A professor at the University of Illinois has been fired for teaching Catholic doctrine in a class about Catholic doctrine and was subsequently accused by a student of engaging in hate speech.
Dr. Ken Howell has been on faculty at the university for nine years. He was removed from the classroom after he told students that he agreed with the Catholic Church's teaching that homosexual sex is immoral.
"The facts are quite simple," said attorney Travis Barham. "Dr. Howell has been relieved because he taught Catholic doctrine in a class about Catholic doctrine." Barham is with Alliance Defense Fund and will be representing the fired professor.
"As absurd as it sounds, those are the facts," Barham told FOX News Radio. "This should be disturbing not just for Catholics or Evangelicals, but for everyone who cares about free speech."
The university declined to comment because his firing is a personnel issue, according to a report in the Associated Press. The student who had a friend file the complaint has remained anonymous.
Barham said the university cannot censor a professor's speech just because someone finds it offensive.
"It's profoundly disturbing you have a professor who was removed from the classroom because someone found his speech offensive," Barham said.
Howell's firing has generated outrage on campus and among the nation's Catholics.
"Codes of academic freedom were written expressly to combat abuses like this, and that is why this case must be taken very seriously," said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League. "He was fired for his religious viewpoint, an unacceptable reason that will not stand up in court."