The News Gazette is reporting that an adjunct college professor was let go from his position because he was espousing beliefs of the Catholic Church. The course he was teaching was actually…Catholicism 101. One student labeled it “hate speech” and the school responded the way liberal nutjob academics always do -they hyperventilate, send lots of emails, and do the stupidest most politically correct anti-Christian thing imaginable. And then tell their therapist they’d had a stressful week.
The story by the News Gazette is a very good one. Check it out here:
An adjunct professor who taught courses on Catholicism at the University of Illinois has lost his teaching job there, and he claims it is a violation of his academic freedom.
Kenneth Howell was told after the spring semester ended that he would no longer be teaching in the UI’s Department of Religion. The decision came after a student complained about a discussion of homosexuality in the class in which Howell taught that the Catholic Church believes homosexual acts are morally wrong.
Howell has been an adjunct lecturer in the department for nine years, during which he taught two courses, Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought. He was also director of the Institute of Catholic Thought, part of St. John’s Catholic Newman Center on campus and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria. Funding for his salary came from the Institute of Catholic Thought.
One of his lectures in the introductory class on Catholicism focuses on the application of natural law theory to a social issue. In early May, Howell wrote a lengthy e-mail to his students, in preparation for an exam, in which he discusses how the theory of utilitarianism and natural law theory would judge the morality of homosexual acts.
“Natural Moral Law says that Morality must be a response to REALITY,” he wrote in the e-mail, obtained by The News-Gazette. “In other words, sexual acts are only appropriate for people who are complementary, not the same.”
He went on to write there has been a disassociation of sexual activity from morality and procreation, in contradiction of Natural Moral Theory.
The student complaint came in a May 13 e-mail to Robert McKim, head of the religion department. The author of the e-mail said he was writing on behalf of a friend – a student in Howell’s class, who wanted to remain anonymous. The e-mail complained about Howell’s statements about homosexuality, which the student called “hate speech.”
“Teaching a student about the tenets of a religion is one thing,” the student wrote in the e-mail. “Declaring that homosexual acts violate the natural laws of man is another. The courses at this institution should be geared to contribute to the public discourse and promote independent thought; not limit one’s worldview and ostracize people of a certain sexual orientation.”
Howell said he was presenting the idea that the Catholic moral teachings are based on natural moral law, and the Catholic understanding of what that means.
“My responsibility on teaching a class on Catholicism is to teach what the Catholic Church teaches,” Howell said. “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.”
He also said he’s open with students about his own beliefs.
“I tell my students I am a practicing Catholic, so I believe the things I’m teaching,” he said. “It’s not a violation of academic freedom to advocate a position, if one does it as an appeal on rational grounds and it’s pertinent to the subject.”
You’ve got to read the rest. The school essentially wants to put a warning label on the class that the class on Catholicism doesn’t reflect the school’s thinking.
I’ll give you some choice quotes though:
Kaler declined to comment on the specifics of a personnel matter. She said adjunct lecturers are hired on a semester-by-semester basis, and they have no expectation that their employment will last longer than that semester.
Kaler also said the UI is “absolutely committed to teaching the theory of Catholicism, but it’s up to the department as to who teaches a class.”
The religion department’s website says Howell was recognized for excellent teaching in the spring and fall semesters of 2008 and 2009.
In a series of e-mail exchanges between McKim and UI administrators about how to proceed regarding Howell’s teaching and his appointment as an adjunct professor, McKim states he will send a note to Howell’s students and others who were forwarded his e-mail to students, “disassociating our department, College, and university from the view expressed therein.
In another e-mail, Ann Mester, associate dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, wrote that she believes “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.”
Howell said he and McKim have deep disagreements over religious matters, and his job loss was the result of “just a very, very deep disagreement about the nature of what should be taught and what should not be taught.
In his e-mail to students, Howell wrote: “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.”
Howell was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1978. In 1996, he converted to the Catholic faith. He came to the UI in 1998 to teach at the Newman Center.
You know, political correctness and anti-Christianity are beginning to seem pretty similar, aren’t they?