Comments about ‘Mormon student at Florida Atlantic University punished for refusing to 'stomp on Jesus'’

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Published: Tuesday, March 26 2013 4:55 p.m. MDT

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lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

The school did not apologize until the incident was made public. I doubt they are sorry it happened, just that it was made public.

Go somewhere else? What if this university has the best program for his desired field and this was a required general ed class? Should he just walk away? This is a public funded school; by allowing them to openly denigrate religion, you are violating the 1st amendment.

But you are probably correct that he should go elsewhere; the school will likely find some subtle way to retaliate.

not go back – so get an “incomplete” or “F” for the class and forfeit the tuition and lose the time already spent?

Regardless of whether or not it was voluntary, why is such a bigoted exercise allowed in a publicly funded university?

Roberts, ID


Methinks that you are too far to the left to realize it. I am sure that Mr Rotela was not aware of the exercise prior to it being assigned. Furthermore, it is probably one of those "required classes". I would suggest, next time, Dr Prejudice use Mohammed or copies of the Koran in this exercise and see what the reaction to that would be.

Salt Lake City, UT

As a police officer for thirty years I met many polite and respectful people who wanted to disagree with me. We parted company fully respectful of each other even though we may have disagreed. Why don't you believe this is possible?
As to investigative proceedures I concur. But the letter orders him to appear before a student council for his post incident conduct charging him with violations of the student conduct. This is not punishment...it's where they hand out punishment for "charges".
As to "liberal professors" I have said nothing about them so I don't get your inference. Besides which I have two liberal arts degrees and have been an acting "liberal professor" and have wonderful relationships with most "liberal professors." I have spent most of the last 15 years working with kids this age. I disagree with your attitude towards them as a whole. Me thinks you doth protest to much!

Springville, Ut


Thank you for educating me as to my personal political belief. I was lost without your input.

Lost, thank you for making my point for me. I don't think he should just leave; I think he should challenge the issue and should defend his position. My point was that some conservative posters are duplicitous; they claim that gays, liberals, non-Mormons, etc. should all leave places where they feel they are mistreated, but claim some sort of needed protection for this young adult. No one is entitled to attend the best university, or any university, that has their program of choice; otherwise there would be endless lawsuits by entering freshman who were just rejected from their pick of schools.

At the end of the day, I believe all parties have overreacted in this case. This is a media firestorm because it's a perfect story for both political sides to use as propaganda to further their own interests.


What if it had been the 'Prophet Muhammed', the university would probably be in flames at this time, and the Mullahs in the entire middle east, would have the entire staff and faculty under death sentences, and, another few US embassies would be in ashes. Interesting thought, is it not?

bob j
Maryborough, 00

In the final 'Book of Life', that young man will receive a big tick of approval. He certainly gets one from me.

Woods Cross, UT

15 years ago at the U of U, a history professor openly attacked the LDS endowment claiming that it had no "religious value." I was there.

In many academic circles (not all) there is an anti-religious bias that runs deep. Take care where you send your children to school.

Sacramento, CA

It isn't reported what the other students' reactions were, but this would (maybe was meant to be) the beginning of some great discussions of an individual's response in a group, the reactions of people to the group behavior when their personal values are not shared by the group and what it means to follow personal values over following the group, or how an authority figure might affect a group member's behavior. I'm just throwing out ideas here, since the professor might simply be anti-Christian and like a lot of people, just not be able to see things from the other side--very human, but not where a professor should but his or her personal self. Until we have the rest of the story (apologies to Paul Harvey) we should take a step back and not judge anyone--or their behavior.

Richland, WA

This kind of process was precisely how the Japanese authorities tried to exterminate Christianity in Japan back in the 16th Century. Perople suspected of being Christians were told to stomp on a cross, or an icon of Jesus or of Mary, mother of Jesus. Those who refused to do so were then punished, up to and including death.

Could a professor tell his students that they have to be baptized in class? Or take communion in another religious denomination? Or prostrate themselves toward Mecca and repeat an Islamic prayer? Or on the other hand draw a cartoon that insults Mohammad or ridicules Native American religion or Buddhism? Would a Hindu student be required to eat meat?

Some professors are on an ego trip when it comes to their power over students. Rather than see themselves as serving and helping the students, they see the students as being pawns in their own game of accumulating academic power and prestige. Rather than being scholars, such professors are closed-minded bigots.

