Skip to main content
CNN.com /transcript
CNN TV
EDITIONS

CNN LARRY KING WEEKEND

The Best of Exclusive Interviews With Bob Jones

Aired June 3, 2001 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: he's been called racist, anti- Catholic, a right-wing zealot too; and the only interviews he's done, he's done with us. A look back at our exclusive conversations with Bob Jones III, president of Bob Jones University, next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.

Thanks for joining us. Our focus tonight is one of the most controversial figures in America, a man who played a prominent role in the 2000 presidential race, and John Ashcroft's nomination as Attorney General. In February of last year, then Presidential Candidate George W. Bush spoke at Bob Jones University. Soon after the visit, Bush came under heavy fire. Some critics said he should have spoken out against the schools ban on interracial dating, or its perceived anti- Catholic bias. Others argued he shouldn't have gone to the school at all.

Bob Jones, President of Bob Jones University was suddenly thrust into the political spotlight. In his first national television interview, I asked for his thoughts about this sudden notoriety.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, MARCH 3, 2000)

BOB JONES III, PRESIDENT, BOB JONES UNIVERSITY: Well its something we obviously could have done without. You've talked about the now-controversial Bob Jones University. The truth is, I guess we've always been controversial.

KING: Yeah, but never like this, right? You've never been the center of a campaign.

JONES: No, we've been controversial -- you know, we believe in the Bible and that makes you controversial today. But somehow this has been brought up in the middle of the campaign in a most inexplicable way.

KING: Does it annoy you?

JONES: No, not really. You know, we feel like the Lord owns the university, it's his school. It's been there 73 years. And if he allowed this to happen, then we're content. We're just trying to figure out what the meaning is.

KING: But so much of it has been negative towards you. Has that effected you, emotionally? JONES: No, not really. The peace of God is a wonderful thing. The sovereignty of God is a wonderful thing, and he's in charge, so it doesn't bother me.

KING: Let's trace a little, Bob, the history of this school. Your grandfather started it, right?

JONES: That's right.

KING: As a reason for starting it, did he feel a need for this?

JONES: Good question, Larry, he was an evangelist, a contemporary of Billy Sunday (ph) back in the teens and twenties of this country. And as he traveled, he found that young people were having their faith stolen, their morals destroyed at college.

He said, you know, there needs to be a place where they can get the highest in academics and not come away with their faith destroyed, but strengthened. And their confidence in the Bible strengthened. So he said, we'll start a school. My grandmother said, Bob, you're crazy. And he said, well, I know I'm not an educator, but I can borrow the educational brains.

So he did, he knew his limitations. He said, but I know the philosophy that ought to be here. And so a little school started with 85 students in North Florida and the rest of the story is today.

KING: How long -- it moved to South Carolina soon after?

JONES: It moved to Tennessee, after the Great Depression, which hit two years after the founding of the college. And there was no money, and people paid for tuition with their vegetables from their father's gardens. They moved up to Tennessee, near Chattanooga, to be a little closer to people, and easier access.

And then in 1946 after World War II, there was this huge influx of veterans. They had seen their friends blown to bits in foxholes. They understood that eternity was real and soon. And all that mattered to them was getting in ready to live with Christ eternally. So, they used the GI Bill, and they started flooding -- we couldn't expand -- so we were looking for a place. And the Lord led us to Greenville, South Carolina.

KING: All right, the concept of the school, it is a Christian training? In fact, you call it a traditional bible believing Christian place, right?

JONES: That's right, yes, good definition.

KING: Do you have post-graduate studies?

JONES: Yes.

KING: In?

JONES: In education, in religion, and in fine arts. KING: So there is no law school or medical school?

JONES: No.

KING: Do many of your children go on to law schools and medical schools?

JONES: Oh yes.

KING: At major universities?

JONES: Oh yes. We have...

KING: If you're not accredited, do they have a problem getting into post-graduate schools?

JONES: Some times they have a problem, but, you know, people from accredited colleges do too. I'll give you an example. One of our graduates recently told me that two years ago he went to the University of Virginia Medical School. I said, how many were in your freshman class? He said 127 of us. I said, how many applicants were there? He said, 4700.

KING: Wow.

JONES: So, he got in but Harvard and Yale and Stanford graduates didn't. So, there's no guarantee that accreditation will get your in.

KING: Now, let's get over discussing some of the restrictions. And then we'll discuss some of the things that are in the news, and we'll deal with politics and take some calls. Why can't black kids date white kids? Because you didn't take black kids for a long time, right?

