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Wednesday, 8 March, 2000, 11:34 GMT
Parents' note needed for inter-racial dating
Bob Jones
Bob Jones rejects accusations of bigotry
A private university in the United States has lifted its ban on inter-racial dating - but only for students who have the written consent of their parents.

Bob Jones University in South Carolina - whose president Bob Jones III has recently rejected accusations of racism and anti-Catholicism - is allowing its students of different races to form relationships.

But parents will still retain a veto on such liaisons, Bob Jones told students. "We will carry out the will of your parents. They will need to have a say in this.''

However the limits on dating are still firmly entrenched, as holding hands and dancing are not allowed at the university.

The university came to public attention during the race for the Republican nomination for the presidency.

George W Bush, who addressed the university during the campaign, was forced to distance himself from its beliefs - particularly when there were accusations that the candidate was aligning himself with an anti-Catholic institution.

Religious conservatives

Although asserting that he would not "quake or blush with embarrassment over the term religious conservatives," Bob Jones says that he has been misrepresented over his attitude to both Roman Catholicism and racial integration.

"We are not racists in any shape, form or fashion. We do not hold one race over another," Bob Jones has written in an open letter.

But he contends that relationships between people from different races - which he has described as "genetic blending" - runs against the Biblical order and is not to be encouraged.

"I think that's evidenced by the fact that so few people are interracially married. When you date interracially or marry interracially, it cuts you off from people.''

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