***35′,’1′,’2010-07-14 02:43:44′,’2010-07-14 02:43:44′,’

“The First Amendment protects the ability of faculty to speak freely, especially when the material is of direct relevance to the class,” added French. “Professors’ careers cannot be made to stand or fall based on the emotions of intolerant, anonymous students who do not yet understand that opposing viewpoints exist within a free society.”
Meghan Duke

Here’s the latest development in the ongoing story of Dr. Kenneth Howell, the former adjunct professor at the University of Illinois, who recently lost his job for teaching his students the Catholic Church’s position on homosexual acts in an introductory course on Catholicism.

First Things has obtained a letter sent today by the Alliance Defense Fund to the University of Illinois on Dr. Howell’s behalf. ADF has charged the university with violating Dr. Howell’s First Amendment right, citing numerous cases where the Supreme Court has upheld the right and emphasized the value of university professor’s freedom to debate and share ideas.


It is a beautifully written letter, specially the citations concerning freedom of speech in the academic context. Read it here.

Some of the best comments:


Tom Carty
July 13th, 2010 | 11:07 am

There is no doubt a future president among the small minds at the University of Illinois. The question is whether it is the weak-kneed anti-free-speech crowd that runs the university or the whiny back-stabbing student who had no tolerance for Dr.Howell, the only honest person in this sorry episode.


However, even without holding tenure, there is no way that Howell should have been punished. It is not hate speech to say that Catholics believe that homosexuality violates natural moral law any more than it is hate speech to teach that some Christians believe abortion is murder or that Pat Robertson believes that terrorists are the result of the evils of feminism.

July 13th, 2010 | 4:12 pm

UIUC Student — So you felt Dr. Howell left little room for opposing viewpoints to Catholicism, and yet at the same time you learned very little about it?

(the above comment was in response to another poster who claims he was a student in Howell’s class:

  UIUC Student
July 13th, 2010 | 3:51 pm I can see that people on this site are inclined to agree with Professor Howell’s teaching style. I was unhappy with the course and feel that I learned very little about Catholicism. I do not have an issue with a Catholicism professor expressing the Catholic viewpoint or openly agreeing with that viewpoint. I took issue with the way he expressed himself. He expressed his opinions as facts and left little room for opposing viewpoints.)

See also “Return to Rome,” the “News Gazette,ADF.

‘,’Orwellian liberals strike again – fire anyone who does not endorse homosexuality!’,’0′,”,’publish’,’open’,’closed’,”,’orwellian-liberals-strike-again-fire-anyone-who-does-not-endorse-homosexuality’,’ ‘,’ http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2010/07/12/fired-for-being-catholic/ http://romereturn.blogspot.com/2010/07/adjunct-religion-professor-dr-kenneth.html http://www.news-gazette.com/news/university-illinois/2010-07-09/instructor-catholicism-ui-claims-loss-job-violates-academic-free http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/4113′,’2010-07-14 02:43:44′,’2010-07-14 02:43:44′,”,’0′,’http://socimages.blogsome.com/2010/07/14/orwellian-liberals-strike-again-fire-anyone-who-does-not-endorse-homosexuality/’,’0′) ***36′,’1′,’2010-07-14 21:26:23′,’2010-07-14 21:26:23′,’


University of Illinois to review case of fired Catholic professor

posted at 3:35 pm on July 14, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Not a moment too soon, either.  Professor Kenneth Howell taught religion at the University of Illinois for several years, specifically Catholicism, and well enough to earn plaudits from his students for excellence in 2008 and 2009.  When a student asked Howell in class whether he believed the Catholic teaching that homosexual sex was immoral, Howell said he did.  The university then fired him for engaging in “hate speech,” but an outcry over the case has them reconsidering in terms of Howell’ academic freedom:

A faculty group at the University of Illinois‘ flagship campus will review the decision to fire an adjunct religion professor for saying he agreed with Catholic doctrine on homosexuality.

Urbana- Champaign campus Chancellor Robert Easter said Monday he hopes to have a decision on the firing of Kenneth Howell from the Faculty Senate’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure by the time fall classes start. The review is to determine whether Howell’s academic freedom was violated.

“We want to be able to reassure ourselves there was no infringement on academic freedom here,” new university President Michael Hogan told members of the Faculty Senate on Monday. “This is a very, very important, not to mention a touchy and sensitive, issue. Did this cross the line somehow?”

Only if one believes in academic freedom, free speech, and freedom of religion.  Otherwise, what’s the big deal, right?


Nice comments:

The school is intolerant and bigoted. There is no room for open minds to opposing viewpoints.

All people with different views should be quickly fired till tolerance takes over.

seven on July 14, 2010 at 3:54 PM


We’re getting very close to the Bible as hate speech. Thanks democrats.

Mojave Mark on July 14, 2010 at 3:54 PM



From the Daily Illini:

More than a “heckler’s veto”

So, where are all the professional bleeding hearts that normally crawl out of the woodwork on “academic freedom” controversies? What this incident DOES demonstrate is that is becoming well nigh impossible to say anything non-complimentary about Gays and their lifestyle. If this academic is “purged” for saying what was the core content of the course he was hired to teach, then academic freedom at the U of I is a farce and the campus is no better than Stalin’s societ Union of the 1930’s with the “correct party line.” Then we could also comment on the utter lack of due process here. Since when does a person lose a job because of an anonymous complaint? Why doesn’t the complainant have the intellectual honesty – and the simple “guts” – to identify himself instead ogf hiding behind a friend? Is this another example of how practitioners of minority lifestyles secure “acceptance” – by bludgeoning anyone who doesn’t kiss their ring? This affair makes the Augean Stables smell sweet by comparison.



‘,’More comments on Howell – from Hot Air ‘,’0′,”,’publish’,’open’,’closed’,”,’more-comments-on-howell-from-hot-air’,”,’ http://hotair.com/archives/2010/07/14/university-of-illinois-to-review-case-of-fired-catholic-professor/