Scientist sues over religious discrimination

By Jared Anderson

A scientist is suing the University of Kentucky for religious discrimination after being passed over for a high-level job there.
Astronomer Martin Gaskell interviewed for a job as the director of a student observatory three years ago, reported the Washington Post. He did not get the job, however, as the interviewing committee had concerns over his religious faith and belief on evolution.
"There is no dispute that based on his application, Gaskell was a leading candidate for the position," a U.S. District Judge wrote last month, when he denied a motion by the University and sent the case to trial.
However, members of the science department sent e-mails raising questions about the fact that Gaskell is a Christian, the Kentucky Enquirer reports.
The science department at UK was concerned that Gaskell's religious faith would interfere with his scientific pursuits, calling Gaskell a 'Creationist.' They also expressed concern that Gaskell's hiring would cast a negative light on the University.
Gaskell, however, said he is not a creationist, and that he holds traditional scientific beliefs on evolution. He did give a lecture back in 1997 in which he talked briefly about evolution and expressed some inconsistencies in the theory.
He said he believes that his faith was a major factor in the decision not to hire him.
"I think that if I had a document like this and I was advocating atheism ... I don't think it would be an issue," he said.