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 professor, Ken Howell of Champaign, said his firing violates his academic freedom. He also lost his job at an on-campus Catholic center.
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.
“Natural Moral Law says that Morality must be a response to REALITY,” he wrote in the e-mail. “In other words, sexual acts are only appropriate for people who are complementary, not the same.”
An unidentified student sent an e-mail to religion department head Robert McKim on May 13, calling Howell’s e-mail “hate speech.” The student claimed to be a friend of the offended student. The writer said in the e-mail that his friend wanted to remain anonymous.
“Teaching a student about the tenets of a religion is one thing,” the student wrote. “Declaring that homosexual acts violate the natural laws of man is another.”
Howell didn’t say that he hated homosexuals, only that he agreed with Catholic doctrine that their behavior is unnatural and therefore immoral. You can agree with that or not, but the existence of this doctrine is a non-controversial fact. Religion students may not like to be exposed to such facts, but that doesn’t change the existence of them. In fact, the only “hate” on display is the anonymous student’s hatred for what the professor said. Voltaire weeps.
Wrath is one of the seven deadly sins, as is sloth. If sensitive students learn of these facts, will the wrathful and the slothful combine to call such a point of view hateful?
Because I’d like tickets.