Rutgers professor tells students not to quote the Bible in essays

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A student at Rutgers University in New Jersey says he was told by a professor not to quote Bible verses in academic papers because of “separation of church and state” and the danger of angering non-Christians such as Jews and Muslims.

Political science student and Campus Reform correspondent Peter Cordi was assigned an autobiographical paper in his “Intro to Gender, Race, and Sexuality” class last semester.

In the paper Cordi described a personal friend who struggles with his own homosexuality and the views of the individual’s mother. Cordi wrote in the essay about how his friend’s mother cites her Christianity to justify her opinion of homosexuals.

Although a Christian, Cordi disagrees with his friend’s mother’s views on homosexuality and quoted John 3:16 to support that position: “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.”

In grading Cordi’s paper, professor Kathe Sandler wrote next to Cordi’s use of the quote, telling the student that his use of a quote from the Bible was not appropriate.

“Avoid quoting scripture in academic papers unless you are commenting on scripture,” Sandler wrote.

Cordi told Campus Reform he was surprised to receive a B+ on the assignment since the criticism of the Bible quote was one of only two critical comments left on his paper. Cordi sought clarification that he did not lose a full letter grade because of quoting the Bible, especially since Sandler had permitted students to use outside sources for the assignment.

Shortly after receiving the grade, Cordi decided to reach out to Sandler over 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.”

“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,” Rutgers student David Abayev told Campus Reform.

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