A person’s beliefs are a reflection of the way he approaches evidence of the world around him. When considering someone for tenure, which is meant to protect controversial academic research (that is, acquisition and interpretation of evidence), you’d have to be an idiot not to consider them.
Obviously, part of the tenure decision is political as well, with considerations made regarding whether or not a person would just fit in with the institution and whatnot, so beliefs enter into that as well.
This whole persecution-complex-based argument is perilously close to declaring any random idiot should be able to do anything he wants to (such as achieve tenure or be taken seriously for books on scientific subjects when he doesn’t understand what he’s talking about), which is perhaps typically American rather than typically DI. It doesn’t matter.
(I’m talking about Guillermo Gonzalez, of course, the IDiot astronomer and DI fellow who was denied tenure at Iowa State. He doesn’t seem to understand how the process works, and the Disco Institute is crying persecution, obv obv.
PZ summed it up quite neatly, as he is wont to do:
Complaining that one met all the requirements is like proposing marriage, getting turned down, and then protesting that one has a good job, a nice apartment, and excellent personal hygiene. That may be true, but it’s irrelevant. The university does not want a long-term, committed relationship with you–nothing personal, you can still be friends.