Why practice this exercise? Why not merely talk about symbols and ask questions?
I think a good class discussion about symbols... Religious and non religious...
Would have gotten the point across.
Just another example of those in the 'great and spacious building'
mocking and pointing fingers of scorn at believers. Lehi had it right, "We
heeded them not".
This was a stupid exercise, and making more of it than that is opportunistic.
I'm fine with the exercise, as long as they are "equal opportunity"
stompers.But I'm going to go out on a limb and guess the
professor has never done this with the word "Muhammed"Anyone
disagree with me?I'd love to know why the professor has never
done this with Muhammed?shouldnt Muslims be able to do what he tries
to force Christians to do?Shouldnt Muslims be expected to act the
same in non-violent respones as the Christians have done in this
Gov. Rick Scott has earned respect with this comment:"The
professor's lesson was offensive, and even intolerant..."While I believe that a growing wide-spread acceptance of religious intolerance
will weaken our divine protections as a nation- there are those who would
arbitrarily require my moral arguments to exclude my beliefs and subjective
religious knowledge. For them, I'll provide the following-When
we exercise our moral agency we act freely, but not necessarily are we morally
justified. The freedom to act does not make all 'acts' moral.When we tolerate extreme-insensitivity, offensive, hateful, ugly or vulgar
conduct- then we are not promoting the fundamental respect required for which
peaceful discourse needs to thrive. If we can't require this smallest
amount of integrity of ourselves, then we'll only have fostered a society
that readily flirts with violence.Do our words provoke peace or
violence? It's that simple.When leaders of The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints speak, their words continually to promote peace. Yet
the more any religion promotes peace the more they are fought. If that
isn't evidence that Satan is real, then I don't know what is.
So it turns out, the exercise originated at a Catholic college. Despite being
done there for three decades, not one person at this Christian school has been
offended. Seriously, everyone is so eager to get offended it's kind of
sad. Chris, it said Jesus because it must be a symbol most of the students will
identify with. As the article pointed out, very few students over that
professor's 30 years have ever actually stepped on it. We will
never know what happened at FAU. By law, we will only ever hear the
student's side, unless he decides to sue the school, which is unlikely. He
gave his account, but the teacher and university are not allowed to defend
themselves and make public their accusations against the student. Accusations,
by the way, leveled after talking with him, the professor, and other students in
Professors seem to think they are an entity unto themselves, who are
unapproachable and seem to think they have all the answers. Their attitude is;
"I have a PHD, how dare some little snot nosed kid challenge me? I have
worked hard to get this degree and therefore I know all the answers and am the
supreme judge of what is right and wrong." PHD actually stands for Piled
Higher and Deeper. This professor and this University demonstrate this attitude
"To Lukianoff, the worst offense was how FAU handled the situation by trying
to punish Rotela for complaining."----------------As
far as I'm concerned, the **only** offense was FAU's response to
Rotela's response. The fact that they could possibly initiate some action
against this student for simply refusing to do something that he considered
offensive is ridiculous.Fortunately, it seems to have had a
chastening effect on FAU, the institution.I wish I could say I was
optimistic that it would have a similar effect on most other institutions of
Civility is dying in America. Look at the nonsense that came out of the Gay
community because of the Prop 8 issue. No, I am not talking about rational
arguments from those who opposed Prop 8, I am talking about those who attempted
to desecrate temples and mocked religious practices and beliefs. Look at the
weird attacks on the current POTUS from radical right-wing groups and Donald
Trump. One can present an articulate argument, stick to the truth
and maintain civility.
@Chris B"I'd love to know why the professor has never done
this with Muhammed?"The point of the lesson, as the textbook
notes, is to note how there are people who will hesitate or choose not to follow
through with it and use that as the point of discussion about symbols and their
meaning to people. It works better if you use the example provided in the
textbook, Jesus, because the majority of the class will be Christian and have a
deeper connection to Jesus than Muhammed.
The 'jesus stomping incident' also raises issues about whether freedom
of speech should include threatening speech.Unfortunately, the
article does not tell the whole story, and misrepresents the reason this student
was disciplined. He was not disciplined because he refused to take part in the
exercise, and he was not disciplined by the professor of the class."Rotela complained to Poole's supervisor about the exercise and was
reportedly told not to return to the class". What the article
doesn't state is that per Rotela's lawyer, he sent a message to the
school administration in his complaint, stating "don't do it again"
or "you'll be hearing from me". Those statements were taken as
written threats and a violation of the schools code of conduct. That is the
reason for his disciplining.
