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 Professor Fired over Catholic Doctrine Declared as Hate Speech

Morality Issues Prayer-Soldier writes "On 9 Jul 10, FOX News posted an Associated Press article which reported that, “The University of Illinois has fired an adjunct professor who taught courses on Catholicism after a student accused the instructor of engaging in hate speech by saying he agrees with the church's teaching that homosexual sex is immoral.” The report related that the professor, Ken Howell, taught the University courses of Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought.

In an interview with The News-Gazette of Champaign, IL, Howell stated, "My responsibility on teaching a class on Catholicism is to teach what the Catholic Church teaches," Howell continued. "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."

The News-Gazette further related that Ann Mester, associate dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, wrote in an email 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."

Mester's statement essentially means that while Howell was employed to teach the doctrine of Catholicism, because he did so, he must be fired. The doctrine which Howell teaches, to be correct, must be consistent with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Catechism, according to the opening letters of the document, “is a statement of the Church's faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition, and the Church's Magisterium.” The Catechism states:

2357: Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358: The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359: Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”

The scripture upon which the Catholic doctrine is based is Genesis 19:1-29, Romans 1:24-27, 1 Corinthians 6:10, and 1 Timothy 1:10. The issue was further explained in “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons,” approved by John Paul II, 28 Mar 2003.

In the transcript of the email expressing the complaint leading to Howell's dismissal, posted by The News-Gazette, 9 Jul 10, the author states, “...allowing this hate speech at a public university is entirely unacceptable. It sickens me to know that hard-working Illinoisans are funding the salary of a man who does nothing but try to indoctrinate students and perpetuate stereotypes.”

Howell's email provided a variety of view points as to how homosexuality might be viewed. The key argument Howell presents is, “....Natural Moral Law (NML) objects. NML 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. How do we know this? By looking at REALITY. Men and women are complementary in their anatomy, physiology, and psychology. Men and women are not interchangeable. So, a moral sexual act has to be between persons that are fitted for that act.”

In response to Howell's firing, the Alliance Defense Fund wrote to the university and expressed, “In relieving Dr. Howell of his teaching responsibilities, the University is firing him for teaching Catholic doctrine in a class about Catholic doctrine.” The letter continued, “Such a 'heckler's veto' has no place in the “market-place of ideas,” particularly since the First Amendment exists precisely to protect controversial ideas from being silenced.” The letter concluded, “If the University is to serve as 'one of the vital centers of intellectual life,' it must invite – not squelch – robust debate and dialogue form a wide variety of perspectives, which is the very definition of academic freedom.”

According to the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) article, “ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.”

Cited Articles and Posts

FOX News (9 Jul 10)

The News Gazette (9 Jul 10)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Catholic Online (11 Jul 10)

Alliance Defense Fund (12 Jul 10)

Allince Defense Fund (12 Jul 10) Letter

The News-Gazette (9 Jul 10) – email which prompted complaint

The News-Gazette (9 Jul 10) – email expressing complaint

Vatican (28 Mar 03) - Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons


Posted on Tuesday, July 13 @ 00:27:32 MDT by admin

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