Recently the University of Kentucky has made the news by having some of their behind-the-scenes anti-religious views become public. Apparently astronomer Martin Gaskell applied for a job there in 2007, and professors there openly rejected Gaskell due to fears that he would be sympathetic to critics of evolution. Some professors said Gaskell should not be hired because he was “potentially evangelical” and “something close to a creationist” therefore he was not hired. Gaskell sued, and the university paid him $125,000.
Keep in mind that Gaskell is not a wild-eyed, barefooted snake handler. He was eminently qualified, one member of the hiring comittee calling him “breathtakingly qualified” in the field he was being considered for, which was astronomy. Nor was he a hard-line fundamentalist, for by his own admission, he does not call himself a creationist and denies a young earth. What was Gaskell’s crime? Apparently due primarily to his questioning some aspects of evolution and expressing a belief in God, some at the University of Kentucky succeeded in shaming the hiring committee into not hiring him. Apparently academic freedom only goes so far.
Gaskell was quoted as saying that if he were advocating atheism, his views would not be an issue. An excellent article in the National Review describes the discrimination of Gaskell and several others in academic circles. You can find it here. If you want to see copies of the emails written by the professors, you can find them here.
So the University of Kentucky lost out on a very qualified professor. Their loss, for Gaskell is now doing research into supermassive black holes at the University of Texas, and apparently doing it quite well, thank you.
Apparently, unless one hides their religious beliefs, they are somehow not qualified to speak in academic circles. The discrimination expressed by these academics appears open, blatant, and irrational. It makes one wonder why they are so afraid to let a divine foot in the door.