The chancellor of Bob Jones University on Saturday apologized for a statement he made in 1980, while president of the university, that gay people should be stoned to death. At the time, Bob Jones III told a reporter, "I'm sure this will be greatly misquoted, 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."
For several years, a group urging Bob Jones University to stop discriminating against gay people has been gathering signatures on a petition to ask Bob Jones III to apologize. On Saturday, he did, posting this on the university's blog: "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."
As the statement suggests, the university continues to call gay sexuality sinful, in violation of university rules for students or employees. The relevant university policy states in part: "Bob Jones University believes that any form of sexual immorality -- such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s biological sex -- is sinful and offensive to God."
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