A Catholic watchdog group is accusing a University of South Florida professor of mocking priests by comparing them to a toilet in a presentation at a recent academic conference.
The professor contended his use of the symbolism was misinterpreted and was academically valid.
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has complained to USF President Judy Genshaft and other university officials about an incident involving Timothy Weil, a professor of psychology and behavior analyst who gave a presentation at a September meeting of the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis in Daytona Beach.
Weil told a reporter via email that he is “saddened that this has mushroomed as it has,” but declined to discuss the incident.
USF said in a statement that the university will review the matter.
The Catholic League said a participant in the conference contacted the group with the description of what happened at the Sept. 27 conference.
According to the participant’s account, Weil “put up a picture of an equal sign (=) in the middle of the large screen and then added a picture of a priest holding a crucifix to the left of it, and a picture of a toilet to the right. He then asked the audience to comment on what the picture means. Someone from the audience yelled, ‘They’re both full of shit.’
“After the audience settled down, Dr. Weil strolled around the room and gleefully repeated the response; those who were there knew he got the response he sought.”
As Kathy noted, if a professor had used this same comparison and language in reference to a rabbi, or an imam, or an African American, there would be hell to pay. And he would likely be out of a job.
The professor is trying to defend himself, claiming that he was being deliberately provocative.
Sorry. Not buying it.