“Student Suspended Suppressing
Ramesh C. Reddy
event happened at a Florida Atlantic University (FAU) classroom
between a professor and one of his students?
When the professor asked students to
trample on a piece of paper as part of a project assignment in
intercultural communication, one of the students refused to do it
and got suspended by the university.
Was the student wrong not to obey the
It depends on what the student was asked
Just because the professor is in
authority does not mean a student leaves his free will and
conscience behind but that is exactly what the university wanted him
The students were asked to write the
name of JESUS on a piece of paper, put it on the ground of the
classroom, and trample it with their feet.
Ryan Rotela, a Mormon refused to do the
assignment because he loved the Name of Jesus and it was against his
religious beliefs to show irreverence to the name of Jesus.
“'With all due respect to your
authority as a professor, I do not believe what you told us to do
was appropriate,'". 'I believe it was unprofessional and I was
deeply offended by what you told me to do.'",
For that FAU suspended him from the University for
disobeying Professor Deandra Poole’s command and assignment.
What is more shocking is that Poole or
FAU approved the textbook for the class, called "Intercultural
Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition,"
which actually has a lesson asking students to write the name of
JESUS on a piece of paper and then trample on it.
Rotela was not wrong in disobeying
Poole’s instructions because he was showing his allegiance to Jesus
than to Poole’s demand of trampling on the name of Jesus.
What Rotela did is similar to what the
Apostles Peter and John did when they were asked to go against what
“Then they called them in again and commanded them not to
speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen
to you, or to him? You be the judges!
As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and
Probably Rotela could have also recalled one of the Ten Commandments
“You shall not misuse the name of the
your God, for the
will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”
(Exodus 20:7, NIV)
By asking to trample on the name of Jesus, Poole was asking
Rotela and the entire class to do that. It is a shame that only
Rotela stood firm in class against the professor’s commands while
the rest of the students obeyed.
Does that mean that Rotela was the only student that loved
the name of Jesus?
Or could it be that there were other students too who would
consider themselves a follower of Christ but they were afraid to
stand up to the professor for their beliefs?
Where do you fall in this category, in your own classes, if
a professor asks you to do something that goes against the name of
If you believe in Jesus Christ, would you remain silent or
speak out as Rotela did.
What the university did was very wrong
when it punished Rotela for standing up to his beliefs. By
suspending Rotela, they violated his 1st
Amendment right to freedom of religion.
Even if the university does not believe or reverence the
name of Jesus, they should not have done what they did to the
and the university should be relieved that they endorsed this type
of assignment against the religious beliefs of Christians because
there will be no violence against the university or professor.
Now if the university or professor had asked to write the
name of Muhammad on a piece of paper and trample it on the ground or
asked to lay the Quran on the ground and trample it with their feet,
things could have gotten really ugly if radical Muslims got hold of
In 2005, allegations of deliberate desecration of the Quran
in front of Muslim prisoners at Guantanamo were blamed for deadly
In 2007, Nigerian Christian teacher Christianah Oluwatoyin
Oluwasesin was stabbed to death after allegations that she had
desecrated a Quran.
In 2011 at Florida, Christian pastor Terry Jones oversaw the
burning of a Quran to which Muslims in Afghanistan rioted killing 12
In 2012 at Afghanistan, protestors shouted ‘Death to
America’ and at least 30 people were killed including hundreds of
people being wounded because of the improper disposal of Qurans at
the US military Bagram Air Base.
In 2012 at Bangladesh, an estimated 25,000 Islamist mobs
vandalized and torched Buddhist temples, shrines, and houses along
with Hindu temples due to the posting of an image depicting the
desecration of a Quran on a Facebook profile supposedly by a
All this happened because of the desecration of the Muslim’s
book that they consider holy. In all these news reports, Christians,
Hindus, and Buddhists were harmed by Muslim radicals.
What the radical Muslims did is wrong but the point being
made is that they were not silent to this desecration but took
action even though the action itself was despicable. Rotela’s
actions are way better because he did not retaliate with violence
but responded with vigilance to remain firm to his beliefs even
amidst the danger of suspension using only the media for help.
That said, these instances by radical Muslims should not be
generalized to all Muslims because there are very friendly and
loving Muslims who are for peace than war.
For the most part Christians are very
passive so many don’t mind using the name of Jesus in vain whether
it is in movies, tv shows, stand-up comedy, classrooms, etc.
Not only that
but Christians implicitly support this type of actions when they
give their money to see movies, etc that desecrate the Name of
Christians should be applauded for not
retaliating with violence when things like this happen but they
should also be exhorted to stand up for Jesus Christ without being
afraid of ridicule or persecution. It is still hard to imagine that
there was only one student who objected in the whole class.
To reiterate, more than anything, no follower of Christ
should retaliate with violence against Poole or FAU. On the
contrary, they should pray for Poole and FAU as they continue to
stand up for their faith.
“Bless those who persecute you; bless
and do not curse.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn
with those who mourn.
Live in harmony
with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with
people of low position. Do not be conceited.
repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the
eyes of everyone.
If it is possible,
as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s
wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will
heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil
(Romans 12:17-21, NIV)
¹Read more at http://global.christianpost.com/news/fla-professor-makes-class-trample-on-jesus-name-suspends-student-who-refused-92445/#7HbuKPfdv2wPQAk0.99
²Read more at
Ramesh C. Reddy believes voting obeying God
is better than obeying man!
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