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Howell Rehired at Univ of Illinois

posted by Scot McKnight

Did you see this?

Kenneth Howell was booted from his job at the University of Illinois for teaching Catholicism. His job at the University of Illinois, as it happens, was teaching Catholicism. 

After over two months of controversy over a firing that should have never have happened, he has been offered his job back. The incident exemplifies the scandals that continue at core institutions of our Western culture. It exposes, once again, the lie that is the popular conception of “tolerance,” so widely in vogue and by no coincidence a tenet of left-wing ideology. 


And from Chicago Tribune:


But the reinstatement is temporary. It does not affect an ongoing faculty review, which has been investigating whether Howell’s immediate removal violated his academic freedom or right to due process.

Another faculty committee appointed to examine the circumstances of Howell’s compensation concluded that the university’s relationship with St. John’s Catholic Newman Center, the Catholic ministry on campus, was improper.

Though Howell taught Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought in university classrooms, he served on the payroll of the Newman Center funded by the Diocese of Peoria — an agreement that remained in place despite scholars’ objections when a religious studies program was established in 1971.

Howell now will earn $10,000 from the university for teaching Introduction to Catholicism in the religious studies department this fall.



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Comments read comments(8)
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RJS

posted August 3, 2010 at 4:57 pm


Interesting – we’ll have to see how it all plays out.



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Jeff Stewart

posted August 3, 2010 at 4:58 pm


Here are the archived details: http://tinyurl.com/2dtbsno



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brad wright

posted August 3, 2010 at 8:49 pm


I’m not surprised that he was rehired, at least temporarily. College administrators are allergic to negative publicity and will do just about anything to avoid it.



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Randy G.

posted August 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm


Please pray regarding this. There has been a similar arrangement at ISU, where the Catholic Diocese and student center basically kept the Religious Studies program from being shut down by endowing a chair of Catholic Studies. Usually the occupant has been a solidly reputable scholar, rather than an adjunct person, there are too many similarities for me to rest easy.
Peace,
Randy G.



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nnmns

posted August 4, 2010 at 7:37 am


I’m not familiar with the case but it would be one thing to teach about Catholicism – its history, its beliefs, etc. It would be quite another thing to use the U of I class to teach Catholicism – to try to use the class to make students believe its claims. If that’s what the guy was doing, and it might come naturally to a Newman Center employee, he’d be stepping over an important line.



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kevin s.

posted August 4, 2010 at 1:38 pm


@nnmns
He specifically stated in his e-mail that he was not teaching Catholicism.



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Ray Ingles

posted August 4, 2010 at 2:51 pm


Might help to link to the previous discussion of this case here at Jesus Creed: http://blog.beliefnet.com/jesuscreed/2010/07/u-of-illinois-religion-profess.html



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Nate

posted August 7, 2010 at 12:10 pm


I just looked into this. It looks like he wasn’t “fired” exactly. He simply was not rehired, in part because a student’s straight friend sent an anonymous email to the department head stating that Howell was preaching, not teaching, “hate speech.” After having read the letter, I don’t think Howell sounds personally hateful, but he does use very strong language that is probably inappropriate given the radical disparity in power that exists between a professor and his students (e.g., calling homosexuality a violation of natural law, connecting (most ironically, imo, since gender seems exceedingly important to the transgendered) those who seek gender reassignment surgery with an attitude of brazen disregard for the importance of sexual categories, and associating homosexuality with bestiality, adultery, child molestation, and abortion). I don’t think the letter alone should have kept the man from being rehired, but it does not reveal the sort of respect and compassion that should be present in a good teacher, especially when suggesting that students should regard a category of people (possibly themselves) as morally inferior.



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