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Jesus stomping incident at FAU draws Rick Scott rebuke

UPDATE: A spokeswoman says the State University System has been paying close attention to the events at Florida Atlantic University but isn't ready to address the governor's letter.

"The State University System prides itself not only on its commitment to academic freedom, but at the same time, its awesome responsibility to the people it serves," wrote spokeswoman Kim Wilmath. "We are gratified to know that FAU has apologized for any offense the exercise has caused and has pledged never to use this exercise again. Clearly, there were things the university could have done differently by its own acknowledgement."

ORIGINAL POST: Florida Atlantic University has apologized for a controversial classroom lesson that led critics to accuse the school of religious intolerance. But that didn't stop Gov. Rick Scott for stepping into the fray today.

Scott penned a letter to State University System Chancellor Frank Brogan demanding an investigation. "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," Scott wrote.

Earlier this month, a FAU instructor 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. A student later complained he was thrown out of class when he refused to participate.

The university initially defended the assignment, saying it was supposed to make students uncomfortable as they dealt with the power of words. Students were expected to hesitate and the lesson was intended to expose the emotional connection to cultural symbols, according to the Sun-Sentinel's overview of the lesson plan written by a professor in Wisconsin.

The incident became fodder on blogs and among conservatives who questioned whether such liberties would have been taken with other religions.

This week, FAU released a statement apologizing for the lesson. "This exercise will not be used again," the school said, according to the Sun-Sentinel report. "…We sincerely apologize for any offense this caused. Florida Atlantic University respects all religions and welcomes people of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs."

That didn't stop Scott from weighing in. He acknowledged that the students' report of being suspended by the instructor had been disputed, and that the school issued an apology. He wants more.

"Whether the student was reprimanded or whether an apology was given is in many ways inconsequential to the larger issue of a professor's poor judgement," Scott wrote. "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."

Download Scott letter about FAU incident


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No More Rick Scott

Rick Scott may see a political advantage to appease the right. Meanwhile, he does nothing for Historically Black Colleges in Florida.


Thanks, Governor!

Stay on topic

@no more Rick Scott

What do "historically" black colleges have to do with an article about
Religious intolerance?

steve Dowling

Thanks Gov. Rick Scott for standing up to something that was very wrong and offensive. I think this instructor should be suspended or fired for trying to control students through these types of exercises.

Lee Kuan The Great

Its time For Florida to Maintain Religious and Racial Harmony by force of law. Most Asian countries do this already. Why are states, like Florida backwards?
We, the people in Singapore, declare that religious harmony is vital for peace, progress and prosperity in our multi-racial and multi-religious Nation.

We resolve to strengthen religious harmony through mutual tolerance, confidence, respect, and understanding.

We shall always

Recognise the secular nature of our State,
Promote cohesion within our society,
Respect each other's freedom of religion,
Grow our common space while respecting our diversity,
Foster inter-religious communications,

and thereby ensure that religion will not be abused to create conflict and disharmony in Singapore.

Penal Code (Section 298 and Section 298A)

298A. Whoever —
(a) by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, knowingly promotes or attempts to promote, on grounds of religion or race, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious or racial groups; or
(b) commits any act which he knows is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious or racial groups and which disturbs or is likely to disturb the public tranquillity,
shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years, or with fine, or with both.

jose lopez

If he does the same thing with the Muslim symbol, I'd forgive him. Why are we Christians treated this way by this cowards?

jose lopez

The students that followed the order have been traumatized and they should be compensated, for ever they are most likely to feel like Judas

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