Jesus on the Syllabus

What do you all make of this post on the Chronicle of Higher Ed forum? I will give me 2¢ right up front. I would not (and do not think it is appropriate) include one’s religious convictions on a syllabus. It certainly isn’t relevant to Accounting (the faculty member’s discipline). But this person’s reaction (“HORROR”) at seeing her colleague’s statement of faith on the syllabus and her insistence that he must therefore be a “Christian evangelist” is perhaps even more insightful… (And how is his putting his faith on the syllabus “manipulative?)

Please feel free to discuss!

Jesus on the syllabus–how do I atone for my offensive comment?
« on: December 09, 2006, 11:37:49 PM »

I’m pretty sure I made a terrible mistake–and am wondering what I should do now. Can you offer some advice? Please try to be kind and don’t flame me–I realize I was out of line. I am in my second year in my first T-T job and I participate in an inter-departmental faculty discussion group with about 6 people in it. One of them has always struck me as a bit weird but we’ve always gotten along fine. The other day, he passed out an elaborate syllabus/course plan that he had created, very long and
written in a detailed narrative style in some parts. He had a section called “About the Professor,” which included the facts that after his undergraduate degree, he worked for a while, found Jesus Christ, got married, fathered two sons, got a Ph.D. in x from x, taught at x and x, etc. etc. So–he has put in his official syllabus that he considers finding Jesus Christ a major important thing students need to know about him. I saw that and looked up with an expression of, I’m sure, complete HORROR, and said, “Is that a joke?” He looked slightl hurt and confused and said no. I wanted so badly to start an argument but the group leader (possibly sensing this) steered the conversation
quickly onto something else and I didn’t get a chance. But I was so appalled, because when you say you found Jesus Christ, aren’t you saying you’re a Christian evangelist? And don’t evangelists want to convert everyone else to their faith and feel that those who don’t believe are WRONG? Well, isn’t it completely inappropriate to reveal
this kind of bias to students in your official course materials? (We teach at a public state university.) I’m already pretty wary of revealing personal information such as religion or politics to students outside of the classroom context, but putting Jesus on a SYLLABUS seems so manipulative to me! By the way, this man teaches Accounting; I am a woman teaching in a cultural studies field. Anyway, I’m sure I probably really offended him. He didn’t confront me about it, but I feel like I should apologize if I don’t want to be considered a horrible b*tch. At the same time, I am still struggling with my outrage at his Jesus statement. I’m torn between my habit of speaking my mind and my desire to be collegial and of course keep my job. What do you advise me to do? Thanks in advance for your help.

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