Thursday, April 22, 2010

* 70 Years at Yale

Dr. Bainton with my Mother in the background on my graduation day from YDS, 1980.
Dr. Bainton's last note to me (above), on a homemade Christmas card, which he was famous for creating by hand. It gently reminds me, by saying the opposite, that I should pay him a visit now that he was suddenly housebound at 89.

Hirst: Learning to be free
By Adam Lior Hirst
The Yale Daily News
Published Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Over the past year, I have used this space to argue, esoterically and exoterically, for America to take an active role in promoting the spread of liberalism and freedom abroad. I explicated the strategy and the tactics and argued it was keeping with our best traditions, national interest and moral obligation as prudent revolutionaries. I’ve written as if there are no limits to freedom.
But there are limits. There are times when freedom is not appropriate, when checks — structure — must be in place. I learned this over the course of four years at Yale, which may be the freest place on...

#1 By 70 years at Yale 4:28a.m. on April 21, 2010

I knew Dr. Bainton well: he was my adopted grandfather.

He may have said "Yale was conservative before she was born", but he was probably referring to religious matters, since both Yale and Harvard began as schools to instruct young men in the way of the dominant religion of the time. You can guess which one that was.

He was at Yale for 70 years, dying at 89, professor emeritus of religious history, maintaining a coveted office in the fifth floor of Sterling by publishing a book every year after his retirement.

Total output 39 books. His Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther is Abingdon Press's all time best seller.

Here is another Bainton quote to ponder (from his own mouth to my ears): "The question is not 'What is the future of Christianity' but 'Will Christianity survive' "?

Hardly a conservative thought.

Dr. Bainton was a Quaker and a pacifist and a speak-truth-to-power intellectual.

He was also fearless, and once told a former student who confessed having been sent to spy on him by the paranoid government communist-head hunters of the 1950's and 60's, to go back to Washington with this message for his boss and his agency:

"Tell them to go to hell."

Paul Keane


I wouldn't go for a run down Whalley Avenue at 3 A.M. or any other New Haven street for that matter.

#2 By Remembrance of Dr. Bainton 4:38a.m. on April 21, 2010

A remembrance of Roland Bainton can be read at

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