April 17, 2021

Dr. Bob Jones III Steps Back Into Presidential Politics

Dr. Bob Jones, III As many of you know, I have a BS in Computer Science from Bob Jones University (located in Greenville, South Carolina). My alma mater never ceases to be a target when it comes to Presidential elections.

In the 2000 election cycle the University was pounded by negative press about its beliefs since President George W. Bush spoke there. The University had a policy of allowing political speakers to come and address the students which has been curtailed somewhat since that event.

Which is part of the reason that some of the recent activity surprises me. In an article entitled Bob Jones Dean Endorses… Romney, Michael M. Phillips reports that Robert R. Taylor (Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences) has come out in support of Mitt Romney. He believes that, of the front runners, Romney has the best record when it comes to issues that Christians care about.

What bothers me is the following quote:

Taylor acknowledged that endorsing a Mormon for president risked alienating the university’s conservative donors and alumni. But, he said, “we’re not electing a pastor — we’re electing a president.”

He’s technically right. Hence I wouldn’t have a problem voting for Romney on Scriptural grounds. What I’m having trouble with is that his duty, his mission, is to be bringing up students academically and spiritually. Who to support publicly as President seems (to me) to take a back seat to that mission, and if this stand hurts that mission, why is he doing it?

Shortly after Dr. Taylor’s announcement, Dr. Bob III (pictured above) also came out endorsing Romney.

I like Dr. Taylor. He was my Linear Algebra teacher. The guy knew any and all places that all of his students came from. He would call on you to pray, ask you where you lived, and he would tell you things around your area– even in foreign countries. He was brilliant, and a straight shooter. He expected you to have a sheet of paper at every class telling how much time you’d spent on the class since the last class and any questions that you had. He’d return answers the next class.

I look up to Dr. Bob III. He stood fast to his principles regardless of how hard it looked around him. When I think of a man who has a close relationship with God, a man who prays, he’s one of the men that comes to mind. He has the students best interest in mind, and he lets it show.

That’s why I know what they’re trying to do– show the way to the candidate with the moral standards that would best represent conservative Christians– but I’m not sure that it’s the best tactic. I’m not sure about having made stands for so long in regards to Catholicism and Mormonism and then to say that the best they can do is Romney– it seems to me like they’re shortchanging God. No one is forcing them to choose “one of the front-runners”. They could choose Huckabee or any other candidate.

I just hope that they’re ready for the fallout.

— Update: Official Statement from Bob Jones University —

Bob Jones University Statement on Political Endorsements

Over the past two election cycles, Bob Jones University has become much more of a media focus than we would have chosen to be. Given that media fascination, BJU is in the news again—this time with yesterday’s endorsement of Gov. Mitt Romney for president by Dr. Bob Jones III and Dr. Bob Taylor.

Bob Jones University has never officially endorsed political candidates, and that policy remains unchanged. Each of us as U.S. citizens has the privilege and responsibility before God to examine the candidates and come to a decision of conscience about how we will cast our vote. It is in that role as private citizens that Dr. Jones III and Dr. Bob Taylor have chosen to cast their vote for Mitt Romney. Other faculty, staff and administrators will choose otherwise. In each case, however, their decision reflects only their personal choice and does not represent BJU as an organization.

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2 thoughts on “Dr. Bob Jones III Steps Back Into Presidential Politics

  1. I appreciated your comments on the endorsement issue. As a 1971 BJ grad, I have been a witness to the intersection of politics and religion insofar as BJ is concerned. I was on faculty when there was a lively debate in 1979-1980 between the supporters of John Connally and Ronald Reagan. As it happens, I was working with Bob Taylor in supporting Reagan. The rest, as they say, is history.

    The question now is whether or not Dr. Bob III and Bob Taylor should be endorsing a presidential candidate, considering the fact that Mitt Romney is obviously identified with the Mormon Church. What if the two “Dr. Bobs” endorsed a conservative Republican who happened to be Roman Catholic? Would we have a similar brouhaha? Probably so.

    I suppose it comes down to the fact that anyone can endorse whomever they want. When you are one of the leaders of fundamentalism, you are going to get attacked by the left for being so narrow-minded and violating their concept of “no religion in the marketplace of ideas.” You will also get attacked from the right by those who are supporting some other candidate with “better” conservative credentials.

    If you endorse, criticism will happen!

  2. I totally agree that any individual can endorse anyone that they wish– but I question the timing and the comment. Frankly, if you know it’s going to cause a stir against something that you believe is your calling, should you still take that stand?

    God controls the hearts of the King, and will have His will be done regardless of whether we stand up and say “I support candidate X.” But where that intersects with doing the best for the country and the University– it’s a hard call for me.

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