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But the story of how Bob Jones lost its non-profit status offers timely insight into the contemporary religious right. Rumminger, longtime administrator at Bob Jones University, told me in an interview, the IRS actions against his school “alerted the Christian school community about what could happen with government interference” in the affairs of evangelical institutions. Although Bob Jones’s ban is history, it left a significant imprimatur on the religious right.
“That was really the major issue that got us all involved.”Bob Jones ended its ban a mere 17 years ago—right before then-President George W. Evangelicals still fear secular interference with sacred affairs.
Nevertheless, Jones's move to Cleveland proved extraordinarily advantageous.
Bankrupt at the nadir of the Depression, without a home, and with barely enough money to move its library and office furniture, the college became in thirteen years the largest liberal arts college in Tennessee.
With the enactment of the GI Bill at the end of World War II, the need for campus expansion to accommodate increased enrollment led to a relocation to South Carolina.
Though he had served as Acting President as early as 1934, Jones' son, Bob Jones, Jr.
It is with great joy that we greet the abandonment of Bob Jones University's most controversial ban: "There is to be no interracial dating." Bob Jones III announced the change March 3 on Larry King Live. I don't want to hurt the church of Jesus Christ."Jones went a step further.
But a more wonderful surprise was Jones's rationale. "This thing is of such insignificance to us; it is so significant to the world at large, the media particularly, why should we have this here as an obstacle? After explaining that the ban originally stood to oppose "a one-world system of blending of all differences," he said, "The principle upon which [the ban] is based is very, very important.
The move comes after widespread criticism of the policy in the wake of presidential candidate George W. Jones surprised students and supporters by announcing the policy change during an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live." Jones acknowledged that recent scrutiny of the school's policies was behind the decision. "All of a sudden the university is at the center of a Republican presidential debate."The southern school adopted its ban on interracial dating in the 1950s.
Bob Jones, in Greenville, South Carolina, is a niche school.