Yorba Linda, CA

There are many arguments that this was a teaching exercise and the bigger picture or the lesson learned justifies the technique. First, this is still offensive to many christians by calling Jesus a symbol in society. While non-believers may see it that, believers see Jesus as a person who is the savior of the world. Any disrespect to him or his name regardless of the lesson being taught is unacceptable.

Also, just because you can create a situation that teaches a point that instructor would like students to see, does not make it appropriate or acceptable behavior. For example, would it be acceptable to ask students to remove their clothes in class to see how many would refuse or would remove their clothes to show how different cultures view the nature of covering up or not, as many native villages still wear very little, or to show the effect of pornography on our culture. While that may teach to a point of view, it is certainly unacceptable. Any argument that such practices are okay because a lesson being taught, is short sighted at best!!

Central, Utah

Had there been papers for each with Jesus, Martin Luther, King James * Budda etc. ans students asked to stomp on each, I wonder what the reaction would be. Should it have been not to stomp on anyone. What if Joseph Smith & Hitler were added?

Meanwhile outside the classroom we share "jokes" about others and seldom does anyone protest.

Sandy, UT

High time for some faculty and staff to be summarily terminated. I don't care if the over-schooled instructor has twenty Ph.D.'s . . . he need to be forced to go out into the real world and find some gainful employment.

Dammam, Saudi Arabia

I am the biggest fan of multiculturalism and diversity. There is a lot that we can learn by looking over cultural divides. There is a lot that I have learned.

Having said that, this incident illustrates how inadequate diversity teaching is in the US. The instructor wants to show how we need to be sensitive when communicating over a cultural and he does it by an offensive display. The fact that he choose an example that would be offensive to Christians illustrates that he did know that it was offensive but he is aligning himself with current political dogma.

Diversity is good, but we need to sit down and have a long discussion about how to improve it, because what is being done is not effective.


Fourth try

"Whenever I travel to Republican events around the state, the first question is almost always, “So tell me, is it hard to be a Republican at Berkeley?” They assume that my daily life consists of constant liberal brainwashing from professors, hostility from other students and scoffing from administrators.

I’ve experienced all of that during the last four years at Berkeley, but that hasn’t represented the majority of my interactions on this campus. Instead, I find that most students and professors are genuinely curious to hear a minority point of view. They appreciate the opportunity to hear the conservative position that so many in the nation hold but so few on this campus publicly confess.

One of the biggest problems in American politics is that voters have self-segregated. Democrats live in the urban areas on the coast, Republicans in rural areas inland. As a result, most voters only talk to people who believe as they do. They don’t understand the perspective of those who believe differently and thus punish their elected officials for compromising."

(Andy Nevis, a political science major, was director of the UC Berkeley Republicans 2011-2012)

A Scientist
Provo, UT

In my religion, we believe Jesus guides our footsteps, and "stomping" on a picture of him or his written name is a sacred rite we go through each morning to remind us to "walk in paths of righteousness".

So why is my sacred religious rite being turned into a horrible thing by this Mormon student? That is offensive, and disrespects my religious freedom!

Shame on this student for his narrow-minded views about my religion. He should have more respect for the religious beliefs of others.

nashville , TN

I think that it is interesting that their wording was " any offense we may have caused" as if they didn't recognize that it was offensive. They were still not taking responsibility for their actions.

Australia, 00

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the event, to use a name sacred to any religion or group of people is disrespectful an inappropriate. Wonder what the reaction would have been if the name selected had been Buddha or Allah? If there was a point to be made by the exercise then using a less sensitive word would have been more appropriate.

Salt Lake City, UT

"I think that it is interesting that their wording was " any offense we may have caused" as if they didn't recognize that it was offensive."

Hmnn. . . That's interesting, because I don't see the exercise as offensive at all. And I don't think the University had anything to apologize for. But of course now days everyone is expected to apologize, aren't they?

Yep, we cater to those most easily offended now days.

Cedar Hills, UT

It appears the professor gets his curriculum from Michael Scott of The Office.


For all those who claimed he was not punished, did you not read the article before writing. Or do you not believe that being suspended from school is a punishment? Would really like to understand your thinking.

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