It seems like ages ago, but really it was only last week, that the Washington Post put this article about Bob Jones and Bob Jones University in its Style section for me to read at my breakfast table, in the parking lot on route 95, or on the Green Line to Branch Avenue, whichever I chose. Now, as an aside, if I was a conspiracist, which I'm not, I might contend that the Post's Style section seems to, with alarming regularity, print mushy stuff about conservatives that you really never wished you'd have to read about. (But I won't carry on and on about how the Post's Style section, with alarming regularity, seems to have room for just one more slice of life bit about some member or institution of the conservative illuminati.)
And so read I did.
And I found this gem highlighting the philosophical viewpoint of the university that was once known for its rule prohibiting interracial dating--in the year 2000.
The difference between Bob Jones and secular schools, Pait says, is that at BJU every teacher is a fundamentalist Christian and every subject is taught from a "Christian worldview."
"In secular schools, they say, 'Let's use science to discover the unknown truth,' " Pait says. "We say, 'We know the truth -- how does this glorify the truth, who is God?' "
They know the truth. So your purpose, dear student, is to accept that truth. Don't ask questions. Don't question orders. Don't question who we tell you to vote for. Don't pass go, don't collect $2000 (the original $200 has been increased due to inflation--ed).
Don't question our truth, dear student, even when this is the truth as we see it:
Bob Jones Jr. pilloried Secretary of State Alexander Haig as "a monster in human flesh" and publicly prayed that God would "smite him hip and thigh, bone and marrow, heart and lungs."
Bob Jones III denounced Ronald Reagan as "a traitor to God's people" for the sin of choosing as his vice president George H.W. Bush, whom Jones called "a devil."
And all this time I thought Reagan was God's right hand man.
And, no, we don't have an ego issue here at Bob Jones University:
Pait points out the university's academic spinoffs: a Bob Jones preschool, Bob Jones Elementary School, Bob Jones Junior High School, and a 600-student high school called Bob Jones Academy.
It's possible to go from preschool to a PhD and never attend a school that isn't named after Bob Jones.
Meanwhile, back to the truth that we already know:
Bob Jr. was also as fiery a fundamentalist as his father. He denounced the National Council of Churches as "satanic" and the National Association of Evangelicals as "traitors to the cause of Christ."
When Gov. George Wallace stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama to prevent a black student from registering, Bob Jr. awarded him an honorary doctorate and praised him as "David, warring against the giant, Tyranny."
In 1964, when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, Bob Jr. refused to sign a document promising not to discriminate, denouncing it as a "highhanded scheme to force all educational institutions under the control of a federal agency."
That year, Bob Jr. barnstormed for Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater under the slogan "Only a divine miracle can save America now."
But have no fear, even if the church/Bob Jones University was wrong about everything, it was surely right in general. And its pronouncements are just as essential today:
Last year, on the day after the presidential election, Dr. Bob took to the pulpit at the school's compulsory daily chapel service to read a letter he'd written to President Bush:
"In your reelection, God has granted America -- though she doesn't deserve it -- a reprieve from the agenda of paganism. . . . Don't equivocate. Put your agenda on the front burner and let it boil. You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ."
The students cheered.
And when Dr. Bob broke the news that Tom Daschle, the Senate's Democratic leader, had lost his bid for reelection, they cheered again.