Better late than never?
Bob Jones III, an evangelical preacher and chancellor of Bob Jones University, apologized this week for saying that gays should be stoned to death. He made the remarks more than 35 years ago while at the White House.
In 1980, Jones, then the University’s president, delivered a petition to then-President Jimmy Carter. Carter was trying to extend the Civil Rights Act to protect gays, because unlike Reagan, Bush, and anyone running in the Republican Party now, Jimmy Carter is a real Christian.
Jones told the press that “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.”
He prefaced it with “I’m sure this will be greatly misquoted.”
No, that’s one of those statements that doesn’t need misquoting; there aren’t too many ways he could look worse.
Now, 35 years later, Jones is taking back what he said. On Saturday, he issued a statement saying that:
“I take personal ownership of this inflammatory rhetoric. This reckless statement was made in the heat of a political controversy 35 years ago. It is antithetical to my theology and my 50 years of preaching a redeeming Christ Who came into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. Upon now reading these long-forgotten words, they seem to me as words belonging to a total stranger — were my name not attached.
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.”
The apology comes after a three-year-old petition, launched on Change.org by BJUnity, received renewed attention in recent weeks. BJUnity, an organization that’s dedicated to helping LGBT students from BJ University, accepted the apology; Jeffery Hoffman, the executive director of BJUnity, told WSPA that, “It’s never too late to say you’re sorry” and “Most people are just shocked. We never expected to see an apology.”
BJU was founded in 1927 by Jones’ grandfather, and was once a frequent stop among Republican presidential hopefuls looking to garner the Evangelical vote.
This happened after the U-Turn Conference, during which various Christian commenters claimed that if gay marriage won at the supreme court, Christians should “prepare for martyrdom.” One speaker declared it to be the evangelical Rubicon, perhaps unaware to the fact that we’re currently on the banks of the River Reno.
You can watch the video below: