Royalty. They do it in Europe. The pomp and the ceremony and the scraping and the bowing.
We don’t do that here in America.
Except when we do.
There are always people who are considered royalty, from the Kennedy family (politics) to movie stars (culture) to religion (Bob Jones and family).
What is sort of astonishing to me, as a die-hard born-and-raised American, is the notion that somehow just being born qualifies one for a leadership position. It, of course, doesn’t. Some people are suited to the spotlight – and others simply are not.
I always felt a little sorry for Ted Kennedy and his ill-fated brothers. When their older brother, Joe, died in World War II, it fell to the next-oldest brother, Jack, to go for the prize: the presidency. And when he was killed in office, the next brother, Bobby, felt that he too had to take the position.
No wonder Teddy refused to even consider it, much. I don’t blame him.
The Jones family has always named an heir. Bob Jr, then the III, and then the IV. Only when Bob IV, for whatever reason, decided to not accept the throne, it fell to the next brother, Stephen, to do that job.
Hell, he didn’t even have the right name.
He was expected to do it, though. I wonder if he was even asked.
Then he fell ill. I have no idea about the nature of his illness. It’s quite common (more than people think) to have symptoms that remain a bit mysterious and undiagnosable for extended periods of time. Other people have experienced the exact same thing.
This illness prevented him from adequately doing the job he’d inherited.
So, ultimately, last spring, Stephen resigned.
So what’s new?
At the time of his resignation, there were suggestions made that perhaps he would be taking a new position. Speculation was that the University would literally invent a position for him. And he has remained on paid sick leave all this time.
Until December 31, 2014.
As of now, Stephen Jones is no longer employed by Bob Jones University in any way. His father confirmed yesterday what had been rumor: he’s not going to have a position of any sort, unless there is some drastic change. His name is no longer listed in the campus e-directory.
Stephen’s physical problems continue, though, unfortunately. He suffers with vertigo, severe migraine headaches and nausea. I sincerely hope that, like the person I referenced above, he can find out what the problem is and get it fixed once and for all.
Why did the University not make a position for him? I have no idea. Perhaps he didn’t want one. Perhaps with the state of his health, he simply can’t take one. Perhaps the University feels that not having any Jones family members employed by the school is a better choice. Perhaps a bit of all of those.
I am no friend to the University where he grew up. But I wish Stephen Jones no ill. I hope that he can find meaningful work, and fulfillment, outside the BJU bubble and that he can find his own way without the pressure of being heir-to-the-throne.
Edward VIII of England abdicated the throne, and appears to have done just fine afterwards. It was awkward, yes, and very difficult for a while, but people finally accepted what had happened; he and Wallace Simpson got married and ultimately lived their remaining years in France. Good for him.
And good for Stephen.
There is nothing anywhere to suggest that Stephen Jones, in his entire tenure as President of BJU, ever did anything illegal or unethical. He was ill, yes. He was given leeway regarding that illness far in excess of what would have been given to anyone else – but that’s the nature of a monarchy.
Hopefully the monarchy there is as dead as the dodo.