02 Aug Professor Fired for Teaching Catholic Belief on Homosexuality Reinstated
After more than 5,000 students protested the firing of Dr. Ken Howell–not to mention formal legal representation by Alliance Defense Fund (ADF)–the adjunct professor of religion at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign was reinstated.
The 12-year veteran teacher was dismissed from teaching “Introduction to Catholicism” after he sent an email to his class explaining Catholic teachings on homosexuality. When an anonymous student complained to the university administration that Dr. Howell was engaging in “hate speech,” Howell was fired without a hearing or an investigation. After the story made national news and ADF threatened to sue, UI officials announced that Dr. Howell had been reinstated.
In the letter written to Howell’s legal counsel, the university was careful to not admit any wrong doing. The letter stated that the university “will be contacting Dr. Howell to offer him the opportunity to teach Religion 127, Introduction to Catholicism, on a visiting instructional appointment at the University of Illinois, for the fall 2010 semester. Dr. Howell will be appointed and paid by the University for this adjunct teaching assignment.” The letter added that Howell, like other professors, will be expected to teach in such a way that “does not violate Constitutional principles precluding the ‘establishment of religion’ in a public university context” and that the university would continue an investigation of the case.
“The university did the right thing,” said David French, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund. “It’s just a shame that it took legal intervention, as well as widespread protests to make it happen.”
Congratulations to Dr. Howell and to Alliance Defense Fund for their success in defending free speech and academic freedom. We fear, however, this is just the tip of the iceberg on political correctness that is running amok on college campuses. It sure seems that there is one kind of bigotry that is accepted on many college campuses–religious bigotry.