This report was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s obituary programme, Last Word, in May 2006.
The Reverend William Sloane Coffin was a civil rights leader who used his pulpit at Yale university to encourage white students to join the African-American ‘freedom rides’ in the South. He also led controversial protests against the Vietnam war, in which students burned their draft cards. He had a talent for coining phrases. Among his most famous is “if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.”