Once again government run public education is leading the moral decline and the growing attack on all things Christian in our culture, while challenging freedom of religious expression.
Last Thursday, a student at Florida Atlantic University accused his professor of telling the class to write the name JESUS in bold letters on a piece of paper, drop it on the floor and "stomp on it."
Student Ryan Rotela refused to do it. He was suspended from class.
Saturday, this issue took an interesting turn.
Bill Diss has taught at Benson High School in Portland, Oregon for 11 years. Last week he was removed from the classroom, placed on administrative leave and told he would be dismissed.
Because of his expressed beliefs regarding abortion and specifically his beliefs regarding Planned Parenthood and their programs in the public school.
Public education has a very specific agenda. They advocate for "freedom of speech," "religious beliefs," "tolerance," "diversity," "equality" and a number of other high sounding virtues---as long as the teacher is in sync with the government mandated teaching materials. Or remains stone silent.
Here are some details you should be aware of.
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A couple of weeks ago, Ryan Rodela, a junior at Florida Atlantic University, refused the class assignment to "stomp on JESUS." He told his professor the assignment offended his religious convictions saying, "Anytime you stomp on something it shows that you believe that something has no value. So to stomp on the word Jesus," he said, "it says that word has no value."
Two days later he went to the university administration and expressed his feelings about the matter.
He was suspended from that class.
The university administrators made no attempt to challenge Ryan's account of what happened, but defended the professor saying the assignment was part of a classroom exercise from the textbook "Intercultural Communications: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition."
Fox News obtained a synopsis of the lesson plan which reads: "Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper," the lesson plan reads, "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."
There are a number of things wrong with this, not the least of which is to a biblical Christian, Jesus is not a cultural symbol. He is the Son of God and biblical Christians have a personal relationship with Him.
And what if the teacher would have chosen, or the provider of the materials, chose to use the name Muhammad? Or Gandhi? Why Jesus?
Rotela said the teacher specifically said to "stomp," not stand on the paper with the name of Jesus on it.
This incident reflects the rising confidence and aggression of the secular progressives and atheists toward Christianity---especially in government run public schools.
The university did not dispute the student's account of what happened and steadfastly supported the professor----until Saturday. Then the matter took an interesting turn.
On Saturday, the University issued this statement: "We sincerely apologize for any offense this has caused. Florida Atlantic University respects all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs."
And they began, for the first time, to dispute some of Rotela's accounts of what happened.
But they don't practice that virtue until they are backed into a corner. It was only when FOX News and some local media began reporting on the story and there was a huge backlash from the public did the university become inclusive and tolerant and respectful.
They told the media they would never use that material in a classroom again. The material will likely be discarded, but unfortunately the philosophy will not. It will reappear again and again in the public classroom.
A high school teacher in Portland, Oregon has been removed from the classroom, placed on leave pending a recommendation for dismissal by the superintendent.
Bill Diss, who has taught at Benson High School for the past 11 years, believes his dismissal was prompted by his expressed pro-life beliefs and his disdain for Planned Parenthood and the programs they operate in the public schools.
Diss is a devout Catholic and has expressed his pro-life, anti-Planned Parenthood sentiments in the classroom. But he says his classroom is open for discussion. He says he allows kids to openly discuss their own beliefs on these and other matters.
And who believes that both Planned Parenthood and abortion is not given a favorable hearing in most classrooms in America?
The Portland School District released a statement Friday saying what they always say : "We fully respect all our employees' rights to hold their own political, religious and social beliefs and affiliations. We also expect all our employees to conduct themselves professionally."
There were a number of public school teachers in the church I pastored for a number of years. There are public school teachers in my own family. To a one they will tell you that most school districts will say they respect the teachers right to their personal beliefs, etc. and all is well as long as the teacher's beliefs are in sync with the secular progressive agenda. Or if not, the teacher remains silent.
Empty buzz words like "diversity" and "tolerance" and "equality" and "inclusiveness" all sound virtuous, but are mere myth if a teacher or student is out of step with the plan.
While these words seem to make the secular progressive feel good, they are rarely practiced except to ensure deviant behavior or anti-Christian behavior is protected or even celebrated.
I am doubling our efforts to expand and amplify our common voice on these matters. Representative Jamie Pederson, one of several openly homosexual Legislators in Olympia, has publicly referred to biblical Christians as "a diminishing minority in Washington State."
Thank you for standing with me at this very critical time. I believe we are more and stronger than previously reported.
Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Informed. Be Prayerful. Be Active. Be Blessed.