Harvard student publication retracts article saying Jews deserve punishment because “they killed Jesus”
(We’ll do a few conflict of interest disclosures, if just for the hell — oops — of it: Harvard is Ivan’s alma mater, and both of us are well, Jews. We note, however, that the Ichthus was not around in Ivan’s Harvard days, and neither of us was around when the events involving Jesus described in this post occurred.)
As Talking Points Memo reported Thursday:
An essay published Wednesday on the website of the Harvard Ichthus, a campus “journal of Christian thought,” argued “the Jews were marked out for destruction when they killed Jesus.”
Entitled “Why us?,” the essay was identified as having been written by “aJew” and said all the suffering the Jewish people have faced since the destruction of Jerusalem’s Second Temple in approximately 70 A.D. came from God and was “just.”
“We, the Jews, rejected God and hung Him up on a cross to die, and thus we richly deserved all of the punishments that were heaped on our heads over the last 2000 years,” the essay said.
The anonymous writer went on to argue Jews can rid themselves of this “curse” by being baptized as Christians.
The essay was actually retracted twice, Talking Points Memo reports with comments from Ichthus Editor-in-Chief Aaron Gyde:
…when the site’s editors read the post “we decided to take it down and had the author revise it before putting it up again.”
“Upon further reflection, we have decided that the tone of the piece still requires additional improvements. We have taken it down for further editing and will be republishing it in the future along with an editor’s note…”
Yesterday — during the Jewish Sabbath, we might as well note — Ichthus issued an apology. in which they wrote that “he views articulated in the blog do not reflect views held by the current and previous members of staff.” Excerpts:
Firstly, we apologize for inadequate editorial oversight in the publishing and re-publishing of this blog post. As editors of this online blog, we take seriously the responsibility of being a good steward of our platform and being true to our mission. In the zeal to protect editorial freedom for each of our contributors, we failed to take into account the broader impact of doing so in this way.
We do acknowledge that many of the claims of Christianity are offensive to those who do not believe it, but we think that much of the offense that has resulted from this article is not the offense of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And for that we apologize.
Secondly, we apologize for publishing offensive content on our blog. While this does not excuse the post of responsibility, it was not the intent of the writer, nor the Ichthus, to present a piece that is anti-Semitic in nature or in interpretation. The writer holds nothing but love for his heritage and feels very deeply for the welfare of the Jewish people. The blog was not intended to communicate animosity, but concern and a sincere desire to communicate the necessity of salvation through Jesus Christ alone.
While the Ichthus does not take any official position besides the Nicene Creed, Christianity has long taught that everyone is responsible for the death of Jesus Christ insofar as we have all sinned—all people at all times everywhere; Jew and Gentile alike—and that we all must repent and accept him as our Lord and Savior. Targeting this message at a particular group of people as though they are uniquely responsible misconstrues the generally accepted teaching of the Christian church, as well as the intentions of the author.
Thirdly, we apologize to friends, supporters and members of the Harvard Ichthus for allowing an individual blogger, through the veil of anonymity, appear to speak for us all. This was never the case. The Ichthus is an organization that represents a diverse array of opinions. Our staff regularly converses and invites others to join in the conversation to engage with the Christian faith and its claims.
Hat tip: Fellow Harvard alumnus Marc Abrahams.