OUR last post on this topic was David Coppedge vs. JPL: Strange Silence. The next few indented paragraphs provide background information, which most of you can skip:
This is about a suit by a creationist, David Coppedge, who claims he was wrongfully demoted by his employer because he was promoting Intelligent Design (ID) on the job. He works for Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), He also maintains a creationist website: Creation-Evolution Headlines.
This is a big case for the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). They’re trying to establish some new kind constitutional right — an employee’s “freedom to promote creationism” in the workplace. One of their top legal talents, Discoveroid Casey Luskin, is advising the lawyer for Coppedge — that’s William J. Becker, Jr., who seems to be mostly a personal injury and workers’ comp lawyer.
To promote the issue, the Discoveroids are waging a public relations campaign which we described here: The Coppedge Case: A Study in Tactics and Strategy. They’ve set up a page devoted to this case: Background on David Coppedge and the Lawsuit Against NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The peculiar silence in this case which has gone on for several weeks has come to an end. At the website of the Christian Post, which describes itself as “the nation’s most comprehensive Christian news website” and “a member of the Evangelical Press Association, a member of the National Association of Evangelicals, and a global partner of the World Evangelical Alliance,” we read Demoted Employee for NASA Mission Fights Discrimination. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
An amended complaint was filed Monday in a lawsuit against a NASA laboratory in California on behalf of an employee who was demoted for discussing his beliefs about intelligent design.
That, when it gets served on the defendants, will give them another 20 (or is it 30?) days to respond. Let’s read on, as the article apparently recites from the amended complaint:
His supervisor, Gregory Chin, allegedly received complaints from employees and threatened the long-time employee with termination if he persisted with his intelligent design discussions. Coppedge said he would comply with the orders not to discuss the theory, politics or religion in the office but felt his constitutional rights were violated.
He later received a “written warning” which stated that his actions were harassing in nature and created a disruption in the workplace. Thereafter, he was removed from the team lead position in order to “lessen the strife” in the work area. His demotion was announced on a memo that was distributed on April 20, 2009.
Okay, then what happened? The article continues:
According to the amended complaint, Coppedge said he was never told by a co-worker that his discussion of intelligent design was unwelcome or disruptive to their work. He was offered no specific details of the charges allegedly made by other co-workers.
He didn’t know! They never told him anything. Oh, how horrible! Here’s more:
Since the incident, Coppedge continues to suffer embarrassment, emotional distress, humiliation, indignity, apprehension, fear, ordeal and mental anguish, the complaint states. Specifically, he has remained constrained in his ability to express his personal views and has been “kept a prisoner of JPL’s systemic ideological culture.” The JPL employee also “endures each working day under a cloud of suspicion and a threat of termination lest he say anything by which someone might take offense.”
Embarrassment. Emotional distress. Even fear! Truly, working among scientists is a creationist’s nightmare. This is the article’s last paragraph:
ADF [Alliance Defense Fund] Senior Counsel Joseph Infranco commented, “Mr. Coppedge has always maintained that ID is a scientific theory. Regardless, JPL has discriminated against him on the basis of what they deem is ‘religion.’ The only discussion allowed is what fits the agenda. Stray, and you are silenced and punished. It just doesn’t fit with JPL’s otherwise fine reputation in the industry.”
Hey, JPL is a science organization. What would a creationist expect at a place like that? Anyway, we’ve learned of an online copy of the amended complaint. The link can be found in this article at the website of the Alliance Defense Fund, with which Coppedge’s lawyer appears to be associated in some way.
The amended complaint is a 24-page pdf file: First Amended Complaint. We haven’t studied it. There will be plenty of time for that. We did, however, look at the end of it where court pleadings say that they were served on opposing counsel, and their names and addresses are given. There’s nothing like that, so we still don’t know if this thing has been served on anyone yet.
Anyway, the case is still alive. Stay tuned to this blog; we’ll keep you informed.
Next update: See: David Coppedge vs. JPL (10 Jun 2010).
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