It seems that both parties herein lacked good old-fashioned common sense with
regard to the handling of this matter. Mr. Poole, if he is the Christian man he
claims to be, should have found a different way to bring about the desired
conversation about symbols, especially religious symbols. In this age of
political correctness, it makes no sense to deliberately use an offensive
exercise like this merely because a textbook recommends it. Conversely, Mr.
Rotela, while understandably offended, should have merely refused to step on the
paper with the name of Jesus, calmly explain why, and then drop the matter. “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his
fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your
It's ironic, I remember my institute teacher performing this exact same
exercise, obviously no one in the class stepped on the paper. Kudos to the
student for not doing it, but it sounds like no one else did either. The real
problem was in how the school responded to the situation.
Can you imagine the controversy that would ensue if the professor had instructed
his students to write the word "Mohammed" or "Allah" on the
paper and stomp on it?!?! The entire middle east would be rioting in the streets
and the oh so noble and enlightened professor would be going into hiding because
of the price that would be put on his head. Yet the secular left has no problem
whatsoever mocking and denigrating the deity of Christians, even on prime time
national television (SNL). So courageous!
The silence coming from the halls of the ACLU with respect to this...is
@atl134How about using the name "obama" or "karl
marx"?There must be other "deep" symbols of the the left
that could be used.If one must use the symbol "Jesus" then
that says something about our country, something that the left probably
doesn't like, and they deny vociferiously.
Could someone please explain to me why those who oppose "that's so
gay" or "that's retarded" or other such verbiage are considered
the PC police but it is okay to be opposed to this exercise?I get
the whole idea that Jesus is someone special - but aren't current living
human beings special also? I mean, wasn't that the whole point of
A school is not the place for this person to put on this demonstration. He can
say what he wishes elsewhere but isnot appropriate as a teacher in a
As "silo" mentioned earlier, the student made statements that could
easily be construed as threats. Also not mentioned in this article, is that the
publicity surrounding this issue has resulted in death threats against the
instructor, resulting in him being placed on paid leave for his safety (not as
punishment).Seems like the kind of reaction many of these comments
claim only comes from Muslims.jttheawesome:[Conversely, Mr.
Rotela, while understandably offended, should have merely refused to step on the
paper with the name of Jesus, calmly explain why, and then drop the matter.]You mean perform the activity exactly as intended? Novel idea.NT:[The silence coming from the halls of the ACLU with respect to
this...is deafening.]And from the ACLJ, their right-wing
counterpart. Probably because the University did everything right.Simple advice, don't make veiled threats against your instructor if you
want to stay in the class/University.
RepresentBlue:[Can you imagine the controversy that would ensue if the
professor had instructed his students to write the word "Mohammed" or
"Allah" on the paper and stomp on it?!?! The entire middle east would be
rioting in the streets and the oh so noble and enlightened professor would be
going into hiding because of the price that would be put on his head.]Oh, you mean exactly what happened in this case? The professor is in hiding
now, because of death threats.
if this had been a teacher whom uses what our Heavenly Father has blessed him
with in his intelligence of teaching skills then he would never have done this.
the teacher should be repremanded with tough restrictions but i personally feel
the teacher should be fired with no references. NO ONE should of stomped
on our Savior's name ! those people have no reverence or clue to what our
Savior truly did for them.
Were there other students in Mr. Rotela's class that didn't step on
the paper? Or was he the only one?
If you follow the link in the article, you will find that the professor did
indeed get a chance to tell his side of the story. He claims the student
threatened him. I doubt that it was a serious threat, if a threat at all, but
unless other students in the class come forward and give clarity to the story,
we will never know. After reading both accounts, I think it is a
terribly designed exercise and the professor was only guilty of doing what sadly
many professors do - just following the lesson plan blindly without thinking of
consequences. The professor also claims to be a deeply religious Christian.
Although I can't see how a "deeply religious Christian" would
follow such a lesson plan, I think I will give him the benefit of the doubt. We all make mistakes, and just because his mistake was quite offensive
to most Christians doesn't necessarily mean he is a terrible person. I
likely do not agree with the professor in many regards, but one of my beliefs as
a Christian is that it is not my place to judge.
"Poole told Inside Higher Ed he had used the exercise before without
problems.But when he conducted the exercise about a month ago, one
student expressed strong objection. Poole told the website that after class,
the student came up to him, hit his balled fist into his other hand and said
“he wanted to hit me,” the instructor said. The student didn’t
hit him, but Poole said he was alarmed and notified campus security and filed a
report on the student.Some media reports have mischaracterized that
incident, Poole said, by reporting that Rotela was suspended because he refused
to participate in the exercise. Most students in the class refused to
participate, he said."(Sun Sentinel April 1,2013)Sounds
like a "he said, she(he) said" story. Guess we have our own
extremists if the insteuctor is getting death threats.Sad.
