I disagree that it was hate speech; the school was not justified in firing him. My understanding of hate speech is that the individual(s) to whom it is directed feel threatened in some way. Well, I'm pretty sure that most people know what the Catholic church's teaching on homosexuality is; whether you agree with it is irrelevant.
Furthermore, it sounds to me that the class in question is most likely elective, unless it's required for a Theology major, in which case students need to be open and tolerant of opposing points of view.
I wouldn't say he should have been fired but someone should have at least explained good classroom etiquette to him. People go to class to learn and should not have to worry about their instructor judging them over sexual preference. What he did was inappropriate and in poor taste.
As for this part of the article...
"Natural Moral Law says that Morality must be a response to REALITY,"
That doesn't even make sense to me, morality is subjective.
Howell, who taught Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought, says he was fired at the end of the spring semester after sending an e-mail explaining some Catholic beliefs to his students preparing for an exam. "Natural Moral Law says that Morality must be a response to REALITY," he wrote in the e-mail. "In other words, sexual acts are only appropriate for people who are complementary, not the same."
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."
I don't see where he said that about the natural law. He just said appropriate. So they fired him for have old-fashioned values and letting one slip?
Honestly, I'm not here to judge anyone, but they fired a guy for having integrity toward the subject he's teaching? Maybe they were just looking for an excuse. Did they get rid of the whole class or was it just the teacher?
This is hate speech but the rest of the bible isn't? What did they expect from someone teaching a class on Catholicism? Have they not checked the Vatican's position on homosexuality in the last 2000 years?
The most frequent reason I hear people supporting same-sex marriage is that they know some gay couples or individuals. Empathy is a noble human quality but right or wrong does not depend on who is doing the action or on how I feel about those people, just as judging an action wrong should not depend on disliking someone. This might seem obvious to a right thinking person but I have encountered many well-educated people who do not (or cannot?) make the distinction between persons and acts when engaging moral reasoning.
Not only does he not understand homosexuality at all, but imagine if he'd said that about any other minority. He'd have been blacklisted and would never work at a well regarded university again. But because he used a large institution's doctrine (religion) to cover his own bigotry, suddenly he's a martyr.
If a professor in any field required their students to believe what they did it would be grounds for firing. That's like saying "Well I didn't require my students to sleep with me for a better grade so I did nothing wrong." They still had to learn the beliefs and be able to repeat them for a grade. Then again, I don't see why anyone's shocked by hate speech showing up in a theological class.
I thought we were all about being torrent of other beliefs?