By: Fr. William Patrick Casey, C.P.M.
Last year, during the Spring semester at Florida Atlantic University, a professor named Deandre Poole conducted what was called an academic exercise in his class. He told his students, each one, to take a slip of paper and write the name of Jesus on it. Then he told them to drop the slip of paper on the floor, stand up and stomp on it. They did! But there was one young man who refused to comply. His name is Ryan Rotela, who is, by the way, a Mormon. Out of all the students in that classroom, only one refused to stomp on the Holy Name of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Ryan Rotela tried to stand up to this professor. He told the professor that this so-called “academic exercise” was offensive and insulting to Christians. He got nowhere. Professor Poole dismissed his objections out of hand. So Ryan Rotela made a complaint, a formal protest to the University administration. The administration’s response was to suspend Ryan from classes. But Ryan stood his ground. He went public with the story. The story was eventually picked by conservative talk radio and went national. Finally, in the face of negative nationwide publicity, Governor Rick Scott of Florida got personally involved. Under pressure form Governor Scott the University backed down and reinstated Ryan. Professor Poole was placed on administrative leave- but soon after was quietly restored to his position.
You see, that professor was counting on the fact that so many Christians today are lukewarm, spineless, gutless, anonymous and devoid of any conviction for their faith, that he could get away with this exercise in anti-Christian bigotry. He was almost right! One young man had the moral courage to stand up to him, and would not back down … AND HE WON!
Now, for your information, there is nothing new about this particular anti-Christian outrage. The same tactic was used by the Communists in Asia (especially in Red China) to identify, arrest, imprison and execute committed Christians. Its purpose was to identify true believers. The Communists would round up people in a village or a city neighborhood and order each man and woman to come forward and stomp on a crucifix or a Bible, or in the absence of a crucifix or a Bible, a piece of paper with the name of Jesus Christ written on it.
It seems to me that any Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese Christian who lived through the brutal persecutions of the 20″ Century would be especially outraged at this story. It is truly frightening to see something like this done here in America. But it is just another sign of the faithless age we now live in, and merely a preview of what is sure to come.
Let me ask you something. What do you think would have happened if Professor Poole had told those young men and women to write the name of Muhammad on that slip of paper and stomp on it? Or do the same with a piece of paper bearing the name of Barack Obama? You know as well as I do, that the outcry would have been deafening! Such a thing would never have been tolerated, and rightly so! But the desecration of the Holy Name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God is just an exercise in “tolerance.” In such a case as this, the great Catholic writer G. K. Chesterton once said, “Tolerance is the virtue of a man with no convictions. For far too long, to many of us who claim the name of Catholic have been content to stand back and sit by idly and watch the pagan conquest of this country. Don’t for a moment believe that what has happened in other countries will not happen here. Anti-Christian activity has been called the last acceptable form of bigotry. The persecution of Christ and His Church has already begun. The time for every man and woman of faith to stand up, speak up and rise up (in charity) to defend the cause of Christ and eternal truth is now, for He said, “If you deny me before men, I’ll deny you before my Father in heaven”