August 11, 2016

"A Madison Area Technical College professor promoted religion in class and encouraged a student to have 'a personal relationship with a living God'..."

... according to the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
After one student wrote about rejecting religion for a class assignment, [Hiep] Van Dong wrote in an email that the unidentified student should take care of his or her “spiritual health.” Van Dong then told the student “not to forsake your faith and spirituality because of ineffective spiritual leaders in your life,” according to the foundation.
Here's a PDF of the letter sent to the school, which has more extensive details and may shift your opinion.



Freedom From Religion demands "an immediate investigation" and "written assurances that Prof. Dong will not promote religion in his classroom in the future."

67 comments:

rhhardin said...

A course named Ethics could be presumed to be about the historical philosophical arguments in my day.

If you add Leadership is means it's about bullshit.

Unknown said...

Why not just burn him at the stake now and save valuable time? If he's boat people he saw a lot of shit.

BTW can anyone categorize, identify, name the factors in the speech of fundamentalists and preacher types which some people find so repellent? I know it when I hear it but I haven't the words to explain it.

Carol said...

Such good advice it was, too.

jaydub said...

Hey Ryan Jayne, Esq, investigate this.

Fernandinande said...

Here Hiep Van Dong says you should follow religious rules because the FDA's food recommendations keep changing, and change is bad.

SJ said...

If he said "A person should follow the teachings of Mohammed about Allah", would there be this amount of trouble?

Static Ping said...

I would be more sympathetic about the suit if it was not for the fact that colleges and universities regularly teach and often require faith-based beliefs, said indoctrination avoiding scrutiny only because it is secular and therefore not based in a particular religion. Frankly, Professor Dong's actions here appear quite mild in comparison.

Rick said...

How funny the student tried such a blatantly brownnosing technique only to find out the professor wasn't the typical left wing religion hating academic.

We definitely need the law involved so in the future students' efforts at virtue signaling aren't wasted.

Robert Cook said...

A teacher has no more business encouraging a student to maintain a religious or spiritual life than to pursue an active dating life, or for a childless married student to conceive a child. The teacher is intruding into the student's personal life in a manner unasked and uncalled for.

If a student has established a more personal relationship with a teacher and asks privately for advice outside the classroom, any such counsel by the teacher is fine.

Mattman26 said...

Public or private school?

Chris said...

It's freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

MadisonMan said...

You can be a good, evangelizing Christian. You can be a good instructor at a Public School/University. You can't do both.

Robert Cook said...

"It's freedom of religion, not freedom from religion."

Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion.

This is so fundamental that I can't really believe you don't already know that.

dda6ga dda6ga said...

Is this more or less frightening than the words "second amendment"? An old guy would like to know,,

Skipper said...

The "hate" is palpable, no?

Andrew Pardue said...

Well at least he didn't say they should have a personal relationship with a dead god, because that would be gross.

Two things

One. Were the discussions about religion something that took place during class or was it just personal advice given later?

Two. He could have taught students how to use ethics as a cover for cheating lying and stealing, he could have blathered on and on about microagressions or ethnic pride. He could have taught about anything under the sun as long as he didn't talk about religion, like religion has nothing to say on the topic of ethics at all.

Mazo Jeff said...

Why isn't the Freedom from Religion actions considered a "micro aggression "? Just asking!

Rick said...

MadisonMan said...
You can be a good, evangelizing Christian. You can be a good instructor at a Public School/University. You can't do both.


I'm not a fan of professors doing this, but I'm also not a fan of professors evangelizing left wing ideology. In other contexts the legal requirement is to treat religion no differently from other organizations or beliefs. If professors can espouse left wing ideology and claim it does not bias them against non-left wing students shouldn't this same standard apply to religious support?

Paddy O said...

What is a religion?

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Seems to me that not too many people are going to change their mind and buy into that stuff who are old enough to go to college.

The BubFather said...

Oh dear.....promoting a religion? I must now cutch my pearls, tut tut multiple times and go find one of those darling ACLU lawyers who will see to it that this evil professor is rightfully fired.......but not before he and whatever religion he wished to promote are properly made fun of by all leftist groups including the media and academia.

so there....now begone you awful professor. How dare you....tut tut tut...

/sarcasm

Rob McLean said...

Prof. Hiep S. Van Dong

I thought religion stuff was bad only when white people did it?

William said...

