Scripture and Church Doctrine
in the Academic
of the Storm
The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
vs. Professor Ken Howell,
the Federalist Papers, Scholarship,
see here ... despite
what James Madison stated in the Federalist Papers
1, I wish to believe otherwise,
and in fact hold it to be not only an effrontery to me were I a pacifist,
but in and of itself an incitement to violence — and must, therefore,
be deemed “hate speech” specifically directed against pacifists. I demand
that we amend the Federalist Papers to reflect this by either
omitting the text or revising it to accommodate pacifists. That failing,
I demand any course on the Federalist Papers be removed from the curricula,
or so taught as to omit or revise this statement, among others, which
I, together with the pacifist community, construe as hate-speech offensive
The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign appears
to side with me against Madison, the Founding Fathers, and the Constitution
itself. What is more, any professors of Law who, “violate
university standards of inclusivity”, will be summarily terminated
for any breach of this standard that supersedes every other standard
including truth and scholarly objectivity — even if
the university's Academic Staff Handbook states that faculty "are entitled
to freedom in the classroom in developing and discussing according to
their areas of competence the subjects that they are assigned."
Any takers for a degree in Constitutional
Law from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign?
There is a queer, if consistent resonance
between the above two paragraphs — and the university's firing of Professor
Ken Howell who was brought on board to teach Introduction to Catholicism
and Modern Catholic Thought — only to be dismissed for doing so:
“My responsibility on teaching
a class on Catholicism is to teach what the Catholic Church teaches,”
Howell said in an interview with The News-Gazette in Champaign.
“I have always made it very, very clear to my students they are
never required to believe what I’m teaching and they'll never be
judged on that.” 2
The reason for his summary dismissal?
He taught authentic Catholic doctrine concerning homosexual activity
as intrinsically sinful and disordered — a 2000 year old doctrine —
that offended the “sensitivities” of a homosexual student:
“An unidentified student sent an
e-mail to religion department head Robert McKim on May 13,
calling Howell’s e-mail "hate speech.” The student claimed
to be a friend of the offended student. The writer said in the e-mail
that his friend wanted to remain anonymous...“Teaching a student
about the tenets of a religion is one thing,” the student wrote.
“Declaring that homosexual acts violate the natural laws of man
is another.” ... Ann Mester, an associate dean at the College of
Liberal Arts and Sciences, said Howell’s e-mail justified his firing.”
This is both troubling and frightening.
Not only does it violate the free and critical examination and
exchange of ideas upon which the enterprise of higher education is presumably
predicated — as distinct from indoctrination, or the promotion of “acceptable
ideas” — but it makes ideological coercion a matter of
policy. In other words, the coupling of ideology with policy
supersedes the primacy of education, co-opts it, eventually supplants
it, and then rigorously enforces it. Education, in a word, is the extension
of ideology, and ceases to be the free and critical assessment of ideas.
The distinction between ideas and ideology is more than
morphological — it is stringently punitive. Associate Dean Ann Mester,
for one, is clearly an advocate of this rigorous enforcement.
What is more, if the University of Illinois
at Urbana–Champaign's principal focus — as an institution of higher
learning — is enforcing “standards of inclusivity” to
the exclusion of historical and objective truth and refuses
to teach what is in fact the case, and not what it would prefer
the case to be, then its academic credentials are worthless and
the diplomas it grants (at least vis-ŕ-vis the world of actual scholarship)
are so many pieces of toilet tissue on a single ply roll at about $25,000
per sheet. We hope the analogy does not make you flush ...
This, at least, is the background for the actual
state of affairs — rather than the state of affairs that we would
prefer to be the case. We ourselves would that the University
of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign turn out scholars rather than ideologues,
that a genuine correspondence exist between “learning” and primary sources,
and that facts superseded sensitivities. But what we wish were the
case really doesn't matter, does it? After all, we are not employees
of the university, and are exempt from fictions-by-policy.
Sacred Scripture and Church
Doctrine as “Hate Speech”
The most urgent question at hand is this:
does, in fact, the enunciation of an historical or even a hypothetical
doctrine (ecclesiastical or otherwise) which conflicts with my sensitivities
and personal beliefs eo ipso constitute “hate-speech” because
it does not accord with my own sensitivities or beliefs?
Of course I am free to believe that the 19th
Amendment 3 infringes on my sovereignty as a male. I may
insist that it displeases me, and that its legislative articulation
implicitly makes me a "male chauvinist" with all the negative connotations
and social sanctions that attend it. Shall I then insist that
the 19th Amendment never be invoked in a scholarly inquiry into Constitutional
Amendments? Do I have the right — by “standards of inclusivity” — to
demand that the Amendment be amended to accommodate my sensitivities
as a male? Or that failing, demand that the 19th Amendment be expunged
from any study of Constitutional Law? Shall I deem the primary source
“hate speech” because it implicitly disapproves of (and legally infringes
upon) my presumed male chauvinism? Is the Constitution itself implicitly
a body of “hate-speech”?
That the Catholic Church and Sacred Scripture teach
that homosexual acts are intrinsically and gravely sinful in all circumstances
and at all times is a teaching with an historical continuity of 2000
years is incontestable. If you dispute this, we suggest that you return
to primary sources” (e.g. Sacred Scripture, and authentic Catholic
teaching) that have apparently been concealed from you “by policy”.
Of course you are free to believe that Holy Scripture and Catholic
Doctrine do not teach this. You are also free to believe that the Moon
is made of Green Cheese. Neither, however, are corroborated by primary
sources. It may enrage you that astronomical research and empirical
evidence reveal that the Moon is composed of basalt rock and other minerals
rather than Green Cheese. It infringes upon your illusions and “damages”
your childish imagination — so much so, that you go to the head of the
Physics Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
and proclaim your indignation and your insistence that such things,
damaging to your sensitivity and that of others who choose to believe
that the Moon is made of Green Cheese, be excluded from study, and that
any faculty member who indulges in primary sources be dismissed for
transgressing “standards of inclusivity”.
In the real world (that is to say, the world outside
the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign — and other green-clad
pretensions to disinterested learning), you would be dismissed
as cognitively-impaired and quite possibly insane. But at the Illinois
at Urbana–Champaign, your "sensitivities” — not your academic aptitude
— would prevail, and any study of the Moon would systematically exclude
any suggestion that its composition is anything other than Green Cheese.
Of course you can believe what you wish, — but wishing it does
not make it so.
Any volunteers for the next Space Shuttle with a graduate
in Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign behind
the Cheese Wheel?
Geoffrey K. Mondello
for the Boston Catholic Journal
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“Is the power of
declaring war necessary? No man will answer this question in the
negative. It would be superfluous, therefore, to enter into a proof
of the affirmative.” James Madison, Federalist Papers No.
3 “The right of citizens of the United
States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States
or by any State on account of sex.” (19th Amendment.)