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Monday, March 23, 2015

Keeping up with the Joneses: getting stoned is bad

Former Bob Jones University president Bob Jones III is sort of sorry about words he thought so little of that he promptly forgot them for 35 years:

BJU Chancellor Jones was president of the university in March of 1980 when he and a group of fundamentalist ministers went to the White House with 70,000 signatures on a petition opposed to extending provisions of the Civil Rights Act to homosexuals. 
"I'm sure this will be greatly misquoted," Jones said. "But it would not be a bad idea to bring the swift justice today that was brought in Israel's day against murder and rape and homosexuality. I guarantee it would solve the problem post-haste if homosexuals were stoned, if murderers were immediately killed as the Bible commands."

Saturday, Jones called those comments "antithetical to my theology and my 50 years of preaching a redeeming Christ.""Upon now reading these long-forgotten words, they seem to me as words belonging to a total stranger — were my name not attached," he said in a statement.

"I cannot erase them, but wish I could, because they do not represent the belief of my heart or the content of my preaching. Neither before, nor since, that event in 1980 have I ever advocated the stoning of sinners."

He added: "I apologize for the reflection those remarks bring upon Jesus Christ, Whom I love; Bob Jones University, which I have loved and served; and my own personal testimony."

From a related news account:

Through the years, Jones and other university leaders have made statements, especially during the weekday chapel services, calling homosexuality an abomination. Jones said homosexuals wanted the right to pedophilia and the right to go into schools and push their agenda. 
"If somebody wants to be a murderer or a homosexual or a thief or a rapist, nobody can stop them, but don't ask law-abiding citizens to accept it," Jones said in a chapel sermon. 
The day after Sept. 11, 2001, Jones said the attack on the United States was God's punishment for homosexuality."He did a lot of prancing and swishing and making fun of gay people," [BJUnity gay alumni group head Jeffrey] Hoffman said.

The University has also won renown for threatening known gay alumni with arrest for trespassing if they attempted to enter the grounds, even for alumni events.

While BJUnity which petitioned the school for an apology, accepted Jones' comments, a plain reading of the statement makes clear he simply regrets having made an inflammatory comment; that he didn't remember it until it was brought to his attention again recently; and that he is sorry that the comments reflect badly on Jesus, the University, and his personal theology. And he isn't in favor of stoning people.

There are no indications of an apology to the people Jones thought worthy of putting to death, nor that the University will change its longstanding policies.

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