Bob Jones III, now the chancellor of Bob Jones University, issued a statement apologizing for comments he made in 1980 that called for the stoning of gays and lesbians. Jones was president of the university when he told the Associated Press: “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 posthaste if homosexuals were stoned, if murderers were immediately killed as the Bible commands.”
Jones issued a statement denouncing his own remarks shortly after BJUnity, a group that offers support for current and former students at Bob Jones University who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, delivered a 2,000-signature petition calling for an apology for the statements made 35 years ago. Jones issued the apology on Saturday but that doesn’t mean he has fully changed his mind about gays, still referring to them as sinners, according to the statement posted by local CBS affiliate WSPA:
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.