University chancellor says sorry for calling for gays to be stoned to death, 35 years later
Bob Jones III, the former president of the evangelical Bob Jones University, has finally apologised for calling for homosexuals to be stoned to death.
In 1980, the then-president of the private Christian university stirred anger when he suggested that America would be better off if gay men and lesbians were stoned to death.
He has since refused to apologise, maintaining his stance on the issue for over three decades.
However, after the university received a petition calling for him to disown the comments, Dr Jones has finally said sorry and admitted he was wrong.
The evangelical preacher said: “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.
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“Neither before, nor since, that event in 1980 have I ever advocated the stoning of sinners.
“The Bible I love, preach, and try to practice, does not present today the stoning of sinners as God’s way.
“Its message is the good news that Christ Jesus was condemned on behalf of sinners to rescue all of us from condemnation and judgment by His willing sacrifice, for He was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
“I apologize for the reflection those remarks bring upon Jesus Christ, Whom I love; Bob Jones University, which I have loved and served; and my own personal testimony.”
Jeffrey Hoffman of BJUnity – which supports people who have come out as gay after attending the university – told WSPA: “It is never too late to say you’re sorry.
“Most people are just shocked. We never expected to see an apology.”