Bob Jones Sees Bush Win As 'Reprieve'

New York Times/November 12, 2004

Greenville, SC -- Bob Jones III, president of the fundamentalist college that bears his name, has told President Bush he should use his electoral mandate to appoint conservative judges and approve legislation "defined by biblical norm."

"In your re-election, God has graciously granted America -- though she doesn't deserve it -- a reprieve from the agenda of paganism," Jones wrote Bush in a congratulatory letter posted on the university's Web site.

"You have been given a mandate. ... Put your agenda on the front burner and let it boil. You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ," said the letter, dated Nov. 3.

A White House spokesman said he didn't know whether the president had seen the letter.

Jonathan Pait, a spokesman for the university, said the letter was placed on the school's Web site because Jones had read it to students in chapel and many told their parents about it. He said Thursday that Jones had not received a response from the White House.

Pait said it would be a misreading of the letter to think that "everyone who voted for the Democrats is a pagan" or that "if you voted for John Kerry you are a despiser of Christ."

"For example, there are those who voted for John Kerry because they opposed the war in Iraq," Pait said. "Dr. Jones did not intend to paint everyone with that broad a brush."

Jones wrote that Bush will "have the opportunity to appoint many conservative judges and exercise forceful leadership with the Congress in passing legislation that is defined by biblical norm regarding the family, sexuality, sanctity of life, religious freedom, freedom of speech and limited government."

In February 2000, Bush spoke at Bob Jones University when he was running for his first term in the White House. At the time, the school banned interracial dating and included anti-Roman Catholic material on its Web site.

The private Christian college has since dropped the dating ban but still maintains on its Internet site material questioning Catholicism.

Bush came under fire for the visit but defended it. He later wrote Cardinal John O'Connor of New York to apologize.

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