Not sure how many of you have seen the article about the Florida university professor who asked his students to write Jesus on paper then stomp on it. Long story short, one student refused, and allegedly (the university denies it) got into trouble for refusing to do the assignment. Now, they are saying, the assignment should not have been given.
My original reaction was, "What possible reason would anyone have for assigning kids to 'stomp on Jesus'?" Then I read in the article that the professor got the idea from a lesson on the power of words.
And my head hits the desk. Repeatedly.
Let's look at this scenario. Professor asks students to write an important word on paper. In this country, which still is primarily Christian, that word is "Jesus." It's on paper: it's just a word, a combination of letters, right?
So stomp on it.
One student refuses. Now here is where it gets stupid. Instead of insisting he "finish the assignment," he should have been asked, "Why not?" Let him reply:
Why not? Because it's more than just a meaningless combination of letters. It stands for my Savior. It stands for the core of my beliefs. It stands for something sacred. I'm not just stomping on a piece of paper. I'm stomping on Jesus.
THAT is the reason behind the lesson. Words have power. Words have meaning. And some words have meanings that deserve respect, even for just the word itself.
Think about it: why do we care if someone burns a flag or burns someone in effigy--it's just a combination of materials after all. Or is it? Why does it feel so cleansing to write an angry letter and then rip it up--those are just letter combinations. Or do they stand for something more?
IMHO, Professor Poole failed his own lesson, because he totally missed the point. The Florida Atlantic University officials failed the lesson, because rather than making sure it's applied properly in the future, they are going to remove the lesson totally. I'd even say any true believers who stomped on the paper missed the point, because words stand for things, and they disrespected what should be the most respected thing in their lives, all because a teacher suggested it.
And the boy who refused? Give him an A. He gets it.