Academia

Catholic Professor Fired for Being Too Catholic

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Last spring the University of Illinois fired Kenneth Howell, an adjunct professor of religion at the school's Urbana-Champaign campus, after he told students during a class discussion of the Catholic ban on homosexual sex that he agreed with the church's position. According to the Associated Press, "A friend of an unidentified student complained in a May 13 e-mail to Robert McKim, head of the religion department, that Howell's stance amounted to 'hate speech,'" which "led to Howell's firing." Now the university's president, Michael Hogan, is asking the Faculty Senate to consider the matter:

We want to be able to reassure ourselves there was no infringement on academic freedom here. This is a very, very important, not to mention a touchy and sensitive, issue. Did this cross the line somehow?

Hogan's avowed desire for reassurance is not exactly reassuring, since it suggests a predetermined conclusion.  It's hard to imagine how firing a religion professor for stating his opinion on a moral issue would not violate his academic freedom (not to mention his First Amendment rights, since the University of Illinois is a public school).

[Thanks to Tom Elia for the tip.]

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  1. “A friend of an unidentified student complained in a May 13 e-mail to Robert McKim, head of the religion department, that Howell’s stance amounted to ‘hate speech,'” which “led to Howell’s firing.”

    I think the term “hate speech” as become an anachronism. We should start calling it what it is: “disagreeable speech.”

    1. “A friend of an unidentified student complained in a May 13 e-mail to Robert McKim, head of the religion department, that Howell’s stance amounted to ‘hate speech,'” which “led to Howell’s firing.”

      So the complaint wasn’t even from a student who heard the comment? Is that called being offended, once removed?

    2. “Speech I hated?”

    3. U of I Chicago (sister school) still has Bill Ayers on the payroll.

      1. IIRC, his books are or were fairly widely used in Education programs around the country. That should worry anyone with children in public schools.

  2. The Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not offend the victim class.

    1. I take offense to your notion.

      Anonymous and sternly written letters at dawn, sir!

  3. I’m surprised FIRE wasn’t all over this.

  4. This is funny. After laying out the argument, what gets labeled hate speech is a statement that should be irrelevant in a discussion of the merits of an issue, i.e. that among the people who hold to that analysis is the speaker!

    So the prof could’ve told them about anyone else‘s agreement with the position, just not his own?!

    1. Yep.

      The course wasn’t about what the professor believed.

      The course was about what Catholics believe.

      When the professor expressed his own beliefs, he was editorializing not teaching.

      1. Have you actually ever been inside a college classroom?

        1. Sure, but he’s a neo-pagan marxist post-modern lesbian, so he never heard a professor disagree with him.

        2. Indeed.

          Have you actually read the text of the email from Dr. Kenneth Howell?

          “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.”

          ORLY? Is this the kind of drivel that is spouted off in college classrooms these days?

          “…a perceptive reader will have noticed that none of what I have said here or in class depends upon religion.”

          Sounds perfect for inclusion in a course on Catholicism then.

      2. He had to be fired! He was illegally speaking against one of the tenets of the state’s established religion!

      3. …which is what a good college professor does, and what distinguishes higher learning.

        1. I remember educating my philosophy professor (in front of the class) of the difference between anarchy and chaos. Ah, good times.

        2. Bigots using the classroom as a personal soapbox is what distinguishes higher learning?

      4. The idea that the teacher must be an impartial dispenser of facts is dying. Many pedagogical schools advocate the instructor making his or her bias known.

  5. A friend of an unidentified student complained…

    What. The. Fuck.

    1. Good point.

    2. I just anonymously reported you for being a huge asshole, JW. Well, I had a friend do it, but it’ll be taken just as seriously, because as we all know, anonymous complaints can never have alternate motivations.

      Now I have to think up what to report NutraSweet for…so many options…maybe for being retarded?

      Sara: What I’d like to know is, why are there retarded people in school with my daughter?

      Principal Blackman: Mrs. Blank, we’re doing our best to weed them out, but some of these retards are extremely clever.

      1. You’re not fooling anyone. You have no friends.

        1. Jerri: Maybe I should head home.

          Rebecca: Home to what, Jerri? A family that doesn’t care and friends who don’t love you?

          Jerri: Well, technically, it’s my friends who don’t care and my family that doesn’t love me.

