Jul 12, 2010 / 16:53 pm
In a letter sent Monday to the University of Illinois, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) called for the immediate reinstatement of Dr. Kenneth Howell, a professor who was fired for explaining in a class on Catholicism that the Church teaches homosexual behavior violates natural law. If the university does not reply to the letter by July 16, the legal fund said it will advise the professor to file a lawsuit.
In his Introduction to Catholicism class this past spring, a class that he had taught regularly at the university, Dr. Howell covered the topic of homosexuality, teaching the Catholic Church's position on same-sex attractions and behavior. As part of this discussion, Dr. Howell sent an e-mail to his class contrasting how utilitarianism and natural law theory would each determine the morality of homosexual conduct.
A student complained that Dr. Howell's words were “hate speech” in an e-mail to the head of the department, Dr. Robert McKim. Howell was called into McKim's office at the end of the semester and told that he would no longer be allowed to teach for the University because his e-mail had “violate[d] university standards of inclusivity.”
Travis Barham, litigation staff counsel for the ADF Center for Academic Freedom, wrote a letter on July 12 to several officials at the University of Illinois, including the president, the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the head of the religion department.