From the news reports of this incident, it seems like the textbook intent of
this exercise was to get the students talking, often about why they
wouldn't stomp on the paper. Yet, it seems like it was the professor that
saw a different, anti-communication intent and was going to force the stomping;
and it was unclear why he couldn't handle communication in a communications
class.To actually stomp on any name that represents a person held in
esteem by any group of people, seems like an act that would automatically
disqualify someone intending on becoming a diplomat.After much
thought on the matter, it seems to me that the ideal name to use would be the
name of the teacher, after respectfully asking if he would allow it.
Actually i think the exercise could be very valuable and thought provoking.
Prompting each person to test their own feelings and values can be defining and
enlightening on an individual basis. Like the book's author said, there
hasn't been a problem with the exercise for many years, if ever. My guess is this kid grew up in a household or environment where either he was
taught Christians are persecuted or he experienced persecution and therefore was
highly sensitized to the issue. Probably we will never know the
whole truth of what actually happened. DN has many articles that
religion is under attack and religious folks are being marginalized, as does
conservative media. Fear-mongering is evil, and produces evil.
I appreciate OHBU's comments. It is sad to me that no matter what side of
the coin one is on with any matter these days everyone becomes offended so
easily. What happened to critical thinking and trying to gain a better
understanding of why someone is presenting an exercise or a point of view or
whatever it may be. It is amazing what happens when you step back and look at
situations without instant offense. If I recall from my upbringing that being
easily offended is not good either. Everyone barks that people are bashing
Christianity when a good portion of those claiming to be Christian exhibit very
little Christ like behavior in return. It leaves me scratching my head daily. I
also find people are VERY quick to join someone's band wagon without
knowing all the facts. If everyone were slow to anger and make an effort to
understand the bigger picture there would be much less finger pointing and much
more actual Christlike behavior.
The exercise has merit if it is used to promote sensitivity towards people of
other faiths. As evidenced by the comments above, most are offended by the
thought of disrespect aimed at Deity they believe in. Then, they quickly turn
on those of the Muslim faith, certain that "those" people would riot in
the streets, if asked to desecrate their prophet. The problem with many on the
Christian right is that they do not follow the Savior's admonition to love
their brothers and sisters as they would themselves. American prejudice and
disrespect towards other faiths is legendary, ongoing and frequently perpetrated
by those who would claim to support the 1st Amendment. As LDS members, I would
expect my brothers and sisters in the Church to support the right of others to
"worship how where and what they may." Protecting that right begins
with respect. Respect is best understood when it is extended before it is
Hypersensitivity is not the answer to civil society. The student in this case,
and all students in a college classroom, however, are in an imbalance of power.
It took genuine emotion for Ryan to rebel against the superior's
instructions. He was reasonable enough. The professor is not guilty of a
crime, just a mistake and he should be able to continue teaching, wiser for the
incident that challenged his assumed unfettered discretion. He should be
cautioned to respect the students' freedom to learn as well as his freedom
to teach. Together they form academic freedom. Being in a superior position,
it is the teacher who should, in Socrates' terms, be a philosopher seeking
truth rather than a partisan advocating a point of view (and requiring
compliance by students). Some choices of subject matter, reading assignments,
and classroom exercises betray biases, prejudices, and axes to grind on the part
of the teacher, bullying students, for fear of public mockery or bad grades,
into politically correct responses rather than genuine inquiry and learning.
Teachers should always respect the freedom to learn, and then they can argue for
the necessity of the freedom to teach in appropriate ways.
@TJ, I thank you for the recommendation, but I do try to read my scriptures
regularly. Your reference to Jesus throwing the money changers out of the
temple is not relevant to the discussion of learning about mutual respect.
However, yes, it was Christlike, because it was a willful action of the Savior.
Jesus was always very firm with those who knew better; in your example, those
who would attempt to profit from temple worship. For example: "when
[Jesus] was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing."
They had enough information to know that he was the Savior. Their questions
were not sincere. Conversely, according to John's account, when Pilate
questioned whether Jesus was the "King of the Jews," Jesus asked him if
the question was his own, or information from others. Then, Jesus answers him,
"To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I
should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my
voice." The Savior looks on the heart.
Tee hee hee! I bet that professor never thought in a million years a Christian
would fight back! I love it!
