Of Aging Porn Stars and Aging Ideologies

Friday, February 8, AD 2013

 

 

 

 

My alma mater, the University of Illinois, brought a 58 year old porn star, Annie Sprinkle, to campus to teach students young enough to be her grandkids about orgasms this week.  Go here to read the story in the campus newspaper The Daily IIllini, or as generations of U of I students have referred to it, The Daily Illiterate.

It would take a heart of stone and a mind of lead not to laugh at this feeble attempt to shock.  Annie Sprinkle, or Ellen F. Steinberg, her birth name, has been doing this schtick since long before most current U of I students were born.  Something that was shocking in the Seventies of the last century is completely old hat in the porn drenched Twenty-First century.  (The U of I having an abstinence activist speak would truly be a shocking event in our current amoral climate.)  So why bring her to the U of I?

Well, and do not laugh, the ostensible reason is diversity, at least accord to this blog entry by Jordan Glaser:

Continue reading...

10 Responses to Of Aging Porn Stars and Aging Ideologies

  • In the spirit of diversity a pig farmer, (let’s call her Scratchie) is available to discuss the proper retrieval and careful application of pig feces in our wanting culture.
    Because most college attendees are inexperienced in such matters, it would help them to appreciate the finer aspects of pig excrement. After all we want the students informed and enlightened….right?

  • I have believed for some time that one the sure ways to dumb down the young is make a college education more accessible. This goes a long way in proving me right.

  • It is ironic that this pervert is lecturing to students who know as much as she does about heterosexual sex due to the prevalence of widespread pornography. She probably gets her support from a NGO. Ms. Steinberg probably has another agenda of opening the minds of female students of the ‘wonders’ of female masturbation, experimental lesbianism and reproductive choice. It is all part of an overall process of social conditioning and transformation of young minds and bodies to conform to new age and socialist morality.

  • Diversity of what? I suppose it’s an important skill to learn how to not be embarrassed by pathetic baby-boomers, though.

    Philip made his comment as a joke, but I’d bet that you could get a lot more diversity by having a pig farmer give a lecture. But isn’t that what schools are supposed to do in, like, second grade? Parents’ Careers Day?

  • The modesty and intimate privacy of the orgasm laid bare to public scrutiny, and purposely denied the procreative act is soul rape, a violation of the true nature of the human person, body and soul, the avant guarde of nasty totalitarianism.

  • (from Wikipedia) Enculturation is the process by which people learn the requirements of their surrounding culture and acquire values and behaviours appropriate or necessary in that culture.[1] As part of this process, the influences that limit, direct, or shape the individual (whether deliberately or not) include parents, other adults, and peers. If successful, enculturation results in competence in the language, values and rituals of the culture.

    We do it in television, movies, literature, why leave out “higher” education.

    Screwtape is alive and well; we not only pay him too much attention, as C. S. Lewis warned us about, but then we court him – and his most effective tool, progressivism, the rate of which seems to keep accelerating.
    Amazing!

  • Pingback: SATURDAY GOD & CAESAR EDITION | Big Pulpit
  • What a joke. The Chinese are laughing at us as they build a dozen more skyscrapers this month… “Diversity,” yes, that means upper-middle-class liberals from New York AND California!

  • C. S. Lewis spoke of chronological snobbery and did much to debunk the myth of progress. Then I think of G. K. Chesterton who once said that he who marries himself to the worldview will soon be widowed. And I think of his constant sense of how the world grows old while Christianity is ever new.

  • STUDENTS in COLLEGE need to learn about orgasms? These poor children, how deprived! Or is that depraved?

    In college, way back in 1975, I befriended a young girl I met who was sitting alone in our suite’s “living room”. She was red eyed and appeared to have been crying. I stopped and gently spoke with her to find out what was going on. I found out that one of my suite mates had invited her up to Buffalo to visit the University of Buffalo Campus and promised her a place to stay. When she arrived, she found out there was a “price” for her lodging, sexual favors, which she refused, so he told her to leave with no place to stay.

    My roommate was back in Brooklyn that weekend. She stayed in our room. I slept on the big couch in our suite “living room”. I was a prude, even then. So much for orgasms!

    God bless you, Don.

Faculty Committee Finds That Dr. Howell's Academic Due Process Rights Were Denied

Thursday, October 21, AD 2010

 

Faithful readers of our blog will recall the case of Dr. Kenneth Howell at the University of Illinois.  I have posted on his firing and subsequent rehiring here, here, here and here.  Briefly, Dr. Howell taught a course on Catholicism at the University of Illinois under contract between the Newman Center at the University of Illinois and the University since 2001.  Dr. Howell describes the events which led to his firing:

This past semester was unusual. 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.

 After the semester was over, I was called into the office of Robert McKim, the chairman of the Department of Religion, who was in possession of this email. I was told that someone (I presume one of my students) sent this email to the Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Concerns at the University. It was apparently sent to administrators in the University of Illinois and then forwarded on to Professor McKim. I was told that I would no longer be able to teach in the Department of Religion.

Professor McKim and I discussed the contents of the email and he was quite insistent that my days of teaching in the department were over. I offered that it would be more just to ask me not to address the subject of homosexuality in my class. In fact, the other class I regularly taught (Modern Catholic Thought) never dealt with that subject at all. I also averred that to dismiss me for teaching the Catholic position in a class on Catholicism was a violation of academic freedom and my first amendment rights of free speech. This made no difference. After that conversation and a couple of emails, Professor McKim insisted that this decision to dismiss me stood firm.

The Newman Center and the Diocese of Peoria did not stand behind Howell initially, seeming to want to avoid a conflict with the University.  Dr. Howell contacted the Alliance Defense Fund which contacted the University and threatened to file suit.  Catholic bloggers raised a huge hue and cry about the firing.  Eventually the firing decision was reversed, and Dr. Howell was re- hired to teach Introduction to Catholicism in the fall semester of this year.  However, the contract between the Newman Center and the University of Illinois was ended, and Dr. Howell would simply teach the course as a regular adjunct professor of  the University.

