NASA was once a bastion of religious toleration. They sent 2 creationists to the moon (Reverend Jim Irwin and General Charles Duke). They let Buzz Aldrin quietly celebrate communion on the Moon, Sunday, July 20, 1969. On NASA’s official website is the record of this Christmas greeting of 1968: www.NASA.gov. Here is a video of that 1968 event: Apollo 8 Christmas Greeting from Genesis 1. And we have: Buzz Aldrin Sharing Psalm 8 in Flight.
Sad to see that this same organization is now suspected of harboring Darwinists who would vent their prejudices against one of UD’s very own contributors, David Coppedge, for much lesser actions (loaning a DVD to an interested coworker). Isn’t a little toleration in order?
In contrast, this could also be seen to be proselytizing a particular religious view:
“A NASA workshop defined ‘life’ to mean a self-sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution,”
To paraphrase Rodney King, “can’t we all just get along?”
Supervisors at NASA’s prestigious Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) illegally harassed and demoted a high-level computer system administrator for expressing support of intelligent design to co-workers, according to a discrimination lawsuit filed in California Superior Court.
The lawsuit was filed by attorneys on behalf of David Coppedge, an information technology specialist and system administrator on JPL’s Cassini mission to Saturn, the most ambitious interplanetary exploration ever launched. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a NASA laboratory managed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) where robotic planetary spacecraft, such as the Mars Rovers, are built and operated. Coppedge was a “Team Lead” Systems Administrator on the Cassini mission until JPL demoted him for allegedly “pushing religion” by loaning interested co-workers DVDs supportive of intelligent design.
“For the offense of offering videos to colleagues, Coppedge faced harassment, an investigation cloaked in secrecy, and a virtual gag order on his discussion of intelligent design,” said attorney Casey Luskin of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Luskin serves as a consultant to the Coppedge lawsuit. “Coppedge was punished even though supervisors admitted never receiving a single complaint regarding his conversations about intelligent design prior to their investigation, and even though other employees were allowed to express diverse ideological opinions, including attacking intelligent design.”
Coppedge is suing JPL and Caltech for religious discrimination, harassment and retaliation; violation of his free speech rights; and wrongful demotion. Coppedge is represented by Los Angeles First Amendment attorney William J. Becker, Jr., of The Becker Law Firm.
“Intelligent design is not religion, and nothing in the DVDs that Coppedge shared deals with religion,” noted Luskin. “Even so, it’s unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on what they deem is religion.”
The case is the latest in a string of free-speech controversies surrounding allegations of public and private institutions punishing scientists and other experts for holding controversial views on evolution.
The California Science Center is currently facing two lawsuits similarly alleging attempts to squelch free-speech rights by a group that contracted to screen a film on intelligent design for the public at the Los Angeles facility.
“Anyone who thinks that today’s culture of science allows an open discussion of evolution is sorely mistaken,” said Dr. John G. West, associate director of the Center for Science and Culture. “When it comes to intelligent design, private and government-run agencies are suppressing free speech.”
and from What You Can Do to Help David
It’s an outrage that JPL employee David Coppedge was harassed and discriminated against for his pro-intelligent design views, but you can help him. If you want to stand up for academic freedom, there are three people who need to hear from you:
First, call 818 354-4321 and ask for Director of JPL Dr. Charles Elachi, respectfully letting him know that your tax dollars should never be used to fund discrimination against a government employee.
Second, you can call and email President of Caltech Jean-Lou A. Chameau (626-395-6301, firstname.lastname@example.org) and politely tell him that you support David Coppedge. Caltech oversees the JPL and has some jurisdiction.
Third, the JPL is NASA’s laboratory. Call them at 202 358-0001 and email email@example.com.
HT: Anika Smith