Any defense for the 'Jesus stomping' assignment given to a class at a Florida college?
Florida governor jumps into the "Jesus stomping" at Florida Atlantic UniversityI'm not as outraged by the "Jesus stomping" controversy as so many others are.
I think it was an attempt to be provocative that got out of hand, particularly if a student was punished for not participating. But I do understand the intent of the exercise. The professor could have done the same thing by having the class stomp on the American flag or draw a picture of Allah and burn it or have students rip pages from the Bible or Koran or pick your religious book. Each of them would have been highly offensive to a cross-section of students in the class, and for those who found out about it later.
In a middle school class I spoke to a couple of years ago in the Myrtle Beach area, I had a student read aloud the portions of "Huckleberry Finn" that included the n-word. Obviously, it was a sensitive topic, but we were able to use it to illustrate the power of that word, even in a benign educational setting. I did the same thing with adults at a town hall meeting about race, and the adults struggled more with it than the students. I prefaced it by saying what I was doing and why and allowed anyone to object. They found out quickly that it is easier to make an intellectual case about something being allowable than to actually follow through with it in the real world.Would I have assigned "Jesus stomping?" I don't think so but won't make any claims of certainty.
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The stated goal of the assignment - to get students to see the power of symbols - was a worthy one. But in this particular case, it could have been handled more deftly.