, because we're trying to figure out the best way to word the rules section. Please reply at Talk:Pensacola Christian College. Thanks. --Idont Havaname 19:53, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)


If I'm not mistaken, isn't the school very anti-Catholic? Johhny-turbo 00:53, 20 August 2005 (UTC)

Yes, BJU has historically taken a very anti-Catholic stance. I've no idea what their current rhetoric is in regards to Catholicism, but there is brief mention of this near the end of the article.--Isotope23 17:26, 23 August 2005 (UTC)