A Florida college professor causing national outrage for requiring students to write “Jesus” on a piece of paper, then put it on the floor and stomp on it, turns out also to be a top official in the local Democratic Party – the latest in a string of acute leadership embarrassments.
Although one student who refused to participate claims he was punished by being suspended from the class, Florida Atlantic University is defending the controversial assignment.
The dissenting student, Ryan Rotela, told the local CBS TV affiliate WPEC that his instructor, associate professor Deandre Poole, told everyone in the class to write the word “Jesus” on a piece of paper in bold letters, then put it on the floor and stomp on it.
Rotela, a junior from Coral Springs, said some of his classmates complied, but he refused.
“Anytime you stomp on something it shows that you believe that something has no value. So if you were to stomp on the word Jesus, it says that the word has no value,” he told WPEC.
A religious Mormon who attends church every Sunday, Rotela complained to school officials but said they responded by suspending him from the class.
According to Florida Atlantic University, Poole was conducting an exercise from the textbook “Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition.”
A synopsis of the lesson plan in question, obtained by Fox News, goes like this:
“Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper 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.”
Grove City College professor Paul Kengor, author of “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor,” told Fox he wasn’t surprised by the “lesson.”
“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 told Fox, saying classes like the one at FAU reflect “the rising confidence and aggression of the new secularists and atheists, especially at our sick and surreal modern universities.”
Kengor added: “Gee, I wonder if the instructor would dare do this with the name of Muhammed.”
It turns out, the "stomp-on-Jesus" professor, Poole, also has a prominent position in local politics. As Bizpacreview reports, Poole is vice-chairman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party.
Moreover, this isn't the local party's first brush with negative publicity.
The former chairman of the county Democratic Party was forced to resign in September after comments he made at the Democratic National Convention last year in Charlotte, N.C.
As WND reported, Mark Siegel reportedly told an interviewer Christians who support Israel want to see Jews "slaughtered."
Siegel was quoted as saying, "Oh no, the Christians just want us to be there so we can all be slaughtered and converted and bring on the second coming of Jesus Christ."
And two months earlier, a Democratic Executive Committee member from Palm Beach County also slammed Israel. Evelyn Garcia sent an email accusing the Jewish state of atrocities, writing, "By supporting Israeli occupation with U.S. foreign aid, we are all complicit and guilty of their crimes against humanity."
"And, I deeply resent U.S. taxpayer funds being used to continue Israeli aggression (yes, confiscating other peoples' land and building illegal settlements is aggression), not to mention 'incursions' that kill PEOPLE, destroy civilian homes and infrastructure all over, mass concentration prison camps, etc,etc,etc," she added.
Garcia quit her post after a public outcry.
In the meantime, still no word from Florida Atlantic University on whether it will discipline the professor who urged students to stomp on "Jesus" and whether Ryan will have his suspension from class lifted.
FAU did, however, email this press statement: "Faculty and students at academic institutions pursue knowledge and engage in open discourse. While at times the topics discussed may be sensitive, a university environment is a venue for such dialogue and debate."