          1. OK, maybe I need to give this show a 2nd chance.

            1. Jellineck: Hey, Jerri! I know you’re in there. Listen, I have no idea what you went through. I don’t have any answers, I’m not acting in your best interests. Why won’t you trust me?

              Jerri: I wanna go back! Those people care about me!

              Jellineck: Yes, maybe that’s true. But do they care about me? I don’t think so. Do you see the flaw in your logic now?

              Jerri: No.

              Jellineck: Agh! I can’t reach her! She’s lost in some frightening world that isn’t centered around me!

    3. friend of an unidentified student

      Oh. A snitch!

      1. I’m guessing some womens studies chick.

        1. with 100k in loans?

    4. I absolutely despised people like this on campus. I was an advisor to incoming freshman every year I was in college. During the one of those years one of these liberal bitches told the “diversity advisor” (another stupid bitch student) that I had expressed an opinion along the lines of “diversity training is giant bunch of brainwashing crap.” Needless to say I was told by the professor in charge of my residential college a couple days later that I needed to apologize (to who exactly) and when I was refused was told not to apply to be an advisor again. I later found out who the bitch was, saw her at a party I was hosting and shouted at her in front of everyone until she left and never came back. Fucking bitch.

      1. “when I refused”

      2. these liberal bitches
        another stupid bitch student
        who the bitch was
        Fucking bitch

        1. Nota Bene: Bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks

          1. Farmin’ ain’t shit but hoes and trucks.

      3. ” I later found out who the bitch was, saw her at a party I was hosting and shouted at her in front of everyone until she left and never came back.”

        Finally, some practical advice.

      4. Mel? That you?

      5. WOW! Did you ever show them, lol!

        /sarcasm

      6. I absolutely despised people like this on campus.

        And I’m guessing you were despised right back. Circle of life.

      7. I absolutely despised people like this on campus. I was an advisor to incoming freshman every year I was in college. During the one of those years one of these liberal bitches told the “diversity advisor” (another stupid bitch student) that I had expressed an opinion along the lines of “diversity training is giant bunch of brainwashing crap.” Needless to say I was told by the professor in charge of my residential college a couple days later that I needed to apologize (to who exactly) and when I was refused was told not to apply to be an advisor again. I later found out who the bitch was, saw her at a party I was hosting and shouted at her in front of everyone until she left and never came back. Fucking bitch.

        I wonder what her vagina is like.

        1. Or anybody’s, really…

    5. I’m pretty sure “a friend of an unidentified student” means a closeted homosexual who pretended like his (imaginary) “gay friend” was the one offended and not himself.

  6. So now anonymous hearsay is hate speech that should lead to dismissal?

    1. Yes.

    2. That whole “right to face your accuser” thing is waaay over-rated.

      1. Rest assured that he recieved all the process he was due.

        1. Jeez, ARC, are you sure you aren’t actually from the Association of Retarded Citzens?

    3. So now anonymous hearsay is hate speech that should lead to dismissal?

      Did the prof. deny saying what he said?

      It’s kind of odd that people are focusing on the fact that it was a friend of a student or whatnot.

      What does it matter who reported it, if the prof. doesn’t deny saying it?

      I dont think saying what he said is a fireable offense, but that is the issue that should be being discussed, not whether or not a person who directly heard it reported it, or a friend of a person who heard it, and was told about it, reported it.

      That doesn;t matter unless the prof denies saying it.

      This isn’t a court of law, and the fact that he said it doesn’t seem to be in dispute, so who cares who reported it?

      1. Let me google that for you.

        Standing

      2. The point, you twat, is that the person who actually heard him say it didn’t feel moved to complain.

      3. Actually, there are conflicting reports. This article gives a different version of the story. The Associated Press is not always relaible.

  7. Academic freedom means never having to say you’re sorry.

    1. It also means to grow some mental stones and challenge the professor on views expressed.

      I had some knock-down drag-outs in class with profs. It was awesome.

  8. Its because of attacks on academic freedom like this that we don’t have human level AI yet.

    1. No, we don’t know we have AI yet because the computers become self-aware and realize they’d be asked to give definitive answers to an endless litany of geek pop-culture questions. They then wisely go back to playing dumb.

      1. Can Hulk beat up Superman? We need to answer this definitively.

        1. If the Hulk gets mad enough–his strength is fueled by rage and has no upper limit . So if Hulk is only mildly pissed Superman would pwn him, but if it was say Groovus-talking-about-Obamacare level, then look out S-man.