JONES: Well, 50 percent of American colleges, as late as the mid-1960s still didn't take black students.

KING: But you were late.

JONES: 1970, so we weren't that late. Forman (ph) University in our town took their first black, I believe it was, in '65. Clemson in '63. So, you know, we're not exclusive in this by any means.

KING: But will you admit, as Jerry Falwell has said, you were wrong? You should have taken them.

JONES: Yes, we do, of course we do.

KING: Why -- explain this -- why they can't date?

JONES: Well, being a Bible believing institution Larry, we try to base things on Bible principle. The problem we have today is that our principle is so greatly misunderstood. People think we don't let them date because we're racist. In order to be racist, you have to treat people differently. We don't. We don't let them date because we were trying as an example to enforce something, a principle that is much greater than this. We stand against the one world government, against the coming world of Antichrist. Which is a one-world system, a blending of all differences, a blending of national differences, economic differences, church differences into a big, one ecumenical world.

The Bible is very clear about this. We said, you know, way back years ago, when we first had a problem -- which was by the way, we started this principle in the mid-'50s. I was a college student at BJU at the time. And it was with an Asian and Caucasian, we didn't even have black students for another 15 years. So, it was not put there as a black thing.

KING: So the fear of one world relates back to two people dating?

JONES: Yeah. We realize that interracial marriage is not going to bring in the world the Antichrist, by any means. But if we as Christians stand for Christ, and not Antichrist, and we see -- we're against the one world church. We're against one economy, one political system. We see what the Bible says about this.

So we say, OK, if they are going to blend this world, and interracial marriage is a genetic blending, which is a very definite sort of blending. We said, let's put this policy in here, because we're against the one world church.

And way back 17 years ago, when I was on your program, I was saying on programs all across America, we're not going to the Supreme Court fighting for our rule, we're fighting for our right to it. There's a religious freedom issue, that's all we...

KING: You are a private institution, you don't get the tax benefit, but you are entitled to the thing. I'm trying to find out why you have the rule.

JONES: Yes, we have the rule because it was a part of a bigger -- it was a -- it wasn't the rule itself. We can't point to a verse in the Bible that says you shouldn't date or marry interracially.

KING: You can't back it up.

JONES: No, we can't back it up with a verse in the Bible. We never have tried to; we never have tried to do that. But we said there is a principle here, an overriding principle, the one world government.

But let me tell you how insignificant this is: Students never hear it preached. There have been four, five, six generations of students that graduated from there, have never heard this preached in our chapel, or taught in our schools. To us it's...

KING: But it's the rule thought. They know they can't.

JONES: It is, but it is the most insignificant thing. But now, we're being defined as a racist school. I mean, that's all the media talks about.

KING: Partly, during the era -- you know, the era of segregation -- segregationists said, but we're not racists. We just think the races should be apart. They should be treated equally, but not together. And that was regarded as kind of a cop out.

I mean, you could change that. Do you think it's a stretch, maybe? In other words, have you given thought to, maybe, that's taking it too far, down to two people into a whole one-world concept?

JONES: I don't think it's taking it too far, but I can tell you this, we don't have to have that rule. In fact as of today, we've dropped the rule. We've dropped the rule for this reason...

KING: Today?

JONES: Today. I met with the administrators this afternoon before coming here. Let me tell you why we dropped it. We don't want this to be a stumbling -- here's a great institution, one of the premier academic institutions in America, one of the premier Christian colleges in America. We have a broader testimony. And if all anybody can see is this rule, which we never talk about or preach -- which most of our students couldn't even tell you what it is.

It's that unimportant to us. I said that our administration -- and you know, guys, this thing is of such insignificance to us. It is so significant to the world at large, the media in particular. Why should we have this here as an obstacle? It hurts our graduates. We love our graduates greatly. It hurts maybe the church as well. I don't want to hurt the church and Jesus Christ.

KING: It's involved in the presidential race.

JONES: It's involved in the presidential race.

KING: It caused a presidential candidate to write a letter to a cardinal.

JONES: Yeah, well...

KING: I'll get to that in a minute.

JONES: OK. But I want to tell you...

KING: It's ended.

JONES: It is ended. Now I wanted to be very clear why it is ended. Our concern for the cause of Christ, our concern for our graduates, our concern for our testimony, our concern for the schools broader usefulness: is greater to us than a rule that we never talk about and that is meaningless to us. The principle upon which it is based is very important.

