A public university professor is being investigated following claims by atheist activists that he proselytizes and pushes his Christian and creationist views on students.
Dr. Tom McMullen, a history professor at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia, is being accused by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science of First Amendment violations, according to the Statesboro Herald.
The atheist groups wrote a joint letter to university president Dr. Brooks Keel in October, alleging that McMullen "uses class time to proselytize students and advance his personal religion, Christianity."
In a joint announcement atheists asked the public university to investigate McMullen for reportedly "promoting creationism" and "crossing ethical and constitutional lines."
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"McMullen allegedly uses extra-credit assignments to try to 'convert' students by inviting them to write about McMullen’s religious beliefs," a statement read. "He has reportedly also promoted Christian propaganda such as the recent movie 'God Is Not Dead,' which pits an atheist professor against a Christian student."
The Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science cite student testimonials in the letter — comments that claim that McMillen "tried to push his outdated views onto the class" and that he "doesn't believe in climate change or evolution."
"He spends A LOT of time talking about Darwinism, he’s a huge religious nut," another testimonial read. "Extra credit is to write a paper summing [up] his views on religion."
Despite some negative reviews, the professor has been given an "A" overall on RateMyProfessors.com, where he has also been showered with praise from former students. See a few of the reviews, below:
Some of Dr. Tom McMullen's reviews on RateMyProfessor.com (RateMyProfessor.com)
The letter concludes by asking that McMullen be investigated and that Georgia Southern University step in to ensure he separates his religious views from classroom instruction.
But in an interview with the Statesboro Herald, the tenured professor denied the claims being made against him.
"I don't try to convert anybody. In some of my classes, like for instance, World History I, we're doing Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and then Christianity, and then later Islam, and also, I might add Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism," McMullen told the outlet.
The professor was candid, though, about where he stands on macro evolution, claiming that he does not believe that living creatures descended from a common ancestor.
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"I don't accept that as a scientist," he said. "I was an agnostic, thought science had the answers and, investigating science, I realized science didn't have all of the answers, including descent from a common ancestor, and then came to believe in God."
McMullen said that he does not preach creationism in the classroom, though, claiming that some of the subjects he covers could be misinterpreted as preaching, considering the subject matter.
The university is currently investigating. Read more about the story here.
(H/T: Statesboro Herald)
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