Wednesday, August 7, 2013

* Pulling up my New Haven roots after the Yale Daily News 'experience'

The Yale Daily News has demonstrated itself to be blind to its own secular bias, consistently trivializing as ancillary the influence of religion in news stories; from the Vatican's banning of a book on Christian sexual ethics by Yale Divinity School faculty member Sr. Margaret Farley, to the role of Christianity in the alleged Boston bomber Hamden burial controversy.
43 Norwood Avenue
 where I grew up in Mt. Carmel
in the 1940's and '50's

My four year jousting with 

Yale Daily News 

ends with their rejecting a 

journalist gift.

This will be the first class in four years which will not find the Yale Daily News   peppered by the postings of  TheAnti-Yale.  (One YDN reporter estimated them at over 3000 posts.)

There are several reasons for my departure.

First, there’s a new regime at Yale.  

Second, I had  suspended my blog, also entitled The Anti-Yale,  for two months last May, in acknowledgement of the public controversy in the New Haven Register over my offer of a  Mt. Carmel burial plot for the alleged Boston bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. (see below) 

Ironically, I had offered this news item first to the Yale Daily News out of loyalty to them, before I contacted the New Haven Register, but YDN didn't seize the moment, not quite grasping its newsworthiness.  

To Editor

Yale Daily News

Re: Scoop on Tsarnaev burial
Burial Plot

Tapley Stephenson 
May 6


to me

Mr. Keane,

This sounds interesting. I'm unable to speak via phone 
tonight, but please email me immediately if the 
Tsarnevs respond to your offer. 


On Monday, May 6, 2013, Paul Keane wrote:


Call me in the next hour at (number deleted)

 if you want this story FIRST.

I am willing to donate a burial plot next to my mother

in Mt. Carmel Burying Ground to the

Tsarnaev family if they cannot obtain a plot.

The only condition is that I do it in memory of my mother

who taught Sunday School at the Mt. Carmel

Congregational Church for forty

years and taught me to love thine enemy.

I own the plot.  No one can refuse me access.

Paul D. Keane
M. Div. '80 

(and this time I invoke my Divinity degree)


Third, I had  fulfilled my promise to myself that I would stick with the class of 2013 all four years due to the tragic circumstances of a Yale campus murder and then a series of untimely, deaths, all of which reminded me of my own graduate experience at Kent State 1969-73 which was clouded by the murder of four students.

Back then, the diagnosis PTSD didn’t even exist, but it was clear that there were many more 'walking wounded' on campus than the nine survivors of the thirteen students hit by Ohio National Guardsmen’s bullets. 

As trite as it might sound, I wanted to keep an eye on the survivors of the Yale tragedy, albeit from my vantage point as gadfly on the Yale Daily.  And I wish them well now that their Yale umbilical has been cut.

It seemed my unauthorized, unacknowledged, and unorthodox ‘ministry’ at Yale had come to a natural end

Fourth, I have now completed my donation to the Beinecke Rare Book Library of  Miss Isabel Wilder's notes and letters to me, after holding them in confidence for 18 years after her death.  

Fifth, and finally, I am,  literally, no longer a property owner in the New Haven area.

I have transferred the remaining two graves  in my family burial plot in the Mt. Carmel Burying Ground  (one of which had been offered to the Tsarnaev family ---see below) to the former Mayor of Hamden, attorney Craig Henrici, who,  together with the Dean of Yale Divinity School, Gregory E. Sterling, will choose suitably needy persons to receive them, hopefully associated with U.S. veterans.

So, time to leave--------to mow the lawn and shovel the snow and live quietly in the Green Mountains with my ever-present keyboard and The Anti-Yale.


M.Div. '80


NOTE:  These media pieces emerged from the burial plot controversy.  Ironically, I offered the story to the Yale Daily News out of loyalty, but they turned it down.  So I gave it to the New Haven Register

EDITORIAL: Offer of gravesite for Boston bomber followed Christian teaching

Paul Douglas Keane did the right thing in offering his plot in Hamden’s Mount Carmel Burying Ground to bury the remains of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the accused Boston Marathon bombers.

In doing so, he was following Christian teaching that all people are made in the image of God and deserve to be treated with dignity, even in death.

Keane, a graduate of Yale Divinity School, said he was speaking up “for the pariah, for the leper, for the hated person — and for the family in despair.” On his blog, The Anti-Yale, he wrote that he was making the offer in memory of his mother, who taught him to “love thine enemy.”

He was referring to Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Matthew: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
This is not one of those easy sayings. Tsarnaev’s actions should be condemned and, if he had lived, he should have faced prosecution, as his brother will. There is no justification for killing and injuring people who were out to cheer on the runners in the marathon.

But for the Christian, each person’s essential humanity, as a child of God, does not change. It’s the same belief that led some churches to ring their bells 28 times for the Newtown slayings, including Adam Lanza, even though he murdered 27 people.

No matter how horrible his actions, Tsarnaev’s body deserves to be buried with respect.

As a commenter on our website pointed out, there were no protests about burying the assassins of President John F. Kennedy or the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Serial killer Michael Ross is buried in Fairfield County, despite murdering eight women.

It would have been better, however, if Keane had made his offer privately, instead of posting it on his blog. He said he wanted to inspire Christians and Americans to self-reflection, but the grave would likely be a target of vandals, causing unnecessary worry to the families of those buried nearby.

It is that concern that lies behind the Worcester, Mass., funeral director’s decision to decline Keane’s offer, and those of many others, in favor of a rural gravesite that would be less likely to be disturbed. He plans to announce the location today. The press conference is unnecessary, although it will be impossible to keep the location secret.

But let his remains lie in obscurity, without bringing more publicity to a man who sought to be remembered for intentionally killing and maiming others.

No comments: