By Mary E. Hunt
Kenneth Howell, an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was not rehired for the Fall 2010 semester. He claims that his right to free speech was violated when he taught a course on Catholic theology that included the notion that same-sex relationships are in violation of natural law. He made no secret of the fact that he agreed with the institutional Catholic Church’s teaching and by all reports offered no other Catholic positions on the question.
Predictably, the institutional Church is unhappy, conservative media including the local Fox affiliate are all over the story, and Dr. Howell is being supported in his efforts at redress by the Alliance Defense Fund. The Fund was created in 1994 in response “to the urgent need for the legal defense and advocacy of religious freedom” by religious leaders including Bill Bright, Larry Burkett, and James Dobson, among others. “Their prime concern was the dramatic loss of religious freedom in America’s courts and the resulting challenges to people of faith to live and proclaim the Gospel.” It is a good guess that a court case is in the offing.
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