'Omn' Echoes From Harvard

Authored By: Don Feder


Yesterday, Christians the world over observed their holiest day. Wonder what they were doing at the Harvard Divinity School?

A friend of mine, a closet conservative ("They know I'm a white heterosexual; if they find out I'm a Republican, I'm dead"), enrolled there last fall.

With an indignant air, he presented me with the March 18-25 issue of its student newsletter, the Nave. Spell it with a "K" (Knave), and you'll have an idea of the content, my friend growled.

Instead of singing hymns they're sitting in the lotus position chanting "omm" at America's oldest school of theology. The Nave's calendar reminds students that March 20 is Spring Ohigon, "a special time to listen to the Buddha and meditate on the perfection of enlightenment." Wouldn't miss it for the world. The next day is the Zoroastrian holiday of Naw Ruz. Wonder what the Zoroastrian population of the United States is these days?

There's no mention of Palm Sunday or Passover, reflecting their insignificance at an institution where all is venerated, save Western religion.

Even the most fantastic humbug reposes comfortably in the school's New Age bosom. The calendar notes a meeting of the Harvard Theosophical Union with a lecture on "Man's ElectroMagnetic Nature." Theosophy is a witch's brew of Eastern mysticism and pseudo-science, founded by a 19th- century quack named Mme. Blavatsky, who claimed to have received written communication from dead Tibetan masters. The publication also lists a peace dance, meditation sessions, a Nigerian tribal drum performance, feminist symposiums and a showing of "Thelma and Louise."

A panel discussion with Roman Catholic, Protestant and Jewish feminists considers the pressing question of whether to attempt to reform male- dominated, misogynistic (blah, blah, blah) religion or leave en mass. Don't let the door hit you on your way out.

At the pinnacle of the school's pantheon are feminism (goddess worship) and liberation theology (Marxism of the miter). Its catalog lists courses in Feminist Biblical Interpretation, Introduction to Feminist Theology, and Feminist Critical Theories and Radical Critiques of Religion.

Almost every course has a healthy dose of estrogen an a revolutionary spin, to wit: the Gospel of Mark ("attention will be paid to ... feminist approaches"), New Testament Theology (taught "in conjunction with the hermeneutical questions raised by feminist and liberation theologies") and New Testament Ethics ("special attention will be given to the contributions of feminist and liberation theological analysis").

These poison-ivy-covered walls harbor a deep-seated contempt for Christianity. In the Nave's "community forum," a third-year student sniffs: "Christianity-the whole of it-is a sect. With its baptism and Eucharist borrowed from the Greek mystery religions; its cross a transformed Egyptian ankh . . . its clergy modeled on Roman bureaucracy," and so on.

The author speaks affectionately of Native American religion possessing "none-too-primitive beliefs regarding human immortality and interdependence of humanity and nature." Get thee to a shaman's teepee! Then again, why bother. The shamen, gurus, witch doctors and mahatmas have all come to Harvard.

"Here," says my friend, "all religions are equal except Christianity, which is very bad, and Judaism, which loses points where it intersects with Christianity."

Harvard was founded by the Puritans to train Christian clergy. Its charter reverently proclaims the university was established by colonists who "dreaded to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust." At the divinity school, it's Christian orthodoxy that lies a molding in the grave.

The school is an elite institution, training the next generation of mainline church leadership. Its degrees are passports to power in the Protestant establishment. Its heresies are a reflection of the spiritual sickness of these once venerable denominations.

Its graduates will go on to propagate their Mork from Ork theology in churches where cobwebs outnumber congregants. They will assume leadership of ecclesiastical bodies with dwindling rosters that no one, especially their members, takes seriously. "God is killing mainline Protestantism in America' observes a Methodist theologian at Duke University, "and we goddam well deserve it." Why go to church when you can get the same message in the pages of Ms. magazine or the collected writings of Kim II Sung?

What's up at the Harvard Divinity School? Mystic crystal emanations and the soul's annihilation. Will the last graduating Christian please collect the Bibles and turn out the lights?

Don Feder is a nationally syndicated columnist. _

Article taken from Washington Times.