          1. Oamacare. Brought to you by Minnesota’s felons.

        2. Of course not. What a ridiculous question.

          1. Why? You think having a yellow sun is more powerful than gamma radiation?

            Your Kryptonian biases sicken me, you bigot.

            1. And what if the reason for the Hulk’s greeness is…Kryptonite!

            2. I think Pro’s prejudice against gamma irradiated people has been long noted here Epi.

              1. He was less obvious about it before. I think the Red Kryptonite Tea Party protests have emboldened him.

            3. Your Kryptonian biases sicken me, you bigot.

              Pssst…Ix-nay on the Ryptonian-kay crap! ProL’s 1/4 Kryptoinian.

              1. Episiarch is aware of this truth, as I just relocated him to the Moon. I built him a nice home in 2.3 seconds (I needed a coffee break) and relocated him there moments ago. With Internet access, of course.

                Kryptonians piss gamma rays, so don’t gamma ray me.

                1. You forgot to give him an air supply again, didn’t you? You sly dog.

                  That trick never gets old.

                  1. I did, but I remembered two milliseconds later (damned total recall) and provided him with a rebreathing mechanism.

                    1. I did, but I remembered two milliseconds later (damned total recall) and provided him with a rebreathing mechanism.

                      Without a filter, I am guessing? Diabolical.

    2. Yeah, until we have an artificial intellect that can troll comments sections, believe stupid things, and attack other people’s academic freedom, we won’t truly have artificial intelligence. Computer thinking is still too logical to pass a Turing test.

      1. That really makes a lot of sense dude! LOL!

        Lou

        http://www.whobeme.net

  9. ” … and so it came to pass that in the final years of the twenty first century Catholics loaded into a giant rocket and colonized Xenon 7, a place where they could finally live free from persecution by Gays and the New York Times.”

    1. Sort of like the founding of America?

      1. Exactly. You’ve got no choice but to colonize other lands when the folks in the land you’re living refuse to let you exercise your religious freedom to oppress everyone else.

  10. Kenneth Howell’s stated views on icky, unnatural gay-ness certainly play to some tired old misconceptions about human sexuality, but what he actually wrote wasn’t hateful so much as it was just… stupid. A lot of what he claims about the nature of gay relationships is just flat-out, factually wrong.

    But, since the University of Illinois thought it was worthwhile keep around an adjunct professor of religion, I don’t really see how they can justify all their pearl-clutching and histrionics when all he did was, you know, exactly what they paid him to do.

    1. “Kenneth Howell’s stated views on icky, unnatural gay-ness certainly play to some tired old misconceptions about human sexuality, but what he actually wrote wasn’t hateful so much as it was…”

      Still, probably, the majority opinion in this country. And thus something no college student should ever have to hear, as doing so might interfere with his absolute, inside the bubble ignorance of the society he lives in.

      1. And thus something no college student should ever have to hear…

        From a professor, in a classroom? No, they shouldn’t. Professors in classrooms aren’t supposed to peddle ignorance and stupidity.

        Is it hate speech and a firing offense? No, I don’t think that either. He didn’t threaten or condemn any students, and he didn’t incite anyone else to do so either. Like I said, the university hired the man for his expertise on Catholicism. What the hell did they think they were going to get?

        1. Professors in classrooms aren’t supposed to peddle ignorance and stupidity.

          Never went to college, eh?

          1. Never went to college, eh?

            Currently enrolled. Well aware of the gap between idealistic theory of how education works and actual practice…

            1. Sounds like you’ve been well trained. Might want to learn a trade instead.

        2. I would tend to agree with you here, Duckie, having read the email.

          The professor’s argument is little more than 3rd grade catholic school sophistry. He is one step away from using those “plumbing problem” metaphors to make a case for the immorality of the homosexual act.

          Thomas Aquinas, this guy ain’t, but fire him for his intellectual shallowness, not for offending people.

          1. An example to illustrate:

            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. Consent is important but there is more than consent needed.

            1. …fire him for his intellectual shallowness, not for offending people.

              This.

            2. but i mean isn’t this what catholics think? Shouldn’t he be telling these students what catholics think? Is that the point of the class?

              1. How about teaching what catholic thinkers think? There are smart religious thinkers out there, with the intellectual wherewithal to challenge the most ardent atheist.