KING: I understand.

JONES: But the rule itself is not. So we did away with it. KING: We'll be back with more. Here's what some of the students -- we went down and asked them -- think of their school. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: I believe, personally, my own personal belief is that God has made races perfect. God has made whites perfect, and blacks and Orientals. And he hasn't given us any reason to intermix those races. But he has made them perfect. It's not a policy that discriminates against the whites, or the blacks, or the Orientals. But it's a policy that is equal to all three of the...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, MARCH 3, 2000)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: I understood the policy when I came here, and if I didn't -- couldn't abide by it, then I would just would have applied to somewhere else. If they asked us to wear stocking caps in summertime, then I could either do it or I can go somewhere else.

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT: The students don't talk about it a lot, because it's not something that is a big issue to us because we all know, you know, that when you come here you're going to have to deal with that. And if it's going to be a problem, then don't come here to school.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: All right, if you joined us late, we have just learned, as of today, this afternoon, that there is no more ban on interracial dating at Bob Jones University.

How about some other things, before we get into the political aspect. The school is free of drugs, sex, and alcohol. You have a dress code. Anyone breaks this, they're out -- right?

JONES: Well, not every rule.

KING: I mean, not the dress code, but I mean, if you break the drug code, you're out.

JONES: Oh yes, absolutely.

KING: If you have a drug addict, you don't try to help them? Or you throw them out?

JONES: Well, our first obligation is to the Christian student who means business for the Lord. So we send this young man or young lady to their pastor and ask for help in that arena. We -- a young man or young lady who has come to us, recently converted, was no longer on drugs, of course we grow them.

KING: No music, movies, TV, Internet access: why? All those things are learning processes -- bad and good, but they're learning process.

JONES: We have Internet access. We have a filtered Internet access.

KING: You have -- certain things are not allowed in.

JONES: Yeah, yeah certain things.

KING: But why not movies and music, television?

JONES: I think the entertainment industry has been one of the most debilitating factors in our nation's moral decline. You know, I think when a 6-year-old boy shoots a 6-year-old girl, I mean this is a new low in America. It happened two days ago, you are well aware.

I think we're seeing the fruit of Godlessness. I think the media -- I think the media is very anti-God. You know, you'll never see a normal preacher, hardly ever see a normal family on there. Their values are skewed.

And we say, you know, we Christians ought to feed our minds and souls on better stuff than this, wholesome stuff -- not perversity.

KING: But doctor, there's a lot of good stuff on television.

JONES: Well sure, oh...

KING: And there's a lot of good stuff in movies.

JONES: Well you're on TV...

KING: And there is a lot of good music. I mean, there's some bad music, but there's good -- but why not let the individual, free will, make their own selection process? Why would God not want that?

JONES: Well, of course individuals at home do. When a young person comes to Bob Jones University he's coming, as it were, to a boot camp. We're training servants of Christ for his army, if you will.

KING: Well, you have a reason for being...

JONES: Yeah...

KING: So therefore the parent who sends their child to you knows that these are the rules. But the rules benefit them, how? How is a child benefited by not seeing a movie?

JONES: I believe the part of man that we feed is the part of man that grows strong. We feed the flesh, the flesh will grow strong. We feed the spirit, the spirit will grow strong. What we starve, atrophies. Most people today have fed themselves on the entertainment media. I think we have become enslaved by it. A person can hardly sit down today without a movie or without music or something going on. Now there's obviously good music, there's obviously good movies. But when young people come to Bob Jones University we're trying to wean them away from the feeding of the flesh and take them to the scriptures, take them to a wholesome environment, to the feeding of the spirit.

It doesn't mean there is not a place in life for all of us to have good uplifting: classical music, good music, good entertainment, good novels, good whatever. You know, there's so much that is good. But we are trying to take a young branch, if you will, and straighten it back up with the discipline of the word of God, so it can grow straight and tall again. That's what it's all about. We're trying to take away that which has bent it over.

KING: More with Dr. Bob Jones of Bob Jones University on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE, don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Tonight we're taking a look back at our exclusive interviews with the controversial Bob Jones, President of Bob Jones University. That university is known as a conservative institution. I wondered just how conservative.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, MARCH 3, 2000)

KING: Can students date at Bob Jones University?

JONES: Oh yeah, I found my wife there.

KING: Can they dance?

JONES: No.

KING: Can they hold hands?

JONES: No.