The faculty committee has finished its examination of the firing of Dr. Howell.  Inside Education has obtained a leaked copy of the report, and a story on the report may be read here, along with a link to the report.

Continue reading...

6 Responses to Faculty Committee Finds That Dr. Howell's Academic Due Process Rights Were Denied

  • Donald – Thanks for all the work you have did posting on this topic. It was/is very helpful. Thank you.

  • I confess. I am one of the (primally evil) Americans that opposes politically correct censorship, coersion and show trials.

    One of the more notorious perpetrators of the so-called enlightenement said something to the effect, I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend (to the death?) your right to say it.

  • That was Voltaire T. Shaw. I doubt if he meant it.

  • That was Voltaire T. Shaw. I doubt if he meant it.

    Ha!

    Don, Do I recall correctly that you have a book of quotes you collected or am I thinking of someone else? If so, you need to put your own quote in there. Perfect!

  • Thank you RL, and I have do have quite a list of quotes I have stol…, that is borrowed, from others over the years.

  • Catholics fought back, and that is the most important lesson from this affair: the necessity for Catholics to stand and fight when they receive bigoted treatment.

    Exactly. Helmet to helmet, put ’em down hard.

Victory! Dr. Ken Howell Reinstated at the University of Illinois!

Thursday, July 29, AD 2010

Dr. Kenneth Howell, the adjunct professor at the University of Illinois who was fired for teaching Catholic doctrine regarding homosexuality in a class on Catholicism has been reinstated by the University.  Here is the press release from the Alliance Defense Fund that represented Dr. Howell:

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana confirmed to Alliance Defense Fund attorneys Thursday that it will once again allow popular professor Dr. Kenneth Howell to teach on Catholicism after recently firing him for explaining the Roman Catholic Church’s position on human sexual behavior to members of his class.

ADF attorneys representing Howell sent a letter to university officials on July 12 explaining that the university’s actions violated his rights protected by the First Amendment and asked that he be reinstated.

“A university cannot censor professors’ speech–including classroom speech related to the topic of the class–merely because certain ideas ‘offend’ an anonymous student. We greatly appreciate the university’s move to put Professor Howell back in the classroom, but we will be watching carefully to make sure that his academic freedom is protected throughout the university’s ongoing process,” said ADF Senior Counsel David French.

A letter from the University of Illinois Office of University Counsel admits no wrongdoing on the part of the university but states, “The School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics will be contacting Dr. Howell to offer him the opportunity to teach Religion 127, Introduction to Catholicism, on a visiting instructional appointment at the University of Illinois, for the fall 2010 semester. Dr. Howell will be appointed and paid by the University for this adjunct teaching assignment.”

The letter then adds that a university committee will continue its investigation of Howell’s situation.

Howell, who had been teaching at the university since 2001, was relieved of his teaching duties based in part on an anonymous complaint sent via e-mail to university officials. The e-mail was sent by the friend of an anonymous student who claimed to be “offended” by a May 4 e-mail Howell sent to students elaborating on a class discussion concerning Catholic beliefs about sexual behavior.

The May 4 e-mail from Howell addressed a May 3 lecture in which he explained how the Roman Catholic Church distinguishes between same-sex attraction and homosexual conduct. He accurately stated the church’s teaching that homosexual conduct is morally wrong, framing the issue in the context of natural moral law.

Continue reading...

19 Responses to Victory! Dr. Ken Howell Reinstated at the University of Illinois!

  • A letter from the University of Illinois Office of University Counsel admits no wrongdoing on the part of the university

    I don’t believe the University learned its lesson about free speech.

  • They learned a more important lesson Tito. Catholics are dangerous, they fight back.

  • This is great news, and am I reading this right, that the U of I agreed to pick up paying his salary (instead of having the Diocese of Peoria pay it)?

    Also, note that his prospective teaching position is in the School of Linguistics and Culture instead of the religion/philosophy department. Perhaps the earlier flap was more due to a personality clash with the religion department chair than anything else.

  • “Also, note that his prospective teaching position is in the School of Linguistics and Culture instead of the religion/philosophy department.”

    So, does this mean that the University of Illinois sees Catholicism as a “cultural” phenomenon rather than as a religion?

  • I am still trying to come to terms with why a secular university would have a religion department anyway. I am certainly not against religion being taught, and it is a fascinating area, but if religiously affiliated universities have a hard time teaching it correctly (*cough* Notre Dame/Georgetown/San Diego *cough*), how well will a secular university do it? And who decides what is “authentic Catholic teaching” in a secular university?

    Is there a way for the Church to protect its brand integrity, so to speak?

  • So, does this mean that the University of Illinois sees Catholicism as a “cultural” phenomenon rather than as a religion?

    LOL, I can see the new course syllabus now:

    1. Kitsch and Paraphernalia
    2. Narratives of Catholic School Discipline
    3. Pre- or Post-Vatican II: Felt Banners?
    4. Ethnic Interpretations: Drunken Brawls on Friday, Confession on Saturday, Mass on Sunday
    5. The BVM: More Than a Car Decal?

  • This article might give you some pause:

    “The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign announced Thursday that it is ending an unusual relationship under which an independent Roman Catholic center has for decades nominated instructors to teach Catholic thought at the university and paid their salaries . . . A lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, a group that defends religious students and faculty members, and that is representing Howell, said that the organization was much more concerned about his continued teaching than about the link between the university and the Newman Center.”

  • Not at all. The relationship between the University and the Newman Center in regard to the teaching of classes about Catholicism is of small importance to me. The issue for me was always about the firing of a professor for reasons that clearly rested in anti-Catholic bigotry. The University has backed down on that point, and we will see what happens to Dr. Howell at the end of next semester and fight that battle at that time.

  • I agree with Don.

  • What do you think about The Anchoress’ comments:

    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.

  • And these comments, via Insight Scoop, from Dr. David Delaney: “[I]t seems obvious to me that even if Ken does teach in the fall, there is no way that he can stay there for very long on a paltry $20k a year. Even if he does choose to accept the resolution, without tenure and without an agreement with the Newman Center, Ken will have no recourse if they simply discontinue his classes without providing him a reason. In any case, it is nearly certain that someone other than Ken will be teaching classes on Catholicism at the U of I in the near future, or as the UI associate chancellor for public affairs called it, ‘the theory of Catholicism.'”

