February 2016 Church & State - February 2016

Ill. College Suspends Professor For Islam Remarks

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Wheaton College has begun proceedings to fire a tenured political science professor for her views on Islam. Dr. Larycia Hawkins wore a hijab as a demonstration of support for Muslims and said in a Facebook post that Muslims and Christians “worship the same God.”

“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book,” Hawkins wrote on her Facebook page. “And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”

Hawkins has insisted that her remarks fall well within Christian orthodoxy and that Christian scholars have acknowledged for centuries that Islam and Christianity share certain beliefs in common. But the Illinois-based evangelical college disagrees.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Wheaton officials claim Hawkins should have explained that Islam and Christianity are distinct faiths. They say her assertion deviated from the school’s theological commitments. The college initially suspended her for a semester and asked her to reaffirm its doctrinal statement but now says it is unsatisfied with her doctrinal justifications for her remarks.

“While Islam and Christianity are both monotheistic, we believe there are fundamental differences between the two faiths, including what they teach about God’s revelation to humanity, the nature of God, the path to salvation and the life of prayer,” the college said at the time.

Wheaton College is a private Christian institution, but it receives public funding from the federal government in the form of Pell grants.

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