KING: Why is holding hands bad?

JONES: It's not bad in itself. But the Bible teaches us to be distrustful of the flesh. It says put no confidence in the flesh. The physical familiarity in a close environment of young people can get out of hand very quickly, out of control very quickly.

We feel like we want to promote an atmosphere for young people to their parents that says, we're going to do everything we can to help your young person walk with God, love God, serve God. We're going to do everything we can to keep this fleshly nature of ours from taking control of us. So that's why. It's the first step to the future.

KING: Hard, isn't it, for them?

JONES: Sure it is. KING: Yeah. OK, let's move to the printed criticism, and it's all over the stories tonight in New York of your criticism of the Catholic Church. Will you explain your feelings about the Catholic Church, and also the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. What is the argument of the Bob Jones theory against that?

JONES: Well it is really not the Bob Jones theory, Larry. This is what the Reformation was all about a long time ago. You know, this goes back to...

KING: The pope.

JONES: Yeah, and before him to Wickliff (ph) in the 1300s in England. It's called the Morning Star of the Reformation. Bob Jones University believes in the Bible. If there is doctrine in any other church contrary to the Bible, we can't feel good about that. I mean, the way we feel about the Catholic Church or Mormonism, or Buddhism or Hinduism or anything else, is that, you know, we wish these people knew the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord delivers liberal Protestants, atheists, unsaved people of any faith. Delivers them from the bondage of sin to Christ...

KING: That's what the Catholics say.

JONES: The Catholics say the deliverance is in the grace that is imparted through the transubstantiation that takes place in the offering of the sacraments, the elements of the sacraments.

KING: Original sin?

JONES: Takes away -- you know, the Catholics are very strong on the infallibility of the pope.

KING: So why have you called it a cult, though? I mean, OK, they're entitled to their opinion. It's a different opinion then yours. Why say that they are a cult? Why say that that's some sort of mysterious kind of thing that's bad?

JONES: Well, cult has, I admit, a connotation of something sinister or small...

KING: It does.

JONES: ... and underhanded. Cult also means, according to the dictionary -- I looked it up this afternoon, because I figured you would ask this question. It also has the broader meaning of strict adherence to any faith. Now...

KING: Then you're a cult.

JONES: Catholics would say we are. Mormons would say we are. In fact, I was reading in "Newsweek" article today written in 1996 about the pope's visit to South America. And he was railing against the Protestants there. And the whole article was about how strong he was. He called them a sect. So I guess what we're dealing with here, is that any group calls anybody else outside of its group, sect, cult, whatever and looks with suspicion upon it.

KING: The argument against the Mormons is what?

JONES: Mormonism is a pantheist -- a religion of -- well, it doesn't teach the same thing about Jesus Christ that we teach. Mormonism teaches that Jesus Christ and Lucifer were brothers. That they were spirit children that God and his wife fathered in heaven. And that when there's a Mormon marriage in the temple, and so forth and so on, that that couple when they die go to a planet and people it with spirit children, just like God and his wife peopled heaven. And that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers, and that Lucifer rebelled, and Jesus sided with the Father, therefore he has -- the Bible teaches very clearly that Jesus Christ is God. He is not a created being, he is God. He is, in essence he is very God of very God.

KING: When you get noted as condemning faiths, what would have happened -- and you know it's become part now of the political -- if George Bush, in his speech at your university. He later, three weeks later, said that he disagreed with this concept of your church, and then wrote a letter to Cardinal O'Connor in New York. If he had spoken against it in that day at your university, what would have happened? Would the students have booed? Would you have been angry?

JONES: No, as a matter of fact, one week later -- or maybe it was two weeks later Alan Keyes came and did very -- that very thing.

KING: Criticized.

JONES: Yes.

KING: And how was he treated?

JONES: He was well received, he was very well received. I got up afterwards, and I told him I appreciated his frankness. And when I got through he came to the platform and hugged me. And I hugged him. He was treated royally.

KING: So Governor Bush could have taken that approach that day.

JONES: Well, of course he could. But you know what, Larry? Until now, nobody has ever expected a candidate -- I mean this whole thing is so unreasonable. If a candidate has to disassociate himself from anything he might disagree with -- at a venue where he finds himself speaking, he can't go anywhere and speak. He'd never get to his speech.