  • The relationship between the Diocese and the University regarding the teaching of for credit classes on Catholicism paid for by the Diocese was never the issue. The issue was the firing of Dr. Howell for anti-Catholic reasons. Whether it is a good thing for a Diocese to fund courses on Catholicism at a public university is debatable. Frankly, I would think the money could be better spent with the courses being taken at the Newman Center under the auspices of a Catholic college with a reciprocal agreement with the U of I regarding recognition of earned credits. Instruction at a public university regarding Catholicism obviously risks the dilution of the instruction, as was attempted here by the firing of Dr. Howell. Catholic students, and non-Catholic students seeking instruction on Catholicism, might well do better receiving instruction free of any influence of the University of Illinois. Reasonable people can differ on that subject. What is not debatable is that Catholics need to raise a furor whenever a Catholic loses his or her job simply because he or she is a faithful Catholic. To me that is what this whole battle was about, and the reversal of the firing is the victory.

  • Yeah, I guess you’re right about that. I don’t meant to nag and I certainly agree about the value of “raising a furor.” I’m just pessimistic about universities in general and their effect on the culture: speech codes, the Martinez decision, application of ill-defined ethics standards, etc. I have trouble thinking this isn’t a net loss down the road.

  • In regard to colleges and universities in general Tony you have every right to be pessimistic. However, the days of the old brick and mortar unversities I think are numbered. With the effortless diffusion of knowledge over the internet, I think how higher education is done 20, perhaps ever 15, years from now will bear little resemblance to how we do it now. Higher education could be done for a fraction of what it costs now and in less time. Eventually simple economics will force the change. Like newspapers, current colleges and universities are on their way to the tar pits. Overall I think this will be a healthy development both for education and for intellectual freedom.

  • Pingback: Questioning Obama’s healthcare plan |
  • Pingback: Obama Care Plan Explained - Questioning Obama’s healthcare plan - Obama Care Plan
  • Dr. Ken,

    Your course is called Religion 127. May I suggest it be changed to Religion (Psalm) 127:1 with the subtitle as follows: “Except the LORD shall build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD shall keep the city, the watchman waketh in vain.” (Webster 1830) Substitute “institution” for both house and city in the above for the ideal university in a nation that was founded “…under God…”

    Continue to fight the good fight for all of America.

    Dave Wade

  • Pingback: Flotsam and jetsam (back from vacation edition) « scientia et sapientia
  • Pingback: Faculty Committee Finds That Dr. Howell’s Academic Due Process Rights Were Denied « The American Catholic

Dr. Kenneth Howell-Update

Monday, July 26, AD 2010

Back on July 9, here, I wrote about Dr. Kenneth Howell who was fired by the University of Illinois for setting forth Catholic doctrine on homosexuality in a class that he was teaching on Catholicism pursuant to a contract between the University of Illinois and the local Newman Center on campus.  On July 14, I reported here that the firing was under review by a faculty committee of the University of Illinois.  The committee hasn’t completed its review, but there have been a few developments that I thought our readers might find interesting.

1.  An interesting story here by the News-Gazette, the local Champaign-Urbana paper, detailing how Dr. Howell went from a Presbyterian Minister to a lay Catholic.

2.  The Alliance Defense Fund which is representing Dr. Howell, sent a letter to the University of Illinois on July 12, demanding his reinstatement.  Read the letter here.  The Alliance Defense Fund highlights the absurdity of this situation rather well with this statement:  “A university cannot censor professors’ speech–including classroom speech related to the topic of the class–merely because certain ideas ‘offend’ an anonymous student,” said ADF Senior Counsel David French. “To fire a professor for teaching the actual subject matter of his course is outrageous. It’s ridiculous that a school would fire a professor without even giving him a chance to defend himself when he simply taught Catholic beliefs in a class about Catholic beliefs.”

3.  One thing I have learned while examining this controversy is just what a nice guy Dr. Howell is, and how open to argument and debate he is.  These characteristics are both noted by atheist John Loftus at his website here.  Dr. Howell is a model of what a university Professor should be:  knowledgeable as to his subject and willing to discuss and debate with anyone in an atmosphere of mutual respect and open inquiry.  That a man of his calibre has been subject to this type of politically correct firing is a total travesty.

Continue reading...

9 Responses to Dr. Kenneth Howell-Update

  • At the risk of complicating things, it should be noted that Howell’s status as “adjunct” allows UI to fire him for “no cause.” They therefore are not legally obliged to state the rationale behind his termination. Whether this is right or wrong, it’s perfectly legal.

    Secondly, as other publications have pointed out (most notably Inside Higher Ed), Howell was the beneficiary of a particularly odd arrangement between the Diocese and the University, according to which the faculty of Religious Studies had no say in his hiring, even though he was teaching classes in their department. The Diocese’s refusal to allow for peer review of their hiring decision thus rankled the faculty for a long time prior to this event, which was (in my opinion) merely an opportune moment for them to pounce. The arrangement itself was pretty delicate and tenuous, and I can see how, no matter what Howell was teaching, the mere fact of his being appointed outside regular procedures may have upset a good number of faculty.

    All this is to say nothing of his email, the merits and problems with it, whether he is being made a scapegoat (he undoubtedly is, in my opinion), but merely to point out that there is a much more complicated backstory there.

  • They therefore are not legally obliged to state the rationale behind his termination. Whether this is right or wrong, it’s perfectly legal.

    Perhaps Mr. McClarey might clarify whether, under Illinois law, they can be compelled to give an accounting of themselves before a committee of the legislature.

  • Art Deco,

    I hope that Donald does clarify the point of law at issue, but my understanding is that, if UI were to defend their non-renewal of Howell’s contract on the basis of the email in question, this would indeed provide Howell with a colorable First Amendment suit against UI. However, UI need simply provide *no* reason for their termination of Howell in order to avoid such a suit. (Of course, their own statements about the Howell case might make this latter move a difficult one for them to make. It may be too late to avoid.)

