Christian Professor Awarded Back Pay, Promotion for Violation of His First Amendment Rights


“No individual loses his ability to speak as a private citizen by virtue of his public employment.”

That comes from a 2011 opinion of the 4th Circuit US Court of Appeals decision on a lawsuit filed by Dr Mike Adams. Dr Adams is a professor in criminology at the University of North Caroline-Wilmington.

He filed suit when university officials refused him a promotion to a full professorship. The suit claimed that this was due to his change of personal beliefs after conversion from atheism to Christianity.

When the university hired Dr Adams in 1993, he was an atheist. He received accolades from his colleagues and was promoted to associate professor 1998.

Dr Adams converted to Christianity in 2000, which affected his views on political and social issues. According to CharismaNews, “the university subjected Adams to a campaign of academic persecution that culminated in the denial of his promotion to full professorship, despite an award-winning record of teaching, research and service.”

Now a federal court has ordered the University of North Caroline-Wilmington to promote Dr Adams to the rank of full professor and pay him $50,000 in back pay.

Christian converts who come from more politicized environments often experience painful changes in the way they are treated by colleagues. Christian conversion can lead to the loss of old friendships and promotions, even here in the USA.

The court’s decision is an important one that hopefully will curb the harassment of people in public life who express opinions that run contrary to politically correct cant.

Now, if we can only develop First Amendment protections for those in the corporate environment.

Note: Public Catholic reader Peggy-O found this link to Dr Adams’ personal response to a bit of what he was subjected to. It’s well worth a read.

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  • Manny

    Great news. Now if they can review Brendan Eich’s dismissal with the same objectivity.

    • FW Ken

      Eich doesn’t have a suit since he technically resigned. Anyway, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a CEO suing for wrongful termination. Most of those guys are worth multiple times my expected lifetime earnings. I don’t Eich has to worry about where his next Mercedes Benz is coming from.

      • hamiltonr

        I think for someone like Eich, money is no longer the meaning or purpose of work, if it ever was. Mozilla is his company, that he founded, his baby, his life’s work. I would imagine this is far more important than money to him.

        • FW Ken

          I think that’s true, which makes it all the more interesting that he was willing to give up the company rather then apologize for his malfeasance.

  • Orson

    GOOD fer Mike! But a long way to go for the rest.

  • Theodore Seeber

    I’ve got to forward this to Bill Diss. His lawyers may need the encouragement.

  • cminca

    Actually they found for him on one of three charges–speech retaliation.

    The other two charges–religious discrimination and an equal protection violation–had been summarily dismissed. Those dismissals were upheld on appeal.

    The article is misleading.

  • peggy-o

    A little late here but I just found an excellent sample of his writing. Wonderful wit and logic in answering a critic of his views on traditional marriage…hilarious but sad too a good read here:

    • hamiltonr

      This is great Peggy. I added it to the post. Thanks for sharing it.

      • peggy-o

        You’re most welcome. Good writing like good thinking needs to be shared. My college bound daughter loved it!