WHEN WE SAW THIS headline in the Des Moines Register we wondered how crazy the underlying dispute may have been: College professor gets $20,000 to settle claim. So we began to read:
A community college professor who was fired after he offended students with remarks about the Bible will get $20,000 to settle his wrongful termination claim.
Was this another case of preaching religion in a state classroom? We read on:
Steve Bitterman, who taught world civilization at Southwestern Community College in Creston, was fired last September after students complained that he told them the biblical story of Adam and Eve should not be taken literally.
A professor teaching world civilization was fired for that? Where’s Ben Stein when we need him?
The school’s lawyer, Patrick Smith, said the college settled to avoid an expensive lawsuit, which Bitterman had threatened to file.
That, at least, was an intelligent decision. Continuing:
“There is no admission of liability,” Smith said Friday.
Right! To paraphrase that drippy line from “Love Story” — Creationism is never having to admit anything.
In Iowa, the case fueled an ongoing debate about academic freedom and religion.
Again we ask: Ben Stein, where are you?
One final excerpt:
Bitterman taught this summer on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in Norfolk, Va., through Central Texas College’s Instructor At Sea program for sailors. He is scheduled to return to the ship in the Persian Gulf but said he has applied for jobs at other community colleges.
Ah, he’s a patriot. Professor Bitterman, you’re a good man.