After two years of legal contortions preparing a lawsuit filed by David Coppedge for religious discrimination in the workplace, opening statements are expected to begin in the Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, March 12, 2012. Supporting Mr. Coppedge’s case is the Alliance Defense Fund, A Christian civil rights group (What an oxymoron! We don’t have any civil rights…), as well as the Discovery Institute, a proponent of intelligent design.
John West, Associate Director of the Center for Science and Culture at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute said, “It’s part of a pattern. There is basically a war on anyone who dissents from Darwin and we’ve seen that for several years. This is free speech, freedom of conscience 101.”
Uh…then where is the ACLU?
Mr. Coppedge worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA as a ‘team lead’ computer specialist for the Cassini probe mission exploring Saturn and its moons. He began as a contractor in 1996 and was designated as a ‘team lead’ in 2000, serving as a liaison between technicians and managers even before he was hired full time 2003. He held this position for nearly ten years before being demoted in 2009 and was let go last year, after fifteen years on the mission.
He contends he was demoted and fired because he enjoyed talking with his co-workers about his belief that because the universe and life is too complex to have developed through evolution alone, a higher power or intelligent designer had to be involved in creation. He is a board member of Illustria Media and gave his co-workers DVD’s made by the company, which examines scientific evidence for intelligent design.
Where is the ACLU? Oh yeah, Mr. Coppedge isn’t a minority or gay. Duh!
Can you even believe the outrageous criminality of his actions? Well, the only explanation I can imagine for all the brouhaha is that he must have been chasing people down the halls of his office, tackling them and stapling the DVD’s to their foreheads for this to result in his being terminated.
Otherwise, if they were not interested in the material, one would surmise all they would have had to do was simply say, “No thank you.” Apparently, this simple solution was too much for some of the courtesy challenged employees to handle, because a few complained to management they felt (*sniff*) harassed, which resulted in his receiving a written warning.
Coppedge’s attorney, William Becker, says, “David had this reputation for being a practicing (*GASP*) Christian. He did not go around evangelizing or proselytizing and he is not apologizing for who he is. He’s an evangelical Christian.”
He also had the unmitigated gall to publically support a state ballot that sought to define marriage as limited to a man/woman relationship and nearly caused catastrophic damage to the entire space program by requesting the annual office “holiday” party be called what it actually was, a “Christmas” party!
Yoo-Hoo, ACLU…where are you?
Attorneys for the California Institute of Technology, which manages the Jet Propulsion Lab, state that Coppedge was one of two Cassini technicians and among 246 other employees let go last year due to planned budget cuts. Okaaaay. We’ll run with that explanation, unless maybe someone can come up with evidence that the mission still has plenty of life and funds to continue. Hmmm, perhaps someone like….ME?!
According to the official NASA Cassini Mission website, the missions and continued experiments of the probe will last at least through November 29, 2012. They are still getting a plethora of images and information from this probe and will, no doubt, continue to use it until it sputters, pops a couple more bolts and gives its last little squeak in outer space before going to that great space probe graveyard in the sky. Kind of makes me think the ‘budget cuts’ weren’t the whole reason Mr. Coppedge was fired after fifteen long, faithful years at NASA.
This should be an interesting case to follow. Is it about religious discrimination? Is it a simple employee/employer dispute? Scientists from both spectrums of the intelligent design argument are waiting with baited breath to see which way the court will rule. Can you imagine the high pitched, girly screams of angst and protest that will emanate from the court house if the Judge rules in favor of the plaintiff and his right to express in the workplace, his opinion that Almighty God designed the universe? Stay tuned!