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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Harvard Considers Dropping Line from School Song That References School's Christian Heritage

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2017 May 08
  • Comments

Prestigious university Harvard is considering dropping a line from its ceremonial song because the line references the university’s Christian beginnings.

According to Charisma News, the song “Fair Harvard” includes these ending lyrics:

"Let not moss-covered Error moor thee at its side,
As the world on Truth's current glides by,
Be the herald of Light, and the bearer of Love,
Till the stock of the Puritans die."

The song is sung when students begin their studies at the university and when they graduate. Now, however, Harvard’s Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging wants to create a new ending to “Fair Harvard” because they say the reference to Puritans "suggests that the commitment to truth, and to being the bearer of its light, is the special province of those of Puritan stock,” which they say could be viewed as racist since the Puritans were of Anglo-Saxon descent.

Harvard was founded in 1636 by the Massachusetts Legislature. It was named after its first benefactor, John Harvard, who was a Puritan minister. 

Although some believe a change to the song’s lyrics is needed, others believe it isn’t right to attempt to deny Harvard’s heritage.

Social commentator Frank Furedi even called it a “Morally disoriented attempt to detach Harvard from its past."

Harvard professor Stephen Shoemaker added, that history “should not be neglected,” but "That doesn't mean that it defines us today, but we need to know where we came from."


Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Roman Babakin

Publication date: May 8, 2017