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Author Topic: Kansas professor quits department chair  (Read 15481 times)
J-Mann
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« on: December 08, 2005, 11:40:33 pm »
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Again, I can't say I didn't see this coming.  What was an anti-Christian zealot doing heading a religious studies department to begin with? 

This guy could have had an excellent class that went in-depth to one of Kansas' most persistent social issues, but instead, he blatantly insults Christian fundamentalism -- never a smart idea; is revealed to be anti-Catholic and anti-Christian, gets his ass whupped on a country road and has to step down from being the chair of an entire department.  All in all, not a good week for him.

Anti-creationism prof quits department chair
Associated Press
12-8-05

TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) -- A University of Kansas professor who drew criticism for e-mails he wrote deriding Christian fundamentalists over creationism has resigned as chairman of the Department of Religious Studies.

Paul Mirecki stepped aside on the recommendation of his colleagues, according to Barbara Romzek, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

"This allows the department to focus on what's most important -- teaching, research and service -- and to minimize the distractions of the last couple of weeks," Romzek said in a statement Wednesday after receiving Mirecki's resignation.

Contacted by The Associated Press, Mirecki declined to comment about his decision, only saying he was still a member of the university faculty and planned to continue teaching.

Mirecki had planned to teach a course in the spring that examined creationism and intelligent design after the State Board of Education adopted science standards treating evolution as a flawed theory.

Originally called "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies," the course was canceled last week at Mirecki's request.

A recent e-mail from Mirecki to members of a student organization referred to religious conservatives as "fundies" and said a course describing intelligent design as mythology would be a "nice slap in their big fat face." Mirecki apologized for those comments.

Later, other e-mails written by Mirecki that surfaced were deemed "repugnant and vile" by Chancellor Robert Hemenway for their views toward Catholics and other Christians.

On Monday, Mirecki was treated at a Lawrence hospital for head injuries after he said he was beaten by two men on a country road. He said the men referred to the creationism course. Law enforcement officials were investigating.

Mirecki, who joined the university in 1989, is an expert in ancient Mediterranean cultures, languages and religions.
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2005, 12:27:16 am »
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If some university had a course entitled "Lets make fun of all the silly things in Islam" - the media would give it more coverage than WW II.

Making fun of Christianity is ok however.

These religious Right folks do scare me a bit, but in terms of being under attack by the political Left simply for what they believe... they actually do have a point.

Which I find kinda scary too....
« Last Edit: December 09, 2005, 12:29:12 am by The Vorlon »Logged

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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2005, 01:27:26 am »
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Another victim of the conservative thought police.

Notice how nobody's allowed to have thoughts that disagree with conservatives anymore.
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2005, 02:24:59 am »
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ID/Creationist vigilantes BEAT UP the guy like we're in friggin Pakistan or something. Knowing how much Americans love their guns I'm suprised they didn't shoot him.

This is a dangerous time to be a liberal in this country. Conservatives never have to worry about be violently attacked (heckling Ann Coulter doesn't count as violent).

What made me so proud of this guy was his private email. Those are the kind of words that we Theory of Evolution types think but are to afraid to say b/c of the potential repercussions. We shouldn't take abuse like this from the religious activists anymore.

You conservatives keep telling yourself that 1 college professor was a huge threat to your ideology. Meanwhile, Dr. Mirecki will still be recovering in a hospital.
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2005, 11:15:17 am »
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It is tragic news for the students that this professor has resigned.  Presumabely they will now be tought solely by cultists.  J-Mann, your tacit support of this brutalization is offensive.  Why shouldn't the man deride fundamentalists?  It was just speech, you fascist.

As for you Vorlon, why would anyone bother to make fun of the nasty cult of Islam?  It is very weak and very far away.  The US is already ruled by the nasty cult of christianity, so I would say that is a bigger priority to resist.
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« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2005, 11:17:47 am »
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Again, I can't say I didn't see this coming.  What was an anti-Christian zealot doing heading a religious studies department to begin with? 

Why do you say that he is an anti-Christian zealot? Just because he doesn't like fundies doesn't make him anti-Christian (a lot of Christians don't like fundies either).
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« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2005, 11:22:01 am »
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If the conservative thought police had its way, the Bay of Fundy would have to have its name changed.
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« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2005, 11:30:02 am »
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It is tragic news for the students that this professor has resigned.  Presumabely they will now be tought solely by cultists.  J-Mann, your tacit support of this brutalization is offensive.  Why shouldn't the man deride fundamentalists?  It was just speech, you fascist.

