By Daniel Crandall
Here’s yet another case of reality intruding where only the satirical newspaper, The Onion, once trod. An adjunct professor at the University of Illinois was fired for explaining Catholic beliefs concerning Natural Law to students enrolled in a class about Catholicism.
[Professor Ken] Howell, who taught Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought, says he was fired at the end of the spring semester after sending an e-mail explaining some Catholic beliefs to his students preparing for an exam.
What bit of pedagogy was so verboten that the University of Illinois could no longer abide Prof. Howell’s presence on campus? That would be nothing less than the Church’s teaching concerning homosexual behavior:
“Natural Moral Law says that Morality must be a response to REALITY…. In other words, sexual acts are only appropriate for people who are complementary, not the same.”
This bit of Catholic doctrine so offended one student that it resulted in an anonymous message being sent to religion department head Robert McKim complaining of, you guessed it, “hate speech.” The complaining student, however, isn’t even in Prof. Howell’s class:
An unidentified . . . student claimed to be a friend of the offended student. The writer said in the e-mail that his friend wanted to remain anonymous.
An anonymous student complains on behalf of an anonymous student that the latter was offended by Catholic doctrine being taught in a class about Catholic doctrine. That’s astonishingly weak evidence on which to base a firing, to say the least.
This chain of anonymous messages sent the secular black robes at the University of Illinois into politically correct, fundamentalist outrage. An associate dean of U of I’s College of Liberal Arts suggested the firing, writing the following:
The e-mails sent by Dr. Howell violate university standards of inclusivity, which would then entitle us to have him discontinue his teaching arrangement with us.
Prof . Howell also lost his director position with the St. John’s Catholic Newman Center’s Institute of Catholic Thought, located at U of I. This was a position paid for by the Catholic Diocese of Peoria. Apparently, at the University of Illinois and in the Diocese of Peoria one can be Catholic, just not too Catholic.
If you’re thinking of taking advantage of the job vacancy at this rather scenic seat of secular sobriety, you’ve been warned: Nancy Pelosi-type Catholics only need apply.
Typical in this post Christiam,pro moslem,pro communist age. This Universtity is off my list now…
I went to a Catholic university, so I had to take religion classes to graduate even though I’m Protestant. I heard many things with which I disagreed, but never would have I objected to any of them in this way. If you are in an environment, by choice, that deals with Catholicism, as this friend of a friend was, you should expect to hear some things with which you might not agree. But to try to get the professor fired!
What happened to the free exchange of ideas? That is what a university is supposed to be about. This action on the part of UI negates that freedom. As I understand it from the article, the professor wasn’t even supporting the idea; he simply presented it as part of Catholic teaching.
The university, in allowing this class to be presented, should have known that this subject would likely come up in some form or other. Instead of firing this man from his job, they should have decided that they were remiss in not making this caveat against homosexuality known.
As for the student who objected: What a thin-skinned little weasel. Anybody with a mind as closed as his or her doesn’t belong in a university setting in the first place.
I hope the instructor sues to get his job back. If Ward Churchill can do it, he can.
This is like expelling a Muslim cleric for teaching the beliefs of Islam.
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