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Dictatorship of Relativism. Catholic Professor Fired for Being Catholic
Catholic Online ^ | 7/10/10 | Deacon Keith Fournier

Posted on 07/10/2010 6:51:04 AM PDT by tcg

...One of the courses I have taught since 2001 has been "Introduction to Catholicism." Every semester in that "Introduction" class, I gave two lectures dealing with Catholic Moral positions. One was an explanation of Natural Moral Law as affirmed by the Church. The second was designed as an application of Natural Law Theory to a disputed issue in our society. Most of those semesters, my chosen topic was the moral status of homosexual acts. I would be happy to explain more fully the Catholic Church's position on this matter but, for the sake of brevity, I can summarize it as follows. A homosexual orientation is not morally wrong just as no moral guilt can be assigned to any inclination that a person has. However, based on natural moral law, the Church believes that homosexual acts are contrary to human nature and therefore morally wrong. This is what I taught in my class.

In previous years, I had students who might have disagreed with the Church's position but they did so respectfully and without incident. This semester (Spring 2010) I noticed the most vociferous reaction that I have ever had. It seemed out of proportion to all that I had known thus far. To help students understand better how this issue might be decided within competing moral systems, I sent them an email contrasting utilitarianism (in the populist sense) and natural moral law. If we take utilitarianism to be a kind of cost-benefit analysis, I tried to show them that under utilitarianism, homosexual acts would not be considered immoral whereas under natural moral law they would. This is because natural moral law, unlike utilitarianism, judges morality on the basis of the acts themselves... I was told that I would no longer be able to teach in the Department of Religion.

(Excerpt) Read more at catholic.org ...


TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Religion & Culture; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; freespeech; homosexualagenda; illinois; religiousfreedom
Professor Howell is a victim of the "Dictatorship of Relativism" which Pope Benedict XVI warned of. This is an egregious violation of constitutional rights and overt censorship of speech unpopular to the Cultural revolutionaries who have grabbed the reigns of Western society. Warning to all who hold that truth exists in an age which has followed the pied piper of relativism.
1 posted on 07/10/2010 6:51:11 AM PDT by tcg
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To: tcg
One way or another, the Day of Judgment approaches for these people.

BTW: This is my 30,000th comment on Free Republic.

2 posted on 07/10/2010 6:54:25 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy
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To: tcg

It’s interesting to watch how the story and the interpretation develop as the story filters its way from what are at least attempts at factual reporting, to commentary, to blogs.


3 posted on 07/10/2010 7:03:12 AM PDT by Tax-chick (We made a proactive decision to postpone the originally scheduled nightlife activities.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

Have a Guinness!


4 posted on 07/10/2010 7:03:35 AM PDT by Tax-chick (We made a proactive decision to postpone the originally scheduled nightlife activities.)
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To: tcg

This will work out better in the long run. If the Catholic position is verboten on campus then the students will want to find out about it even more.


5 posted on 07/10/2010 7:04:20 AM PDT by HChampagne (I am not an AARP member and never will be.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

short timer...


6 posted on 07/10/2010 7:09:39 AM PDT by Always Right
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To: tcg

Howell is a victim of the head of the Newman Center wanting to be liked by the university administration. That’s the one who’s head needs to roll. Monsignor somebody.


7 posted on 07/10/2010 7:09:52 AM PDT by Desdemona (VIVA ESPANA! No relation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg3cshE_HbU)
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To: Desdemona

It’s a tad more complicated than that. Unlike nearly all other state universities in the USA, the U of I has an old agreement with the Newman Center to be able to offer religion courses for university credit. (This is common in Canada and the UK but not in the US.) The agreement goes back to around 1918.

It’s factually true that, if Howell has been fired by the university, the Newman Center’s courses taught by him would not get university credit.

I think the Newman Center caved and should not have, should have joined in a lawsuit, protested to the department head’s superiors etc.

I imagine they thought they needed to do this in order to keep their program going for fall. They undoubtedly had Howell scheduled to teach in the fall semester; students in his courses would have been denied credit and the NC wanted to ensure credit for them so they got another teacher.

