Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Christian Whiner: JPL Scientist Punished for Proselytizing at Work

I respect honest Christian proselytizers, but I'm disgusted by whiners. If you read this story, you'd think David Coppedge is a poor innocent Christian who happens to believe in "Intelligent Design," and was demoted by NASA's JPL laboratory merely for being a Christian. You'd think that those JPL scientists were intolerant, disdainful and contemptuous of anyone who didn't share their atheist science. You might even get the idea that JPL is an exclusive atheism club, that they were trying to drive a competent scientist from their midst merely because he didn't kowtow to the atheist intelligentsia who run the place.

The truth appears to be much simpler and less sinister. According to this story and other reports, David Coppedge just plain broke his employer's rules, repeatedly. He violated the JPL personnel guidelines by discussing religion at work and passing out DVDs of the ID proponents' pseudo-science (which has already been ruled to be religion, not science, by courts).

Discussing religion at work is strictly against the JPL rules (and every employer I've ever worked for), and Coppedge knew it was against the rules because he was warned several times by his supervisors. He persisted, and finally was demoted for violating the rules and for ignoring his supervisor's explicit orders.

Let's make this clear: he was not demoted for espousing Christian ideas. He was demoted for violating policy and then ignoring his boss when ordered to stop. His Christianity was irrelevant.

I hate that sort of Christian revisionism. One of the oldest memes in the Christian book of tricks is to always be the underdog, the oppressed, the persecuted. Never mind that Americans are something like 80% Christian ... somehow that little 20%, which is split into Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, and various others always manage to persecute those poor Christians.

That's just plain whining. If the news reports are true, Coppedge broke the rules and his demotion was appropriate. Painting it with the "victim" paintbrush is disgusting. If he really feels compelled by his religion to spread the word about ID, he shouldn't have taken a job at JPL. It's dishonest to agree to your employer's terms, violate them, and then complain.

And by the way, Coppedge isn't just some ordinary guy who happens to believe in Intelligent Design. He writes a widely read blog on Intelligent Design, and is on the board of directors of the organization that produced the Intelligent-Design DVDs. This guy is no minion. He's a leader, an intelligent man who surely knew what would happen if he broke the rules.

I guess I should learn to be a better whiner. It seems to be working for Coppedge's defenders. Maybe if I got good enough at it, I too could pass off silly science to the gullible public.

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