This whole thing has never happened before. They did this to hurt George Bush. I think the media did this to hurt George Bush and promote McCain. And this thing has just gotten so out of hand. All of a sudden the university is at the center of the American Republican presidential debate, and who would have ever thought that this could have ever happened. We've had candidates come and speak for us for as long as I can remember. Ronald Reagan's been there. Bob Dole has been there. Jack Kent...

KING: Not many Democrats, right?

JONES: No, just the Republicans who are the conservative ones, you know. We wouldn't invite McCain there, either.

KING: He's conservative.

JONES: Not to our way of thinking. I think, you know, he could very easily have the democratic label upon him.

KING: But you would just -- you would probably disagree with George Bush on immigration. He's much more for an open policy.

JONES: Obviously we don't subscribe to everything a candidate -- I mean, we couldn't invite any candidate if that were the case.

KING: Let me get a break, and we'll find out -- let's go further with this. Here's what Governor Bush had to say in his most recent remarks about this topic.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MARCH 2, 2000)

GOV. GEORGE BUSH, (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I regret is somebody ascribing to me opinions and views that are not my views; calling me an anti-Catholic bigot is not right.

JUDY WOODRUFF, MODERATOR: But you don't regret having gone there?

BUSH: No, I don't regret going to many places, but I do regret guilt by association and politics. I do regret people labeling me for something I'm not. I've got a record of inclusion in the state of Texas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, MARCH 3, 2000)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW": And I heard later you were talking about you didn't realize that the people of this university -- I guess Bob Jones his own self -- had been sort of attacking your father when he was in office. And yet you show up there on campus. Now to me I'm thinking, do I have the best staff I need to be running this campaign?

Did heads roll there governor? BUSH: Heads got knocked, that's right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Dr. Bob Jones III. By the way it was mentioned there, in the Letterman piece, did you call George W. Bush's father a devil?

JONES: You know, I did. Let me tell you why I did. I'm sorry I did. We've all said things we wish we hadn't said.

KING: You bet.

JONES: I was caught up in the fervor of the conservative movement at that time which really was sorry that Ronald Reagan put George Bush as his running mate on the ticket. I mean, everybody was calling him a lot of names then. But I got to know more about him. I became quite benign toward him. In fact I was his guest in the White House at one time. And...

KING: Really?

JONES: He didn't hold that against me.

KING: No, he forgave you? I mean, did he bring it up?

JONES: Well, I mean, he didn't say he did -- no. But he had me there. And we were together on other occasions in a very comfortable manner. And I came to enjoy the man's company a lot. And I have a whole different view of him today.

JONES: So you -- but you don't like being tossed in this political arena, do you?

JONES: No, you know...

KING: You have no choice now.

JONES: Yeah, we don't really belong there, yeah, right.

KING: And if you had to do it over again, you would not dis- invite the governor. I'm sure if he had it to do over, he would discuss his feelings about Catholicism and interracial dating, I'm sure.

JONES: You know, as Protestants, anybody who knows that we are Baptist Protestant people should know that we obviously don't agree with Catholic doctrine. But there is nobody that has ever accused us of hating Catholics who knows us. The state Attorney General, Charlie Condon is my friend...

KING: Attorney General of South Carolina.

JONES: Of South Carolina.

He called me twice last week. He said, Bob, they're treating the school wrong. You know I'm a Catholic. But, he said, I've known you, I've known other, many from the university. He said, not once has anybody ever shown any disrespect. Obviously we have our doctrinal differences. But he said, your people are kind and gracious. And he said, I'll go on any program and say that anywhere.

KING: But if you called the pope the Antichrist, you will offend Catholics. I mean, that is logical to think that, right? Just as if I said something derogatory about Jesus Christ, I would offend you.

JONES: Yes, but you know, the Westminster Confession of Faith, which is supposed to be believed by all Presbyterians that have embraced the Westminster Confession as their doctrinal basis. Article six of the Westminster Confession calls the Pope an Antichrist. This -- there's a long tradition for this. In fact Wickliff (ph), that I talked about a while ago in the 14th century, he called the pope an Antichrist. So, Protestants do not -- the pope doesn't go down well with Protestants, OK?

KING: What's the feeling of your institution toward gays?

JONES: We believe it is very clear from the scripture that homosexuality is a sin. Very clear. Adultery is a sin, there are many other sins.

KING: But adultery is a chosen act. Do you think homosexuality is chosen? That someone decides hetero, homo, hetero, homo; I'll be homo?

JONES: No, absolutely not. God would not call it a sin if it were something that a person couldn't help. God would be cruel to send a man to hell over something he couldn't help.

