Do Bob Jones graduates have a harder time being "salt and light"?
After being caricatured as bigoted and anti-Catholic during the 2000 presidential campaign, Bob Jones University "seems determined to improve its image, but without abandoning its core beliefs," writes Naomi Schaefer in yesterday's Boston Globe. Not only has it dropped its ban on interracial dating, but it has upped its recruitment of minority students.
Schaefer, an adjunct fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center who has written several articles about religious colleges for The Wall Street Journal, and other publications, doesn't mention that Bob Jones III has also distanced the school from the term fundamentalist, but it would have helped to make her main point:
Overcoming the school's embarrassing racial legacy is a key part of the larger project of molding culturally literate students who can move easily within society and penetrate its elites. But will a Bob Jones graduate be likely to move to New York City, work for a big law firm, spend the afternoon at the Met with some co-workers, and then talk them into accepting Jesus? The school may find it has a much bigger problem to overcome than memory of the dating ban or continuing ban on pop music — its deep insularity.
A Bob Jones graduate may or may not be eager to work for that big secular law firm, Schaefer writes. But a growing question is whether the door will even be open. "We are worried that our graduates won't get jobs because of what's said on the nightly news or that our students won't get into graduate schools," says Camille Lewis, head of the department of rhetoric and public address.
"In other words, the administration has finally acknowledged that it has a vested interest in being taken seriously ...1