Catholic Church | Illinois | Religion

School Fires Professor For Personal Views on Gays

The University of Illinois has fired one of its professors after a complaint from a student who claims that the teacher spewed hate speech. Ken Howell, who made it clear that he himself was Catholic, taught "Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought" at the public institution.

Kenneth It was an e-mail Howell sent to his students about Natural Moral Law (NML) that led to the administration's decision to let him go. The anonymous student who complained wrote to them with this criticism: "Teaching a student about the tenets of a religion is one thing. Declaring that homosexual acts violate the natural laws of man is another."

According to school officials, "The e-mails sent by Dr. Howell violate university standards of inclusivity, which would then entitle us to have him discontinue his teaching arrangement with us."

A portion of Howell's e-mail:

"NML says that Morality must be a response to REALITY. In other words, sexual acts are only appropriate for people who are complementary, not the same. How do we know this? By looking at REALITY. Men and women are complementary in their anatomy, physiology, and psychology. Men and women are not interchangeable. So, a moral sexual act has to be between persons that are fitted for that act. Consent is important but there is more than consent needed."

And another excerpt where Howell expresses his belief that gay sex is "injurious" to the human body:

"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."

Howell went on to write that "Catholics don't arrive at their moral conclusions based on their religion. They do so based on a thorough understanding of natural reality."

The Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal defense organization, will apparently represent Howell.

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  1. That professor definitely went too far.

    Good riddance, and don't let the door hit you in the behind on the way out...

    Posted by: ElCamino | Jul 10, 2010 12:09:37 PM

  2. He is a grown man. He knows EXACTLY what he is doing.

    Posted by: New Jersey Girl | Jul 10, 2010 12:12:16 PM

  3. Kurt--Perhaps, if the issues in discussion didn't cross over into matters of discrimination, you might be able to defend the man's actions with your argument. What this guy did, though, was not only proseletyze, but also to make a direct attack on a minority group. If a member of the minority group is in the class, this is equivalent to a personal attack by someone given authority by the University. It is an unjustifiable and indefensible action by the teacher.

    It is easier to recognize the fallacy of your proposition if you were to imagine the man had argued about the racial inferiority of blacks on the basis of biblical teaching. There is really no difference between that and what he taught regarding gays.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Jul 10, 2010 12:44:23 PM

  4. >Why are you posting on this board, cunt?
    >Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jul 10, 2010

    Why are you posting on this board, n igger?

    Posted by: GrabbinNewscum | Jul 10, 2010 12:48:33 PM

  5. The confounding point is that the man is a Catholic, and therefor, an accomplice to hundreds of thousands if not millions of child molestation cases. I say again, if there were justice in this world, we would simply start arresting Catholics as they leave mass for allowing the continued abuse of children by priests all the way up to the pope (no capitals; he's not worthy). How does this continued abuse -- certainly outside of this jackass' "natural moral law" -- not demand action?

    The Catholic church and Catholics in general have surrendered any claim they had to judge anyone based on their supposed "moral" beliefs. And any Catholic who continues to support the Church, and that includes even attending a single service, should be held to account for condoning and support of child rape.

    Posted by: Jamie | Jul 10, 2010 1:05:46 PM

  6. I am always bemused by references to "natural law" and the nature of male and female plumbing to defend homophobia. Those folks simply don't understand that - without getting too graphic myself - things fit together perfectly well, thank you very much.

    Posted by: BoxerDad | Jul 10, 2010 1:44:35 PM

  7. Natural law in the christian tradition really has nothing to do with nature. Whenever you're dealing with someone who relies on natural law theory and a law giver (a supernatural consciousness), you're not dealing with a brute fact.

    Tommy didn't know anything about genetics and evolution, but if you've ever read the big summa, he wasn't stupid. Anyone that can understand Aristotle (who also didn't know anything about the modern conception of man, but remains one of the greatest minds in history and is still relevant today) as well as tommy did can't be dumb. I don't suggest reading the summa theologica unless you've got time to waste and are a masochist.

    This guy's a douchebag, and I'm glad he was fired...this isn't about free speech at all. It would be akin to teacher talking about his personal views on the "inferiority of the other races" during classtime.