I just read what was posted here. The professor seems a kind, decent person. The advice is not for everyone, but it works for some people. It is more intolerant of the student to reject it in such a strident way than for the professor to proffer it........The professor is offering the wisdom that worked for him on his life's journey. My guess is that that journey has been far more arduous and uphill than anything that the student has faced. The student needs to learn humility and tolerance.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Looks like the professor ran into a bigoted, irrational, intolerant zealot. That seems to be happening a lot these days.

mezzrow said...

Freedom From Religion. Well then, they would make those demands, wouldn't they? That's why they exist.

You only start an organization when you want to free other people from religion.

Will that include the worship of Gaia or the belief in the infallibility of climate science?

Just asking.

traditionalguy said...
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traditionalguy said...
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David said...

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

And just why do these words not PROTECT the right of the teacher to express his personal views about religion. Does he, as Madison Man suggests, give up these rights in exercise of his profession if he works for a tax supposed school?

And if Madison Man is right, does that therefore mean that all those professors arguing an interpretation of the Second Amendment that has been rejected by the Supreme Court should also vow to cease any mention of their views on guns in connection with their teaching?

What say you, Madison Man?

Unknown said...

I so cannot wait to vote for trump. These people should just be ignored and/or called stupid and be done with it. But no, our culture has to make THEM victims and try to remove someone's livelihood.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I thought religion stuff was bad only when white people did it?

If the religion stuff is Christianity, then it is OK to denounce a non-Caucasian for offering it up. White people, on the other hand, can proselytize if they are doing so ironically. Rastafarians for example. White people may also be Satanists or some other religion that is in opposition to Christianity, but should only practice it/proselytize in such a manner as to be in opposition to Christians.

Non-Caucasian individuals may discuss any religion they wish and any criticism of the religion is bigotry. Atheists, who tend to be rather slow when it comes to understanding social trends are still having problems understanding this and between that and their disastrous run in with Feminism are rapidly losing their cachet on the left. They just don't realize it yet.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Sorry, meant Pastafarians.

BrianE said...

Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion.

This is so fundamental that I can't really believe you don't already know that.- Robert Cook

Only in the world leftists are creating.

David said...

"A teacher has no more business encouraging a student to maintain a religious or spiritual life than to pursue an active dating life, or for a childless married student to conceive a child. The teacher is intruding into the student's personal life in a manner unasked and uncalled for."

Teachers urge their personal beliefs in class all the time. What's the problem, as long as it's clear that these are personal beliefs and not some policy that must be followed? Should a teacher not state moral beliefs about participation in war? Should all of the teachers who are pro choice just shut up now? Are teachers to be opinion free drones? If not, how do you determine what views can be expressed and what can not? (How would you react to a ban on pro-choice statements by all teachers?)

n.n said...

The Pro-Choice religion is universal and militant, spread through progressive wars and refugee crises.

Paddy O said...

"...pursue an active dating life, or for a childless married student to conceive a child."

Or help the poor? Or increase diversity? Or study harder? Or not do drugs? Or exercise?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Non-Caucasian individuals may discuss any religion they wish and any criticism of the religion is bigotry.

That sentence should include the clause, "except Christianity."

Also, non-Caucasians who practice Christianity should be assumed to be suffering from false consciousness arising from colonialism.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Higher education is no place for open discussion!"

Paddy O said...

People assume religion has something to do with having a deity. Not all religions have that. In teaching a world religions class, every so often I would start a class by asking what a religion is. At the beginning of the course there were a lot of opinions. By the end, after we had studied just 4-5 world religions, students were fairly flummoxed about finding an answer that would encompass every approach. There are even wide distinctions within a given religion about belief in deity or supernatural.

Mostly religion has to do with a conception of meaning and purpose for people. Religion is generally more anthropology than anything else.

What gives us identity? What fulfills us in our self? As a community? There are historic answers that are oriented in light of deep tradition. There are more contemporary answers that have more free-form, buffet quality. But how we answer that is still our "religion," if we are to have anything other than a narrow, insular perspective on global religious life.

n.n said...

Separation of Church and State is a fantasy told by a liberal orthodoxy that advocates for class diversity (i.e. racism, sexism), selective exclusion ("="), abortion rites in a final solution, channeling Sanger for the greater "good", progressive wars, replacement immigration, progressive debt (i.e. devaluation of capital and labor), scientific mysticism, etc.

n.n said...

