A student-run Christian journal at Harvard University has apologized after publishing an essay suggesting that Jews deserve to be punished for killing Jesus.
The article in the Harvard Ichthus, titled “Why Us,” was penned by an anonymous author who is reportedly a Jewish convert to Christianity.
“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 2,000 years,” the author wrote.
The post was published online Wednesday and has since been taken down, though not before the Boston Globe and other outlets captured quotes.
Talking Points Memo published portions of the essay, including the line that "the Jews were marked out for destruction when they killed Jesus” and that Jews can rid themselves of the “curse” by being baptized as Christians.
According to the Globe, the author wrote of having been forgiven by God after repenting and being baptized.
In a second version of the article that was published Friday and seen by the Globe, the author expressed a desire to seek out of mercy and peace “to warn my beloved Jewish friends and family of the judgment that lies ahead.”
Journal editor in chief Aaron Gyde apologized for the article, writing “we sincerely apologize for breaching the confidence of civil dialogue. This has been a growing experience for all involved here at the Ichthus, and, as students, we sincerely appreciate the patience and grace you have demonstrated towards us.”
Gyde, a senior, told the Boston Globe in an email that the blog “does not have significant editorial oversight” and is “a place where authors often tease out ideas and post meditations that are not yet fully formed.”
Appearing to distance the editorial staff from the opinions in the anonymous posting, Gyde wrote, “As a staff, we would not argue that the fact some Jews were involved in the death of Jesus merits the persecution they have suffered over the past 2,000 years.”
“We deeply regret the way many Christians have used our sacred texts to justify anti-Semitism. We did not feel that the intent or purpose of the article was specifically anti-Semitic,” Gyde added.
Gyde told the Globe that the piece could be republished if “it can be revised so as to have a respectful and polite tone along with the theological rigor such a sensitive and important topic requires.”
He also said the author chose to publish anonymously due to concern about personal attacks.
The author of the article told the Globe in an email, “What would I take back or change? I would emphasize more fully that it would not be justified for a Christian to persecute Jews.”
According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the journal said its blogs are “intended to be areas of thoughtful dialogue.”
“This particular piece has led to increasing misunderstanding and disinformation about the author’s views, the Ichthus, and Christianity,” the journal said. “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.”
The Boston Globe reported that the Harvard Ichthus is a student government-funded group.
In a statement quoted by the Globe, Harvard spokesman Jeff Neal said the college does not endorse the views of any of the more than 400 student organizations.
“As an institution of higher education, free expression is one of our fundamental principles,” Neal said.