U.S. Justice Department drops investigation of professor as he drops evolutionist requirement
Texas Tech University biology professor Michael Dini told his students he wouldn't write letters of recommendation to medical schools if they didn't believe in Darwinism.
"It is easy to imagine how physicians who ignore or neglect the Darwinian aspects of medicine or the evolutionary origin of humans can make poor clinical choices," he said.
That rightly sounded like religious discrimination to the U.S. Department of Justice. It launched an investigation in response to a complaint from the Liberty Legal Institute, which was also preparing a lawsuit against Dini.
"There's no problem with Dr. Dini saying you have to understand evolution," chief counsel Kelly Shackelford had said. "But you can't tell students that they have to hold the same personal belief that you do."
Yesterday the Justice Department announced it was closing its investigation, noting that Dini has changed his policy. He now only requires that students be able to explain the theory of evolution; they don't have to affirm a personal belief in it.
"The new policy rightly recognizes that students don't have to give up their religious beliefs to be good doctors or good scientists," Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Ralph F. Boyd Jr. says in a press release. "A biology student may need to understand the theory of evolution and be able to explain it. But a state-run university has no business telling students what they should or should not believe in. If the separation of church and state is to mean anything, it must surely mean that such matters of conscience are beyond the reach of government inquiry."
Liberty Legal Institute staff attorney Hiram Sasser was ecstatic. ...1
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