Question: What is the difference between Christian seminaries and American universities?
Answer: Christian seminaries announce that their purpose is to produce committed Christians. American universities do not admit that their primary purpose is to produce committed leftists. They claim that their purpose is to open students' minds.
This month Florida Atlantic University provided yet another example of how universities have become left-wing seminaries.
An FAU professor told his students to write "JESUS" (in bold caps) on a piece of paper and then step on it.
One student who did not, a junior named Ryan Rotela, complained to the professor and then to the professor's supervisor. He explained that he had refused to do so because it violated his religious principles.
Two days later, Rotela was told not to attend the class anymore. The university then went on to defend the professor in an email to a local CBS TV station: "Faculty and students at academic institutions pursue knowledge and engage in open discourse. While at times the topics discussed may be sensitive, a university environment is a venue for such dialogue and debate."
FAU further pointed out that the stomping exercise — to "discuss the importance of symbols in culture" — came from a textbook titled "Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach."
After the story became national news, FAU issued an apology: "We sincerely apologize for any offense this has caused. Florida Atlantic University respects all religions and welcomes people of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs."
Of course, this "apology" was meaningless. Apologizing for "giving offense" has nothing to do with condemning the act. Not to mention that kicking Rotela out of the class belied the university's claim of open discourse.
This story is significant because it provides yet another example of the deteriorated state of American higher education. There are some excellent professors in the so-called "social sciences" at American universities. But they are in the minority. The left has taken over American universities as well as most high schools, and like almost everything the left has influenced — education, religion, the arts and the economies of most countries — this influence has been destructive.
The argument that the professor represents no one but himself is refuted by the fact that the university defended the professor until it feared the national outcry that resulted.
Moreover, in another nationally reported incident, Northwestern University acted similarly in 2011. One of its professors invited his 600 students to stay after class to watch a live demonstration of female ejaculation, the subject of that day's class. A naked young woman (not a student) then used a motorized sex toy to come to orgasm. About 120 of the students watched.
When word got out, Northwestern defended the professor: "Northwestern University faculty members engage in teaching and research on a wide variety of topics, some of them controversial and at the leading edge of their respective disciplines. The university supports the efforts of its faculty to further the advancement of knowledge."
Like FAU, only after national condemnation increased did Northwestern "apologize."
Entire books have been written providing hundreds of examples of left-wing indoctrination having replaced education in American universities. FAU is just the latest example.
It is also instructive that the name to be stepped on was JESUS, not, for instance, MUHAMMAD, ALLAH or, for that matter, BILL CLINTON or MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
Imagine the reaction at FAU if a professor had told students to step on the name MUHAMMAD. The professor would be condemned at huge rallies organized by the university to protest "Islamophobia." And he would fear for his life. Desecrate Christianity and you get tenure. Desecrate Islam and you get bodyguards.
Or, imagine if the name had been MARTIN LUTHER KING. FAU professors would have competed with one another in expressing outrage at this example of the racism that pervades the university and America. The president of the university would have issued a statement condemning the professor and distancing FAU from his action.
And is there one reader of this column who is surprised to learn that the FAU professor, Deandre Poole, is vice-chairman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party? Or that the party defended him?
This is why I founded Prager University (www.prageru.org): to undo in five-minute courses the intellectual and moral damage that universities do over four years. And unlike FAU and Northwestern, PragerU is free.
The universities' damage is huge and enduring. And you don't have to believe in JESUS to recognize it.
Dennis Prager's latest book, "Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph," was published April 24 by HarperCollins. He is a nationally syndicated radio show host and creator of PragerUniversity.Com.