WHERE DID BIG GOVERNMENT LIBERALISM COME FROM?
Has Harvard abandoned its Christian roots like many other universities?
Harvard was founded by Puritans as a Seminary for training clergy for the new commonwealth, a “church in the wilderness.” Harvard was formed in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was initially called “New College” or “the college at New Towne”. In 1638 the school received a printing press—the only press in North America.
In 1639, the college was renamed Harvard College after clergyman John Harvard, a University of Cambridge alumnus who had willed the new school £779 pounds sterling and his library of some 400 books.
Henry Dunster, the college’s first president, was a Baptist who abandoned Puritanism in favor of the Baptist faith in 1654. Dunster’s conflict with the colony’s magistrates began when he failed to have his infant son baptized, believing, as a newly converted Baptist, that only adults should be baptized. Efforts to restore Dunster to Puritan orthodoxy failed, and his apostasy proved untenable to colony leaders who had entrusted him, in his job as Harvard’s president, to uphold the colony’s religious mission. Thus, he represented a threat to the stability of society. Dunster exiled himself in 1654 and moved to nearby Plymouth Colony, where he died in 1658.
In 1692, the leading Puritan divine Increase Mather became president of Harvard. One of his acts was replacing pagan classics with books by Christian authors in ethics classes, and maintaining a high standard of discipline. The Harvard “Lawes” of 1642 and the “Harvard College Laws of 1700” testify to its original high level of discipline. Students were required to observe rules of pious decorum inconceivable in the 19th century, and ultimately to prove their fitness for the bachelor’s degree by showing that they could ‘read the original of the Old and New Testament into the Latin tongue, and resolve them logically.’
By the 1690s, liberal, anti-Calvinist influences began to infiltrate the governing body of the college. And by 1701, Harvard’s liberal tendencies had become so pronounced that a new orthodox college was founded at New Haven, Connecticut, which became Yale University. All the founders of Yale were Harvard graduates in the Connecticut Valley or on Long Island Sound.
On October 28, 1707, John Leverett became President of Harvard. This was the first time that a layman and a liberal was elected President. Although Leverett instituted no changes in the curriculum, his liberal policies began to be reflected in student behavior. He wrote in his own diary in 1717 that the Faculty was having trouble with “profane swearing,” “riotous Actions” and “bringing Cards into the College.” Many college clubs were founded by students, which encouraged questionable behavior.
By 1800, the liberal seed, first sown by Leverett, became the full-blown fruit of Unitarianism, which rejected the Trinity, rejected the divinity of Christ, and rejected all the tenets of Calvinism. The final battle that ended the ongoing war between the orthodox and Unitarians took place in 1805 when Reverend Henry Ware, a Unitarian minister, was elected Hollis Professor of Divinity. Thus the theological department of New England’s oldest university went Unitarian and became open enemies of Calvinism, setting Harvard on a secular course that would become increasingly non-Christian.
The distaste that Harvard liberals today show toward Christian fundamentalism is a continuation of their war against Trinitarian orthodoxy. It should be noted that Secular Humanism is a direct outgrowth of Harvard’s Unitarian philosophy.
Unitarianism is not a revealed religion. It is a social movement based on the notion that man is basically good and morally perfectible, and that all that is needed to achieve this moral utopia is a good secular education. And that is why the Unitarians became the major force in the public school movement.
It should also be noted that Unitarian liberalism is at the core of American political liberalism, for the chief practice of Unitarians was and still is social political activism based on the belief that government could solve all of our problems. And that’s the liberal political philosophy that prevails today.
This year Harvard was scheduled to host an anti-Christian Satanic Black Mass on campus but after widespread condemnation from religious and educational leaders, it was cancelled.