Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Once again we find the Intelligent Design crowd engaged in a convenient bit of hypocrisy where they claim that ID is not religious, but if anyone is not allowed to advocate for it then they are being discriminated on the basis of religion. The Discovery Institute is backing a guy from the Jet Propulsion Lab who is suing for allegedly being demoted for giving out pro-ID DVDs to co-workers.

Let me say this up front: I don’t know the facts of this case. I certainly don’t trust the DI, which has been flagrantly lying about alleged discrimination cases against Sternberg and many others — anything to create a false martyr — since years. But if that accusation is true, if David Coppedge really can show he was demoted because he gave out some pro-ID information to co-workers, Coppedge should win the case.

He would deserve to win the case because he was demoted for reasons that have nothing to do with his performance on the job. He would deserve to win because he is being punished for advocacy that does not diminish his ability to do his job. That’s a free speech issue even if it’s not a free exercise of religion issue and Coppedge should win his suit.

In fact, this case would — if those factual claims are accurate — quite closely mirror the case of Chris Comer in Texas, where she was forced out of a job merely for forwarding an email announcing an upcoming speech by Barbara Forrest. The Texas Education Agency forced her out, claiming that as an education official in the state she had to remain “neutral” on the evolution/creationism controversy.

That’s an idiotic argument of course, but it is legally identical to the argument being made here — just for the opposite reason. If the JPL decided that one had to “remain neutral” rather than advocating ID (or decided that they had to be on the pro-evolution side, for that matter) and did the same thing to Coppedge, why would they be wrong to do so but not the TEA?

Need I mention that the DI has downplayed the Comer situation and claimed that she deserved to be fired?

The DI, as usual, is trying to have it both ways — to claim simultaneously that ID is not religious at all AND that any attempt to suppress the expression of ID is anti-religious discrimination.