    Still, what the backstory of Howell shows, at least to my mind, is that there *are* issues of academic freedom and governance at play here other than the immediate issue regarding Howell’s email.

  • WJ, that’s my (non-professional) understanding also: If UI had simply said “your services are no longer required” and nothing else they would have a hide-bound case to stand on. But they have already gone way, way beyond that, and it would probably be true that based on the public evidence, they would be forced to give up internal documents relating to the discussions before his firing. If the public and internal documents show an action taken precisely on account of his teaching of Catholic standards, they will be hung out to dry in court.

  • “At the risk of complicating things, it should be noted that Howell’s status as “adjunct” allows UI to fire him for “no cause.” They therefore are not legally obliged to state the rationale behind his termination. Whether this is right or wrong, it’s perfectly legal.”

    Illinois is an “at will” state. What this means is that traditionally in Illinois employees, absent a contract, could be fired for any or no reason. However this has been modified over the past few decades by federal and state legislation that has prevented employers for firing employees for discriminatory reasons.

    “I hope that Donald does clarify the point of law at issue, but my understanding is that, if UI were to defend their non-renewal of Howell’s contract on the basis of the email in question, this would indeed provide Howell with a colorable First Amendment suit against UI.”

    I believe that a 1983 civil rights discrimination action might well succeed. The University is a governmental institution, and I would imagine that internal U of I e-mails, all of which would have to be turned over for discovery, would present plenty of evidence that Howell was fired precisely because he was presenting Catholic doctrine. In short Howell was fired because he is a believing Catholic presenting Catholic doctrine in a class about Catholicism.

    “Perhaps Mr. McClarey might clarify whether, under Illinois law, they can be compelled to give an accounting of themselves before a committee of the legislature.”

    That is not uncommon. The University is a state supported institution and its employees can be called to testify about the operation of the University at any time by the legislature.

    The backdrop to this is a major scandal where members of the University co-operated with powerful politicians to rig admissions for the offspring of the influential.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Illinois_clout_scandal

    Sad to say, Illinois is a very corrupt state, and my alma mater fully reflects this wretched culture of corruption.

  • Pingback: ADF Alliance Alert » Dr. Kenneth Howell update
  • I have written four time about this matter on my blog (click my name if you’re interested).

    In my eyes the matter of employment is secondary to the mater of freedom of expression and academic freedom. Dr. Howell will certainly have no problem whatsoever in finding another suitable position as his reputation was and is outstanding. It might be that he decides to leave whatever the outcome of this controversy.

    What I think is more important here is that the principle is established that a teacher of a Catholic course can’t be fired for teaching Catholicism and that homosexual “sensitivities” are no meter for deciding what the subject of a religious course should be.

  • Pingback: Intolerance in the Name of Tolerance « The American Catholic
  • Pingback: Victory! Dr. Ken Howell Reinstated at the University of Illinois! « The American Catholic

Firing of Dr. Kenneth Howell to be Reviewed By University of Illinois Committee

Wednesday, July 14, AD 2010

Last week I wrote here about the firing of Dr. Kenneth Howell who had the audacity, in a class about the Catholicism, to actually state Catholic doctrine about homosexuality.  There has been enough of a furor since that the University of Illinois is acting, according to this story in the Chicago Tribune:

A faculty group at the University of Illinois’ flagship campus will review the decision to fire an adjunct religion professor for saying he agreed with Catholic doctrine on homosexuality.

Urbana- Champaign campus Chancellor Robert Easter said Monday he hopes to have a decision on the firing of Kenneth Howell from the Faculty Senate’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure by the time fall classes start. The review is to determine whether Howell’s academic freedom was violated.

“We want to be able to reassure ourselves there was no infringement on academic freedom here,” new university President Michael Hogan told members of the Faculty Senate on Monday. “This is a very, very important, not to mention a touchy and sensitive, issue. Did this cross the line somehow?”

Continue reading...

10 Responses to Firing of Dr. Kenneth Howell to be Reviewed By University of Illinois Committee

Anti-Catholic Bigotry Alive and Well at the University of Illinois

Friday, July 9, AD 2010

I am an alum of the U of I.  I obtained my BA in 79 and my JD in 82.  My wife is also an alum of the U of I, obtaining her MA in Spanish in 82.  Our eldest son will be entering the U of I as a freshman in August.  I therefore found the news that  Professor Kenneth Howell, an adjunct Professor at the University of Illinois, has been fired for teaching in a course about Catholicism  basic Catholic doctrine on homosexuality quite alarming:

Continue reading...

39 Responses to Anti-Catholic Bigotry Alive and Well at the University of Illinois

  • Looking at the e-mail from the student to the administration, and the original e-mail from Howell, two things seem clear:

    1. Neither the student nor his “friend” have a clear understanding of the purpose or content of Howell’s e-mail. They clearly cannot distinguish between advocacy and presentation of a fairly standard-issue argument in Catholic moral theology. I might expect this of high school students. College students should know better.

    2. This supposed college student’s grasp of standard English is most distressing. “Anyways”? Yikes!

    I am forced to question the Department Chair’s ability to notice the above.

  • In other words: Teach Catholicism, but don’t teach that it has anything to do with reason and reality. We must continue the lie that faith and reason are at odds, that the Church opposes gay marriage solely as a matter of religious faith, and that religion is purely a matter of private opinion, not public action.

    And this is supposed to “promote independent thought”? I’d wager that those students have never encountered any though quite so radical as Prof. Howell was exposing them to. He was doing exactly what they say they wanted.

  • Elena Kagan demonstrated how liberal pandering to any special interest group trumps your right to freedom to exercise your religion.

    Kagan on Whether Catholic Church Could Recruit at Harvard Law

    http://tinyurl.com/369nxwj

    This is precisely how Hitler took over Germany. It began with politically correct “thinking” which led to politically correct “law” and everything Hitler did was “legal”. This “judge” who never met a politically correct cause she didnn’t love and support (regardless of it’s standing the law) is about to take a seat on the highest court in the land.