I think they should have stood their ground and protested, made a huge stink about it. It seems to me that there might well be other, secular senior faculty in the university who can see that this was an egregious abuse of power. If an objective explanation of Philosophy X (with which I happen to agree personally) is hate speech, then no professor is free to make objective explanations of this or that unpopular philosophical or political or religious position.

There may have been more in the emails than we know, but I rather doubt it. The Newman Center was not so much wanting to be liked but just robotically trying to keep its program administered. That’s still bad, but different.

Stupid, yes. Naively unaware of the implications, perhaps. But I would chalk it up more to administrative inertia than just to wanting to be liked.


8 posted on 07/10/2010 7:28:54 AM PDT by Houghton M.
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To: Desdemona

It’s a tad more complicated than that. Unlike nearly all other state universities in the USA, the U of I has an old agreement with the Newman Center to be able to offer religion courses for university credit. (This is common in Canada and the UK but not in the US.) The agreement goes back to around 1918.

It’s factually true that, if Howell has been fired by the university, the Newman Center’s courses taught by him would not get university credit.

I think the Newman Center caved and should not have, should have joined in a lawsuit, protested to the department head’s superiors etc.

I imagine they thought they needed to do this in order to keep their program going for fall. They undoubtedly had Howell scheduled to teach in the fall semester; students in his courses would have been denied credit and the NC wanted to ensure credit for them so they got another teacher.

I think they should have stood their ground and protested, made a huge stink about it. It seems to me that there might well be other, secular senior faculty in the university who can see that this was an egregious abuse of power. If an objective explanation of Philosophy X (with which I happen to agree personally) is hate speech, then no professor is free to make objective explanations of this or that unpopular philosophical or political or religious position.

There may have been more in the emails than we know, but I rather doubt it. The Newman Center was not so much wanting to be liked but just robotically trying to keep its program administered. That’s still bad, but different.

Stupid, yes. Naively unaware of the implications, perhaps. But I would chalk it up more to administrative inertia than just to wanting to be liked.


9 posted on 07/10/2010 7:28:59 AM PDT by Houghton M.
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To: Desdemona

Uh, if you mean Msgr. Stuart Swetland, he has not been head of the Newman Center for a number of years now. You might want to check your facts before opining. He’s now academic vp at Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg.

If this had happened when Msgr. Swetland was head of the Newman Center, I doubt they would have caved like this.


10 posted on 07/10/2010 7:30:32 AM PDT by Houghton M.
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To: Desdemona

Yup, Monsignor X is probably a Peace & Justice guy who does not like this conservative/ orthodox teaching. It’s always ok to be persecuted for Christ’s name, in the long run.


11 posted on 07/10/2010 7:31:44 AM PDT by bboop (We don't need no stinkin' VAT)
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To: Houghton M.

Whoever the one in the letter who told him his services were no longer needed. I read it last night when I was tired and don’t remember the name.


12 posted on 07/10/2010 7:32:10 AM PDT by Desdemona (VIVA ESPANA! No relation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg3cshE_HbU)
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To: Houghton M.

Like I said, the head of the Newman Center wanted to be liked by the university administration.


13 posted on 07/10/2010 7:33:16 AM PDT by Desdemona (VIVA ESPANA! No relation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg3cshE_HbU)
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To: ClearCase_guy

We know that in the End Times Christians will be persecuted. But I read the Book and know who wins in the end.


14 posted on 07/10/2010 7:34:14 AM PDT by SVTCobra03 (You can never have enough friends, horsepower or ammunition.)
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To: Desdemona

No, they were thinking short-term, administratively. It’s not the same.

Swetland was replaced by another Msgr., Msgr. Ketcham. I apologize for jumping to the conclusion that you had Swetland in mind.


15 posted on 07/10/2010 7:34:56 AM PDT by Houghton M.
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To: Houghton M.

Well, the actions of the Univ. of Illinois are flatly unconstitutional. When government opens up a public forum limited for certain forms of free speech- such as a faculty courses on campus, it may discriminate on the basis of content (e.g. only courses leading to the degree may be allowed- not courses like the occult “sciences” ) but it may not discriminate on the basis of viewpoint. And this is what the Univ. of Illinois has done here.


