LegalWorks Apostolate - Counsel for a Culture of Life

The Left's Own Religious Axiom: Tolerance For Me, But Not For Thee

The Firing of Prof. Ken Howell

By Dianne Phelan

An article posted July 9, 2010 on the Fox News website stated that Professor Ken Howell was fired from his adjunct teaching job at the University of Illinois because a student accused him of engaging in hate speech. Apparently the student found Professor Howell's natural law defense of Church teaching on the immorality of homosexual acts to be "hateful". On several levels, this is a disturbing, if not surprising, turn of events.

Ken Howell was a professor teaching a course entitled, "Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought". Catholic Church teaching is quite clear on the immorality of homosexual sex, so when Howell defended this teaching in an email to another student, he was in no way engaging in hate speech. He was stating the Church's teaching -- an act that used to be worthy of respect in the nation which claims to hold freedom of speech sacrosanct. Furthermore, he was teaching a class on Catholicism; he was doing what he was hired to do. He was informing the class of a fact of Church teaching and making a cogent philosophical defense of that teaching.

This sad episode isn't at all surprising. Christian and pro-life students and professors across the country are being persecuted at an increasing rate for having the audacity to refuse to keep their mouths shut. Still one wonders if the University of Illinois gave any consideration at all to the precedent they were setting with the cowardly and indefensible firing of Professor Ken Howell. Firing someone for their moral beliefs and doing so because another was offended by a statement of those beliefs, can't be honestly defended by a university that prides itself on diversity of opinion. This is just another example of the Left's own religious axiom: tolerance for me, but not for thee.

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