08 December 2005
Disturbing news from Kansas: Paul Mirecki, the University of Kansas professor who became a topic of State Congress discussion and vehement media attacks after sending an email in which he described Intelligent Design as a myth and its proponents as “fundies,” has stepped down from his post as chair of religious studies at the recommendation of his colleagues. According to local papers, Mirecki also filed a police report this week, describing how he was hospitalized after being beaten by two men angry over his comments insulting creationism. Possibly sadder still is the epitaph to the story as given by the Immanuel Baptist Church, pastored by Terry Fox, one of the leaders of the state’s Christian conservative movement. The church, reports The Wichita Eagle, cheered upon hearing the news of Mirecki’s resignation, and Fox argued that Mirecki, as faculty advisor to the KU club for agnostics and atheists, should never have been allowed to chair the religious studies department. That’s a statement of qualifications that should give any academic — as well as any journalist interested in covering religious topics — a deep chill.