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article imageBitterman Gets A Pink Slip For Saying Adam And Eve Was A story

By KJ Mullins     Sep 26, 2007 in World
Steve Bitterman was a community college instructor at Southwestern Community College in Red Oak, Iowa. He was fired over the telephone for saying that Adam and Eve was a fairy tale. Some of the students took offense to that.
Bitterman taught a western civilization class last Tuesday where he made the comment that the Adam and Eve story was a fairy tale. Students in his class complained to the college and threaten to file a lawsuit. That threat resulted in the instructor's dismissal on Thursday.
"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 and have a master's degree, a couple actually, have to teach that there were such things as talking snakes or lose their job," Bitterman said.
The director nor the president of the college would comment on the reason that Bitterman was fired. The president, Barbara Crittenden did admit that Bitterman taught one course at the school.
"I can assure you that the college understands our employees' free-speech rights," she said. "There was no action taken that violated the First Amendment."
Bitterman, who also taught at Omaha's Metropolitan Community College, said that he uses the Old Testament in his class and that he always uses an academic standpoint when it uses it.
Tuesday's class was telecast to students in Osceola over the Iowa Communications Network. Some of the students in the Osceola classroom he admits thought the lesson was "denigrating their religion."
"I put the Hebrew religion on the same plane as any other religion. Their god wasn't given any more credibility than any other god," Bitterman said. "I told them it was an extremely meaningful story, but you had to see it in a poetic, metaphoric or symbolic sense, that if you took it literally, that you were going to miss a whole lot of meaning there."
When he made the comment that Adam and Eve was a "fairy tale" it was after the class talking to a student and was told that the students made the We're going to a lawyer and going to sue you threats. He's being the bigger man and not naming names.
"I just thought there was such a thing as academic freedom here," he said. "From my point of view, what they're doing is essentially teaching their students very well to function in the eighth century."
"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," he said. "If it has ... then the taxpaying public of Iowa has a right to know. What's next? Whales talk French at the bottom of the sea?"
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