CHICAGO (CBS) — A defiant Wheaton College professor facing termination for stating Christians and Muslims worship the same God answered her critics Wednesday, and questioned whether the school is living up to its own Christian mission.
Larycia Hawkins, a tenured associate professor of political science who wore a hijab during Advent as a show of support for Muslims, was suspended last month after posting a message on Facebook explaining her decision to wear the hijab.
“I love my Muslim neighbor because s/he deserves love by virtue of her/his human dignity. I stand in human solidarity with my Muslim neighbor because we are formed of the same primordial clay, descendants of the same cradle of humankind–a cave in Sterkfontein, South Africa that I had the privilege to descend into to plumb the depths of our common humanity in 2014,” she wrote. “They, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”
The school has said it did not suspend her for wearing a hijab, but due 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.”
Hawkins said if she’s fired for her comments, then no one in academia is safe.
“Wheaton College will never hear me disavow my religious family tree. That would be the height of academic dishonesty,” she said. “Wheaton College will never induce me to kowtow to their double speak concerning the statement of faith so as to appease an imaginary constituency that clearly knows little about what academic freedom or Christian love mean.”