Why Don’t They Ever Stomp on Muhammad?

Earlier this month, FAU instructor Deandre Poole told students in an intercultural communications class to write the word “Jesus” on a piece of paper, throw it on the floor and stomp on it. Ryan Rotela, a junior at FAU’s Davie campus, later complained he was thrown out of class when he refused to participate.

So reports Tia Mitchell at the Miami Herald in the article ‘Jesus’-stomping incident at FAU draws rebuke from Rick Scott. Florida Atlantic University has apologize for the incident after Rotela, a Mormon, complained. So far, no one was fired for the incident.

When I read about situations like this I wonder why Jesus is the target rather than “The Prophet” Muhammad. What would the the response be had the students been told to write the word “Muhammad” on a piece of paper, throw it on the floor and stomp on it?

Just a thought…


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tagged as in Christianity,Culture,relativism

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christiane March 27, 2013 at 3:37 pm

if people follow Our Lord, they must leave behind them the contempt that human beings naturally feel for those who are not ‘like them’, and replace natural contempt with the grace-filled compassion and care that Our Lord Himself had for those who were ‘lost and bewildered and without a shepherd’ . . . this change-over is a transformational process that may take a life-time, but it is what Christians are called to

2 Mark March 27, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Christiane, thanks but how is your comment pertinent to the post and/or issue in question?

3 Larry March 27, 2013 at 3:49 pm

What would the response be? Stuff set on fire probably.

4 theoldadam March 27, 2013 at 4:36 pm

The left doesn’t fight against evil. They fight against those who fight against evil.

5 Joseph March 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm

For one thing, if this involved stomping on Mohammed I’d be hearing about it on mainstream news stories instead of just on Christian and conservative blogs.

6 Burdell March 27, 2013 at 11:52 pm

Fox News reported that the written lesson plan described the assignment as: “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.”

Given the student’s comment to the media was “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,” it sounds like he could have participated in the assignment as planned, and made a thoughtful contribution to the class discussion.

He alleges he was thrown out for refusing to participate because he wouldn’t step on the paper. But the lesson plan doesn’t require stepping the paper. It allows it, but the point is to discuss the student’s decision, based on the importance of the symbol at issue. Since the student mischaracterized the assignment, I’m not convinced I should believe his characterization of why he was thrown out of the class. Perhaps his refusal to participate was an obstinate refusal to be involved in the discussion. Perhaps he was unwilling to get to that point and disrupted the class and the lesson. We don’t know. He doesn’t have credibility. The University apologized, but the timing indicates that action was political (albeit ineffective) so their apology is not dispositive to the truth of what happened.

Perhaps the question, then, is not “why not Muhammad?,” but rather, “why the knee-jerk reaction?”

When Rick Scott writes: “I am requesting a report of the incident, how it was handled and a statement of the university’s policies to ensure this type of ‘lesson’ will not occur again,” he assumes that he knows what occurred, and he makes clear that he is unwilling to consider any other solution. That’s a reckless way to approach an incident where we don’t know all the facts. When he says “The professor’s lesson was offensive, and even intolerant, to Christians and those of all faiths who deserve to be respected as Americans entitled to religious freedom,” I’m left reading the lesson plan above and scratching my head because I can’t figure out how asking students “why the can’t step on the paper” and discussing “the importance of symbols in culture” is intolerant of anything. Asking and discussing is about as tolerant as you can get.


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