    Yet she is touted for her “brilliance” and legal scholarship. They teach you all about the law in law school – they don’t teach you a thing about JUSTICE.

    ———————–
    “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    ~ President John Adams

    “Authentic democracy is possible only in a state ruled by law, and on the basis of a correct conception of the human person. It requires that the necessary conditions be present for the advancement both of the individual through education and formation in true ideals, and of the “subjectivity” of society through the creation of structures of participation and shared responsibility. Nowadays there is a tendency to claim that agnosticism and skeptical relativism are the philosophy and the basic attitude which correspond to democratic forms of political life. Those who are convinced that they know the truth and firmly adhere to it are considered unreliable from a democratic point of view, since they do not accept that truth is determined by the majority, or that it is subject to variation according to different political trends. It must be observed in this regard that if there is no ultimate truth to guide and direct political activity, then ideas and convictions can easily be manipulated for reasons of power. As history demonstrates, a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism.”

    ~ Pope John Paul II – Centesimus Annus

  • theory of Catholicism

    So now Catholicism is a theory and not a faith?

  • Just read the emails. I’m no natural law philosopher, but wasn’t the professor’s explanation of natural law a little weak? It was more about biology than teleology. Nor was his description of utilitarianism exactly correct.

    Still not grounds for dismissing him, however.

  • Does anyone else see the immediate bias by Kaler when saying “the theory of Catholicism.” This sums the issue up. Another situation of higher education punishing the religious guy.

  • I hope that it is starting to dawn on the “Catholic Church” that when you sleep with dogs you wake up with fleas. Amen!

  • TonyC,

    Are you referring to the U of I as dogs?

  • Do you think if he had taught what Islam tenets are in the Koran on morality and homosexuality and the handling of those of that orientation, he would have lost his post.

  • “When I joined the military it was against regulations to be homosexual, then it became optional. I’m getting out before it becomes mandatory.” GySgt Harry Berres, USMC

  • Guys, guys! Remember, you’re free to talk all you want about Catholicism, as long as you don’t believe it!

  • Very, very troubling indeed! May God have mercy on us. It is so hard for me to see the radical decay all around. May I work to be faithful, to pray for the Catholic Church and for men like this, punished harshly for speaking of their religious beliefs, that were once protected by the very Constitution that is now used to persecute them.

  • This is just awful. Kenneth Howell, in case you don’t know, is a former Presbyterian minister who converted to the Catholic faith — which of course, forced him to give up THAT job — and who has written several books on Catholic doctrine. He converted well BEFORE he took this job. He was hired by the U of I specifically to teach classes on Catholic doctrine, which have been offered, for credit, for decades. It should not surprise anyone that he agrees with Catholic teaching on homosexuality and other issues.

    What he said is not “hate speech” any more than, say, an observant Orthodox Jewish professor who teaches classes specifically on Judaism attempting to explain kosher dietary laws and having a student who raises hogs back home take offense at it.

  • Friend, huh? Might this ‘friend’ not be a student? Is it possible that someone just wants a politically correct elucidation of the theory of Catholicism without any of the truth of what the Church teaches?

    I am also curious, how does saying that sodomy is an unnatural act ostracize people with homosexualist proclivities? Any biologist would tell you that certain human orifices are for evacuation and not anything else, except in cases of medical testing. Should we outlaw the theory of biology?

    Apparently the school wants to teach the theory of Catholicism and disassociation themselves from what the Church actually teaches. Why? Does anyone really think the UI Religion Dept. is somehow associated with the Church or with Catholics in anyway? Why did his statement violate the ‘inclusivity’ policy? Was he banning homosexualists from his class? Did he tell them that Sodomites aren’t allowed to learn about the theory of Catholicism? Were they told they were not allowed to disagree with Natural Law? Since when does the Church or those who teach her truths believe that humans don’t have free will?

    Are we going to fire history teachers who teach the offensive act of killing Jews? How do you study Nazi Germany without addressing the wholesale slaughter of Jews, Catholics, etc.? You can’t. It is the truth. Nazis did kill Jews. It is offensive. It certainly isn’t inclusive. I seriously doubt that any history teacher worth their mettle thinks it is OK to kill Jews – but they teach it nonetheless, because that is what Nazis did and what they believed. No one has to agree with it. This is ridiculous.

    I wonder if its OK to teach about Nazism because most Nazis were Sodomites and not OK to teach about Catholicism because the Church teaches that Sodomy is not OK, despite the proclivities of a small number of her members – of course, we don’t talk about pederast priests, we talk about pedophile priests because if we addressed the real problem, we may have to indict Sodomy. Me thinks there is an agenda here and just like in the late Wiemar Republic it starts with the homosexualists.

  • I was tempted to say that this development would make Msgr. Edward Duncan, the VERY longtime U of I Newman Center chaplain (over 50 years, from the 1940s to the 1990s), “turn over in his grave”, but after doing a quick google search on his name it appears he’s still alive, or was as recently as 2008. Anyone know his status? I don’t doubt he would have a LOT to say about this.

  • They would never have pulled this Elaine if Duncan were still in charge of the Newman Center. He was a formidable presence on the campus and not a man to brook any insult against the Church, as I noted when I was at the U of I. Judging from the spineless reaction of the Newman Center to this outrage, I guess the University decided that Catholics would just take this slap in the face lying down. Time to prove them wrong.

  • Will they fire Muslims for taking the same position?

  • “spineless reaction of the Newman Center to this outrage”

    I just hopped over to Thomas Peters’ blog and read the actual letter from Dr. Howell himself, explaining his side of the story.

    After reading it, I’m almost as ticked off at the Newman Center and the Diocese of Peoria as I am at the university! It APPEARS that they told him “Sorry, can’t help you, and by the way, we no longer need your services either, so good luck and don’t let the door hit you on your way out.” What’s up with that?

  • Do I have this right? A man teaches the 2,000 year old teachings of Holy Mother Church in a U course on Catholicism and is terminated for hate speech.