    Posted by: TANK | Jul 10, 2010 2:54:03 PM

  8. I once had a anthropology teacher a waaay back in undergrad who started to talk about the purpose of marriage. He stated that anyone who didn't understand that its purpose was to have kids was confused...he was not a smart man, but was extensively published and went to harvard... Ya know when some nutter has the attention of a group and starts to say things that are completely crazy wackadoodledoo crazypants, but it's totally unexpected...and the group is a little shocked and slow to condemn (that can actually be funny)...wasn't that flagrant, though.

    Posted by: TANK | Jul 10, 2010 2:58:24 PM

  9. This is a hypocritical viewpoint. If we take him at his word, then all human behaviors "harmful to the human body" should be considered immoral. Such as:
    eating non-organic food
    drinking soda and high fructose beverages
    driving a car (pollution)
    living in a city
    drinking city water
    taking medicine
    eating a food additive/color
    dry cleaning
    and on and on...
    All of these acts injure us on some level, the only way to avoid any physical damage to the body is not to exist at all.

    Posted by: Boston Doc | Jul 10, 2010 3:45:53 PM

  10. he looks like a total closet case

    Posted by: St. Theresa of Avila | Jul 10, 2010 3:50:56 PM

  11. "NML says that Morality must be a response to REALITY. In other words, sexual acts are only appropriate for people who are complementary, not the same. How do we know this? By looking at REALITY. Men and women are complementary in their anatomy, physiology, and psychology."

    What the ex-professor is neglecting to consider is how much variance there is between members of each sex. The REALITY is that physically, a man who's 6'3" tall would seem to be entirely UNcomplimentary to a woman who's 5'0" ... but I see tall guys with short girls all the time. (And tall women with shorter men.)

    The REALITY is that much more complimentary than the above pair would be a 6'3" man and a 6'1" man.

    Furthermore, Howell seems to be hung up on the specific positioning of homosexual sex, which he assumes to be anal. Again he is neglectful in his thinking, not only because a lot of gay people have sexual contact without engaging in acts he deems injurious; but also, because heterosexuals ALSO engage in anal intercourse and other acts he calls deleterious to health.

    Posted by: sparks | Jul 10, 2010 4:47:51 PM

  12. I'm not sure he should be fired for making dumb remarks about gay sex, but CLEARLY he lacks the judgment one would ask of a college instructor. Goodbye, thanks for playing.

    Posted by: justiceontherocks | Jul 10, 2010 7:34:20 PM

  13. Whats more concerning than this guys homophobia are his weak critical-thinking skills. If he's going to say his view is based on natural reality (i.e. science) then he can't say things "to the best of my man is the 'woman.'" I mean, where did he get that data--a bathroom wall?

    Im a gay man and Im not big into anal sex (which is true for MANY of us). Since my hands, mouth and other body parts are as compatible as a woman's, does that mean my homosexuality does make sense according to "natural moral law"

    And, hello, what the hell is natural moral law? Its b.s. faux-science that religious nuts use to make people think they're thinking logically. This is not a guy who should be in the classroom!

    Posted by: dizzy spins | Jul 11, 2010 4:22:35 PM

  14. He didn't want to be "too graphic"? He is an adult teaching adults and, if he honestly believe the BS he's teaching, he has a responsibility to be as graphic as necessary to get his point across. The problem here seems to be a professor who is so personally disgusted by the material that he is unable to present it in an objective and professional manner. Sounds like sexual immaturity.

    So I'll give him a hand. What he's trying to describe is anal sex, the entry of a penis into the anus, and it is absolutely positively NOT exclusive among gay couples. Many heterosexual couples practice anal sex, many young religious terrified straight teen couples practice anal sex thinking they are maintaining their purity and abstinence pledge and, of course many Catholic priests practice anal sex but that's a totally different issue.

    Posted by: ChrisM | Jul 12, 2010 8:54:08 PM

  15. That professor shouldnt have been fired, he is 110% right. Its not acceptable to be a faggot in society. No one enjoys watching that disgusting activity and men were not made to penetrate other men, these fags try carrying on like they are normal and should be treated that way, well when you start banging women maybe we can forgot about all those men you slept with. Com'on people! If you really have to be gay, keep it in the closet, dont come out and be upset when people dont accept your choice, which is a rebellion against nature, and a rebellion against god. I cannot believe the thought of gay marriage is even being considered, that is totally rediculous!

    Posted by: Real Deal | Nov 21, 2010 4:42:59 AM

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