Proselytizing 101

Broward Community College is a public school, but its religion professors consider it a private reserve

In documents filed with the court, BCC attorney Suzanne Singer denies that Johnson was discriminated against because of his religion or that the college promotes a particular faith.

"We find absolutely no merit in Mr. Johnson's allegation," Singer says.

A trial will likely begin early next year.

Colby Katz
James W. Johnson, a former adjunct religion professor at BCC, alleges that the public college pushes an Evangelical agenda in the classroom.
Colby Katz
James W. Johnson, a former adjunct religion professor at BCC, alleges that the public college pushes an Evangelical agenda in the classroom.


On a morning a couple of weeks after Hurricane Wilma's visit, Johnson sits at his dining-room table and points to a Coptic processional cross from Ethiopia mounted on the wall. The former BCC adjunct professor is particularly interested in the African country, which is the world's oldest Christian nation. Its former royal family was said to have descended from King Solomon.

As a Catholic, Johnson doesn't believe he has found the only answer to the afterlife. He believes he has found one of many available in the world. "All of the religions of the world are striving for the goal of salvation," he says.

That's why he is so critical of Christian fundamentalism, a religious view he believes is engaged in an effort to convert the world and eliminate all other religions. He pulls out a photograph he found in the publicity section of the U.S. Navy's website. It shows Balzora, identified as a Navy chaplain, baptizing another U.S. soldier using a front-end loader's bucket as a makeshift baptismal.

Johnson laughs. "What do you think — Evangelical?" he says.

In his travels around the world, Johnson has seen Evangelical missionaries pushing their religion. He ignored them without a second thought. But he never thought he'd find that same type of missionary in the classroom at a publicly funded college. Now, Johnson feels he can't ignore them.

"They can't be allowed to promote their religion in the classroom," he says. "I want it to stop."

Johnson pauses.

"And I want my job back."

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