Rutgers Prof: Don’t Quote Bible in Essays to Maintain ‘Separation of Church and State

Bible page
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A student at Rutgers University was told by his professor not to quote Bible scriptures in an essay because of “separation of church and state,” and because “this wouldn’t work for a Muslim or Jewish person.”

A Rutgers professor argued that citing the Bible to elaborate on one’s Christian beliefs in an essay is unnecessary, according to a report by Campus Reform, which added that the professor also suggested that quoting Bible verses could be offensive to a Muslim or Jewish person.

Rutgers student Peter Cordi received a B+ on an autobiographical essay last semester after quoting John 3:16 from the Bible, which reads: “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.”

“Avoid quoting scripture in academic papers unless you are commenting on scripture,” wrote professor Kathe Sandler while grading Cordi’s essay.

After receiving the B+, Cordi reached out to professor Sandler to discuss the matter. In an audio recording of the conversation between the professor and the student, Sandler can be heard citing “separation of church and state” as one of her reasons why she found the Bible verse inappropriate.

“In general, you know, because of… separation of church and state, you very often want to comment on the scripture, but you want to avoid maybe using it as a, you know, like a constitution or something like that, because it may not be for everyone,” the professor can be heard saying.

“I just think anytime in an academic — unless you’re going to a Christian college, then maybe there’s a different standard for that — I think you need to just… yeah, I think you quoted the scripture, and if there’s a way you could do it without quoting the scripture,” continued Sandler in a very nonsensical manner.

When Cordi eventually asked if the professor found the Bible verse offensive, Sandler responded by saying, “Well, I think, for instance, this wouldn’t work a Muslim or Jewish person, you know what I mean?”

“I didn’t say anything bad or against other religions,” countered the student. “I didn’t even say, for example, ‘My religion is right and your religion is wrong.'”

“Do you need the scriptures? Do you really need the scripture?” pressed Sandler. “I do think that you could work without the scripture, but that’s my personal opinion. I think the whole thing could work without putting the scripture in there.”

Cordi told Breitbart News that he believes including the Bible verse in his essay had a negative effect on his grade.

When asked if the student will refrain from quoting the Bible in future assignments, the student told Breitbart News that he has already since quoted another Bible verse in a second paper.

“I quoted a Bible verse in my midterm essay as well, which I also received a B+ on,” said Cordi. “For the second essay though, [Sandler] didn’t give any comment at all, just a B+ with no explanation.”

With regards to the professor’s reference of “separation of church and state,” Cordi said, “I think she is very misinformed, because if you read the letters that the founders wrote, one of their main [motivations] was to protect the church from the state.”

“I feel like my religious freedom was actually violated,” he added, “because this is a state university. I should have the freedom to quote whatever I want.”

Professor Sandler did not respond to Breitbart News’ inquiry regarding whether she would take the same course of action in grading a paper by a Muslim student referencing the Koran as she did with a Christian student referencing the Bible.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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