- (Photo: WPEC-TV video)
A Florida Atlantic University professor made his students write the name "Jesus" on a piece of paper and then trample on it, as part of a "lesson in debating," a student suspended for refusing to participate in the exercise has revealed.
"I'm not going to be sitting in a class having my religious rights desecrated," student Ryan Rotela, a Mormon, told WPEC. "I truly see this as I'm being punished."
Rotela explained that his Intercultural Communications class was told to write Jesus' name on a piece of paper, then gather together and stomp on it. The student refused, however, and picked up the paper from the floor and put it back on the table.
The professor, Deandre Poole, was apparently trying to teach the students a "lesson in debate," but the student found the assignment to be insulting and offensive.
"I said to the professor, 'With all due respect to your authority as a professor, I do not believe what you told us to do was appropriate,'" Rotela said. 'I believe it was unprofessional and I was deeply offended by what you told me to do.'"
The student was suspended afterwards by the university, who is defending the instructor.
"As with any academic lesson, the exercise was meant to encourage students to view issues from many perspectives, in direct relation with the course objectives," Noemi Marin, the university's director of the school of communication and multimedia studies, told Fox News.
"While at times the topics discussed may be sensitive, a university environment is a venue for such dialogue and debate," Marin added.
Stomping on Jesus' name is actually an entire lesson, which is included in the textbook for the class, called "Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition."
"Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper," a synopsis for the lesson reads.
"Ask the students to stand up and put the paper on the floor in front of them with the name facing up. Ask the students to think about it for a moment. After a brief period of silence instruct them to step on the paper. Most will hesitate. Ask why they can't step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture."
Paul Kengor, the executive director of the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College, told Fox News that such a lesson is a direct example of secular society targeting Christianity.
"These are the new secular disciples of 'diversity' and 'tolerance' – empty buzzwords that make liberals and progressives feel good while they often refuse to tolerate and sometimes even assault traditional Christian and conservative beliefs," Kengor said.