What Hath Harvard Divinity School Wrought?
Concerns about the calibre of training at seminaries is nothing new. However, if you missed the stories about the recent graduation at Harvard Divinity School in the United States, you missed confirmation that at least one of the old American Ivy League institutions is no longer recognisably Christian.
This year’s graduation student commencement speaker was a young woman named Lindsay Sandwald, MDiv ’22. Miss Sandwald also goes by the name of Idgy Dean.
According to an interview on the HDS website, she is a “creative producer, sober bartender, queer mystic, and psychedelic indie-rocker.”
One paragraph from her speech is illustrative of the point.
Sandwald said, “Not everyone knows that Harvard College was initially founded as a place to train future ministers. I am delighted to be a continuation of the original mission, and love that my presence here today—as a proud, queer, heathen woman, and first generation graduate—all of that would probably make the original, puritanical clergymen who established this institution very uncomfortable.”
The MDiv graduate was not the only one demonstrating how far Harvard Divinity School has strayed from its roots. Erica Williams, MRPL ’22, led those gathered in a libation for the ancestors from the traditions of the African Diaspora. She asked the graduating students to call out the names of those from the seen and unseen world who had carried them on the journey through their time at HDS. She also called out the names of African and Indigenous people enslaved by the University and its affiliates. As the group called out the names they repeated “Ase,” which means “so be it.”
The MRPL degree acronym stands for Master of Religion and Public Life.