The director of science curriculum for the Texas Education Agency (TEA) was forced to resign in November after she notified people about a lecture critical of "intelligent design" (ID).
Christine Castillo Comer, 56, was pressured to step down after she forwarded an e-mail to several others mentioning that a speaker critical of In, the latest variant of creationism, was coming to Austin on Nov.2. Comer sent a notice about the talk to a local online community as an "FYI."
The speaker, Barbara Forrest, is a philosophy professor at Southeastern Louisiana University. Forrest is an acknowledged expert on ID and coauthor of the book Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design. Forrest, who serves on the Americans United Board of Trustees, was an expert witness in a federal court case that struck down the teaching of ID in Dover, Pa., public schools.
Apparently, just sending information about Forrest's talk was enough to get Comer fired. Lizzette Reynolds, a former staff member at the U.S. Department of Education now working for TEA, played a key role in Comer's ouster. She responded to Corner's e-mail about the ID lecture by urging Corner's bosses to fire her.
The Austin American-Statesman reported that Reynolds e-mailed Comer's superiors just hours after Comer sent the e-mail about Forrest's talk. Her message said, "This is highly inappropriate. I believe this is an offense that calls for termination or, at the very least, reassignment of responsibilities. This is something that the State Board, the Governor's Office and members of the Legislature would be extremely upset to see because it assumes this is a subject that the agency supports."
Comer told The New York Times that politics played a role in her ouster.
"I don't see how I took a position by FYI-ing on a lecture like I FYI on global warming or stem-cell research," Comer said. "I send around all kinds of stuff, and I'm not accused of endorsing it."
Comer told The Times that recently she had been pressured to stop saying that Texas education officials support the teaching of...