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Monday, October 01, 2007

Community college instructor fired because he called biblical story fairy tale

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[October 01, 2007]  RED OAK, Iowa -- An instructor at an Iowa community college claims he was fired after he told his students that the biblical story of Adam and Eve is a fairy tale and should not be interpreted literally.

Steve Bitterman, 60, said officials at Southwestern Community College in Red Oak sided with a handful of students who threatened legal action over his remarks in a western civilization class.

"I'm just a little bit shocked myself that a college in good standing would back up students who insist that people who have been through college ... have to teach that there were such things as talking snakes or lose their job," Bitterman said. "As a taxpayer, I'd like to know if a tax-supported public institution of higher learning has given veto power over what can and cannot be said in its classrooms to a fundamentalist religious group."

School President Barbara Crittenden would not comment on whether Bitterman was fired over the Bible reference, saying it was a personnel issue.

"There was no action taken that violated the First Amendment," she said.

Bitterman, who taught part time at Southwestern and Omaha's Metropolitan Community College, said he uses the Old Testament in the course and teaches it from an academic standpoint.

He 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.



[Associated Press]

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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