Faith, religion (i.e. moral philosophy), ideology, and tradition are separable.

n.n said...

It didn't really get weird until the atheist Twilighters started their baby trials and channeling Sanger to harvest their lucrative parts for profit. It's been a progressive slope ever since.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

In any event, the goal is to use the threat of lawfare and social stigma to make Christians wary of talking about their religion in public. Hopefully, in time, it will be more socially acceptable for people to share their preferences concerning their pornography viewing habits with strangers and acquaintances than discussion of Christian faith. That is the ultimate goal in any event.

Screwtape

Mazo Jeff said...

"Such blatant religiosity has no place in a public institution" Laurie Annie Gaylor.

I guess that explains our political situation; morally corrupt, unethical, dishonest, untruthful, etc. Fits the agenda of the Freedom from Religion. I'd say "God help us" but that would lead to another complaint and more litigation.

mockturtle said...

I had professors who castigated Christianity and touted their own atheism. Why is it any different?

Paddy O said...

Why should we privilege a bourgeois European Enlightenment understanding of religion?

DanTheMan said...

There is only room in the academy for one religion, and that has been filled with Earth Worship.
The left in universities continually expound on how we must make sacrifices, lest The Earth punish us with hurricanes, droughts, and starvation. We must repent. Those who do not are purged, as non-believers ("deniers").

The modern left has a God, and it is The Earth (peace be upon it). No other forms of worship are allowed by the modern Druids.

Ron Nelson said...

I am agnostic but I am tempted to start FFFFR (Freedom From Freedom From Religion). If "isms" of various stripes can guide and inform academics and be inserted into their lectures why can't a professor's more traditional religion also be on display. I suspect that far more students have suffered when they do not conform to climate orthodoxy than atheists or agnostics when they have encountered a Christian professor.

MadisonMan said...

"Higher education is no place for open discussion!"

I think you could have a great discussion in the classroom centered on how Christianity might inform customer decisions, or on how your own Religion might influence your business.

Having a professor tell you how to live your life? Sorry, not interested.

Jason said...

BURN THE JESUS WITCH!

Unknown said...

I've had numerous discussions lately with "progressives" who flat out tell me that Christianity has no place in the public sphere, at all, and should by law be restricted solely to Sunday worship and within the home... as long as someone doesn't overhear it. If someone can hear your home based worship, that should also be illegal.

They strenuously argue that a business license is a waiver of your 1st Amendment rights and therefore you can be punished if you have, say, a cross on the wall inside your store. You are not permitted to "mingle" religion with business. At least, Christianity. They go silent when you ask about Muslim butchers being forced to make bacon.

Now, I took constitutional law and maybe I missed that day, but I could swear there was never a "Business exception" to the 1st amendment. Seems to me that the Government cannot force you to remain open on the Sabbath, for instance. Yet today's leftists insist otherwise. After all, if you wanted to not work on Sunday, you don't have to open a business, right? That's the argument: you agree to waive all your religious liberty the day you decide to make money. Because some gay person or atheist's right to force you to violate your religious beliefs is more important, after all.

--Vance

Freeman Hunt said...

"Having a professor tell you how to live your life? Sorry, not interested."

Then I assume you would not sign up for a class called "Leadership, Ethics, and Development."

Also, I see no evidence that a grade was dependent upon following his advice. Adults are always giving advice to young people. Young people don't have to take it.

What happened to being outspoken and a little rebellious? Now it's all, "Oh, no! Let's run off and tell the more powerful adults to make this one be quiet!"

Rusty said...

Show me on the doll where god touched you.

Matthew Blaine said...

Generalized discussions about faith and spirituality have no place in our schools.

Prayer rooms for Muslims and halal menu choices in public schools are super duper, though.

mockturtle said...

Show me on the doll where god touched you.

Good one, Rusty! :-)

traditionalguy said...

Forcing Christ on people is a silly way to build faith. Hence, no State Church Establishment funding.

But preaching Christ at people is the only way to build a faith. Hence no restriction on Free Speech or free assembly for exercise of religious faith.

The poor newbie Gaia World Church of Earth Goddess is totally an established Trillion Dollar World Mega Church, and it still cannot stand up to scrutiny when Christ Lord is preached as Lord. So, No Free Speech, and No Free Exercise, Period.

So those next 5 Justices, if appointed by Hillary, will immediately write that into the First Amendment while they write No Guns into the Second Amendment.