16 posted on 07/10/2010 8:02:10 AM PDT by Steelfish (ui)
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To: Steelfish

Agreed. What makes you think I’m defending the U of Illinois? Actually, it’s the action of the head of the religion dept. which is at the center. The University now has a choice, to back up that dept. chair or throw him under the bus. The preliminary signs are that they will back him up, which is stupid but likely.

But they could, if they wanted to throw him under the bus. Let’s hope someone in upper adminstration, specifically in the General Counsel’s office, recognizes that his actions are big-time settlement lawsuit bait.


17 posted on 07/10/2010 8:18:42 AM PDT by Houghton M.
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To: Houghton M.

Well the university lawyers will soon let them know that what they did was unconstitutional and could result in re-instatement, back wages, attorneys fees, and punitive damages under a section 1983 civil right lawsuit.


18 posted on 07/10/2010 8:22:01 AM PDT by Steelfish (ui)
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To: Houghton M.
A priest in our family spoke with Monsignor Swetland (in 2005) regarding the Newman Center and Catholicism on campus in general as our son was planning to attend (2010). Fr. gave positive reports back to us.

Earlier this year, our daughter (UIllinois '13) traveled to the March for Life in Washington with UIllinois, she went to a talk on campus by an official Church exorcist that was open to the public and very well attended, and she participated in an outdoor Confession that Newman Center sponsored that had 4-5 priests equally spaced on the square with a "giant" poster of Jesus at the center. There were also students at the ready to answer any questions the "puzzled" kids passing by might have. My daughter said it was like a scene out of a movie; she couldn't believe it was happening at UIllinois.

So it's really troubling the Newman Center has wimped out regarding Professor Howell, but I'm pleased that, through Professor Howell's "awesome" teachings, our daughter has met some extraordinary Catholics at UIllinois. Prayers for Professor Howell. Surely his replacement will be an ultra dud. Those that teach the Truth, get canned!
19 posted on 07/10/2010 9:03:17 AM PDT by mlizzy (Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee ...)
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To: mlizzy
"Those that teach the Truth, get canned!"

"..the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil."

20 posted on 07/10/2010 9:43:12 AM PDT by circlecity
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To: mlizzy

It’s not over by a long shot. Howell will either become rich or reinstated.


21 posted on 07/10/2010 9:47:40 AM PDT by BenKenobi (I want to hear more about Sam! Samwise the stouthearted!)
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To: BenKenobi
Howell will either become rich or reinstated.

How do you figure the rich part? U of I wasn't paying his salary. It was paid on a grant. Aside from that the state of Illinois is in worse financial shape than California. State workers, including university employees, don't know if their paychecks will bounce. Reinstated would be cheaper all the way around in no small part because otherwise the state would be handing out an IOU.

This one's not over, but I wouldn't bet on either side. Something tells me it's going to be pretty nasty.

22 posted on 07/10/2010 9:53:39 AM PDT by Desdemona (VIVA ESPANA! No relation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg3cshE_HbU)
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To: BenKenobi

I hope he gets reinstated. Becoming rich won’t help out the students regarding their faith. We’re in his corner 100%. I’m eager to find out the story on Monsignor Ketchum, as to why he won’t support Howell.


23 posted on 07/10/2010 10:06:02 AM PDT by mlizzy (Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee ...)
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To: Tax-chick

So you think this attempt to stifle free thought on university campuses is acceptable? Universities are the places with least amount of free-thinking going on and have been turned into indoctrination centers by the left, all with taxpayer funding.


24 posted on 07/10/2010 12:50:22 PM PDT by Ol' Sparky (Liberal Republicans are the greater of two evils)
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To: Desdemona

Nasty, yes, but we have the truth and the constitution on our side.

Reinstation would be the best outcome for everyone, which is probably what happens.

Switch this around, and see if it was a NAACP supporter getting fired for playing politics? What kind of settlement would they get?

As I said, he’ll be rich or reinstated.


25 posted on 07/10/2010 1:53:02 PM PDT by BenKenobi (I want to hear more about Sam! Samwise the stouthearted!)
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To: Ol' Sparky

You got that from “Have a Guinness for your 30,000th post”? Weird.


26 posted on 07/10/2010 2:20:15 PM PDT by Tax-chick (We made a proactive decision to postpone the originally scheduled nightlife activities.)
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