David Coppedge was not fired because he is a creationist.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA fired him for performance reasons.

Ars Technica's John Timmer has the story:

Coppedge had worked on the Cassini mission to Saturn, starting as a contractor in 1996, and later becoming a full-time employee. But one of the projects he pursued on his own time was the promotion of intelligent design, the notion that the Universe and, most prominently, life itself, is too orderly to have come about without a designer. (Like many others in that movement, Coppedge is a self-identified evangelical Christian.)\

In 2009, he apparently got a bit aggressive about promoting these ideas at work, leading one employee to complain. ... he had also aggressively promoted his opinion on California's gay marriage ban, and had attempted to get JPL's holiday party renamed to "Christmas party." .... Coppedge was warned about his behavior at work, but he felt it was an infringement of his religious freedom, so he sued ... part of a set of cutbacks on the Cassini staff, he was fired.

From another source:

JPL attorney Cameron Fox, however, contended Coppedge was a stubborn and disconnected employee who decided not to heed warnings to get additional training, even when it became clear the Cassini mission would be downsized and computer specialist positions eliminated.

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It has the potential to be fun or a fizzle. The Discovery Institute is leaping to the defense of David Coppedge, a computer technician (don't be fooled, the DI is desperately straining to enhance his credentials) who was demoted and then fired at the JPL. Coppedge claims to be the victim of…
"Being a scientist and staring immensity and eternity in the face every day is as grand and inspiring as it gets." -Carolyn Porco Launched back in October of 1997, Cassini will take its final plunge into the ringed world it’s been orbiting for over a decade on Friday, September 15th. Before it does…
“The dance between darkness and light will always remain — the stars and the moon will always need the darkness to be seen, the darkness will just not be worth having without the moon and the stars.” -C. JoyBell C. What do you do when you discover a moon around Saturn that's only visible during…
From NASA: On Oct. 17, 2012, during its 174th orbit around the gas giant, Cassini was deliberately positioned within Saturn's shadow, a perfect location from which to look in the direction of the sun and take a backlit view of the rings and the dark side of the planet. Looking back towards the sun…

You just have the read the about the case to realize this guy is a menace to himself and all around him. It sounds like a mental health issue rather than a religious issue.

How exactly is that performance reasons?

I'm suing my employer, then I'm cut as part of layoff's.

That's all you said.

By Bob gorge (not verified) on 04 Nov 2012 #permalink

@Sailor, isn't that the same thing? ;)

By Larian LeQuella (not verified) on 04 Nov 2012 #permalink

So he got put in a RIF, mostly for being a tendentious ass. I'm pretty sure that just about any HR head would put him high on the list too.

By John Moeller (not verified) on 04 Nov 2012 #permalink

Larian, it is pretty hard to be a creationist and not be a nut case, true. Religious is another matter.

Bob, they warned his department that the Cassini project was scheduled to be closed down and they were told to get further training/update their skills to be able to move into another department. He ignored it, thus when their department closed down, he lost his job. On top of that, other employees were complaining about his annoying proselytizing at work, and handing out unwanted religious CDs to coworkers. That alone would get ME fired at work.

@Bob

They were laying of more than half the staff. As far as I remember they were 4 system administrators.

2 of them had expertise needed in other departments, and they stayed on.

Coppedge had no needed skills, and his expertise was in a field no longer used in JPL.

The decision was made after a review of the staff and picking the ones with the needed skills and the best performance reviews.

They actually had paperwork to back up all of their claims. It might have been a conspiracy, but Coppedge would have to prove that HR and his superiors worked to fire him an then cover their tracks, when the records, and Coppedge owns testimony showed that his immediate boss inf fact worked hard to protect and help Coppedge in his position, and in fact agreed to listen to his creationist bullshit and borrowed his CD's.

I need to stop scanning headlines and posts---I spent far too many seconds wondering why David Copperfield (the illusionist) was fired and why was he working at JPL in the first place.

By Daniel J. Andrews (not verified) on 05 Nov 2012 #permalink

I was a little upset at our loss on Tuesday night, but got some relief in knowing that a full fledged anti abortion pro literal six day creationist got elected in Georgia despite efforts from darwinists and the Obama youth army trying to get rid of him.

This is directly from the democrati's own personal media repesentativesat the Daily Kos:

4,000 Georgians write in Charles Darwin against unopposed creationist candidate: You might remember tea partier Rep. Paul Broun, the know-nothing wackjob that represents Georgia's 10th congressional district, which includes Athens, home of the University of Georgia, where science is actually taught. The candidate, who had no Democratic foe on the ballot, was videotaped in September saying evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory are "lies straight from the pit of hell." The 4,000 write-ins were not enough to put Darwin ahead, however. Broun got more than 209,000 votes. "

This fact alone gives me comfort knowing that we may have lost the battle but the war is far from over and that the Obama Youth Army still has no real standing south of the mason dixon line. Thank God for that and thank God for Rep. Paul Broun for standing up to the creeps and liars who peddle darwin turle herder fantasies. We may have a left wing president and an un intelligent youth army and a hoard of drone supporters who following his every command blindly without question, but this victory in Georgia shows that normal people still exist and that we are very hard to get rid of.

By Nelson Jenkins (not verified) on 09 Nov 2012 #permalink