Professor Howell offered job back

Two days ago, I picked up the story of the University of Illinois professor who was fired for allegedly engaging in hate speech in an email to his students where he explained Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

A cursory glance at what was written would prove that hypersensitivity had ruled the day.  Apparently, University officials are now in agreement:

The University of Illinois says an instructor who recently lost his job over a complaint about his religious beliefs can continue teaching. However, the university says it will pay those teaching Catholic-related courses rather than have them paid by a church group.

The university said Thursday the St. John’s Catholic Newman Center will no longer pay adjunct instructors, like Kenneth Howell, who teach Catholicism courses.

Howell taught Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought. He says he was fired at the end of the spring semester after sending an e-mail explaining Catholic beliefs on homosexual sex to his students.

The Anchoress sees a dark cloud in that silver lining:

I am not sure this is good news for Howell. Apparently the Newman Center was paying this instructors salary, very likely because the University is a public institution, and there were perceived church/state issues. Why there should be is odd; one would think that any school, public or private, that offers religious studies programs would think it their duty to accurately instruct on all religions included therein, but these are interesting times, so who knows.

This rehire-with the school, not the church employing him-does one of two things:

1) Makes it easier to eliminate the class in future

2) Gives the school control over what Howell can or cannot teach, which would be fatal to the class, and disturbing to our constitutional future, as it suggests the sort of business we’re seeing in the UK, where simply declaring Christian doctrine (whether doing it badly or well), or even simply offering prayers will be enough to get one fired or arrested.

Either way, if Howell agrees to this, the school will be able to claim authority over what or how Howell teaches. It’s sounds more like dirty pool than a real resolution.

An excellent point.  It’ll be interesting to see whether Howell actually returns to his old position. 

I frankly hope he finds employment elsewhere.

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