In my March 27, 2013 blog entitled “Desecrating Jesus” I reported as follows:
What will happen now that a Florida Atlantic University student has been suspended for refusing to follow his professor’s orders to stomp on the name of Jesus? In an Intercultural Communications class students were told to write the name JESUS on a piece of paper, put the paper on the floor in front of them facing up, and then put their heel on the Savior’s name. The purpose of this insane exercise was supposedly to “discuss the importance of symbols in culture.” When student Ryan Rotela found the exercise offensive and refused, he was kicked out and the teacher was defended by the University.
After a firestorm of controversy, Florida Atlantic University has now issued a formal apology. The school declared that the exercise would not be used again. “Florida Atlantic University respects all religions and welcomes people of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs,” says a prepared statement posted on the University’s web site. Not so fast. There is more to the story than quelling a controversy. Though he is not officially affiliated with FAU, Deandre Poole, the professor who caused the outrage is chairman of his county’s Democratic Party. So what is a teacher with those credentials doing instructing a class in Intercultural Communications? It’s his party that last summer, at their national convention, nearly succeeded in taking the name of God out of their platform.
While teachers don’t necessarily check their political affiliation at the door, it would be interesting to see the reaction of liberals to a class where a GOP party leader suggested stomping on a picture of Obama. To muddy the waters further, Poole claims to be a member in good standing of a local Pentecostal church where he is an usher. He says he was only doing what the college course requested. I think “just following instructions” was pretty well debunked at the Nuremberg trials. Perhaps Poole made a bad decision at the wrong time in the wrong class. But it’s the little decisions like this that forge a cultural consensus that Christianity is fair game for ridicule, and that must stop. Florida Atlantic University is a good place to start.