The Catholic League responded to a complaint made by one of its members to a Bob Jones 4th grade history textbook, Americans: People From Many Lands (1993 edition), writing to the press director of Bob Jones University Press. The characterization of Roman Catholicism was inaccurate and encouraged students to view Catholicism with a biased perspective.

On page 184 of the book, it says that “There is little stress on reading the Bible in Roman Catholic churches” and adds that “most Catholics do not know what the Bible says about how to be saved.” It then editorializes that “Only those who trust in the Lord Jesus alone as Saviour will have their sins forgiven and go to heaven when they die.”

The league protested, commenting as follows: “This is amazing. It not only disparages Catholics, it has the effect of teaching students that Catholics may not be saved because they do not believe that salvation can be achieved through faith alone….It is bad enough that Catholics are portrayed as badly educated about the Bible, but it is even worse to move from misinformation to indoctrination.” We also objected to a statement regarding the Pope.

We stressed that we would not normally register a complaint about a book used by other religions, but in this instance it was different: the book is being used in non-denominational home schooling groups. The league asked that in future editions “a more accurate presentation of Roman Catholicism will be offered.”

Unfortunately, the response from the publisher gave no reason to believe that they would make any changes. It shows that the anti-Catholicism of Rev. Bob Jones (he said in 1928 that he’d rather “see a nigger in the White House” than the Catholic Al Smith) is alive and well in the 1990s. We only hope that his racism hasn’t infected his successors the way his religious bigotry has.

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