A CHRISTIAN student supportive of LGBT rights was told by a professor at New Jersey’s Rutgers University-New Brunswick that he should avoid quoting Bible verses in academic papers because of church/state and their potential to offend non-Christians.
In a Facebook post dated January 3, Peter Cordi, above, wrote:
Hey guys long story short I had to write an autobiographical essay about oppression for my Gender Race and Sexuality class. I wrote about a Christian mother who would disown her son if she found out he was gay because she hates homosexuals.
I said that as a Christian she should love homosexuals because JESUS loves homosexuals – Jesus loves everybody.
I quoted John 3:16, For God so loved the WORLD that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.
This did not go over well with my professor at ALL.
He then exhorted friends and followers to read a lengthy report about the incident in Campus Reform, which exists to expose “the liberal bias and abuse against conservatives on America’s colleges and universities.”
In his paper, Cordi referenced a personal friend of his who “struggles” with his homosexual identity, especially given the views of the individual’s mother.
Cordi wrote about how his friend’s mother cites her Christain [sic] religion and beliefs to justify her opinion of people who identify as gay.
The report said that Cordi is:
A Christain [sic] who disagrees with his friends’ mother’s views toward members of the LGBT community.
In grading Cordi’s paper, Professor Kathe Sandler told the student that his use of a quote from the Bible was inappropriate. She wrote on the paper:
Avoid quoting scripture in academic papers unless you are commenting on scripture.
Cordi told Campus Reform that he was taken by surprise at receiving a B+ grade on the assignment since the criticism regarding the Bible quote was one of only two critical comments left on his paper.
He then decided to challenge Sandler via email about the matter, and she responded by saying she’d be happy to discuss it with him in further detail in person.
In an exclusive recording of this conversation, Sandler can be heard elaborating on her written remarks by reminding Cordi of “separation of church and state” and that the Bible “may not be for everyone.” When Cordi asked if the professor found the use of scripture offensive she replied by saying:
I think for instance this wouldn’t work for a Muslim or Jewish person.
My right to free speech and religion have certainly been violated. Separation of church and state is supposed to protect the church from the state, and if I want to quote the Bible and say that Jesus loves everybody, then it is my right to do so whether you’re a Christian or not.
The publication quoted student David Abayev as saying:
He position was supported by atheist student Lawrence Chiang, who said:
Students at any institution should be encouraged to research and utilize any sources that they deem relevant to the topic at hand. Many universities within the United States have accepted a dangerous and narrow-minded rhetoric, such as prohibiting Bible scripture, which often leads to a biased and one-sided culture.
A person should be able to quote whatever he pleases, either for or against his argument. [The] Bible would be an excellent source of quotes as many people are well versed with the scripture, and feel deeply connected to the words of the Bible.
It is common for religious people to quote religious literature. As an atheist, I believe that religious views can be scrutinized, but never be silenced.
Abayev shared a similar sentiment to Chiang’s on not being offended by the use of Bible scripture:
As a non-Christian, I am in no way offended by Cordi’s reference of the Bible. It is important to understand and be accepting of different cultures and beliefs, even if they don’t align with your own. Instead of criticizing their students, professors should embrace the use of historical and religious text, as it embodies a large part of our world’s history.
Chiang also believes it is within anyone’s right to freedom of expression when referencing the Bible.
The Bible is an important piece of literature for Christians. For non-Christian writers, they can use the Bible as a means to present their ideas, and effectively deliver their messages to Christians. Even using the Bible as a source to back up derogatory remarks such as homophobia should be allowed. The professors can comment on the homophobic remarks, but the remarks should not be silenced.
In his conversation with his professor, Cordi explained why he believed that his use of the Bible was entirely appropriate and necessary since he would not expect his readers to simply take his word on how Jesus would not be supportive of the hateful mother in his story. He believed that using a direct line from the Bible would make an objective point about the tenets of Christianity.
However, Sandler insisted it was not necessary, asking:
Do you need the scriptures? Do you really need the scripture? I think you could work without the scripture, but that’s my personal opinion.
Cordi, who is a correspondent for Campus Reform, believes that some good has come out of the situation.
I’m just glad that despite living in a secular bubble, some people will perhaps hear the gospel for the first time as a result of this. Nobody should be afraid to voice their religious or political beliefs in America – if you’re afraid to offend people then you’re afraid of individual thought.
The publication insists:
College campuses are no longer bastions of higher learning. Leftist professors indoctrinate students with their agendas. They even silence conservative students with their attempts to suppress free speech.
Campus Reform depends on the financial support of concerned Americans like you to report on leftist indoctrination on college campuses and uncover the blatant misconduct of university administrators, faculty, and students.
One commenter on the piece wrote:
Rutgers is a communist school and has been for longer then most of us have been alive. The professor’s attitude probably comes from her belief that religion is the opiate of the people. I think communism is the opiate of the people.