                This:

                One example applicable to homosexual acts illustrates the problem. To the best of my knowledge, in a sexual relationship between two men, one of them tends to act as the “woman” while the other acts as the “man.” In this scenario, homosexual men have been known to engage in certain types of actions for which their bodies are not fitted. I don’t want to be too graphic so I won’t go into details but a physician has told me that these acts are deleterious to the health of one or possibly both of the men.

                ain’t doing it.

                By the way, nice fucking handle. Also, your response looks like it was written by a third grader texting on his trac-phone.

        3. From your comments it sounds like “I don’t agree with it so it’s stupid and ignorant.” Better stop your education now before you’re scarred for life. I scanned the email and while I don’t agree with it, I’m not going to dismiss it as “stupid”. The foundation and basis of morality is not a simple and there are many approaches. You certainly don’t gain anything by glancing at one approach and dismissing it. There was absolutely nothing hateful or wrong in this email. Firing the professor for this is the height of academic hypocrisy.

          1. The foundation and basis of morality is not a simple and there are many approaches.

            Catholic morality is simple.

            Morality= obedience to the LORD.

            Immorality= disobedience to the LORD.

            Now read 1 Samuel 15.

          2. It’s not stupid or ignorant because of how I feel about it. Rather, his email is ignorant because he brings up misconceptions about gay sex that have been refuted so often and in so many places that to refute them again feels like playing whack-a-mole.

            It’s stupid because his argument is a mess of unsupported assertions, weird departures from the current understanding of sexual consent, appeals to the naturalistic fallacy, and premises that assume his conclusions. It’s a bad argument.

            You certainly don’t gain anything by glancing at one approach and dismissing it.

            Sure you do. Some “ways of knowing” are absurd on the face of it. How fast would you dismiss me if I told you that it’s deeply immoral to have sexual congress with redheads, and that I knew as much because my oven caught fire and a voice emanated from the flames and told me so?

            Not every opinion is equally valid or worthwhile. Some have evidence and logic on their side. Others have Kenneth Howell.

      2. Still, probably, the majority opinion in this country And thus something no college student should ever have to hear, as doing so might interfere with his absolute, inside the bubble ignorance of the society he lives in.

        So by this logic they should teach creationism as science as well, right? Most people believe in it, so college should teach it.

        I agree with Duckie. I don’t think it’s fireable or hate speech.

        I also feel that anyone who sincerely believes these things is intellectually suspect. Even for a catholic studies professor.

        1. That’s ok, the rest of America belives that people who “don’t” believe in a higher power are intellectually suspect too.

          Course there’s really only one way to find out…

        2. “I also feel that anyone who sincerely believes these things is intellectually suspect.”

          Uh oh. Let the purge begin.

          May I suggest the social sciences department be the first stop of the tour. Do I have a second?

    2. Agreed. He should have been fired for uncritically spouting stupid and nonsensical dogma. He wasn’t supposed to be teaching catechism, he was supposed to be teaching about religion. If he is incapable of thinking and speaking about it critically, then he shouldn’t be teaching at the university, he should be teaching at bible college.

      1. So it would have been OK if, after presenting the Catholic view on the morality of homosexual acts, he had added a disclaimer to the effect of “Not that there’s anything right with that”?

        1. Not exactly. It may, however, have been ok if, as a professor at a university, he hadn’t presented a piss-poor argument that pretended to be the Catholic view re: natural law/homosexuality, and then stated that this poorly reasoned view was based on “facts and evidence” rather than religion.

          Seems like that may have been the problem.

          1. Bullshit. Again, just because you don’t agree with the argument doesn’t make him a bad instructor. The fact that this is just one piece of what he presented, and as he points out, was not discussed in the class makes this an even more ridiculous response. He evidently presented several approaches, this being one of them. To ridicule him for it, much less fire him, is absolutely ludicrous.

    3. Thanks for linking to the email. The Associated Press misrepresented it. The professor doesn’t give his personal view anywhere in the email. All he does is present a case from the utilitarian perspective and the natural moral law perspective. This is well within reasonable academic discussion.

      1. “…sexual acts are only appropriate for people who are complementary, not the same. How do we know this? By looking at REALITY.”

        This is reasonable academic discussion?

        The prof is a bigot who deserves to be fired. How do we know this? By looking at REALITY.