It's not tacit support -- I wish he would have gotten to teach the class instead of backing down.  My derision of him is because of his total disregard for any tact or delicacy in this.  Liberals are more than welcome to speak out as far as I'm concerned, but they've got to realize that when a large part of the population disagrees with them and doesn't respect their free speech, they need to exercise a little bit of discretion in the way they go about things.

I explained this to you in greater detail with specific reference to your own experiences in this thread, but I don't know if you saw it because I got no response.  Wouldn't you agree that discretion in the advocacy of change in the face of great opposition is a wise course of action?  See that thread, and don't call me fascist again.

Again, I can't say I didn't see this coming.  What was an anti-Christian zealot doing heading a religious studies department to begin with?

Why do you say that he is an anti-Christian zealot? Just because he doesn't like fundies doesn't make him anti-Christian (a lot of Christians don't like fundies either).

Some other of his e-mails came to light shortly after the first, and there was quite a few anti-Christian and anti-Catholic remarks in them, enough so that the Chancellor of the university condemned him and his e-mails as "vile and repugnant."
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« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2005, 11:44:42 am »
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It's not tacit support -- I wish he would have gotten to teach the class instead of backing down.  My derision of him is because of his total disregard for any tact or delicacy in this.  Liberals are more than welcome to speak out as far as I'm concerned, but they've got to realize that when a large part of the population disagrees with them and doesn't respect their free speech, they need to exercise a little bit of discretion in the way they go about things.

I explained this to you in greater detail with specific reference to your own experiences in this thread, but I don't know if you saw it because I got no response.  Wouldn't you agree that discretion in the advocacy of change in the face of great opposition is a wise course of action?  See that thread,

Oh yes, I did witness a horrible injustice, and I did nothing.  But the forces of social control doing the injustice were (as is normally the case) the Police!  Obviously I wouldn't do anything against them - not only would it be foolish, it would have no effect whatsoever.  That situation was not at all analogous to this professor's situation.  A more apt analogy might be the angry emails I sent to friends back home, or the embittered conversations I had with girls effected or expat friends here about it.  If I had been beaten up by the State's goons for such criticism, that would have been analogous to this professor's plight.
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« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2005, 11:59:59 am »
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It's not tacit support -- I wish he would have gotten to teach the class instead of backing down.  My derision of him is because of his total disregard for any tact or delicacy in this.  Liberals are more than welcome to speak out as far as I'm concerned, but they've got to realize that when a large part of the population disagrees with them and doesn't respect their free speech, they need to exercise a little bit of discretion in the way they go about things.

I explained this to you in greater detail with specific reference to your own experiences in this thread, but I don't know if you saw it because I got no response.  Wouldn't you agree that discretion in the advocacy of change in the face of great opposition is a wise course of action?  See that thread,

Oh yes, I did witness a horrible injustice, and I did nothing.  But the forces of social control doing the injustice were (as is normally the case) the Police!  Obviously I wouldn't do anything against them - not only would it be foolish, it would have no effect whatsoever.  That situation was not at all analogous to this professor's situation.  A more apt analogy might be the angry emails I sent to friends back home, or the embittered conversations I had with girls effected or expat friends here about it.  If I had been beaten up by the State's goons for such criticism, that would have been analogous to this professor's plight.

I think it's very analogous.  The actors are different but the play is the same.  You didn't take on the police in any way because of a fear of retribution.  But what would have happened if you had yelled at the police or challenged them verbally?  Likely a beating...just for speaking. Instead, you fought (and are fighting) them by going "underground," so to speak, through private recountings of the incident.

The professor should honestly have known better than to so forcefully attack fundamentalist Christianity, which is a powerful force throughout the country and especially in Kansas.  His actions -- in this case, his speech -- were akin to if you would have gone after the police throwing punches.  He knew that his private e-mails had gotten out to others in the past; why in the world would he bring more trouble on himself by sending another one that targeted fundamentalism, not in an objective way (as his class was supposedly going to do), but in an outright hostile way?

