Condemning Bob Jones University

March 13, 2000

Congress is now set to consider a resolution that would condemn Bob Jones University for its stands on interracial dating and anti-Catholic views. The resolution proposed by Senator Robert Torricelli, a New Jersey Democrat, appears to be an effort by Democrats to embarrass George W. Bush for speaking there a few weeks ago.

At the outset, let me say that I reject the statements by this fundamentalist institution about such issues. And Iíll even accept that Mr. Bush was ill-advised to speak at Bob Jones without affirming his commitment to racial equality and respect for Catholics.

But this issue has certainly been getting out of hand. After all, Alan Keyes (who is both black and Catholic) also spoke at Bob Jones University. We should also acknowledge that Mr. Bush apologized to Cardinal John OíConnor in New York for failing to speak out against some of the teachings at Bob Jones University.

The attempt to condemn Bob Jones University is no doubt a political attempt to embarrass George W. Bush, and the attacks have come from Republicans (like John McCain) and Democrats (like Robert Torricelli). But what if Congress were to condemn an academic institution because of its theology? Would we then want to condemn Catholic institutions because of their teaching about abortion or homosexuality? What about Jewish groups that separate the sexes during worship? Well, the list could go on and on.

In the midst of the campaign rhetoric, I think it is time to step back and reconsider what is being said. Politicians are using religious issues to stir up partisan passions. And in the process we are creating an environment more and more favorable to anti-religious bigotry. We may not like some of the theological stances of certain groups or institutions, but Congress better reconsider whether it wants to be in the business of issuing official denunciations of offensive theology.

Iím Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and thatís my opinion.