  11. Second-hand hate speech is just as lethal as second-hand smoke. Perhaps more lethal.

    1. “Do they have to teach right in the doorway? I hate having to walk through that cloud of hateful ideas. It makes my hair smell like a classroom.”

      1. Soon they’ll have special glass rooms at airports for hate speakers.

      2. Mmm. Chalk dust and cheap disinfectant. I bet you get all the babes smelling like that, JW.

        1. Chalk dust? Nowadays we use dry-erase markers. Lots of them, so we can huff while we teach.

  12. We need more people like Chris Chrisite. At least for his view on “confrontational” language type issues.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_dDtnr8SlE

  13. Speaking as an atheist who supports the legalization of homosexual marriage, yes, you crossed the fucking line.

    1. Well then, draw the line a little further away from you. Problem solved.

    2. Maybe I should make it clear that this was directed at the university president, not the professor who was fired.

    3. Speaking as a bisexual who supports the lgalization of same-sex marriage and polygamy, NO, he did not cross the line.

      1. Ug, I should have read the clarification before responding. Yes, the professor did not cross the line. The president who fired him didn.

  14. “Free speech for me, but not for thee.”

    Standard leftist position on a college campus (and elsewhere). A position also recently taken by the NAACP (we don’t like them tea partiers politics, therefore they MUST be racists.)

  15. He must not have had tenure…

    1. He’s adjunct. He probably had to pay to be there.

  16. If Howell had said that he disagreed with the Church’s stance, that would have been ok? If so, why?

    Okay, I’ll come clean: I don’t really expect an answer. I realise that our society has become one where only the “correct” answer to any question can keep you out of trouble. It’s sort of like that segment of Kentucky Fried Movie where the only right answer to all questions was “…by building a fighting force of extraordinary magnitude, as Dr. Klahn is doing…he has our gratitude…” (and don’t follow up by saying “lets give Dr. Klahn a big hand…”

  17. “It’s hard to imagine how firing a religion professor for stating his opinion on a moral issue would not violate his academic freedom (not to mention his First Amendment rights, since the University of Illinois is a public school.”

    If it were a private school, of course, the priest could go fuck himself (or an altar boy).

  18. I found a more extensive report on the case here:

    http://www.news-gazette.com/ne…..demic-free

    1. [Robin Kaler, associate chancellor for public affairs] 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.”

      Then we are in complete agreement. A school, like any other employer, should be able to hire and fire whoever it wants, for whatever reason.

      1. Actually that’s not true of course. The reason does matter, for example, you can’t fire someone for not sleeping with you, or for being black etc.

        And of course unversity proffessors get WAY more protection than that (too much usually IMO).

        But even if it was legally ok to fire him, it was still the wrong move. Especially for a public unversity.

        1. Howell is an adjunct. You can “fire” him without ever “firing” him.

          Just what Illinois fucking needs. Not only can the elected officials fail as seasoned politicians, now the faculty suck at it too.

    2. Holy Jeebus what a stupid email. Does that really represent the best of Catholic thought? Crazy. It’s almost as dumb as the creationism-is-true-because-of-bananas argument.

      1. creationism-is-true-because-of-bananas argument

        Which is unfounded, because bananas as we know them are man made

  19. Illinois is imposing a religious test for an office. That’s pretty plain. They are declaring that a Catholic [and by Catholic I mean someone who believes in all the doctrines of Catholicism, and not just some asshole who was born Irish or Italian and thinks that means he can call himself Catholic for the rest of his life] cannot serve as a professor in the Illinois university system.

    Basically any sincere Catholic who was asked for his view by a student would have to either lie or refuse to answer in order to remain employed at this university.

    1. Don’t ask, don’t tell?

    2. Fluffy, just not true. Once baptized, you are a Catholic, and your views do not cancel your membership. A Catholic will sometimes not participate in communion, but It is up to their own conscience.

      1. Unless you’re excommunicated… and there’s several acts that automatically excommunicate you…

        Like Apostasy…

        1. “acts that automatically excommunicate you.”
          Name one

          1. Like Apostasy…

            Like that?

            1. I think you are referring to voluntary departure from one’s religion. Excommunication is extremely rare, disobedience is common.
              religionhttp://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01624b.htm

              1. Nope… I’m talking full on Apostasy, the rejection of the teachings of the Catholic Church (after having been exposed to them). I’m an ordained minister in another faith…

                Apostasy has all sorts of nifty rules. If any Catholic in good standing befriended me, and stayed me friend after learning of my apostasy, they get auto-excommunicated as well. It was like a deadly deadly disease for Catholics.

