Via The DesMoines Register:
A community college instructor in Red Oak claims he was fired after he told his students that the biblical story of Adam and Eve should not be literally interpreted. Steve Bitterman, 60, said officials at Southwestern Community College sided with a handful of students who threatened legal action over his remarks in a western civilization class Tuesday. He said he was fired Thursday…
If the facts behind this are as the fired instructor is saying, the people responsible for running Southwestern Community College should be ashamed of themselves. We’ll have to see I suppose. Meanwhile, this aspect of the story sounds all too plausible:
Bitterman’s Tuesday course was telecast to students in Osceola over the Iowa Communications Network. A few students in the Osceola classroom, he said, thought the lesson was “denigrating their religion.” “I put the Hebrew religion on the same plane as any other religion. Their god wasn’t given any more credibility than any other god,” Bitterman said. “I told them it was an extremely meaningful story, but you had to see it in a poetic, metaphoric or symbolic sense, that if you took it literally, that you were going to miss a whole lot of meaning there.” Bitterman said he called the story of Adam and Eve a “fairy tale” in a conversation with a student after the class and was told the students had threatened to see an attorney. He declined to identify any of the students in the class.
People are, of course, free to believe what they wish about Adam, Eve, El
, Allah, Zeus, Wicca, Xenu or, even, Balaam’s chatty livestock. What they are not free to do is to insist
that others have to refrain from criticism of those beliefs. That very basic idea, essential to a free society, seems to be in retreat these days, not least, it appears, in Red Oak, Iowa.