Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bob Jones University Questions 'Fundamentalist' Label

by David Gibson

SOUTH CAROLINA -  [Bob Jones University] leaders are weighing alternatives to the "fundamentalist" label that has proudly defined the school (and a wide swath of the Bible Belt) since the 1920s. The Fine Arts program remains a distinctive feature. Music and drama are the lifeblood of the curriculum as students perform Shakespeare and other theatrical productions, and the university puts on a major opera every year. An art museum on campus features Renaissance and Baroque religious paintings in a collection that is one of the best in the country. School officials insist that BJU's beliefs and mission have not changed; it's just the focus is more than ever on a "biblically-based liberal arts education" for students, as Weier pus it, be they aspiring housewives or pastors. It started in 2005, when the mantle of university president passed to Stephen Jones, Bob Jones III's son and the first person not named Bob Jones to lead school since its founding in 1927. The youngest Jones quickly distanced himself from the political legacy of his predecessors. "There were things said back then that I wouldn't say today," Stephen Jones said in 2005. [link]