James Pawlak said...

James J. Kaufman VS Gary R. McCaughtey, et. al.; 7th US Court Of Appeals; #04-1914
Decided Aug. 19, 2005---Which appears to give Atheists the same protections under the First Amendment as followers of OTHER RELIGIONS. Is removing Christianity from the "public square" (Including public schools) raising the Religion Of Atheism to the unconstitutional place of a state religion?

Joe said...

To have genuine freedom of religion, you must have the freedom to reject religion entirely. Likewise the right to bear arms defacto includes the right to not bear arms. This is the fickle nature of freedom which annoys extremists of all types.

MadisonMan said...

Now it's all, "Oh, no! Let's run off and tell the more powerful adults to make this one be quiet!"

Yes, that's unfortunate. I wonder what the student did prior to running to a lawyer.

My students generally are not feisty. I'd like to see a battle of wits in the classroom, even if it's just online as mine are now. Usually it's just do what is asked for to get a grade.

buwaya said...

"A teacher has no more business encouraging a student to maintain a religious or spiritual life "

My Catholic grade school, high school, and universitie(s) would disagree with you.
And for that matter nearly all universities everywhere up to the last few decades.
Obviously they did such a terrible job of teaching in those days, compared to the high standards of today.

buwaya said...

"My students generally are not feisty. I'd like to see a battle of wits in the classroom, even if it's just online as mine are now. Usually it's just do what is asked for to get a grade."

My daughter was complaining about UCLA in exactly these terms. There is NO interest in the subjects at hand or to have a "battle of wits". She is half-done and wondering if its worth bothering.

Fernandinande said...

buwaya said...
Obviously they did such a terrible job of teaching in those days, compared to the high standards of today.


Today's physicists, chemists and electrical engineers can't hold a candle to those old timers, that's for sure.

Rick67 said...

I'm a minister, have taught at university level, and do not believe in "teaching religion" in the classroom. (Saying that without pretending to know exactly what happened in this situation. Frankly I do not trust the Freedom from Religion Foundation. In my experience they are not neutral but more openly anti-religion.) So I would not do this nor support a professor who does.

That having been said... tell me that university classes don't teach religion on a regular basis. It's religions other than "normative" Christianity and sometimes the religion they teach is "traditional religion is stupid and oppressive". I had friends at Ivy League University who experienced this sometimes. I can name some scholars who quite explicitly proclaim their goal is to disabuse students of whatever religious convictions they hold (or more precisely to convince students that traditional Christian faith is stupid and wrong). Trying to teach anti-religion is a flavor of teaching religion. Trying to teach forms of secular religion is teaching religion. (A good case can be made that modern secular progressivism has many characteristics of religion.)

JamesB.BKK said...

State-mandated irreligion enforced through litigation / administrative action is preferable to a weak-minded student engaging with a tech school instructor about his ideas and choices.

Robert Cook said...

"'A teacher has no more business encouraging a student to maintain a religious or spiritual life.'

"My Catholic grade school, high school, and universitie(s)
(sic) would disagree with you."

Yes, obviously, because a religious school is just that.

Jews, Hindus, Muslims, and non-believers are not going to be thrown together willy-nilly into classes in which they will all be subject to Catholic dogma. (Any non-catholics at catholic schools are put there by their parents, who thereby grant consent to their children being subject to catholic teachings.)

Robert Cook said...

"I had professors who castigated Christianity and touted their own atheism. Why is it any different?"

This, also, is not proper for teachers and professors in secular schools, and is the mark of a bad teacher. The religious/spiritual life of any teachers' students belongs to their students, and all student should be given the respect of maintaining their own religious or non-religious views without being ridiculed or proselytized to reject their own views for the teacher's.

(In classes where the point of the class is to study and discuss various belief systems--whether religious, philosophical, or otherwise--frank debate about the pros and cons of each belief system is certainly called for...but objectively, without the teacher or any student asserting their personal biases in such a way as to constitute ridicule of others's views or proselytizing for their own.)

Paddy O said...

Robert Cook, what defines a "religion" or "religious views"?

Robert Cook said...

"...what defines a 'religion' or 'religious views?'"

A) A belief in a supernatural entity (or entities) that created and/or oversee(s) the world and the activities of the world's creatures, particularly its human creatures.

B) The dogma that issues from that central belief.