It's too bad he got beat up for his speech and his beliefs, and equally regrettable that a class that could have presented a serious look at a growing social divide in my state was cancelled, but it's not surprising in the very least.

And that, my friend, is my whole point.  Nothing about his approach and the reaction he got surprises me.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2005, 12:05:15 pm by J-Mann »Logged

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« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2005, 12:33:46 pm »
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I think it's very analogous.  The actors are different but the play is the same.  You didn't take on the police in any way because of a fear of retribution.  But what would have happened if you had yelled at the police or challenged them verbally?  Likely a beating...just for speaking. Instead, you fought (and are fighting) them by going "underground," so to speak, through private recountings of the incident.

Actually Thai police would be unlikely to beat a foreigner, particularly one as innocuous as I.  Nor did the professor do anything analogous to 'yelling'.  In fact, he sent emails, which is exactly what I did.

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The professor should honestly have known better than to so forcefully attack fundamentalist Christianity, which is a powerful force throughout the country and especially in Kansas.  His actions -- in this case, his speech -- were akin to if you would have gone after the police throwing punches.

No, J-Mann, speech is never the equivalent of throwing punches!  Nor are the Fundamentalists quite the same as the State, yet.  Though I fear they soon will be, and you seem disturbingly accepting of that idea.  How would you like it if the gays slaughtered your Pat Robertson?

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He knew that his private e-mails had gotten out to others in the past; why in the world would he bring more trouble on himself by sending another one that targeted fundamentalism, not in an objective way (as his class was supposedly going to do), but in an outright hostile way?

How could anyones email be 'objective'?  Naturally the man, being an educated, humane person, will despise fundamentalist christianity - so why should he have to hide this for fear of his life?  Anyway as you said these were his private emails. 

Quote
It's too bad he got beat up for his speech and his beliefs, and equally regrettable that a class that could have presented a serious look at a growing social divide in my state was cancelled, but it's not surprising in the very least.

Obviously your state is a lost cause, J-Mann.  It is Mississippi in the sixties (sorry, I just re-watched Mississippi Burning.. I know Mississippi hasn't changed).

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And that, my friend, is my whole point.  Nothing about his approach and the reaction he got surprises me.

But the reaction should outrage you!  The fact that it doesn't, and the fact that you blame the victim is what inspires me to call you a fascist.
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« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2005, 12:59:46 pm »
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It's pointless to continue the debate; we just disagree.  But I will ask you this:

If you were in Kansas, would you be the "freedom fighter" that you want him to be?  Would you so vigorously confront the religious right, tell them that their views are idiotic and that you despise them (to their faces, not via an anonymous forum)?  Would you risk that retaliation, in person?  Would you put yourself in harm's way?  I wouldn't -- I have "fought" fundamentalism through op-eds written for newspapers and finding support through like-minded people in the state, not by walking into a Baptist convention and telling them they're delusional.  I know better than that, and if I did confront them head-on, I know I'd be risking retaliation.

Fighting causes you oppose via the Internet from thousands of miles away is one thing, Opebo.  I don't know if you've got the grapes to personally carry out what you claim to want.  If you do, I invite you back to the States to show us all how it's done.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2005, 01:06:15 pm by J-Mann »Logged

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« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2005, 02:09:32 pm »
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Yup, the professor was all talk, no action. 

ACTA NON VERBA dude.
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« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2005, 02:28:26 pm »
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So I guess this means Kansas will have to teach real scientific theory alongside fairytales after all.  Unless somebody else with more tact and subtlety comes along and tries it again.

If I was forced to teach that at KSU, I would begin my first class as follows; "Good morning.  Some people believe God created the universe in six days.  Now, on to evolution....."
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« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2005, 02:49:18 pm »
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So I guess this means Kansas will have to teach real scientific theory alongside fairytales after all.  Unless somebody else with more tact and subtlety comes along and tries it again.

Unlikely.  The standards voted in by the state school board do not take effect until 2007; those conservatives that forced the standards in are likely to be booted out of their seats in next year's elections.[/quote]

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If I was forced to teach that at KSU

KSU is a university and is not effected by the standards set by the school board; neither is KU or any other public (or private) university in the state. No professor at a university is going to teach something they don't want to (though this example shows that they can be scared away from teaching something). The debate over what was to be taught at KU had nothing to do with science; it was a religion class that upset conservative. The standards set by the school board only apply to secondary education.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2005, 02:51:32 pm by J-Mann »Logged

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« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2005, 03:08:55 pm »
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If some university had a course entitled "Lets make fun of all the silly things in Islam" - the media would give it more coverage than WW II.