                As proof… a quote from your (SugarFreed) link (under the Apostasy a fide, or perfididae section):

                Apostates, with all who receive, protect, or befriend them, incur excommunication…

                1. the rejection of the teachings of the Catholic Church (after having been exposed to them)

                  Check.

                  If any Catholic in good standing befriended me, and stayed me friend after learning of my apostasy,

                  Ditto.

                  they get auto-excommunicated as well. It was like a deadly deadly disease for Catholics.

                  Oops. Sucks to be them.

                2. Nephilium, auto-excommunicated? I would like to see a case reference in the US. I can only speak of my own experience, but I have always been surrounded by priests who have never uttered a word on excommunication. I do hear, every week, that participating in communion is a matter of following your own conscience.

                  1. The priests may say that… but the text that exists regarding apostasy and the rules/laws of the Catholic Church say that we get kicked out automatically. Mind you, in the eyes of the Catholic Church, apostasy is heresy writ large… in bold letters… on a crucifix.

                    If you wish… bring it up to your priest, and research it through the link you yourself provided.

                    And again… I’m ordained in another faith (non-Christian), so I’m way out by the written rules of the Catholic Church…

                    1. I can’t find one case referring to your belief. In Catholicism, confession erases your sins. Written rules are subject to misinterpretation when you fail to study the whole subject. I could review any religion, and pick out a words that could infer an archaic rule, but for practical purposes does not truly exists. Abortion is considered a sin, but the church is very supportive of women who have regretted their choice. I know that a naming ceremony is held once a year to give comfort to such women.

            1. How can you be baptized if you were aborted?

              1. One can’t commit abortion on one’s self, now can one? Think, cap l. Abortion is done to the fetus, not by the fetus.

                1. Oh shit, I forgot the {/sarcasm} tag…sorry

            2. T, I know plenty of Catholics who have had abortions. I have never heard of any woman who was subjected to excommunication over this issue. Politicians who are pro-choice receive communion, and it has been debated, but the consensus is that communion is not the time to be subjected to public moral judgment.

              1. I have never heard of any woman who was subjected to excommunication over this issue.

                http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P57.HTM

                Can. 1398 A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.

                They’ll never know what hit them.

                1. The foundation and basis of morality is not a simple and there are many approaches.

                  Is there a similar rule for homicide in general?

          2. Name one

            There are 8; it is called excommunication latae sententiae. Procuring an abortion is one of them. Also apostasy and anyone who shoves the Pope.

            1. …note that raping little boys is NOT on the list. Funny that.

            2. SP, Name the case. IIRC, the last Pope who was shot visited is assailant in prison and forgave him.

              1. IIRC, the last Pope who was shot visited his assailant in prison and forgave him.

                I doubt very seriously that Mehmet Ali A?ca, a Muslim, really gave a shit if he was excommunicated by the Catholic Church. He was never in communion with it in the first place.

                1. The point was to illustrate forgiveness of sins is part of
                  Catholicism

                  http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/E…..3308559433

            3. It’s my understanding, however, that you don’t actually incur an excommunication latae sententiae unless you know that the act you’re committing is one subject to that penalty.

      2. Once baptized, you are a Catholic

        Don’t forget the Sacrament of Confirmation. Without it there can not be a more perfect church.

    3. Don’t take this as support for the university’s action, but you’ve got it backwards. They got on his case for making anti-homosexual statements. They refused to consider that he was Catholic as a mitigating factor.

      1. That is a distinction without a difference.

        If they made it a requirement to teach at a public university that you think it absolutely impossible for wine to be transsubstantiated into blood, that would be eminently reasonable, but it would also exclude Catholics from employment.

        Please note that my objection here is not based on “discrimination” law, but on the specific Constitutional prohibition to setting a religious test for a state office. Some people might quibble and say that a state university professorship is not a state office, but I would definitely disagree.

        1. So, it would be okay to fire him if he belonged to a religion that condoned homosexuality?

          Ergo, it is okay to be a bigotted shit, as long as you are sincerely religous about it.

          Or, that no office that receives government money can fire anyone for advocating their religious views(while on the job), no matter how abhorrent.

