A Brooklyn College (search) professor has ignited a firestorm of controversy over comments he made about organized religion.

Timothy Shortell (search), who was recently elected as the chairman of the sociology department, wrote in an online posting that "religious adherents" are "an ugly, violent lot" and "in the name of their faith these moral retards are running around pointing fingers and doing real harm to others."

After the essay became public, students at Brooklyn College — part of the City University of New York (search) system — began protesting his election as a department head.

"He was fair in the class for sure, there is no question about that — but as a department head you are basically a spokesman for the school," said graduating senior Ruvin Levavi.

The school president must still approve the vote and has convened a committee to examine Shortell's qualifications. Members of the board of trustees at the publicly funded school are anxious to see the committee's report.

Jeffrey Wiesenfeld (search), who is a member of the board of trustees, said, "He hasn't done anything within the classroom, at least as far we know and as yet that would amount to what might be called ... an impeachable offense."

Shortell refused to talk with FOX News but wrote in an online posting that "we should be able to debate the issue in the public sphere without fear of retribution."

Click the link in the video box above to watch a report by FOX News' David Lee Miller.