    But Obama supporters call for murdering crackers and their babies; and that’s free speech.

    Go figure.

  • If the “Institute of Catholic Thought” for which Dr. Howell worked is structured in such a way that an instructor can no longer work for the Institute if they no longer work for the university, well, isn’t this living proof that the Newman Foundation and the Diocese had better do something about that? If they don’t, then I will have to take back all my past comments about the U of I being a more “Catholic” university (because of the quality of its Newman Center, and of the ICT classes) than some Catholic in name only schools are.

  • Pingback: Anti-Catholic Bigotry Alive and Well at the University of Illinois  | Skoopio.com
  • As a no longer proud alum of U of I it shows me that the motto Learning and Labor has left the learning behind. Universities understand only one thing now and that is money. Don’t just write comments on blogs, write the president of U of I at [email protected] If you are an alumm tell him you won’t send them another dime until this is fixed. Send emails to all of your alumni friends. Post this on all of your blogs.

  • Pingback: "University of Illinois Instructor Fired Over Catholic Beliefs [UPDATED]" and related posts
  • Msgr. Duncan is still alive. His health isn’t so great anymore, but he occasionally makes appearances at St. Johns. I know he was there as recently as last fall for a special event.

  • This is simply further proof that the so-called Diversity Movement is about anything BUT diversity. It is about conformity to a set agenda with dogmas as entrenched as those of the Catholic Church with whom they are at war. Homosexuality and the praise thereof top the list of that agenda.

    I was particularly awed by the following excerpt taken from the email sent by the offended students “friend” and the mention of “independent thought” : “Teaching a student about the tenets of a religion is one thing,” the student wrote in the e-mail. “Declaring that homosexual acts violate the natural laws of man is another. The courses at this institution should be geared to contribute to the public discourse and promote independent thought; not limit one’s worldview and ostracize people of a certain sexual orientation.”

    Who is genuinely aware of the meaning of true public discourse here? Who is promoting genuinely independent thought? Who is being ostracized? It certainly isn’t the Diversity Movement, not is it the offended student, who is still a student, while the good Prof. is beating the streets looking for a job.

  • Food for thought received in an email from the Manhattan Declaration group:

    ” . . . may be one of the gravest, most insidious threats to religious freedom I’ve seen in my lifetime: What may be an attempt, at the very highest levels of government, to RE-DEFINE the very meaning of religious freedom, from “free exercise” to merely private worship.”

  • “Will they fire Muslims for taking the same position?”

    No, only anti-catholic bigotry is allowed.

  • Is there any anti-Buddhism, anti-Hinduism, anti-Islamic, anti-protestant? Why there is anti-Catholic Bigotry? If there is answer please answer me. Thanks!

  • GM: I think (bombs away!) that there is anti-Catholic bigotry because Holy Mother the Church (the minority that actually adheres to its precepts) is a major safeguard against secular humanist cultural/societal hegemony.

    And, if one believes (as a small minority of so-called Catholics believes) that we are IN this world, but not OF this world, one is less easily controlled and, thus, one is a threat to the statist, fascist far-left liberals intent on controlling aspects of our lives.

    And, because the majority of bishops, nearly all so-called catholic scholars, catholic university regimes, etc. have sold out to Obama and the socilaists. In this rounnd the bowl of pottage is full of human dignity, peace, social justice, etc.

    I could barf!

  • T. Shaw,

    Food for thought received in an email from the Manhattan Declaration group:

    ” . . . may be one of the gravest, most insidious threats to religious freedom I’ve seen in my lifetime: What may be an attempt, at the very highest levels of government, to RE-DEFINE the very meaning of religious freedom, from “free exercise” to merely private worship.”

    That is why the Obama administration and many liberals continue to say “Freedom of Worship” instead of “Freedom of Religion”.

    They want to eliminate faith completely from the public square by redefining certain precepts of the U.S. Constitution.

  • You can say that Catholic bigotry is alive at the University of Illinois, but your church is a most dangerous foe of civil and religious liberty. The Catholic Bishops descended on Congress and pressured our legislators to pass Obama’s health care bill, even though the nation could not afford it and is on the verge to ruin and bankruptcy. The Bishops have no respect whatsoever for the U.S. Constitution. All across the board the church is pushing its’ agenda, seeking to dominate and control. The papacy is battering down the walls of church-state separation every where she can. She is pushing to enforce Sunday observance upon all of Europe, and is pushing for Sunday enforcement in the U.S. also. The Founding Fathers enacted safeguards, but these are being dismantled. Persecution is returning as sure as day. The words of John Adams, our second president, are proving true, as liberty of conscience is more and more threatened, “I have long been decided in opinion that a free government and the Roman Catholic religion can never exist together in any nation or Country.” “Liberty and Popery cannot live together.”

  • Logan,

    The Catholic Bishops are U.S. citizens.

    You need to brush up on the constitution.

    The last time I read it we all have freedom of expression.

  • Actually Logan the Bishops opposed Obamacare due to fear of it funding abortion. However I have found that anti-Catholicism and rank ignorance tend to go together so I am unsurprised that you are misinformed.
    As to your comment about the Church attempting to enforce Sunday observance, that is a fantasy you either got from an anti-Catholic website or dreamed up in your fevered imagination.

  • Logan, if you are some sort of Christian, then you should prayerfully read John 8:32.

    If you aren’t Christian, then you should pray, “God, if you really exist, help me understand what you are telling me in this Scripture reading.” and then read John 8:32.

    God and His Church do not impose, He proposes – the rest is up to you. Know that your Father loves you, despite any feelings you have otherwise.

  • Logan,

    The wall of separation between Church and States is from a letter Jefferson wrote in 1802 to the Danbury Baptists, a religious minority fearing that they would not be able to worship the way they were inclined and Jefferson was assuring them that the first amendment to the Constitution protected their religion from interference by the federal government.

    Jefferson was an adept diplomat and knowing his audience, Baptists, he wrote in terms they would understand. The wall of separation was drawn from a sermon by Roger Williams, whose sermons would have been known well among Baptists in 1802.