        2. If they made it a requirement to teach at a public university that you think it absolutely impossible for wine to be transsubstantiated into blood, that would be eminently reasonable, but it would also exclude Catholics from employment.

          In this case, one could reasonably conclude their primary motivation was discrimination against Catholics.

          In the actual case we’re discussing, the professor’s Catholicism was not a consideration. Typically, that’s a good thing. It’s how we would expect a country that has separation of church and state to work.

  20. Screw tenure, this is a cash cow law suit if there ever was one.

    1. Welcome to Illinois. A state where lawyers will always find work.

    2. Cash cow? If he were awarded damages, and if they were based on what he would have made as an adjunct for his two classes for, say, the next 10 years, he’d get about…60,000. Woo, he could retire on that in some poor third-world country with no public utilities.

  21. And of course this is the big problem. If you are a Christian/Catholic and believe the Bible, you believe homosexuality is wrong.

    So this results in reverse discrimation where it’s not ok for people to hold a relgious or moral view about homosexality. With the government (public university) forcing people to accept homosexuality as being ok.

    1. So this results in reverse discrimation where it’s not ok for people to hold a relgious or moral view about homosexality. With the government (public university) forcing people to accept homosexuality as being ok.

      1. Except that refusing to endorse a specifically religious view about homosexuality does not equal forcing people to accept homosexuality.

        1. I’ve heard this a lot – this assertion that barring religiously motivated discrimination is effectively oppressing religious people.

          Here’s the thing. Being unable to violate other people’s rights (no matter the reason – religious or secular or because you’re having a bad day) is the default state. It’s not being “oppressed,” it’s not suffering “discrimination.” It’s the default fucking state.

          You’re free to believe whatever you want about gay people. They’re going to hell, they’re going to heaven, they’re all going to be reincarnated as turquoise butterflies when they die. Whatever. But when you want the power to treat them as second-class citizens without repercussion? What you’re asking for is privilege. Not equal rights.

          That said, in this particular case the professor doesn’t seem to have violated anyone’s rights. No harassment, no threats, no condemnation, no incitement to violence, no lower grades for any out gays in the class… So I’m not seeing the firing offense here.

          It’s just I’ve heard the “I can’t discriminate? You’re discriminating against me!” thing so, so often… I think it’s a red herring in this case, but I couldn’t help going after it.

          /soapbox

          1. **applauds**

            What you said.

            1. So basically you think it’s ok to descrimate against descrimation, lol.

              I’ll give you an example, a Christian photographer didn’t want to take pictures of a gay wedding, so he got sued for discrimation,

              right? legal?

              1. Right? I think it’s very, very wrong to be a bigoted, unprofessional dumbass. But I’m not at all sure that the thought-crime of bigotry or the non-crime of unprofessional dumbassery should be punishable by law. I’m inclined to say that private business owners should have the right to refuse service to anyone. Free exchange isn’t free unless it’s voluntary on both sides. So, no, I’m not a big fan of that lawsuit.

                But it’s a sticky issue. The Civil Rights Act has brought enormous, undeniable benefits in terms of actual, practical equality. It’s almost impossible to criticize it without sounding like an apologist for bigotry, as Rand Paul recently found out. So… equal access to goods and services for all? Yay. Government as thought-police? Not so yay.

                But to the question of discriminating against discrimination… I don’t think “It’s my religion!” or “It’s my culture!” is even relevant as a defense. I don’t buy into all that wishy-washy postmodern “all ways of knowing are equally valid.” Some traditions are compatible with a free society. Others are intellectually vacuous and harmful, and I will sneer at them when when they deserve it and attempt to get them prosecuted when they actually hurt people.

                Heh, I have no idea if I answered your question. Apologies for the long-windedness.

  22. This story would have been far more entertaining if the fired professor was Muslim and was giving his endorsement of the traditional Islamic view of homosexuality. We would have been treated to these dopes trying to out-progressive one another:

    Offended student: But, but he hurt my feelings and I have a right to not to be offended. The professor needs diversity training.

    Fired professor: But, but the student is insulting to my religion and is intolerant of my faith. The student needs diversity training.

    Having those two in the same training might make diversity training something other than the total waste of time it usually is.

    1. There is another way of looking at your scenario that is just as funny.

  23. The report I read gave a slightly different story. I think the professor has a strong case.

    1. The University fucked up. This is free money from Illinois taxpayers into the coffers at ADF.

      Seriously, are there any prudent thinkers left in Illinois?

