A Brave New World

Dear Dr. Bob:

I am not your enemy.

Because of the school your grandfather founded I have a community of friends that I could favorably compare to any family in the world. But you see the world as either “for you”, or “against you”. And for that, I feel sorry for you. I wish you could see the world as I do, as a place filled with God’s creatures finding their own way in this world. Perhaps someday you will.

This is the second open letter I’ve written to you. The last was published in numerous alternative papers in May 2005 when you retired as president of Bob Jones University and passed the mantle to your son Stephen. The gist of that letter was that even though you called for my death as a 12-year old in 1980, when I was a 7th-grader at Bob Jones Junior High School, the only emotion I felt was gratitude that I had gotten over the self-hatred I learned from you.

Today, however, I’m going a step further.

I’m asking for an apology.

From you.

Here is the petition. We already have hundreds of signatures, much to my surprise.

Here’s what you told a reporter for the associated press:

“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.”

Bob Jones University has stated that it does not now nor has it ever advocated the stoning of homosexuals. Any statement in 1980 was your own opinion. But we all know that YOU, sir, ARE Bob Jones University. Rather than recant what you said 31 years ago you’ve repeated it and instilled it as a philosophy of your institution. We know. We were there.

Just this week BJU has stated it will seek regional accreditation. If that’s the case, you will need to recognize that we homosexuals exist, even at your own university. Perhaps it’s time you began recognizing us.

You can begin.

With an apology.

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5 Responses to “A Brave New World”

  1. Maestro JHoffman Says:

    A clarion call from a thoughtful and truly compassionate individual, one I am so very proud to call my friend.

  2. Scott Meeker Says:

    Very well written!

  3. Christopher Stribley Says:

    Well said. I would like to think that your thoughtful response to this man’s venomous spoutings would bring forth something resembling a change of heart, but I think we all know that his response will yet again be one of belittlement to us and our community. I certainly appreciate your effort and am proud to know you. Thank You.

  4. Dee Ellis Says:

    RICH, i AM SO SORRY THAT A MAN WHO TEACHES THE BIBLE COULD BE SO MEAN AND HEARTLESS. i DON’T BELIEVE MOST PEOPLE WHO SEND THEIR CHILDREN THERE KNOW THIS ABOUT THE SCHOOL.
    WHAT HE SAID TO YOU AT THE AGE 12 COULD DISTURB A BOY FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. PLEASE FORGIVE HIM SO YOU CAN GET THE BITTERNESS OUT OF YOU.

  5. Deborah Lazaroff Says:

    Excellent letter, Rich. I’ve signed the petition and I stand behind you 100%. Thanks for being my friend. 🙂


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