Thursday, December 17, 2015

Wheaton College Suspends Prof Over Statement In Solidarity With Muslims

Religion News Service yesterday reported on the controversy at Christian-affiliated Wheaton College which has placed political science professor Larycia Hawkins on administrative leave for a statement she made expressing solidarity with Muslims.  Hawkins, an Episcopalian, decided to wear a hijab during the Advent season leading up to Christmas as a statement of solidarity.  But the statement that potentially placed her job in jeopardy was a Facebook post reading:
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.
In a press release Tuesday, the Wheaton College administration said:
In response to significant questions regarding the theological implications of statements that Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Larycia Hawkins has made about the relationship of Christianity to Islam, Wheaton College has placed her on administrative leave, pending the full review to which she is entitled as a tenured faculty member.
Wheaton College faculty and staff make a commitment to accept and model our institution's faith foundations with integrity, compassion and theological clarity. As they participate in various causes, it is essential that faculty and staff engage in and speak about public issues in ways that faithfully represent the College's evangelical Statement of Faith.
Historically Wheaton College, located in Illinois, while evangelical has not been fundamentalist in its outlook.  However the school has been one of the religious institutions at the center of the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate controversy. (See prior posting.)