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7/11/10

University of Illinois Fires Prof. For Teaching Catholic Belief On Homosexuality

Ken Howell was fired by a tax-paid university because he told his students he thought the Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality was correct:

Fox News- "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.” ...

“My responsibility on teaching a class on Catholicism is to teach what the Catholic Church teaches,” Howell said in an interview with The News-Gazette in Champaign. “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.” ...

According to the university’s Academic Staff Handbook, faculty “are entitled to freedom in the classroom in developing and discussing according to their areas of competence the subjects that they are assigned.”

In an e-mail to other school staff, Ann Mester, an associate dean at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said Howell’s e-mail justified his firing.

“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 wrote.

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