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What happens when an atheist professor becomes a Christian?

University of North Carolina on the losing end of a lawsuit Photo University of North Carolina Wilmington Flickr/Aaron Alexander

Why is the University of North Carolina Wilmington on the losing end of a lawsuit? Photo Student residence University of North Carolina Wilmington Flicker/Aaron Alexander

UPDATED JULY 28, 2014: Through federal mediation, the University of North Carolina (UNC) and Dr. Mike Adams have reached an agreement on his winning lawsuit involving discrimination. UNC has agreed to pay Dr. Adams:

  • $615,000 for attorney fees and costs; and
  • $50,000 in back pay.

The UNC has further agreed:

  • To pay Dr. Adams an annual salary of $75,000;
  • To use reviewers from outside his department when conducting annual evaluations; and
  • To drop all cases it has against Dr. Adams.

UPDATED APRIL 9, 2014: The jury announced its decision today. The University of North Carolina (UNC) must pay Dr. Mike Adams $50,000 and award him a full professorship back to 2007 because the university discriminated against Adams due to his conservative Christian views.

Alliance Defending Freedom lead counsel Kevin Theriot said after the announcement:

“This is a great day not only for Dr. Adams but for all who value academic freedom. The court’s order reminds universities that they cannot retaliate against those who simply express opinions that some officials do not like.”

Read the full story below:

Mike Adams was hired as an assistant professor of criminology at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington (UNCW) in 1993 where he quickly gained the respect of the administration and colleagues. In 1998, the university promoted him to associate professorship.

Dr. Adams, who has a Ph.D. in Sociology/Criminology, was climbing the academic ladder. But that climb came to a jarring halt in 2000, when Adams, who was an atheist when the UNCW hired him, became a Christian.

His conversion resulted in changed opinions on social and political issues. He began writing a column for, a leading conservative political commentary and news website, where Adams was forthright about his new perspective.  He was pro God, pro life, and pro freedom.

He even questioned the University’s  ‘diversity’ agenda when it would not allow Chick-fil-A restaurant to set up on the university.

The owner of Chick-fil-A is a Christian and openly pro-family. By refusing the chain, Adams argued the university was becoming exactly the opposite — less diverse.

As his views changed, Adams was subjected to a number of baseless academic investigations and accusations. However, when UNCW denied Dr. Adams a promotion to full professorship in 2006, he suspected the reason was due to his Christian faith and decided to take legal action.

Academically, Adams was at the top of his game. His legal team noted he received:

“multiple awards and rave reviews from students for his teaching, he had published more peer-reviewed articles than all but two of his colleagues, and he had a distinguished record of service both on and off campus, culminating in earning UNCW’s highest service award.”

Adams wins court case against the University of Carolina

Two legal groups the Alliance Defending Freedom and the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) took on Adams’ case against the University.

The court case took years to resolve. But a trial by jury just recently ruled in Adams’ favour. They said Adams’ opinions were “a substantial or motivating factor in the defendants’ [University’s] decision not to promote.” The jury also believed the University would have probably promoted Adams if not for his publicly known conservative views.

David French, who was Adams’ lead counsel and also worked for ACLJ, said:

“We’re grateful the jury determined what we have long known to be true – that the university violated Dr. Adams’ constitutional rights when it denied his promotion. This is an important victory for academic freedom and the First Amendment.”

The court has yet to award costs.

Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you;” (John 15:20 NASV)

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  1. Pingback: What happens when an atheist professor becomes a Christian? | Christian Heritage News

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