Did any of you actually read the article? The point of the exercise was not to
force anyone to actually step on anything the point is to get student thinking
about and talking about the importance of symptoms. Having said that in
today's world where religion has become such a sensative issue i(just read
the comments above) it maybe necessary to alter this lession to something less
touchy for people.
Certainly, as a Communication professor, he must know that the message intended
is not always the one received. But maybe the message received in this case is
more important the lesson the professor intended to teach. For too long, an
anti-Christian bias has been the "safe" bias in our society. They have
been the group that it is politically correct to target. There's a reason
why it was Jesus, and not Allah, and it's not because the professor is
afraid of Islam, but because it's the one group that can be singled out in
such a way and still have it be socially acceptable. I think it's time for
us to learn that bias, even against a majority group, is still bias.
I am not sure it was an innocent activity at all. I had a teacher who bragged he
flipped his students off every day. He pushed his glasses up with his middle
finger, and got a thrill out of it. If this exercise was to open an
discussion, why didn't the teacher pursue the discussion when the student
expressed his feelings about the activity? Instead the student was evicted from
the discussion, which is more of a discussion ender.It doesn't
add up.And in case you haven't lived long enough to notice,
civil society is a lot less civil than it was even 20 or 30 years ago.
@KalindraYou have a valid point – but your facts do not
support it: Many people who condemn phrases like "that's retarded"
are the exact same people who condemn religious intolerance (i.e. Sarah Palin)
and many of the people who use phrases like "that's so gay" are
also religiously insensitive (14 year old boys)PC bullies are those who
are clearly NOT interested in tolerance – but merely feign indignation
for political purposes – such as those who were horrified at insults
thrown at Sandra Fluke (whose behavior was legitimately deserving of criticism)
while remaining silent regarding worse insults thrown at women who were
non-compliant to feminist dogma. PC police are mocked because of their blatant
hypocrisy, not for legitmate concern for tolerance.@Truthseeker“Fear-mongering is evil, and produces evil”It is duly
noted that you made that comment right after fear-mongering, devaluing the
subject of the story and attempting to marginalize the DN and conservative
media: May we extrapolate your degree of evilness from that?
MukkakePlease show where you have learned that this professor is in hiding
for his life. You seem to be the ONLY one who is aware of this fact. I am not
criticizing you or not saying I do not believe you - but seeing that I do not
know you or how honorable you are - please provide another witness to your
claim. Thank you.
BadgerbadgerThank you for your comment.As a divorced mother I
returned to college and in some cases faced professors who seemed to relished
dismantling a students Christian beliefs and values. I also had a son who when
returning from serving an exceptional mission went to college and was there
taught how to "critical think" his ways right out of the church. His
professor must be overjoyed - but his mothers heart is broken. It sad to think
that it is not spiritually safe to send out children out to get a higher
education. I know that there will be mean spirited and overjoyed comments from
this, so be it. I REPENT of ever sending my son to college!And your
RIGHT!!! If this was all about getting a discussion going - then why wasn't
his rejection to do the beginning of this discussion. Why was he evicted from
the class? If he was overly upset why did not the know it all professor diffuse
the situation before it got out of control?
Please search for "Florida ‘Stomp Jesus’ student challenges
teacher to televised debate" for more information. This student threatened
the teacher. Just because he's LDS doesn't mean he should get a free
It's sad how much misinformation is swirling around this story. Watching
CNN last night, one commentator said "students in Florida were told to write
down the name of Jesus, rip it up and stomp on it. If they refused, they would
fail the class and be expelled from the University." In other words,
she's outraged over something that never happened.Again, he
wasn't kicked out of class for refusing to step on the paper, but for
verbally threatening the teacher. That's a clear no-no. He was then asked
to not go to class while the university investigated. I just don't see a
miscarriage of justice.If you'll all please read the article
again, this exercise was designed at a Catholic university, where it was used
for three decades. The exercise isn't offensive, but the kid wanted to get
offended. He is, of course, free to take offense and to express his feelings.
He crossed a line when he threatened the teacher.
JanSanI share your pain. There is definitely a class at a local
University with a teacher who seeks to make atheists out of Mormons. That is his
definition of successful teaching. He is not unique.I repeat the
article, there was no evidence that the Rotela was threatening or abusive.
Posters who suggest otherwise need to back that up with evidence. The fact that
FAU backed down and apologized suggests that Rotela behaved correctly, while the
so called educated adults of the university did not.For those with
the sensitivity of a stone, I am sure that insults directed at Martians, are not
offensive to you because you are a stone, not a Martian.