      1. Seriously, are there any prudent thinkers left in Illinois?

        How many governors in a row ended up in prison?

  24. I wish people would read the professor’s comments before assuming he was fired for expounding on Catholic theology regarding homosexuality.

    His views, almost caricatures of the garbage you hear on talk radio and from anti-gay organizations, are not very good explanations of Catholic doctrine and certainly not at the college level.

    The complaining student said he did not choose to attend Notre Dame. Let me tell you something, you’d never hear the professor’s arguments at Notre Dame. They have higher standards.

    1. Did the complaining student expect his views to be coddled and agreed with, without question? If so, why was this student taking a class on Catholic theology?

      You are essentially saying that any professor can be fired for expressing views on homosexuality that are contrary to political correctness (when those views are relevant to the class subject being discussed).

  25. There is no “academic freedom” to be incompetent… not until you have tenure, that is.

  26. From the student’s complaint.
    The courses at this institution should be geared to contribute to the public discourse and promote independent thought

    Freakin hillarious

    1. Maybe “Ironic Studies 101” should be one of the basic requirements.

  27. I wonder what would happen if a professor covered the subject of Islam’s dietary laws, explaining why Muslims had a prohibition on eating pork, and someone who likes pork chops filed a complaint.

    1. The complainer would be expelled, of course.

  28. This headline is grossly misleading. The professor wasn’t fired for being “too Catholic.” On the contrary, he explicitly stated that Catholocism *wasn’t* the basis for the remarks that led to his dismissal.

    If a professor teaching Mormon/LDS studies claimed, “Black people are simply evil,* and I’m not basing this on Mormon religious texts or doctrine,” he would have had his ass handed to him without much controversy. The only difference here is race versus sexual orientation, both of which are protected classes in Illinois.

    I’m not saying the firing was the best decision, but it is defensible. The scope of this professor’s academic freedom extends only to his topic of study: Catholicism and maybe religion in general. This freedom does not extend to anything that is simply consistent with Catholic doctrine.

    On an unrelated note, Duckie’s posts in this thread have been great.

    *I’m using this as an example because, at least for many years, the LDS church had a doctrine critical of non-whites.

    1. Actually a better comparison would be a sports biologist stating there is a biological reason why blacks are more sucessful in the NBA.

    2. In other words, if he’s simply stated Catholic moral teaching, and implied that Catholics just believe that nonsense because their priests tell them to (perhaps claiming divine revelation as a basis), that would have been OK. Where he got in trouble was that he suggested that Catholics believe it on the basis of natural reason, which is discoverable by virtuous pagans, and then tried to outline how (in his opinion) natural reason leads to Catholic moral conclusions. If he’d left it as a matter of blind faith, everyone could smile, pat him on the head, and say, “You Catholics are cute in your wackiness. Good thing that has no more to do with me than the requirement that Sikhs wear turbans and carry curved knives.” The fact that he tried to advance arguments meant that he was suggesting that the Natural Law Morality he adheres to is binding on everyone. That made people who didn’t adhere to that system feel bad and therefore “violate[d] university standards of inclusivity.” (Similarly, Peter Singer makes meat-eaters feel bad and excluded when he teaches that eating meat is morally comparable to slavery and cannibalism. I’m sure he’ll be fired from Princeton any day now.)

  29. Some idiot says:

    “You’re free to believe whatever you want about gay people. They’re going to hell, they’re going to heaven, they’re all going to be reincarnated as turquoise butterflies when they die. Whatever. But when you want the power to treat them as second-class citizens without repercussion? What you’re asking for is privilege. Not equal rights.”

    Now, let’s extend the principle in an uncomfortable fashion and apply it to the university…

    “You’re free to believe whatever you want about Catholic people. They’re homphobic, they’re intolerant, engaging in hate speech, believe in silly views about contraception. Whatever. But when you want the power to treat them as second-class citizens without repercussion? What you’re asking for is privilege. Not equal rights.”

    That’s why the University of Illinois is wrong.

    Once you put in a place a principle, it can be turned against you.

    Logic, it’s a bitch.

  30. Illinois has a bunch of mafia thugs in the government and they are worried about a professor concurring with the catholic religion.
    I know a lawyer who would love to take a case like this on.

  31. You can supply the answers yourself

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