We have reached an interesting time in our society when we get most of our news from social media. I was combing through my facebook feed and noticed someone had posted a headline reading, “FAU student says he was suspended for not ‘stepping on Jesus.’I thought to myself, “What crazy, liberal garbage is this?” I am a sucker for crazy, liberal garbage. As is my custom, I found a couple of resources reporting on the same story. I like to see what multiple sources report as there is always more information to be found with more research.
After reading the reports and watching the interview of the student, I just had to call it as I see it. I left this comment on the CBS12 News page which reported the story.
Coward. Dr. Deandre Poole would never dare to do that with Muhammad’s name on a piece of paper. If Florida Atlantic University really wants to engage in open discourse, then part of that discourse is to disagree.
I am a very vocal critic of the Mormon Church but, Ryan Rotela should not have been suspended for exercising his first amendment rights.
Others have responded to my comment, some in favor of my position, some against it and others who took issue with my comment about being a very vocal critic of the Mormon Church. I’ll get to that in a minute. First, I want to address the story.
As I mentioned in my first comment, Dr. Poole is a coward. If, as the University stated in its response to the news story, they are really interested in, “dialoguing and debating sensitive material,” why not stomp on Muhammad’s name? Or, for the non-religious folks, let’s write the name of our mother on a sheet of paper and stomp on that.
Yes, I understand that it is only a piece of paper, but let’s face it, stomping on something like this is a sign of disrespect. The university and professor know this, otherwise the name of Jesus would never have been chosen as a target. I don’t think this would have even been a story if the students were instructed to stomp on the name “Hitler.”That is also why the name “Muhammad” was not chosen. They didn’t want too much of a story. I am sure the professor is looking for discussion, but I’d also be willing to bet he isn’t looking for death threats.
Here is what I don’t understand. Obviously, the professor made his point with the students, whatever that was, but why should a student be suspended from that class for refusing to stomp on a piece of paper? Ryan Rotela not only confronted Dr. Poole, but he also went up the chain of authority and that is what got him suspended. Why?
Was the purpose of the lesson to open up communication on sensitive topics and how symbols are important or was the lesson a command to stomp on Jesus? If the point is the former, then the goal was reached. But, as one person responded to my comment on the news page, if the student, “flunked for not doing the course material,” then we have a bigger problem which needs to be addressed. Why would course material require students to infringe upon their own first amendment rights? Like I said above, not only is this garbage crazy and liberal, it is crazy-liberal.
Now, for my Mormon readers, the only reason I included in my original comment that I am a very vocal critic of the LDS Church is because I wanted people to understand that even though I disagree with Mormonism, I believe that Mormons have the right to believe whatever they want. As American citizens, they hold the same rights and privileges as any other American. What was done to Ryan Rotela was wrong.
I commend Mr. Rotela for his actions and hope that he receives his much deserved apology. No one should have their first amendment rights stripped from them in the name of “dialogue.”
A blog reader has provided me with a link to a follow-up story. It looks like Dr. Poole and the University have responded to the story. Dr. Poole claims to be a “very religious Christian.” The video interviews Chris Robe, the president of the faculty union, who defends the exercise as a means to, “discuss the symbolic weight that it (the word “Jesus”) has behind it.” The article mentions that this lesson has been taught for 30 years. I find it very interesting that this story allows the teacher to defend his position, yet there is absolutely ZERO information on why the student was suspended from class. Why doesn’t the University address THAT? I’d be willing to bet that in the 30 years this exercise has been done, no one was ever suspended for not complying. And they wonder why this has drawn national attention. Clueless.