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Sunday, July 11, 2010

On Homosexuality and Catholicism

In a stunning development, a University of Illinois professor that taught on the subject of Roman Catholicism was fired from his position due to the fact that he actually taught the Catholic position concerning the subject of homosexuality.

"URBANA — 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....

The email offered homosexuality and other sexual behaviors that are against church teaching (everything from the use of contraception in marriage to sex with children) as examples of things that a consequentialist might approve of under the right circumstances, whereas a Catholic cannot approve under any circumstances.
Unfortunately, this conversation about the class’s subject matter is verboten. Someone who apparently doesn’t even take the class or understand the subject matter decided to report this academic conversation to the campus gestapo. This is what we call the Dictatorship of Moral Relativism. We live in America, where only Islam receives such deference."

The News-Gazette has published the entire email that was sent out by Professor Howell. I have read it a couple of times and to equate what Howell has written to anything approaching so-called "hate speech" is to stretch credulity. Howell wrote (in part)...

"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. Yet, if the morality of the act is judged only by mutual consent, then there are clearly homosexual acts which are injurious to their health but which are consented to. Why are they injurious? Because they violate the meaning, structure, and (sometimes) health of the human body...

Natural Moral Theory says that if we are to have healthy sexual lives, we must return to a connection between procreation and sex. Why? Because that is what is REAL. It is based on human sexual anatomy and physiology. Human sexuality is inherently unitive and procreative. If we encourage sexual relations that violate this basic meaning, we will end up denying something essential about our humanity, about our feminine and masculine nature.

I know this doesn't answer all the questions in many of your minds. All I ask as your teacher is that you approach these questions as a thinking adult. That implies questioning what you have heard around you. Unless you have done extensive research into homosexuality and are cognizant of the history of moral thought, you are not ready to make judgments about moral truth in this matter. All I encourage is to make informed decisions. As a final note, a perceptive reader will have noticed that none of what I have said here or in class depends upon religion. Catholics don't arrive at their moral conclusions based on their religion. They do so based on a thorough understanding of natural reality."

I think the first paragraph contains what some found to be offensive. However, Howell appears to be discussing the act of homosexual sex in a clinical manner and he does not use a single hateful word in his entire email, at least in my opinion anyway.

The administration at the University of Illinois is exchanging a temporary, false peace with the homosexual community by throwing Professor Howell under the bus. If research conducted by undergraduates at the university indicated that the homosexual lifestyle is even more injurious than previous studies have indicated, would they then suppress such findings to save their sorry butts? The magnitude of such stupidity staggers the mind.

I would be willing to wager that not a single member of the univerity's administration that made the decision to fire Professor Howell could not formulate a meaningful response to his arguments if a million dolars was riding on it. If they could, they would have advanced such an argument already instead of a tight-lipped, refusal to comment being that Howell will probably sue them, and rightfully so.


Jquip said...

Wait, so the Prof's email was forwarded to Siobhan Somerville, founder of the "queer studies major"? I wonder what moralizing occurs in those classes?

All in all a shocking display of the worthless nature of modern academia; where we fire the teachers for teaching successfully.

The Maryland Crustacean said...

So is he going to sue their sorry butts?

Froggie said...

Howell is in trouble for sending answers to a final exam to students private emails.
There is no mention of hate speech mentioned in this whole issue outside the Washington Examiner article, which is a free conservative rag.

Howell is also in trouble because his email could be considered harassment by gay students.

He is also in trouble for stating his opinion that homosexual acts are unnatural when he has no credentials in biology or the natural sciences.

Academically, he did some big no-nos.

I will say the jury might still be out on this one but Howell definitely acted in an unethical manner and there have also been past problems.

JD Curtis said...

Howell is in trouble for sending answers to a final exam to students private emails

What do you mean? Like...

The answer to #1 is B

The answer to #2 is Sir Thomas More

The answer to #3 is Thomas Aquinas

and so forth? If you are referring to his email that I linked to, then I don't see it that way and it looks like he was merely explaining his position (as well as the Catholic church's) on a subject.

There is no mention of hate speech mentioned in this whole issue outside the Washington Examiner article, which is a free conservative rag

Actually, the intitial email,that prompted this episode refers to Howell's statements as "hate speech".

He is also in trouble for stating his opinion that homosexual acts are unnatural when he has no credentials in biology or the natural sciences

What study are you citing that says that anal sex is NOT unhealthy?

Froggie said...

"All in all a shocking display of the worthless nature of modern academia;"

Perfect example of why Christian fundamentalists are so marginalized these days.
That statement could have come right out of Iran.

Jquip said...

"That statement could have come right out of Iran."

What, the US also has problems with free speech on campus, Professors adequate in their subject, and a subsidized market glut of Baccalaureates that can't find work in their narrow field?

Good grief man, we've become a Muslim theocracy!

Froggie said...

No. Mountains out of molehills. "American academia is worthless."

Spare me the hyperbole.
Is the sky falling too?

JD Curtis said...

That statement could have come right out of Iran

Iran's science progress fastest in world: Canadian report

"A Canadian firm evaluating the global output of science and technology says scientific advancements in Iran have grown 11 times faster than any other country in the world."

You can always tell. When Froggie sounds off at his most confident, that's when he becomes reliably wrong.

Did anyone else this story from a couple of weeks ago about Soorena-2?

Froggie said...

Oh, yes, I am definitely wrong. You should head to Iran to get your post high school education and send your kids too.
Excuuuuuse me.

Jquip said...

Froggie: Hyperbole? You're apparently unaware that a baccalaureate degree reduces lifetime earnings. And then there's the debt. And the lack of available jobs. And...

This has all been well studied in the last few years. About the only redeeming value of college is that it postpones marriage and thus reduces the divorce rate.

Froggie said...

Non-degreed people cannot compete against degreed people for the best jobs. That is a fact. I work in human resources.

Assocoate degrees are well worth it for the money, but they don't compete with jobs requiring degrees.

Now, name those studies.