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Comments about ‘'Jesus stomping' incident raises freedom of conscience and speech issues for both sides of debate’

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Published: Monday, April 1 2013 8:35 a.m. MDT

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The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

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.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

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".

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

This was a stupid exercise, and making more of it than that is opportunistic.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

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 "exercise"?

Supporting LDS Church
Salt Lake City, UT

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.

OHBU
Columbus, OH

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 the class.

CougarBlue
Heber City, UT

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 100%.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

"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 "higher" learning.

Oatmeal
Woods Cross, UT

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.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

@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.

silo
Sandy, UT

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.

jttheawesome
Scranton, PA

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 brother."

Matthew 18:15

andyjaggy
American Fork, UT

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.

RepresentBlue
West Jordan, UT

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!

NT
SomewhereIn, UT

The silence coming from the halls of the ACLU with respect to this...is deafening.

the truth
Holladay, UT

@atl134

How 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.

Kalindra
Salt Lake City, Utah

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 Jesus' teachings?

Abinadis friend
Boise, Idaho

A school is not the place for this person to put on this demonstration. He can say what he wishes elsewhere but is
not appropriate as a teacher in a school class.

Mukkake
Salt Lake City, UT

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.

Mukkake
Salt Lake City, UT

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.

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