    The particular sermon is titled, “The Garden in the Wilderness” preached in 1644. He said, “When they have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the Church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall itself, removed the candlestick, and made his garden a wilderness, as at this day. And that there fore if He will e’er please to restore His garden and paradise again, it must of necessity be walled in peculiarly unto Himself from the world.”

    Clearly Jefferson was referring to the fact that the wall separated the Church (the garden) from the State (the wilderness of the world) to protect the Church from the corruption of the political power. He was not even intoning that the State had a right to be ‘protected’ from the Church. In Jefferson’s time, even though it followed the Enlightenment, people of faith knew that religion formed men in virtue and virtuous leaders, men of character, were what was required to govern the Republic.

    Twisting this wall of separation to mean that religion has no place in public life is an atheistic Communist ploy. Probably concocted by the Communist front – the ACLU. It is a lie and intelligent people using the gift of human reason wouldn’t employ such a tired and weak argument.

  • “Will they fire Muslims for taking the same position?”

    An excellent question! Are similar courses in Islam being taught there?

  • Pingback: Dr. Kenneth Howell-Update « The American Catholic
  • Pingback: Victory! Dr. Ken Howell Reinstated at the University of Illinois! « The American Catholic
  • Pingback: Faculty Committee Finds That Dr. Howell’s Academic Due Process Rights Were Denied « The American Catholic

Supreme Court Rules That Public Universities May Discriminate Against Christian Student Groups

Tuesday, June 29, AD 2010

Back in 1979 I was one of the founding members of the Christian Legal Society at the University of Illinois.  Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Hastings College of Law at the University of California was within its rights to deny recognition to the Christian Legal Society because the group requires that members agree, among other principles, that sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman is sinful, and that members must be Christians.  Hastings contended that these principles violated the open membership policy of the university, in that it would discriminate against prospective members on the grounds of religion and sexual orientation.  Go here to read the decision.

Justice Alito, joined by Chief Justice Roberts, Scalia and Thomas, wrote a thought provoking dissent.

The proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express “the thought that we hate.” United States v. Schwimmer, 279 U. S. 644, 654–655 (1929) (Holmes, J., dissenting). Today’s decision rests on a very different principle: no freedom for expression that offends prevailing standards of political correctness in our country’s institutions of higher learning.

Continue reading...

23 Responses to Supreme Court Rules That Public Universities May Discriminate Against Christian Student Groups

  • Kagan once said, it’s okay for the government to ban books because the gestapo would be ineffective at enforcing it.

    You have to scratch a liberal just a wee bit to get to the totalitarian essence under the uber-thin vineer of warm and fuzzy bu!!$hit.

    Isn’t there a right, somewhere in the US Constitution, to free association, in addition to the rights to abortion; gay privileges; being fed, clothed and housed by the taxpayer.

    The king denied the Colonists the right to meet. They met anyway – Committees of Correspondence. The king isn’t king of this country. We shall overcome.

  • The pairing of decisions yesterday reminds us that our constitutional rights are basically at the mercy of the whims of Justice Kennedy. It’s truly frightening. Though he seems to have re-discovered some measure of a backbone, on social issues he remains completely inept.

  • Has there ever been a less consequential decision? Gays aren’t going to get elected to leadership positions in CLS.

  • Question: If Hastings is a state institution, thus receiving government funds (from the tax payer), does that not mean it is essentially a politically-funded entity?

    And if so, should we not be surprised that what is politically correct weighs heavey on their policy choices?

  • Has there ever been a less consequential decision? Gays aren’t going to get elected to leadership positions in CLS.

    I think the issue is more that it makes it very difficult for CLS to assemble, hold activities, etc. on campus if theyr’e not recognized as a campus organization.

  • Darwin, CLS can, and probably will, amend its pledge banning gays and the club will continue with business as usual, i.e., without gays.

  • One of the things I find interesting is that the argument that a group should be allowed to keep out people they do not like is being argued by two different groups.

    First, CLS. They say they should be free to have a group which follows the principles they hold dear. Of course, if they were not on a campus, looking for funding and approval to use facilities on campus, I think no one would question such a right.

    However, the second group is the university itself. If CLS has a right to discriminate, why does a university not have that right? To argue in favor of CLS is to argue in favor of the university, as far as I see it. That, I think, is the paradox with this case.

    Can someone show me why CLS can discriminate and not the university? I am in favor of free associations, and I do think a university should encourage such free associations (the university’s policy is wrong), but I also do wonder how a university is not accorded such a right?

  • BTW, I would even agree the university is going against its claims of tolerance to discriminate in this way, however, the question is not whether or not the university is acting bad, but whether or not it is within their legal rights.

  • Eh, you might be right, RR. I guess as an old Boy Scout I figured the organization would stick to its guns and suffer the consequences. 🙂

  • I am not a huge Kennedy Basher but bioth the right and left are right at times he gets carried away with his verbiage. I am amazed that a Catholic Justice basically said that Creed like matters are like Loyalty Oaths

  • Has there ever been a less consequential decision?

    I disagree. Traditional morality is only tenuously tolerated. This further institutionalizes its banishment from the public sphere. It has very little to do with whether CLS admits gays or not; look beyond the legal ramifications to see the cultural narrative. A Christian group, along among others, is singled out for chastisement. This has everything to do with what metaphysical premises are acceptable in polite company.

    “Untenured” at WWWtW said it best (with respect to another story):

    Increasingly, we are seeing secularists posture as though their pet metaphysical and moral committments are some kind of reasonable “default” that everybody would naturally gravitate towards if only it weren’t for the malign influence of religious “indoctrination.” There is a very real movement to portray traditional morality as some kind of “pathology” that is okay to exercise coercion against. Witness, for example, the attempt to make moral objections against homosexuality appear as if they are *no different* from objections to interracial marriage. Even people with philosophical training who ought to know better, like to pretend that this line of reasoning is cogent out of some kind of weird “political solidarity” with “sexual minorities.” They don’t give a darn about intellectual honesty- they want to deny traditional moral beliefs a toehold in the space of reasons, and they will do so by any means necessary. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that we are soon going to see people arguing that there is *no difference* between a homeschooler being taught traditional morality and an underage bride at a Mormon polygamy compounds. Then some arguments, with the pretense of hand-wringing, about how reasonable people have no choice but to coerce these backwards homeschoolers out of existence. For the sake of the children, of course.

