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Published On: Wed, Nov 26th, 2014

Georgia Southern professor, Tom McMullen, attacked by atheist groups

The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science recently sent a joint letter to the president of Georgia Southern University alleging that Prof. Emerson T. McMullen (“Tom”) is unlawfully promoting religion to his students.

gods-not-dead-poster“McMullen appears to use at least some of his class to preach religion instead of teach history,” the letter reads. “Our reports and information indicate that McMullen (1) is known for injecting religion into his classes, (2) gives extra credit to students willing to endure and describe additional proselytizing, and (3) uses his position at a public university to promote religious beliefs like creationism, while undermining legitimate sciences, like biology.”

It contends that because McMullen allegedly speaks positively on Christianity in the classroom, and refutes evolution, that he is violating the U.S. Constitution.

“McMullen not only lowers the reputation and standards of this university, but has created serious constitutional problems,” the groups wrote. “As a public university, GSU is subject to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which separates state and church. … Creationism cannot be taught as scientific fact in public schools.”

The letter further asserts that the professor’s “preaching threatens the integrity of a GSU degree,” and asks that McMullen be investigated and consequently ordered to “cease and desist.”

“I don’t try to convert anybody,” he told the outlet. “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.”

He acknowledges that he recently offered students extra credit for writing about a scene in the film “God’s Not Dead,” where a student and his professor debate the existence of God, but says that he also offered another option, and often covers a variety of scientists and philosophers.

“So we cover a lot of topics that could be interpreted as me preaching in the classroom,” McMullen said. “I don’t preach creationism. … [Students] can disagree. That’s what the whole thing about academia is, you know, that there’s a freedom of thought to examine different issues.”

The university states that it is now investigating McMullen, who is an “A” rated professor among students. The groups also reference several student reviews on RateMyProfessors.com saying that McMullen’s a “huge religious nut” who spends “a lot” of time talking about Darwinism, that he “tried to push is outdated views on the class,” and that his extra-credit assignments were “trying to convert you.”

 

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