New York - Wheaton College, a private Christian liberal arts college in Wheaton, Illinois has sanctioned one of its professors for telling her students that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
New York – Wheaton College, a private Christian liberal arts college in Wheaton, Illinois has sanctioned one of its professors for telling her students that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
The Evangelical Protestant college placed Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Larycia Hawkins on a paid administrative leave on December 15 in order to clarify “theological implications of her recent public statements concerning Christianity and Islam,” according to the college’s statement.
“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God,” Dr. Hawkins posted on her Facebook page on December 10.
“I will wear the hijab to work at Wheaton College, to play in Chi-town, in the airport and on the airplane to my home state that initiated one of the first anti-Sharia laws (read: unconstitutional and Islamophobic), and at church,” she added.
College officials considered Professor Larycia’s theological statement as “inconsistent with Wheaton College’s doctrinal convictions, and is in no way related to her race, gender or commitment to wear a hijab during Advent.”
Wheaton College highlighted that “faculty and staff members voluntarily commit to accept and model the Statement of Faith with integrity, compassion and theological clarity,” once they are bound by a contract with the establishment.
“[Dr. Hawkins’] recently expressed views, including that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, appear to be in conflict with the College’s Statement of Faith,” the statement continued.
Following Dr. Hawkins’ social media posts, Wheaton College posted a disclaimer on December 11.
“Some recent faculty statements have generated confusion about complex theological matters, and could be interpreted as failing to reflect the distinctively Christian theological identity of Wheaton College,” the post read.
Two days later, the courageous professor expressed her sentiment through another Facebook post, in which she said, “My wearing of the hijab as an act of advent devotion has certainly caused some to question the sincerity of my devotion.”
“Since I recently embarked on ?#?embodiedsolidarity with women who wear the hijab, I’ve received pushback almost exclusively from other Christians. The pushback has primarily centered on the claim that Christians and Muslims worship the same God,” Dr. Hawkins added.
Her social media claims were in part addressed by Wheaton College in an updated statement by its President Dr. Philip Ryken who assured that the institution, “has no stated position on the wearing of headscarves as a gesture of care and concern for those in Muslim or other religious communities that may face discrimination or persecution.”
Meanwhile, dozens of social media users have left messages of admiration, encouragement, love and support on her Facebook posts.
“There are few I respect more than you, Dr. Hawkins. Thanks for challenging me to think more seriously about how to be – and not merely act – Christian at a time when fear has gripped too many of us,” Stephen Scheidell wrote.
“To my wonderful mentor who has taught me so much about what it means to honestly and fiercely love others I join you in solidarity for this advent season,” Alyssa Phillips, said with a photo of her wearing a hijab.
Professor Larycia continues under disciplinary action and Wheaton College has not yet revealed for how long or if there will be other consequences to her standing up for her beliefs.