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New atheism, civil rights, and Martin Gaskell

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Here’s Richard Dawkins, as a friend puts it, “coming out … as a religious bigot”  in analyzing the Martin Gaskell case (“potentially evangelical” astronomer settles for $100K+):

The University of Kentucky has caved in and agreed a settlement, out of court, with the allegedly creationist astronomer Martin Gaskell. …[ … ]

If Martin were not so superbly qualified, so breathtakingly above the other applicants in background and experience, then our decision would be much simpler. We could easily choose another applicant, and we could content ourselves with the idea that Martin’s religious beliefs played little role in our decision. However, this is not the case. As it is, no objective observer could possibly believe that we excluded Martin on any basis other than religious…
A smoking gun, it would seem, …

– Should employers be blind to private beliefs? (Jan 24, 2011)

He then goes on to make a case for discriminating against job applicants on the basis of religious beliefs (other than atheism).

Curious thing about the new atheists: One thing they’ll sure get rid of is civil liberties as commonly understood.

I was giving a talk at a church recently, and the adult education leader told me that many older churchgoers worried about whether their children and grandchildren would have jobs. They remember a more sane and tolerant society, but don’t know how to get back there. I hate having to tell them that the answer begins with losing all interest in the question of whether people think they are nice. They could end up being just nice enough to make sure their grandchildren can’t get jobs unless they disown them. (Historically, that has happened before.)

Gerald, your comment is appreciated. Upright BiPed
I think the main reason Martin settled is he's just about to take a faculty position at U. Valparaiso in Chile, and traveling back and forth to the US to testify would have been a lousy way to start a new job. FWIW, Martin's a friend of mine and supervised my daughter's undergraduate research. I'm probably what you'd call a 'new atheist', and I think this was a bona fide case of religious discrimination. If you can bar Martin from directing a student observatory, you can bar any theistic evolutionist from any scientific position. The urge to police orthodoxy beyond all reason, and to persecute the heretic, is alas one shared by many humans, atheists and believers alike. gerardharbison
Oops... Bad link... Try this one instead... eeoc.gov jstanley01
I don't like second guessing what individuals do in legal cases, when their involvement affects them in so many ways, including ways that can have a lot of impact on their personal lives. Nevertheless, one could wish that Gaskell had held on for a court decision, for the sake of a legal precedent. In that, religious discrimination is against the law.
Religious discrimination involves treating a person (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs. The law protects not only people who belong to traditional, organized religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, but also others who have sincerely held religious, ethical or moral beliefs. eeoc.gov
No excuses. Its not just religion. The whole North American civilization is determining who deserves what based on ethnic/sex/ and increasingly religious/political identity. No WASP, white , protestant, white, man, normal(not gay) citizen, bible-believer, creationist, and so need apply with full confidence to position, job, dreams in the land. This is just a part of a continuem. Its great publicity for creationism however. They caved in, I think, because the whole thing is based on accusations of secret motivations. In this case not so secret. Affirmative action if founded on accusation of secret motivation. Robert Byers
And yet atheists rail against religion and religious people for being intolerant of other beliefs when, in fact, it is the atheists who are intolerant of those who disagree with them. Barb
History proves atheism will always be oppressive and intolerant. Dawkins exemplifies this every time he opens his mouth. deric davidson
nullasalus, Good point, one only has to listen the proceedings of the 30th Anniversary Conference of the Center for Inquiry held last October in LA. It was wrought with political agenda-forming and religion bashing. Scary. The irony is that these people call themselves humanists, when they actually despise most of humanity because most of humanity is religious. Clive Hayden
You'll see support for this kind of religious discrimination and worse from atheists (wanting religious belief treated as a full-blown psychological disorder, something you can be committed for), then many of the same ones turn around and express their fury about how, for some lunatic reason, religious people don't trust them to hold public office or positions of power. nullasalus

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