For 50 years, Bob Jones University, in Greenville, S.C., prohibited interracial dating, and Bob Jones Jr. once claimed that Catholicism was a "satanic counterfeit" of fundamentalist Christianity. Despite the ugly rhetoric and vile policies, Republican candidates regularly flocked to the school and groveled for its endorsement. The GOP luminaries who appeared at the university include Ronald Reagan, Dan Quayle and Bob Dole.
This ignoble political ritual ended in 2000 after presidential candidate George W. Bush was excoriated for appearing at the school. In 1983, Bob Jones University lost its tax-exempt status over its dating rules and argued in court, "God intended segregation of the races and that the Scriptures forbid interracial marriage." However, the media firestorm over the Bush speech forced Bob Jones III to announce on CNN's Larry King Live that it was reversing its bigoted policy.
Over time, so-called traditional values can come to be seen as valueless traditions. While the transformation of attitudes can take decades, the actual policy change itself can seem abrupt. Bush was simply following in the footsteps of others, but failed to realize America was walking down a different path.
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