The Harvard Ichthus, a student-run journal of Christian thought, issued an official apology on Saturday for a blog post that has been taken down because of accusations of anti-Semitic language.
The post, written by an anonymous author, has garnered national attention. It read, “We, the Jews, collectively rejected God and hung Him up on a cross to die, and thus we deserved the punishments that were heaped on our heads over the last 2000 years.”
Aaron C. Gyde ’14, editor of The Harvard Ichthus, explained that the piece was not the official stance of the publication but rather the words of one particular author, which were easily misinterpreted. “The text itself suggested things that the author didn't intend,” Gyde said.
“The reason it was first published is because we are very open Christian community of intellectual thought, and we allow bloggers to write about whatever they feel like writing about,” Gyde said. “There is no review board. I had talked with the author before, and we had talked a little bit about what he wanted to write, but not too much.”
The post was first published Wednesday morning with little reaction due to the relatively small readership of the publication, according to Gyde. But by Thursday afternoon the fallout from the post was substantial enough to warrant reconsideration.
“Seeing that people were offended,” Gyde said, “we did take it upon ourselves to look very closely at the blog and we were like, ‘Oh, my goodness, this could be misinterpreted very much in ways that are against at least what we think would be proper for civil discourse.’”
In the online apology, Gyde apologized for publishing content that some found offensive and for “inadequate editorial oversight.”
“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,” he wrote. “The writer holds nothing but love for his heritage and feels very deeply for the welfare of the Jewish people.”
Gyde explained further the distinction between the author’s published words and intention.
“What the author intended to say was something subtly different but, I think, significantly different, which was that all people and all people groups have history of sin,” Gyde said. “[As] individuals and collectively we have fallen short of God’s standard of perfection and righteousness, and because they have fallen short of that sin they are liable, everybody, to God for judgment.”
Harvard Hillel could not be reached for comment Sunday night. Gyde said that the group had not received official complaints from student groups and that he had not yet reached out to other organizations because of the Harvard-Yale football game.
“In response to the pain that was felt, a lot of our staff has had personal, face-to-face conversations with friends who have expressed hurt and because of that I think we are growing together even amidst this very difficult time,” he said. “We are primarily going for personal conversations instead of hosting alternative explanations on same topic.”
—Staff writer Anneli L. Tostar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @AnneliTostar.