Dr. Kenneth Howell, a lecturer in religious studies at the University of Illinois, has not been renewed to teach after a student accused him of hate speech in his class. What was his hate speech? It appears just this: clarifying what natural law moral theory has to say about homosexuality as compared to what Utilitarianism might say. Keep in mind, he was doing this in a Catholic studies course! Seriously, if you cannot teach the natural law in a Catholic studies course, where can you teach it? This is either intellectual excommunication by the liberal academic elite or the act of a cowardly administration that acts out of fear (lawsuits, etc) rather than principle (this is the same university that removed editors of the student run paper after they printed the Muhammad cartoons).
News story here.
Of some interest is that the U of Illinois atheist student group (AAF – Atheists, Agnostics, and Freethinkers) has come to Dr. Howell’s defense. They describe him, despite obvious differences of opinion, as a “friend” of the group (apparently he has helped organize some events) and are generally appalled by the censorship of ideas in what should be, at a university, a free marketplace of ideas. Their statement can be read here.
I must say that this whole thing hits pretty close to home with me.