November 29, 2005 | David F. Coppedge

Welcome to the Religion Department; I Am Your Evil Atheist Professor

The religion professor who organized a class at U of Kansas called “Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies” (see 11/21/2005) was caught red-handed expressing his real intentions.  According to Knight-Ridder stories in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Macon.com, an email from Paul Mirecki became public in which he had said, “The fundies (fundamentalists) want it all taught in a science class, but this will be a nice slap in their big fat face by teaching it as a religious studies class under the category ‘mythology.’”  His letter to the Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics, a student organization for which he serves as faculty adviser, and which he referred to as “my fellow damned,” was signed off with, “Doing my part to (tick) off the religious right, Evil Dr. P.”  Mirecki is Chairman of the Religious Studies department.
    The Chancellor had a word with him, after which Mirecki apologized for his “ill-advised email I sent to a small group of students and friends.”  He promised he would teach the class “as a serious academic subject and in an manner that respects all points of view.”  The class has also been renamed to simply “Intelligent Design and Creationism.”
    Legislators got word of this email and were not pleased.  There was discussion of withholding funds from the school.  Quoting the article, Rep. Brenda Landwehr, vice chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, called the e-mail “venomous,” adding, “He’s not sorry he wrote it.  He’s sorry it became public.”
Update 11/30/2005: Mirecki has canceled the class.  KansasCity.com and The Guardian (UK) reported that the furor caused by his email was too much.  Chancellor Hemenway called the attitudes expressed “repugnant and vile,” and said it “misrepresents everything the university is to stand for.”  A state senator called the words “hateful” and felt the University did the right thing by listening to the public’s outrage and canceling the class.  Bob Crowther on Evolution News doubts Mirecki’s sincerity; he has found a track record of similar antireligious statements by Mirecki.

There you have it, folks.  Parents, when you sent your precious sons and daughters to college, with visions of enlightenment, scholarly advancement and the contemplative life, is this what you had in mind?  Were you aware the devil was head of the religion department?  Do you accept his apology for half a second?  Do you believe for a moment this wrist-slap is going to stop his face-slapping intentions?  Better wake up; this is not an isolated case.   This was the university that took up arms against the Kansas school board in their attempt to de-dogmatize Darwin and permit (not mandate) critical discussion of his views, but attitudes like Mirecki’s are rife in today’s radical-leftist academic institutions.
    Now you know why a fair and honest discussion of intelligent design is hard to come by in most universities.  One can only hope enough people are repulsed by this venomous behavior enough to drive the vermin out, open the windows, clean out the garbage, and let in some fresh air and sunshine, to recreate that once-sacred environment for the free exchange of ideas among scholars motivated by a love of the truth.

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