BJUnity responds to Bob Jones III apology

Ed. note: Earlier today, Bob Jones University issued an apology in response to BJUnity’s change.org petition where we asked Bob Jones III, the University’s chancellor, to apologize for public statements in 1980 that “homosexuals should be stoned to death.” The board of BJUnity, representing our constituency of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, questioning, intersex and straight affirming alumni to the best of our abilities, makes the following statement in reply.

BJUnity supporters at 2012 NYC Pride March, photo courtesy William Franklin

BJUnity supporters at 2012 NYC Pride March,
photo courtesy William Franklin

Three years ago, when BJUnity launched our petition, we didn’t imagine we would ever see this day. We are grateful for this apology. We are grateful that Bob Jones III has taken responsibility for these words; words that have caused deep harm for many more people than any of us knows. This means a lot to us because it represents the beginning of a change in the rhetoric and conversation.

Once again, we would like to invite Bob Jones III and Steve Pettit to attend our presentation of Matthew Vines at the Greenville County Public Library on Monday evening, where they can also hear from three former BJU students their firsthand experience of the pain from this harsh treatment and we can begin a long awaited process of reconciliation with Bob Jones University. We long for a day when LGBT+ students are as safe as the other students at BJU.

The BJUnity Board of Directors

45 comments

  1. Rob says:

    High time! I pray that they will make moves to start recovery for all involved, including they themselves. Thank you Jeff, et al.

  2. Joshua McKinney-Zarrilli says:

    Finally………Praise God……….:) LOVE does not equal HATE…………

  3. Michael says:

    I hope this is more truthful than the way that Bob Jones III talked about the BJU position on interracial dating on Larry King. My recollections of what occurred at BJU were very different from the spin that was done on this show.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i24ZQhp4h7Q

    Between that and the school’s response to the GRACE report, I really am not hopeful for real change, but I will give them the benefit of the doubt for some time to see if their actions match their words, even though that is far more than they have given many students. Maybe this is a step in the right direction though. Time will tell.

  4. Melinda says:

    The pace for advancement is quickening. Step 1 – Courage to speak out and demand an apology. Step 2 – Apology given Step 3 – …continued advancement. Maybe – maybe mankind/science will admit/acknowledge/discover that there may be as many as 5 or more true genders and stop trying to have all genders conform into 2 categories. The eclipse was once considered a sign of evil from the God’s until man/science understood what it was an evidence of God’s handiwork. Perhaps this movement will be a societal eclipse our generation will have the opportunity to see to fruition! ~ Melinda

  5. Harry McCall says:

    Ironically, while heralding the progressive advent of Christianity, BJU, under the Jones, seemed to be guided by the laws of the Old Testament. With this apology, I hope the University has now fully embraced the Christian message.

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  22. Gary says:

    Follow gay Ugandan activist David Kato’s last year on BBC World News:

    http://www.mediaupdate.co.za/News/Article/73625/Follow-gay-Ugandan-activist-David-Katos-last-year-on-BBC-World-News

    “In an unmarked office at the end of a dirt track, veteran activist David Kato labours to repeal Uganda’s homophobic laws and liberate his fellow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender men and women, or kuchus.”

    Spoiler: Kato is brutally murdered during the filming of the show.

    The documentary shows at least one western fundamentalist preacher giving an incredibly inflammatory speech to Ugandans encouraging their homophobia and undoubtedly contributing at some level to horrific acts such as Kato’s death.

    A one-time apology from Bob Jones? You must be kidding. He needs to get down on his knees and plead for forgiveness every day for the rest of his life.

    • Jeffrey Hoffman says:

      We agree that the story of David Kato poignantly shows the ultimate effects of such violent rhetoric around the world. The shocking number of transgender people murdered in the United States this year alone is further evidence of the harm done by those who would replace the gospel of love with a message of hate. An apology from Bob Jones III for anything is unprecedented, so we’re glad to see it, but we are keenly aware how much damage has been done.

      – Jeffrey Hoffman

      • CommonSensePR says:

        Jeffrey: I agree that it is a good day whenever we see the love of Christ on display. The message of the cross is one of redemption, not condemnation. We are born into sin, but we need not pay the penalty of that sin if we receive Christ’s abundant pardon, and accept Him as Lord. That requires a confession of our sinful nature before a holy God, however. My sinful condition is no better or worse than yours. There is only one sin that will not be forgiven, and yours isn’t it. I rejoice with you that 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 remains true. “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God.” (The operative word is “were”).
        The grace of God is sufficient to bring about the change in us that God’s holiness requires. Let’s both be mindful of the apology we owe to God for our respective wickedness, even as we seek apologies from those that offend us.

        • Jeffrey Hoffmann says:

          BJUnity categorically rejects the idea that innate, immutable characteristics, be they skin pigmentation, hair color, eye color, handedness, intelligence, disability, sex, gender, sexual orientation or non-binary gender identity or any other immutable human characteristic, are “sins” to be apologized for or for which repentence is necessary.

          If I read your statement correctly, it seems you are suggesting that BJUnity’s constituency should offer apologies to BJU for our existence and these apologies are tantamount to our call for an apology for vicious, violent rhetoric by Bob Jones III. This seems to me to be a fundamentally uncharitable suggestion that innate, immutable characteristics are the same as destructive words allegedly spoken in “the heat of the moment.”

          To the contrary, public sin for which public repentance is due, in my understanding of Scripture, has always been defined by that which harms another either through action or inaction. I have previously addressed the topic of sin, sinfulness and confession in a post called “So, what about the sinfulness?”

          Personally, if I am understanding you correctly, I think the analogy you offer is a conversation-stopping aberration and a straw man.

          As for “seeing the love of Christ on display,” that requires an acknowledgement of the persons one has harmed — their names, their faces, and their stories; their lives and loves, and their personhood — an acknowledgment of and expression of remorse for the harm one has done, a request for forgiveness, and a humble expression of a desire for restored relationship. Is that what we have seen?

          Jeffrey Hoffman
          executive director
          BJUnity

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  29. Kevin Strouf says:

    The spirit of God only allows love. All other is born of ego and the physical world. We are given opportunity to be channels of God’s love and peace, even to those who believe that they are right. There is never need to defend God. His love is always healing. We are blessed for continuing the fight for love. God bless BJUnity!

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  33. Howard S says:

    Wow. Surprised and impressed by people on both sides of this issue. Should never have
    been one to begin with!! Hope Mr. Jones takes up the offer to listen on Monday, we all
    make mistakes, we all can learn something new.

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  35. KJ Greysonn says:

    Apologies are becoming a dime a dozen now days, people loose their jobs over remarks like that or racial remarks. He should step down or the school board should force him out.

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  37. Dave Sam says:

    It’s nice of him to apologize, but something tells me that the thousands of people who agreed with him then still do so today. I wonder if he’ll go around to those he shook hands with at all of those speeches and ask them to do the same.

    I guess that one apology, albeit a public one for a very public statement, out of the thousands and thousands of people he helped to influence is better than zero…

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