The University of Illinois says that Catholic professor Ken Howell can return this fall to teach courses on Catholicism; he had been fired for telling a student in an e-mail what the Catholic Church teaches about homosexuality. However, instead of being paid by the Diocese of Peoria, the University will pay his salary.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments as follows:

The University of Illinois made the right decision to reverse the earlier ruling that stripped Ken Howell of his adjunct position. Regarding the termination of the arrangement with the Diocese of Peoria, a plausible case can be made that it was time to reassess this relationship. But this issue is not entirely over.

A faculty committee has yet to rule on issues that are central to academic freedom. More important, at least in the long run, is the matter of religious freedom. To be specific, what right does an institution of higher education have in encroaching on the religious beliefs of administrators, faculty and students? This is especially relevant today given the tendency on many college campuses to pressure Christians into adopting a radical secular mindset on homosexuality.

Notwithstanding our reservations, this is a good day for the University of Illinois, and it is an even better one for people of faith, especially Catholics. We are glad we offered our assistance to Professor Howell; we certainly wish him all the best.

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