The abandonment of truth by universities of whatever type affects the culture. As relativism and agnosticism filter into that culture from the universities, religion is privatized as non-rational...[and] relativism takes over with an 'I'm aboard, pull up the gangplank' individualism. -Charles E. Rice, professor emeritus of law at the University of Notre Dame, from his book, What Happened to Notre Dame?
Relativism, ...allowing oneself to be carried along with every wind of 'doctrine,' seems to be the only attitude that is fashionable. A dictatorship of relativism is being constituted that recognizes nothing as absolute and which only leaves the 'I' and its whims as the ultimate measure. -Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, in his homily just before his election as Pope Benedict XVI, April 18, 2005
Chancellor Robert Easter
University of Illinois
Dear Chancellor Easter,
Chancelor Easter, I think you'll also find it ironic that Dr. Howell, after stating the Catholic view on homosexuality, then immediately states that while the love-the-sinner-but-hate-the-sin philosophy should be "obvious to the right thinking person, I have encountered many well-educated people who do not or cannot make this distinction." For after reading both the student’s and Dr. Howell's e-mails, this is precisely what your colleague, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Ann Mester, does, declaring that [Dr. Howell's] "e-mails violate university standards of inclusivity which entitle us to have him discontinue his teaching arrangement with us." To translate Ann's political-speak, a guy who taught religion at the University of Illinois since 2001 was fired right out from under you, and it's time to intervene.
Indeed, Chancellor Easter, almost everything about this case feels ironic, starting with your rather Christian-sounding last name to the fact "Anonymous" ended his "why Illinois should be a pro gay-sex university" e-mail by stating, "I didn't go to Notre Dame for a reason." For as a graduate of Notre Dame, I would be the first to tell you that Notre Dame is not the great promoter of Catholicism it once was. But at least Notre Dame still allows Catholicism to be one of many philosophies taught, whereas (if this firing stands) U of I will become a place where Catholicism is the one thing that cannot be taught. For do you really believe, Robert, that your underlings would have fired a Muslim (who has a similar stance on homosexuality) for teaching this fact in a course entitled "Introduction to Islam?" Or even a Latter Day Saint teaching Mormonism who still endorsed polygamy? Either Howell is allowed to stay, the Religious Studies Department should be dropped all together, or all the courses should be taught by mocking gay agnostics that consider each creed an equal load of crap.
Which brings us back to what the big "I" now stands for. My cynical friends suggest "Ignorant" or "Idiots," but that would be too easy. I'm sure many PC Illini staff would like it to stand for "Inclusive," but after reading the University's "Inclusive Illinois" pledge, "...I will encourage the expression of different voices, perspectives, ideas / I will challenge my own beliefs, opinions and viewpoints," it's obvious this decision would throw "Inclusive Illinois" out the window; you'd either have to ditch this dogma or be accused of both idiocracy and hypocracy. No, the "I" now stands for exactly that, only "me" and what "I" want and the hell with anyone else. As Pope Benedict says, by always deciding in favor of what is fashionable, there is no room left to consider any Truth as absolute, and a religion that says you must die to yourself and live for others appears so queer (the old definition!) to those outside it that it must be considered hateful. And so I once again ask you, Chancellor Easter, to weigh the case of Dr. Kenneth Howell very carefully, for the fate of the "I" is now in your hands. Yes, your predecessor decided against "The Chief," but there is One greater than "The Chief" at stake now.
P.S. Now that the Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup, do you think that Native American mascots are "in" again in Illinois?