The state of Florida will now investigate why Florida Atlantic University Prof. Deandre Poole had students performing an anti-Christian ritual in class.

BOCA RATON, Fla. – State education officials will be taking a closer look at Florida Atlantic University today after Gov. Rick Scott responded to a controversial classroom exercise.

Gov. Rick Scott wants a detailed report from state university system Chancellor Frank Brogan regarding the incident.

“Whether the student was reprimanded or whether an apology was given is in many ways (inconsequential) to the larger issue of a professor’s poor judgment,” Scott stated in a letter to Brogan. “The professor’s lesson was offensive, and even intolerant, to Christians and those of all faiths who deserve to be respected as Americans entitled to religious freedom.”

As I noted yesterday, the stomp exercise was more than just a harsh thought-provoking exercise. It has a specific history, in the mass murder of Christians during Japan’s shogun period. Suspected Christians, who were then about 10% of the country, were taken out by government forces and told to stomp on an image of Jesus or the Virgin Mary, or another Christian icon. If they did, the government let them go free (or, in some cases, had them rat out other suspected Christians). If they failed to stomp on the image, they were usually executed. Crucifixion was among the means the shogun used to kill them. The Japanese government killed hundreds of thousands of Christians during this period, and the Christian church in Japan was all but extinguished. For the next 200 years, it was illegal to even be a Christian.

The FAU exercise’s history isn’t just evidence of insensitivity or intolerance, as we like to say in our enlightened times. It’s a reach back to real historic persecution.

It’s not known whether Poole or whoever wrote the exercise is aware of this bloody history. I didn’t even know of this history myself, despite having a degree in history, until I visited the places where the Japanese holocaust occurred, a few years ago. It seems awfully coincidental, though, that they chose to have students do something that was in fact used to abuse and justify killing Christians by the thousands at one time.

The fact that Poole’s exercise was part of a chapter for the class leads to reasonable suspicions that the exercise has been used before at FAU. Only when a student objected, and the university threatened to punish him, did it become public. That’s among the things that need to be investigated: How long, and where else, and for what purpose, has this exercise been used? Have other students objected before? If so, what happened to them?

Deandre Poole is still vice chairman of the Palm Beach Democratic Party. So far, they haven’t said anything publicly about any of this. Their Facebook page is still humming along, with no hint that one of the party’s top officers is involved in anything untoward.