KING: So you think he does choose it?

JONES: I think he does choose it, absolutely he chooses it.

KING: But why would someone choose homosexuality? If he had the choice in this world, where you are going to be hit against and discriminated against, why would you choose homosexuality?

JONES: Why would a man choose to break his wife's heart and cheat on his wife? Why would a man choose to take drugs and destroy himself? Why would he choose to -- it's part of the perversity of sin, that any of us choose sin. Man is a sinner by choice. Man chooses to do wrong. Man chooses to hurt the heart of God.

KING: If you were gay, you couldn't be a student?

JONES: No, we would not keep a student in school, we would not keep an adulterer in school. We would not keep a thief in school.

KING: You put that in the same category though? You put a gay in a category with a thief or an adulterer?

JONES: Well any sin, any sin... KING: The hardest thing -- I have discussed this with others in the clergy, I've never understood it -- because do you know when you chose heterosexuality? I mean if homosexuality is chosen, then heterosexuality must be chosen. Did you make a conscious decision one day to like women?

JONES: No, heterosexuality -- according to Genesis, when he created women for the man and of the man. And said they two shall be one flesh. That's...

KING: Do you think that's natural?

JONES: That is a God-given natural choice. God ordained that. God put that in me. Homosexuality is a perversity. It is a choice of sin.

KING: But God loves the sinner as much as he loves you.

JONES: Absolutely...

KING: Right? So he loves the gay.

JONES: The homosexual...

KING: He loves the pope.

JONES: Yes. The homosexual can be saved -- the pope could be saved if he would embrace Jesus Christ and his finished work on the cross as the only means of salvation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: When we come back, another speaker at Bob Jones University comes under scrutiny. Exclusive video of some of those controversial comments, when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back. Tonight we're looking back at some of our exclusive interviews with Bob Jones. In May of 1999, then Republican Senator John Ashcroft was given an honorary degree at Bob Jones University. Also honored: GOP Congressman Asa Hutchinson and Lindsay Graham.

During the contentious hearings on Ashcroft's nomination for Attorney General, the Senate Judiciary Committee asked for a video tape of the ceremony. Bob Jones came on LARRY KING LIVE and allowed us to broadcast that tape exclusively. Before we got to the video, I asked why Ashcroft had been honored by BJU.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, JANUARY 12, 2001)

JONES: He was the first senator, I understood, at that time and still believe to be true, who called for President Clinton's resignation in order to avoid the nation's embarrassment and the lengthy hearings, and the impeachment trial that he had to go through. That was a courageous thing in our estimation.

And at the same time we honored two of the floor managers from the House, who were quite prominent in that whole impeachment event, Lindsay Graham, and Asa Hutchinson. Both, all three of these men had been marked by the Clinton Administration for political destruction at the next election. And so while they were being slapped on the back, we wanted to give them honor. And so, that's what it was all about. We felt they were courageous, we felt like they had done the nation a favor.

KING: And do you always by matter or form tape your ceremonies, your graduation ceremonies and the speeches made?

JONES: Yes, we give those, we sell those actually to the graduates and their families.

KING: Now in this case, this speech now. The committee that is looking into this, Judiciary, wants to see the tape. They have not seen it yet. No one has seen it yet until we show it in just a moment. I understand they got a transcript of it, is that correct, to your knowledge Dr. Jones?

JONES: We heard, late this afternoon, that the Republicans had received a transcript. And that was the first we'd -- oh maybe about 5:00 we heard that. I don't know where they got it.

KING: Senator Leahy said that wouldn't be good enough. He wants to see the tape. And so Senator Patrick Leahy will now get that opportunity. We're going to show it to you. And then we'll, Dr. Jones will be with us for the full hour and we'll talk about it.

This is the tape the Judiciary Committee will see. No one has seen it yet, but the officials at Bob Jones and the people in our room in the control room in Atlanta. We're in Los Angeles, so we're going to ask them to punch it up now. Here was the address given by Senator John Ashcroft upon receiving an honorary degree in 1999 -- May of '99 at Bob Jones University. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MAY 8, 1999)

SEN. JOHN ASHCROFT (R), MISSOURI: I want to thank each of you for investing yourselves in the mission of Christ, of redemption and forgiveness, and for preparing yourselves in the way that you have.

A slogan of the American Revolution, which was so distressing to the emissaries of the king that it was found in correspondence sent back to England, was the line "We have no king but Jesus." Tax collectors came, asking for that which belonged to the king, and colonists frequently said, "We have no king but Jesus."

