Ex-Bob Jones president apologizes for 1980 call for stoning gays, then calls them sinners

Ex-Bob Jones president apologizes for 1980 call for stoning gays, then calls them sinners
Bob Jones III
Bob Jones III

GREENVILLE, S.C. — The former president of Bob Jones University has apologized for saying in 1980 that gays should be stoned, calling his comments at the White House reckless and inflammatory and that he no longer condones “the stoning of sinners.”

Bob Jones III, then president of the fundamentalist university in Greenville, was in Washington with other ministers to oppose extending Civil Rights Act protections to gays.

There, Jones told The Associated Press at a news conference that it would not be a bad idea to bring swift justice by stoning homosexuals and immediately killing murderers.

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In a statement Saturday, Jones said he takes personal ownership for the “reckless statement” and “inflammatory rhetoric.” He said they don’t reflect his beliefs or preaching.

“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.

The university had earlier received a petition with 2,000 signatures seeking an apology for the remarks.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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