Here we go again. Another disappointed academic, who sought and failed to obtain a university position, is complaining that his creationist beliefs resulted in unlawful discrimination against him.
In the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky we read Job candidate sues UK, claiming religion cost him the post. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
No one denies that astronomer Martin Gaskell was the leading candidate for the founding director of a new observatory at the University of Kentucky in 2007 — until his writings on evolution came to light.
Gaskell had given lectures to campus religious groups around the country in which he said that while he has no problem reconciling the Bible with the theory of evolution, he believes the theory has major flaws. And he recommended students read theory critics in the intelligent-design movement.
Haven’t we seen this movie before? It seems like a remake of the sad tale of Expelled! star Guillermo Gonzalez, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” who failed to get tenure at Iowa State University and who now teaches at some bible college.
That stance [on evolution] alarmed UK science professors and, the university acknowledges, played a role in the job going to another candidate. Now a federal judge says Gaskell has a right to a jury trial over his allegation that he lost the job because he is a Christian and “potentially evangelical.”
This case somehow escaped our notice until now. It appears that Gaskell should be going to trial on 08 February on his complaint that the University of Kentucky violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act when it refused him a job because of his religion.
The Courier-Journal story tells of many interesting allegations Gaskell has made. For example, one professor was worried about hiring a “creationist” in a state that is already home to the controversial Creation Museum. Another said that UK should no more hire an astronomer skeptical of evolution than “a biologist who believed that the sun revolved around the Earth.”
We suggest that you click over to the Courier-Journal to read their whole story. It should be remembered that they’re the same newspaper we posted about when they ran an Editorial Against Governor Beshear & Noah’s Ark.
Here’s an online copy of a court order in the case from a few weeks ago, denying both the university’s and also Gaskell’s motions for summary judgment. Lots of facts are recited there, for example:
There is no dispute that UK’s decision not to hire Gaskell was an adverse employment action.The issue, then is whether Gaskell’s religion was “a motivating factor.” As set out above, Gaskell has presented direct and other evidence which, if believed, establishes that his religion was a factor in UK’s employment decision. However, UK has also come forward with other evidence that religion was not a motivating factor in its decision to hire Knauer. … UK contends that the Search Committee did not act improperly when it considered Gaskell’s comments about evolution because Gaskell made those comments public not only during his 1997 lecture at UK, but also by posting his lecture notes on his webpage. UK also contends that it did not consider Gaskell’s religious beliefs, only his public comments that there were scientific problems with the theory of evolution.
[Addendum: We can’t find much else online, but for future reference this is: C. MARTIN GASKEL v, UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY, case number 09-244-KSF, filed in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky, Central Division at Lexington. That “KSF” in the case number is for Karl S. Forester, the judge to whom the case is assigned.]
[Addendum #2: Gaskell is being represented by an outfit called the American Center for Law and Justice, d/b/a Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, Inc. They have this article about the case at their website: Christian Astronomer Facing Religious Discrimination.]
[Addendum #3: The National Center for Science Education has an archive of all the pleadings at their website, available here: C. Martin Gaskell v. University of Kentucky.]
This should be a good one to watch. It’s embarrassing that we’re just now finding out about it, but that’s probably because none of the creationist websites we track have championed Gaskell’s cause. We suspect that he has too much integrity to allow himself to become their pawn; otherwise they’d have been all over this one.
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