  • ” I would even agree the university is going against its claims of tolerance to discriminate in this way, however, the question is not whether or not the university is acting bad, but whether or not it is within their legal rights”

    Henry I think it is clear that the University cannot , as a general matter with exceptions of course) discriminate against viewpoint discrimination.

    Now I realize this is a complicated case and in hindsight I am willing to bet the Justices wised they never took up the case because they discovered it was such a procedural mess and the factual record was clouded.

    That being said while many are saying the Opinion is narrow ( focusing just on this odd unique all comers policy) I am not so sure if it that narrow at all. The comments by some of the Justices on how they got there are perhaps the most disturbing and I am hoping like Justice ALito this si an aberation

  • “Eh, you might be right, RR. I guess as an old Boy Scout I figured the organization would stick to its guns and suffer the consequences.”

    Well the case is not over. They still have a chance to prove that this “all comers” policy was a pretext for unlawful discrimination

  • “However, the second group is the university itself. If CLS has a right to discriminate, why does a university not have that right?”

    I would say that a private university should have that right, but a public university does not. Here we have a governmental institution, Hastings Law School, imposing membership criteria on a private entity, the Christian Legal Society. All Catholics, members of an organization that is looked upon with hatred by many of the elites in our society, should look with alarm at this decision. “The Catholics want to prevent women from being priests? Fine, we will pass a law dictating that no non-profit may have tax exemption unless they sign on to this non-discrimination policy.”

  • I would say that a private university should have that right, but a public university does not. Here we have a governmental institution, Hastings Law School, imposing membership criteria on a private entity, the Christian Legal Society.

    Actually, the problem is the university is saying that, as a public institution, it cannot accept a private society as a student body if it is going with such discrimination. In other words, their argument is if they support the society, they are supporting such discrimination as a public institution. They are not saying what CSL can or cannot do, just what they can or cannot do if they want to be a student group at Hastings. The court, of course, said something unusual, in that it said a university can engage in such rules, but does not have to. It’s really a messed up case, because on every level, there seems to be a kind of self-contradiction involved.

  • “Actually, the problem is the university is saying that, as a public institution, it cannot accept a private society as a student body if it is going with such discrimination.”

    That is a way of saying that the public entity will discriminate against a group based upon its membership policies, unless the private group has membership policies acceptable to the public entity. The implications for Newman Centers on public campuses are clear, along with any groups that are in official disfavor. The true absurdity of this policy of course is that almost all private groups, by definition, discriminate. A staunch Republican like me would not be wanted among College Democrats. If I join a Chess group on campus, I will be expected not to insist upon the group playing checkers. Why this absurd policy of no discrimination in admissions by private groups of course is being implemented on campuses is as a hammer to beat groups that do not sign on to the gay rights agenda. This is governmental action engaging in viewpoint discrimination in order to banish from campuses those groups engaging in heretical thoughts.

  • It’s really a messed up case, because on every level, there seems to be a kind of self-contradiction involved.

    I don’t think I agree or understand what you said before, but I agree with this sentence. Whenever one tries to enforce what SCOTUS said in this opinion is a “viewpoint-neutral” outlook, you run into problems once you have conflicting viewpoints. Instead of ditching the whole flawed approach, the majority here tried to argue “this form of discrimination isn’t really discrimination” by pointing out that CLS can exist off campus (which as a college student I can tell you is a waste of time; w/o events on campus and the funding to throw even small lunches, recruitment is difficult to impossible).

  • Says Kennedy, via the Washington Post: “A vibrant dialogue is not possible if students wall themselves off from opposing points of view.”

    Memo to Kennedy – as an American citizen, I have a right not to engage in dialogue. As an American citizen, I have the right to freely associate with whomever I choose. And the students on that campus, a public campus, have those rights as well.

    The right to associate and exclude on the basis of values may be the only thing that prevents radically different groups from going to war with each other. American governments and courts that think they can force everyone to “dialogue” are going to be in for a rude awakening. This isn’t Europe.

  • “A vibrant dialogue is not possible if students wall themselves off from opposing points of view.”

    Kennedy is always good for a bone-headed quote. This one is hilarious for two reasons.

    First, the clear intent of the Hastings Policy is to quash a point of view that the administration of the law school finds distateful by denying the Christian Legal Society recognition.

    Second, if there is any group more cloistered from opposing views than the federal judiciary, with lifetime appointments, I am unaware of it.

  • Henry Karlson wrote: “If CLS has a right to discriminate, why does a university not have that right? To argue in favor of CLS is to argue in favor of the university, as far as I see it. That, I think, is the paradox with this case.”

    This is exactly what my husband said when we discussed it. He’s pretty libertarian in outlook. His argument is that the university can make whatever rules it wants to for official clubs, that the students are still free to do what they want, but if they take the university’s money and free space, then they have to abide by the rules. He says it’s better for them to do so and believe what they want to.

    Things are coming to a head, and I’m afraid that anyone looking for tolerance anywhere is likely to be disappointed.

  • “His argument is that the university can make whatever rules it wants to for official clubs, that the students are still free to do what they want, but if they take the university’s money and free space, then they have to abide by the rules.”

    It should not be the role of any government entity to set the membership policies for private groups. It is of course especially ironic that this attempt to stifle a viewpoint is taking place at a university, a supposed citadel of intellectual liberty. Of course most universities in this country, as demonstrated by repeated attempts to impose speech codes on students, are as enamored of freedom of speech as they are of cutting their budgets to reduce the exorbitant tuition that they charge.

  • The libertarian outlook sees this case as yet another illustration of the need for separation of Schooling and State.

  • It’s really a messed up case, because on every level, there seems to be a kind of self-contradiction involved.-Henry Karlson

    Seems? (Hint: category error.)