This issue is far more important than the reinstatement of one professor to his job. It is the harbinger of truth regarding freedom of religion and speech in our country. When a university offers a religion course -- and then decides to punish the explanation of that religion's tenets, the noose has been tightened in many ways upon individuals freely expressing themselves.
I'd love to be a fly on the wall during that meeting. How can the University of Illinois defend themselves? They knew Dr. Howell was Catholic, and the course he taught was called "Introduction to Catholicism." It isn't a secret that Catholicism does not believe homosexuality is an accepted sexual choice, and within the Catechism, is called "intrinsically disordered."
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,140 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."141 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. (CCC, Part Three: Life In Christ, Section 2: The Ten Commandments, Article 6: The Sixth Commandment, II The Vocation to Chastity, Chastity and Homosexuality)
If one were to take a course called "Introduction to Judaism," they would find that sexual relations between men is clearly forbidden by the Torah (Lev. 18:22). Although the sexual act is forbidden, they, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church, also makes the distinction between act and orientation; the latter being a desire that presents a choice to act upon or not. I suspect that speaking of "choice" in a religion class in regard to homosexuality, would also be punished.
And that is the source of my growing concern. Not that the concept of freedom of religion and speech is at stake, but the idea of personal choice. Never more has it been made clearer than in today's culture that there is no such thing as decision and choice.
The outcry from the radical progressives isn't so much that the Catholic Church says homosexuality is "intrinsically disordered," but over the claim that personal choice is involved. There are still many who believe homosexuality is genetic. But many lesbians disprove that theory by openly admitting they became a lesbian for political reasons. So there is no "gay gene" as much as some may want it.
And the world's idea of "personal choice" has no rhyme or reason. It isn't a personal choice if one is living a homosexual lifestyle but yet it is a choice for a woman to kill her unborn child. It isn't a personal choice for an impoverished youth to kill someone (because they were raised in an unhealthy environment and "couldn't help it") but it is a personal choice for that same youth to join hateful, racist organizations under the guise of "empowerment."
For the University of Illinois, it isn't a personal choice to allow a diversity of opinion but it is a personal choice to punish and condemn a person or group for expressing their own personal opposition to other people's personal choices.
Because at the end, we as Christians aren't supposed to "judge." Judging, in the world's terms, basically means Christians believing what they believe. I know very few Christians who hang around street corners and tell people they're going to hell if they continue to sin and not repent. Most churches have been successfully neutered on that count. But there are a few bastions of morality hanging around and the Catholic Church is one of them. Because the world has silenced many by egalitarian philosophies, those who dare to stand and name their own beliefs that contradict the world's; are targeted not just for punishment, but extermination. Sound familiar?
Cases such as Dr. Howell's are meant to convey this threat: Oppose us and you will be destroyed. Dr. Howell is a good professor. His students voted him as one of the campus' best. But that didn't matter when it came down to it because one person was able to trump all his accomplishments with the accusation that Dr. Howell was being "hateful." Even if the class was an introduction to Catholicism, and even if it is historically known and proven that the Catholic Church's stance on homosexuality is rooted in Natural Moral Law, it doesn't mean anything when compared to the more modern position of "anything goes."
When it comes to hatred, the legion of professors espousing hatred for the United States and Western Civilization is ignored. The perversion of American history is ignored. The expulsion of our military recruitment offices from university campuses is ignored. The false accusations of the Duke lacrosse players was initially ignored. The harassment and physical violence toward guest speakers who represent fair debate on issues such as immigration, is ignored. Ann Coulter had a speaking engagement for a Canadian university cancelled because the animals who call themselves students were throwing rocks and sticks at her. But not one person who claimed to represent "diversity" of viewpoints, could be found to defend any of those situations.
This is what the world has wrought. Under the cloak of "inclusivity" and "diversity," it instead has ushered in a new age of fascism. All opinions and arguments are accepted -- as long as it agrees with their worldview. If it is outside of that worldview, forget it. You're suddenly looked upon as a neanderthal, barely able to rub two sticks together for fire.
We who are Christian know the score. We know that the world has hated and will always hate the truth. I suppose I should be grateful that Dr. Howell's was able to last as long as he did in the den.