Some of you may have seen this article online in the past week or so. A college student was nearly suspended for refusing to do a class exercise in which he was required to write "Jesus" on a piece of paper and stomp on it.
As a teacher, I understand the point the professor was trying to make. If you take a word, phrase, or symbol that is sacred to someone, have them write it on a piece of paper, and stomp on it, you will indeed see the power that words and symbols have in our daily lives. The teacher apologized, but he seemed pleased that he had made his point. I wonder if he thought he'd get more of a response if he did it right before Easter.
It doesn't matter whose religion it is; the exercise is just plain wrong. And what about non-Christians, atheists and agnostics? Wouldn't they have also had a problem with the activity? Yes, but for a different reason: If the word means nothing to you, then stomping on it shouldn't be hard for you, and the point of the lesson is once again lost.
To me this ranks right up there with the high school teacher in France who had students write their own suicide note: An assignment that never should have happened.
I know how I would have felt if it had been "God and Goddess" on that piece of paper, a pentacle, a crescent moon, or a bunch of other symbols I consider important to my spiritual life.
If I was a college administrator, I'd have hard time explaining why I retain this person at all. At the very least, I'd consider suspending the teacher for a while.
I applaud and respect the student for standing up for his beliefs and refusing to do the activity. I hope each and every one of us would have the balls to do likewise.