It found its way into the fundamental documents of this great country. You could quote the Declaration with me. "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights."

Unique among the nations, America recognized the source of our character as being godly and eternal, not being civic and temporal. And because we have understood that our source is eternal, America has been different: We have no king but Jesus.

It is not accidental that America has been the home of the brave and the land of the free, the place where mankind has had the greatest of all opportunities to approach the potential that God has placed within us. It has been because we knew that we were endowed not by the king, but by the creator with certain inalienable rights.

If America is to be great in the future, it will be if we understand that our source is not civic and temporal, but our source is godly and eternal, endowed by the creator with the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I thank God for this institution and for you, who recognize and commit yourselves to the proposition that we were so created, and that to live with respect to the Creator promises us the greatest potential as a nation and as individuals. And for such, we must reacquaint ourselves daily with His call upon our lives.

Thank you. God bless you. And thank you for honoring me by allowing me to stand with Asa and Lindsey and the great governor.

God bless you, everyone.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We'll be right back with Bob Jones. Dr. Jones is the president of Bob Jones University. He's our guest for the hour. We will be including your phone calls. That's the first airing of this tape. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MAY 8, 1999)

ASHCROFT: There's a difference between a culture that has no king but Caesar, no standard but the civil authority, and a culture that has no king but Jesus, no standard but the eternal authority.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, JANUARY 12, 2001)

KING: When Senator Ashcroft made that speech, that was at the time where you had banned interracial dating; right? Subsequently, you changed that one this program. Am I correct?

JONES: Yes, that's correct.

KING: Did Senator Ashcroft know that interracial dating was banned at Bob Jones University when he accepted that?

JONES: I have no way of knowing that, but I seriously doubt that he did. And you know, when a man accepts an honorary degree, in no way does that imply that he endorses whatever it is that the granting institution might hold. We gave what we thought was a gift of proper recognition to a man who is a good man, who did a noble thing in our eyes. We gave him a gift, and the receipt of that gift does not imply to any thinking person that he believes confidently and everything that the giver might believe or espouse.

KING: Since we would guess that you agreed with everything he said in that very short acceptance address, does it give you concern that as attorney general, he has to -- a lot of things divide church and state, and that he was putting together church and state a little there or do you think not?

JONES: No, Larry, I really don't. In fact, I think he was being quite Reaganesque. It grieves me to hear what you've just told your listeners about former President Reagan, who most of America admired so greatly. John Ashcroft is very much Reaganesque. The values are quite similar, actually, and, none of us -- so many of us loved and embraced and applauded Reagan's values, and I think for the same reason the same people should be so thankful that there is a man like John Ashcroft who can enforce the laws of this land.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Are you surprised at all? Are you surprised at the furor?

JONES: Very surprised. But -- but not considering the source. Not considering the source. They -- the raucous and radical left, which by no means do I think is in the mainstream of society or political thought, makes a lot of noise, does a lot of self-serving fund-raising by this kind of thing, but I don't believe they represent middle America; mom and pop, and kids in homes, and so I'm not I'm not surprised considering the source, and I fully believe that this good man will be appointed and that the nation will be well off with this man looking after the laws that he is sworn to uphold.

KING: In all fairness, would you agree that the radical right also doesn't represent the majority of thinking in this country?

JONES: No, I don't think so. But, you know, to the radical left, anybody to the right of them is radical right. So, I think when you talk about the mainstream you've got to cut off the radicals on both ends and then you have middle America, obviously.

KING: We'll be right back with Bob Jones and more phone calls. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Back with Dr. Bob Jones, president of Bob Jones University.

Do you like -- do you kind of enjoy being in the middle of controversy? I mean, does it affect the university at all? Does it affect the fund-raising, all of this? Does it affect future speakers? JONES: Well, it may affect future speakers. It depends upon what happens in the months ahead, and I guess how courageous they may be. But, obviously, it affects the university. And, no, we don't enjoy being in controversy. And it is really funny. I mean, we have done a lot of laughing around here lately that the university should be in this controversy.

KING: Why?

JONES: Well, because, a -- never before, never before in history has an attorney general's political views -- have an attorney general's political views entered into his qualification for being attorney general: his personal qualifications, his judicial qualifications, but never his political qualifications. I mean, his predecessor, Janet Reno, is a radical leftist. And nobody ever said: You hold leftist views. And, therefore, we think you are unqualified and you would not administer laws fairly.

