Category: Archive

Bob Jones lashes out at ‘tyrannical’ congressmen

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Ray O’Hanlon

Bob Jones University has dismissed a protest letter from four members of Congress protesting a recent visit to the South Carolina campus by the Rev. Ian Paisley.

In a lengthy letter from Bob Jones III, president of the Greenville-based college, the four congressman are told that when it comes to invitations for Bible conferences at the university it is quite simply "no business of yours."

The four House members, Reps. Sam Gjedenson, Peter King, Richard Neal and Joe Crowley, recently wrote Jones stating that it had come to their attention that Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland, had participated "once again" in a Bible conference at the university.

"We are writing to ask that you sever all professional contacts with Rev. Paisley immediately, including terminating his membership on your Board of Trustees," the congressmen wrote. "No American university should have a relationship with such an anti-Catholic bigot and opponent of peace in Northern Ireland."

"This is a free country," retorted Jones in his letter, which was addressed to Rep. King.

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"Your bigotry and intolerance, however, have been amply displayed in your March 27 letter, which makes unwarranted and intrusive demands of us.

"The fact that Dr. Paisley’s religious perspective differs from yours does not make him a bigot. He feels strongly about what he believes, and so do you. Is he not just as entitled to the expression of his beliefs as you are to yours?"

Jones suggests in his retort that the congressmen have lost all sense of reason and fairness.

Directing his ire specifically at King, who is generally regarded as a conservative Republican, Jones stated: "You are the elected representative of your constituents. Thankfully, I am not one of them."

And he continued in part: "I’m appalled by your audacity. I’m frightened for the future of religious freedom in America when I see four tyrannical congressmen abuse their authority as you have done. Your contempt for religious freedom makes you a menace to America.

"The Ian Paisley your letter depicts exists only is your leftist, radical IRA/Sinn Fein-loving imaginations. To know the real Ian Paisley matters not to you, and would probably spoil your fun. Even if Ian Paisley were the man you described, we would still have the perfect right to invite him here, if we were so inclined.

"The truth is, Mr. King, when you attacked Dr. Paisley’s party some time ago on the radio in Northern Ireland, the radio company had to pay thousands of pounds worth of damages for the lying slanders which you broadcast. Being the coward you are, you escaped from appearing in court by hiding in America. You have no shame to publicly welcome the godfathers of the bloodthirsty IRA terrorism to America and then to launch an attack on Ian Paisley, a law-abiding, God-fearing man of noble character. This is perverse!

"I find your fascist demands arrogant, frightening, overreaching and abusive. I believe the average, decent, and God-fearing American will fell the same way. I do not believe that you speak for ‘Irish and Catholic American communities.’ "

In his response to the letter, King conceded little ground: "Obviously we hit a nerve," he said.

King said that Bob Jones University — where Paisley received his theology doctorate back in the 1960s — was one of the few organizations outside the Democratic Unionist Party that supported that party’s bigoted positions.

"They seem to be living in their own world," King said.

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