A professor hired to teach Catholicism courses was fired for engaging in hate speech; he agreed with the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.
“All I ask as your teacher is that you approach these questions as a thinking adult. That implies questioning what you have heard around you. Unless you have done extensive research into homosexuality and are cognizant of the history of moral thought, you are not ready to make judgments about moral truth in this matter. All I encourage is to make informed decisions.”—Ken Howell, in an e-mail to students
The University of Illinois has fired an adjunct professor Ken Howell for engaging in hate speech by saying he agrees with the church’s teaching that homosexual sex is immoral. Howell, who taught Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought, was fired for explaining some Catholic beliefs to his students preparing for an exam in an e-mail.
“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.”—Ken Howell, in an e-mail to students
Howell, a Catholic who believes in the church’s teachings about homosexuality, was conveying to his students the Catholic understanding of natural moral law..
“My responsibility on teaching a class on Catholicism is to teach what the Catholic Church teaches. I have always made it very, very clear to my students they are never required to believe what I’m teaching and they’ll never be judged on that.”—Ken Howell, adjunct professor
Ann Mester, an associate dean at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, called Howell’s firing, justified.
“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.”—Ann Mester, associate dean at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
In 2008 and 2009, the university’s religion department recognized Howell for being rated an excellent teacher by students.
And the band played on.
For more on the story, see University of Illinois Instructor Fired Over Catholic Beliefs from the Associated Press and Instructor of Catholicism at UI claims loss of job violates academic freedom by Jodi Heckel and Lynda Zimmer.