The curious case of Christian Cutler— why did he resign?
Published: Thursday, October 28, 2010
Updated: Thursday, October 28, 2010 12:10
Rep. Louie Gohmert of the First District of Texas has recently come under the scrutiny of the media for his belief in "terror babies." He and other Texas politicians believe that Middle Eastern women are coming to the U.S. to have babies who are citizens and then indoctrinate these babies with extreme Islamist ideals who will later return to the U.S. to harm its citizens.
Gohmert went on Anderson Cooper 360 to say that he has intelligence to support these claims of terror babies but was unable to substantiate such evidence. Cooper brought on Tom Fuentes, who served as assistant director of FBI's Office of International Operations from 2004-2008. Fuentes denied any conspiracies involving terror babies and called the whole thing "ludicrous."
Whether or not Rep. Gohmert is right or wrong about a terrorist plot involving babies is beside the point. This issue hits close to home because on Sept. 28, Christian Cutler, director of art galleries at SFA, lost his job, seemingly because he shared his opinion on the matter.
In early August 2010, Cutler said he was contacted for a request to be a part of the jury for a high school art show hosted by Rep. Gohmert in Tyler. Cutler expressed interest and was told he would be send additional information, which never materialized.
While considering being on the jury panel, Cutler did research on Gohmert and founds videos of the congressman speaking before the House of Representatives about the so-called terror babies. Cutler said he did not want to be politically affiliated with Gohmert and feared that people would make personal connections between he and the congressman because of his interest in judging Gohmert's art contest. When Cutler was again contacted for a decision about being on the jury, he declined, expressing concern that Gohmert was a "fear monger."
Ten days later, Cutler received a letter from Gohmert who said that he "disagrees" with Cutler. But more importantly, Gohmert also revealed an important detail that Cutler says he was unaware of—the art show was to have been hosted at SFA. Gohmert went on to say that the art show would be moved, and this letter was copied to SFA president Dr. Baker Pattillo. Cutler apologized, explaining that had he known the contest was being held at SFA, he would have participated.
Eight days later, on Sept. 28, without warning, Cutler was forced to resign from his position as director of art galleries.
Rep. Gohmert has stated that he "did not ask nor desire that the Director of Art Galleries be dismissed and (he is) not aware of all the reasons for his dismissal." Cutler maintains he has received "outstanding" performance reviews since he took the job three years ago. Cutler submitted a letter of resignation in order to keep the termination off his record and to secure employment references down the road.
When Cutler was reached for comment, he declined, stating that he had just returned from New York where he did an interview with Cooper (the interview is now online at CNN's Web site) and that he felt he had said all he wanted to say on the matter. Cutler said he is now "desperately searching for employment all over the nation."
Bob Wright, executive director of marketing and public affairs at SFA, said, "The University's policy is that we do not and cannot comment on anything involving personnel matters." Fair enough. Standard operating procedure.
But, and while all the facts in this particular situation are not known, it seems that Cutler's right to express his opinion came directly under fire and his livelihood was taken away from him. The Pine Log does not wish to sling mud at people, particularly at Congressman Gohmert, a man who has served Nacogdoches County since 2005 and the United States of America as a Captain in the Army.
Sometimes, however, you have to call a spade a spade. And it seems that the deck was not stacked in Mr. Cutler's favor. Did a man with a wife and twin boys really deserve to get sacked over...well, over stating his opinion?
Perhaps because of SFA's confidentiality policy, we will never know the whole story. My heart goes out to the guy.