JanSan,Your son didn't stop going to church because he went to
college, he stopped because that's what some people do. Some of you may
remember the study, oft cited during the last presidential election by Rick
Santorum, that 64% of kids who enter college active in their churches, leave
without actively attending. This is very true. HOWEVER, the same study he is
pointing to, showed that 76% of kids who don't attend college stop
attending their church. Many do come back later in life, from both groups. In
other words, sending your kids to college might give them a better chance of
remaining active in their faith.So much for liberal indoctrination.
Badgerbadger:[I repeat the article, there was no evidence that the Rotela
was threatening or abusive. Posters who suggest otherwise need to back that up
with evidence.]The Deseret News comments have a 200 word limit per
post, 4 post limit per article, and block hyperlinks to other websites. Luckily
we all have internet access, or we wouldn't be posting here. Please search
one of the many other sites that have reported on this issue, including Fox,
CNN, and even Glenn Beck's own The Blaze and you'll see that the
Deseret News' reporting left a lot to be desired on this issue.[The fact that FAU backed down and apologized suggests that Rotela behaved
correctly, while the so called educated adults of the university did not.]Modern PR strategies usually involve issuing apologies quickly, so long
as they don't create legal liability. Apologies are cheap and meaningless
in a world with Twitter.
Badgerbadger and others. I know you won't believe this, but the professor
is also Christian. Put down your persecution complex. There is plenty of
evidence coming out that shows the student was the aggressor. Again, DesNews
isn't giving you all the facts. Search for "FAU "Jesus Stomp"
Professor Physically Threatened by Student, Deandre Poole Says"" Poole said his church has been a major source of strength to him
throughout the controversy."They've been very supportive of
me," he said. "They've been praying for me. They put me in the
middle of a circle and the pastor anointed me with oil and placed his hands on
me while they prayed for me. It's been part of my life since I was a
Poole said blah blah blah. Of course he is going to cover his back!That is all you bring for evidence? He said/he said? Worthless! There are many other objective witnesses. Where are their statements?
Suppressed, probably, so FAU won't suffer the embarrassment. Again, the student was reinstated and received an apology, for good reason."Apologies are cheap..." For many people that is true. For many
others, they are sincere and meaningful.If a person of a minority
race tells us that something being said or done is offensive, society, in
general, now listens and makes adjustments. But if a Christian, or worse yet a
Mormon, tells us that something being said or done is offensive, he is told that
it is all in his head and that he is being hostile. This case is a perfect
example. Among the posters here, it sounds like there are those who
are supportive of offending and discriminating against Christians.Martians, of any kind, are smart enough to know when they are being demeaned.
Stones don't listen.
Christian 24-7, Poole is also a devout Christian. So, now what?
Christian 24-7Murray, UTPoole said blah blah blah. Of course
he is going to cover his back!"------The exact same thing
could be said of the student. If he did threaten the professor and got asked to
leave class, don't you think he would cover his back? The truth is,
they're both asserting their story. Why are you so inclined to believe the
student? Do you have a preconceived bias against professors? Does the fact
that the student is LDS automatically make him more credible than someone of
another Christian faith? Your comment seems all to eager to be
offended. Just to review: the exercise was written by a Christian, it was part
of the curriculum at a Catholic university for over 30 years without incident,
the professor is Christian, and the student is Christian. Tell me again,
who's persecuting the Christians here?
Christian 24/7Does Fox news count a reliable source to you? Is a
statement from Rotela's attorney good enough for you?From the
daily caller website:"Rotela’s attorney told Fox News that
the professor, Deandre Poole may have felt threatened when Rotela said of the
Jesus stomping, “Don’t do that again.” Rotela also reportedly
said, “You’ll be hearing from me.”Both were
considered threats and a violation of the student code of conduct. Should a
college be allowed to enforce their code of conduct?
This is just plain a stupid thing to do. There are better ways to initiate a
conversation about Jesus. Hey Silo, I have a hard time with the words as quoted
by you that the student said as being threatening. "You'll be hearing
from me" threatening? No.Just imagin what would have happened
had the student folded the paper into an airplane and thrown it around the
@christian 24-7So your counter evidance to a he said he said line of
reasoning is an unsuporrrted claim of a consperecy cover up by the university?
OK, this is totally unrelated to the discussion at hand, but would someone
please inform that there is no apostrophe in "its," when speaking of
"its author?" "It's" is a contraction for "It is."
Whew. I feel better now. Good article, though, and good the the student for
standing up for what he believed.