The story of the “Jesus stomping” professor first reported here has developed some intriguing twists and turns.
Late last Friday, Fox News and the Palm Beach Post reported that FAU had finally released a statement of apology:
This exercise will not be used again. The University holds dear its core values. We sincerely apologize for any offense this caused. Florida Atlantic University respects all religions and welcomes people of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs.
But the story does not end there. Today Fox News reported:
A Florida Atlantic University student who filed a complaint against his professor after he was ordered to stomp on the name of Jesus has been brought up on academic charges by the school and may no longer attend class….
Hiram Sasser, director of litigation at the Liberty Institute, told Fox News the university’s behavior is “outlandish” and called their press release “inaccurate,” adding:
We believe the university punished him in retaliation for him exposing the class assignment to the public. Sadly, it is a testimony to the indoctrination that some of the public schools and universities are engaging in – to demonize anything that was valuable in the culture.
Obviously this story has “legs” so you can expect to hear more from FAU and student Ryan Rotela, a Mormon who has become a hero among Christians.
More from today’s Fox News report:
Rotela told Fox News he has been overwhelmed by the support he’s received from Christians across the nation.
‘The response and support I have gotten has been beautiful and uplifting,’ he said. ‘I have never seen such a strong wave of Christians thank me for this. Looking back – the whole incident was one of the best and worst moments of my life.’
This local incident has gone national because it ties together cultural, political, religious, and educational issues. Additionally, the timing of the story during Holy Week arouses the passions of those who believe in defending their faith, any faith, against an increasingly secular culture, especially in the classroom at all levels.
In my first post on this incident I asked speculatively what would have happened had Professor Poole decided to use Mohammed’s name for a class stomp instead of that of Jesus. I think the answer is self-evident.
Now, in light of these latest developments, here is a follow-up question: Why was there only one student in the class who found stomping on Jesus objectionable?
That question is worth pondering any time but especially during Holy Week.
It reminds me of that famous series of quotes from Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps. Niemöller wrote:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.