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.
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.