Making fun of Christianity is ok however.

These religious Right folks do scare me a bit, but in terms of being under attack by the political Left simply for what they believe... they actually do have a point.

Which I find kinda scary too....


Absolutely nailed it, Vorlon. Cool

ID/Creationist vigilantes BEAT UP the guy like we're in friggin Pakistan or something. Knowing how much Americans love their guns I'm suprised they didn't shoot him.

This is a dangerous time to be a liberal in this country. Conservatives never have to worry about be violently attacked (heckling Ann Coulter doesn't count as violent).

What made me so proud of this guy was his private email. Those are the kind of words that we Theory of Evolution types think but are to afraid to say b/c of the potential repercussions. We shouldn't take abuse like this from the religious activists anymore.

You conservatives keep telling yourself that 1 college professor was a huge threat to your ideology. Meanwhile, Dr. Mirecki will still be recovering in a hospital.

You are such a f****** bigot, you know that? I see you haven't changed one whit from before.
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« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2005, 03:19:35 pm »
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You are such a f****** bigot, you know that? I see you haven't changed one whit from before.

Yet you don't say a word about John Ford threatening to kill Russ Feingold in the other thread. I assume you have no problem with that because Ford is a Republican?

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« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2005, 03:27:58 pm »
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You are such a f****** bigot, you know that? I see you haven't changed one whit from before.

And yet not a word about the violence by these angry conservatives. I assume you're OK with that as well. Hell, you probably encourage it.

If any liberals beat a conservative professor, the story would be on Fox News 24/7. Yet this one is kept quiet and Fox News will never mention it.
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« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2005, 03:32:36 pm »
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*yawn*
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« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2005, 03:33:40 pm »
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im glad to see that this guy is willing to stand up and say that he wont work for those that want to invade freedoms and ruin the educational process. I dont blame him one bit, in factm i applaude him.
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« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2005, 03:37:33 pm »
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You are such a f****** bigot, you know that? I see you haven't changed one whit from before.

Yet you don't say a word about John Ford threatening to kill Russ Feingold in the other thread. I assume you have no problem with that because Ford is a Republican?


Of course not, John Ford is a GOD.



Wink



Haven't read that thread, so N/A. I doubt Ford is being serious... Tongue

You are such a f****** bigot, you know that? I see you haven't changed one whit from before.

And yet not a word about the violence by these angry conservatives. I assume you're OK with that as well.

If any liberals beat a conservative professor, the story would be on Fox News 24/7. Yet this one is kept quiet and Fox News will never mention it.

No, I don't agree with that, either. I'm not surprised by it - go into the middle of Berkeley and talk about how much you love George W, and see what happens Tongue - but I don't think it should've happened. By the way...if a neo-Nazi had made hateful emails about minorities and was later beaten up by two angry minority males because of it, would you still be so outraged?

And I will not comment on the media bit because I know very damn well all the media is biased, to one side or another, and ALL of it is sensationalist, ergo reporting will vary a lot.
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« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2005, 03:41:27 pm »
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Haven't read that thread, so N/A. I doubt Ford is being serious... Tongue

Just the response I was expecting. IOKIYAR (It's OK if You're a Republican) is the motto of this board.

If I had said anything close to what Ford said, you'd be going crazy right now.

No, I don't agree with that, either. I'm not surprised by it - go into the middle of Berkeley and talk about how much you love George W, and see what happens :

I love these types of rationalizations.
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« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2005, 03:44:10 pm »
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Just the response I was expecting. IOKIYAR (It's OK if You're a Republican) is the motto of this board.
Then go join a Democrat extremist board. Obviously, since some people have that attitude, all people must have it!!!!1
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« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2005, 03:46:51 pm »
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Obviously, since some people have that attitude, all people must have it!!!!1

Certainly the majority have that attitude.

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« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2005, 03:48:34 pm »
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I think you have trouble reading. WMS said he doubts Ford is being serious, not that "it's okay if you're a Republican." And, actually, Ford did not threaten to kill Feingold even as a joke.
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