Read the entire post. Then read this and this and this. My thanks to Paul H. for bringing these posts to my attention. Dr. Delaney's post reinforces my impression (vaguely formed as it was) that the news of Dr. Howell's rehiring was simply going to lead, sooner or later, to Dr. Howell being quietly forced out the back door since tossing him out the front door didn't go so well or quietly for the University.
I have not yet had the chance to speak to Ken since the U of I made their offer and I have not heard whether he has accepted it or will accept it. However, it seems obvious to me that even if Ken does teach in the fall, there is no way that he can stay there for very long on a paltry $20k a year. Even if he does choose to accept the resolution, without tenure and without an agreement with the Newman Center, Ken will have no recourse if they simply discontinue his classes without providing him a reason. In any case, it is nearly certain that someone other than Ken will be teaching classes on Catholicism at the U of I in the near future, or as the UI associate chancellor for public affairs called it, “the theory of Catholicism.”
The head of the Religion Department, Robert McKim, made it clear on a number of occasions in the year I was there, that he did not like the arrangement between the U of I and the Newman Center. His preference was that we use the money the Newman Center was paying the faculty toward a Catholic Chair. He and other professors mentioned the type of person they thought should have such a chair. First among the qualifications was someone who was capable of criticizing his faith (is it any wonder why many of my students could not distinguish between critical thinking skills and criticizing things they did not like?).As if to demonstrate what they meant by who should be teaching Catholicism at the U of I, the department invited two “Catholic” scholars in two consecutive years to give their annual “Thulin Lecture on Religion and Contemporary Culture.” Can you guess who their preferred type of Catholic scholars might be?