And to apply standards to this appointment that they never applied to any attorney general before is just mind-boggling and shows tremendous prejudice, negative prejudice. And, therefore, you know, the fact that this man, in a very innocent moment, receiving an honorary degree, somehow being superimposed upon his qualifications to be attorney general, it just doesn't add up. It is not in sync. And that's why I've been so amazed.

KING: Janet Reno had no political record, other than being a state's attorney in Dade County many years. She had never made political statements, left or right. While in Dade County, she just was a prosecutor. She didn't hold Senate office or governorship offices where you could criticize her record.

JONES: But the truth is that all of President Clinton's Cabinet, for eight years, was leftist. It reflected his very liberal political views.

KING: Do you include Senator William Cohen of Maine?

JONES: I'm not as familiar with him as I am of some of the others, but I would have to say that every one I knew about was absolutely liberal -- absolutely liberal. The Bush Cabinet reflects the most balance of any Cabinet that I have ever seen in my lifetime. I mean, when a man becomes president, it's obvious that he is going to surround himself with people who will help him promote his agenda, his beliefs.

KING: Yes.

JONES: And so that's expected.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: On February 1 this year, the Senate voted to confirm John Ashcroft as Attorney General; the vote was 58 to 42.

When we return, Bob Jones on religion and politics. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back to this exclusive look at Bob Jones from various interviews.

Last August, Senator Joseph Lieberman became the first Jewish man picked to run on a major party's presidential ticket. A few days after Vice President Gore announced his choice, we asked Bob Jones for his reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, AUGUST 10, 2000)

JONES: I think that his choice was a very astute political choice made by Mr. Gore, who was a partner in the morally deficient administration along with Bill Clinton. And he needed to get all of that monkey off his back, as it were, and present a different face, and he's done that, artfully, skillfully, and Mr. Lieberman is without question a devout man, a good man, an apparently morally good man, and I think all Americans can rejoice, that there is such a man on this ticket, and I think that if he were at the top of the Democratic ticket, it would make the ticket a lot more palatable to people who still don't find it very palatable.

KING: And anti-Semitism would not wreak its ugly head?

JONES: I should hope not. I think that would be utterly abhorrent. I just can't imagine that it would do so. It certainly would not with any Christians that I know. And I think the Christians I have talked to about Senator Lieberman all are just very happy that here is a man who has voted against the death penalty, and for prayer in schools, and for a national missile defense and a lot of other rather Republican things. And it's going to be interesting.

KING: He is for death penalty. You said against. He's for the death penalty.

JONES: For the death penalty, yes.

KING: In one of the early Republican presidential debates, Governor George W. Bush was asked what philosopher or thinker he most identified with. His answer was Jesus Christ.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, DECEMBER 13, 1999)

BUSH: When you turn your heart and your life over to Christ, when you accept Christ as a savior, it changes your heart and changes your life, and that's what happened to me.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: All right, Dr. Jones, we know you share that belief. Does it have a place in the political spectrum?

JONES: Well, absolutely. I would hate to think of America if it didn't have a place. This whole nation's history is about the Christian faith. It's what brought our founding fathers to these shores. It's what permeates all the founding documents of this nation. Larry, that is a Christian nation.

You know, if I lived in Japan, I, as an American Christian, would expect a Shinto religious political government. If I lived in Indonesia, I would expect to live under an Islamic government. And, in this country, where all religions are allowed to flourish and have their own freedom, it is a wonderful thing to have a place where plurality of faith can thrive and flourish, and nobody should be afraid when there is an avowed Christian president or when there is an avowedly Jewish vice president. I think that's wonderful, and I think that we are in real trouble if we ever get to the place where it is considered shameful to hide the Christian faith.

KING: But you do believe in the separation of church and state?

JONES: I believe that the state should not mettle in church affairs. I do not believe that the society should be secular and devoid of faith. Our founding fathers didn't believe that. And I think it would be a horrible thing if we ever got so secularist in this country that faith was not wanted in public life. It's part of America that it should be wanted in public life.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: That's it for our look back at my exclusive interviews with Bob Jones. You know, whether you agree with him or not, there's no dispute that the president of Bob Jones University always has something though-provoking to say.

Thanks for watching this edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND; good night.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

 Search   




MARKETS
4:30pm ET, 4/16
144.70
8257.60
3.71
1394.72
10.90
879.91
 














Back to the top