July 12, 2010

Prof fired for teaching about Catholic beliefs ... in a class on Catholic beliefs

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign:

Alliance Defense Fund attorneys sent a letter Monday to University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign officials on behalf of a popular, highly regarded professor who was fired for explaining the position of the Roman Catholic Church on human sexual behavior to members of his Introduction to Catholicism class.

“A university cannot censor professors’ speech--including classroom speech related to the topic of the class--merely because certain ideas ‘offend’ an anonymous student,” said ADF Senior Counsel David French. “To fire a professor for teaching the actual subject matter of his course is outrageous. It’s ridiculous that a school would fire a professor without even giving him a chance to defend himself when he simply taught Catholic beliefs in a class about Catholic beliefs.”

Dr. Kenneth Howell, who had been teaching at the university since 2001, was relieved of his duties based in part on an anonymous complaint sent via e-mail to university officials. The e-mail was sent by the friend of an anonymous student who claimed to be “offended” by a May 4 email Howell sent to students elaborating on a class discussion on Catholic beliefs about sexual behavior. The May 4 e-mail from Howell addressed a May 3 lecture in which he explained how the Roman Catholic Church distinguishes between same-sex attraction and homosexual conduct. He properly stated the church’s teaching that homosexual conduct is morally wrong, framing the issue in the context of natural moral law.

Well gee. We can't have a poor young adult be offended now, can we? Especially in a conversation regarding what the f***ing class is all about! But this is a university, after all, so certain groups' feelings and concerns have a higher priority than those of others. If this prof was teaching a course on, say, modern American progressivism, and mentioned some things that offended a conservative who attended the class, you think his job would be in jeopardy based on one anonymous complaint?


Posted by Hube at July 12, 2010 09:21 PM | TrackBack

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Read their Inclusiveness statement:

The University’s goal is to heighten awareness and engagement about issues of identity and importance of examining and respecting differences based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, age, physical ability, religion, as well as the multiple and intersecting ways we see ourselves and others.

Emphasis obviously added, since the University doesn't emphasize it.

Posted by: Paul Smith at July 12, 2010 09:30 PM