The University of Kentucky has settled with renowned astronomer Martin Gaskell for turning him down for a post because of his Christian beliefs. I do not find the settlement sum of $125,000 that notable.
But in the process of this case, anti-Christian bigotry in academic science was laid bare for all to see. The excellent Ben Stein movie, Expelled, among other sources has documented this prejudice elsewhere in academia. But the evidence in this case was a smoking telescope, one might say.
Judge Forester specifically noted the following:
• The head of the search committee wrote in an email to the Chair of the Physics & Astronomy Department that “no objective observer could possibly believe that we excluded Martin [Gaskell] on any basis other than religious . . .”
• The Department Chair admitted “that the debate generated by Gaskell’s website and his religious beliefs was an ‘element’ in the decision not to hire Gaskell.”
• One member of the search committee admitted that Gaskell’s “views of religious things” were “a factor” in his decision not to support Gaskell’s candidacy.
• Another member of the committee, having discovered Gaskell’s website, warned fellow committee members that Gaskell was “potentially evangelical.”
• The search committee head, anticipating a decision against Gaskell by his fellow committee members, wrote that “Other reasons will be given for the choice . . . but the real reason we will not offer him the job is because of his religious beliefs in matters that are unrelated to astronomy or to any of the other duties specified for this position.”
Frankly, I would have held out for a lot more than $125,000. The University of Kentucky got off easy. Bigots.