Wednesday, December 07, 2005


The Douglas County Sheriff's Department in Lawrence, Kansas continued their investigation into the attack on a Kansas University Department of Religious Studies professor, whose planned course on creationism and intelligent design was canceled after he made light of Christian conservatives.

Lt. Kari Wempe, spokeswoman for the sheriff's office, said Tuesday that the investigation continued and no arrests had been made. "At this point, it's under investigation. It's a reported crime, and we're obligated to investigate it," Wempe said.

With a bruise visible under his right eye, Prof. Paul Mirecki paid a visit Tuesday afternoon to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. As he waited outside the sheriff’s office, Mirecki said he’d stopped returning phone calls from the media. And he declined to talk with a reporter about details of the case.

Lynn Bretz, director of university relations, said KU officials are alarmed and concerned about the reported battery. The university has offered personal assistance to Mirecki, though Bretz would not say what kind of assistance.

KU faculty on Tuesday pondered the effects that recent weeks’ events would have on the religious studies department.

“I don’t think we know how it’s going to shake out yet,” professor Tim Miller told the Journal World. “This is a difficult time to get through. I want to get through as well as we can.”

Religious studies professor Jonathan Boyarin said, “I hope that we will be able to move forward in our scholarship and teaching with mutual respect among the academic community and the people of Kansas and the larger community around us.”

Student organizations at both ends of the ideological spectrum on Tuesday condemned the reported beating of Mirecki.

Matt Terrill, president of the KU chapter of the Christian group Navigators, said he trusts that most people will recognize that the attackers don't represent all Christians.

Andrew Stangl, president of the Society of Open Minded Atheists, which Mirecki sponsors, hopes to conduct a campus rally against violence in the next few weeks. Stangltold the Wichita Eagle, "We all need to stand up and overthrow this kind of fanatical thinking." Sources: Wichita Eagle, Lawrence Journal World, Topeka Capital Journal

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