Wheaton prof suspended for claiming Muslims and Christians worship the same God

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Dr. Larycia Hawkins in a hijab | From Hawkins's Facebook page (http://on.fb.me/1YkQR0n)

Dr. Larycia Hawkins in a hijab | From Hawkins's Facebook page (http://on.fb.me/1YkQR0n)

Dr. Larycia Hawkins in a hijab | From Hawkins's Facebook page (http://on.fb.me/1YkQR0n)

Dr. Larycia Hawkins in a hijab | From Hawkins’s Facebook page (http://on.fb.me/1YkQR0n)

She was trying to act “in religious solidarity with Muslims,” but a political science professor at Wheaton College in suburban Chicago was recently placed on administrative leave by her employer while they review the “theological implications” of what Dr. Larycia Hawkins posted on social media.

Hawkins, who has been on Wheaton’s faculty since 2007, donned a hijab (the head covering typically worn by Muslim women) and posted pictures on Facebook last week, where she wrote:

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 time when Muslim Americans are facing intense scrutiny, Hawkins is seeking to be empathetic. “[I]f all women wear the hijab we cannot discriminate,” she told the Chicago Tribune. “If all women were in solidarity, who is the real Muslim? How is TSA going to decide who they really suspect?” In a follow-up to her original Facebook post, Hawkins cited an article by theologian and Yale professor Miroslav Volf in which he wrote that the God of the Bible and the God of the Quran are “one God, albeit differently understood.” Volf gave a talk entitled “Allah: A Christian Response” at Wheaton back in 2011.

On the heels of an open letter from Wheaton College students denouncing remarks by Liberty University president Jerry Falwell, Jr., the administration at Wheaton is surely on high alert about its perception in the public eye. Students are gathering support to protest the decision to suspend Dr. Hawkins, who continues to wear the hijab during her suspension.

Hawkins’s position as a tenured professor guarantees her the right to a “full review,” although Wheaton has not released details about how or when that will happen. Wheaton, an evangelical college known for producing alumni like Billy Graham and Dennis Hastert, requires professors to act in accordance with their Statement of Faith, which asserts a belief in “one sovereign God, eternally existing in three persons.”

  • Larry

    Its about time we just drop the pretense that “Christian” colleges have any aspirations as being centers of higher learning with any form of academic standards and just admit they are finishing schools for fundamentalists.

    Madrassas by another name.

  • Daniel

    All religions are equal in their propositions, in that they all invoke that which can neither be tested or observed. But that they are equal in their propositions does not make them equal in their practice.
    I applaud Wheaton College for rightfully challenging the assertion that American christendom in any way resembles islam in its practice, so much that ANY show of solidarity is warranted or welcomed in liberalized Western Civilization….let alone on the campus of a PRIVATE christian university residing in that civilization.
    Stand up for yourselves, christians.
    -your friendly atheist

  • Tom Sporman

    Friends; I worship the God of Abraham, the God I Issac, t h e. God of Jacob…The Lord…the Abba of Jesus….not the Master of some Semetic tribes.Peace

  • Larry

    “not the Master of some Semetic tribes”

    Like the semitic tribes of the Israelites? 🙂

    By that token, Christians really ought to stop using the term Judeo-Christian.

    Their belief has nothing to do with Judaism as it is practiced and believed.

    As with Muslims and the Bible, Christians may refer to the same text as the Jews, but they interpret it in such a different way that it must be distinguished.

  • Larry

    You have presidential candidates who are declaring that all laws must conform to the teachings of the Christian Bible. Who claim their religious beliefs are more important than civil liberties of others. The only difference between them and Islamicists is how much political power they are given. All fundamentalism is abusive, destructive and potentially violent in nature.

    Anyone claiming Christianity is any way the calmer or less violent religion is simply an apologetic, ignorant or a flat out l1ar. The only reason Christian fundamentalists are far more reined in than their Islamic counterparts is because of the power and popularity of secularism (something both groups despise). The idea that religious beliefs are personal in nature and should never be entangled with the apparatus of government.

  • JEB

    On her Facebook post the following statement is made–“Whether or not you find this position, one held for centuries by countless Christians (church fathers, saints, and regular Christian folk like me), to be valid. . .” This statement is not true, as the Church Fathers and saints that I know of did NOT believe that the Muslim god and the Christian God were the same. John of Damascus (died 749) wrote that Islam was a Christian Heresy, specifically because their doctrine proclaimed a different god. Google John of Damascus and Islam for quotes.

  • Daniel

    Where I live, I can walk my dog passed 5 churches in 5 minutes. To say I am surrounded by christians is an understatement. I don’t live in the buckle of the bible belt either…I’m in “godless liberal” Seattle.
    …and everyday I wake up and there is still separation of church and state, as it has been my whole life.
    Here’s what I know…if all those churches were suddenly mosques, there would be no separation of church and state, islam would be wielded with the force of law and people like me wouldn’t be walking our dogs…we’d either be fighting for our lives, running for our lives…or dead. Much as it is in the majority of the islamic world.
    This factual assertion is the result of direct observation of what is actually happening right now all over the islamic world.
    The fact that you don’t see this or wont see it, invalidates your comment altogether.

  • larry

    And you can thank our secular government as well as being the refuge for millions of people who had fled sectarian conflicts all over the globe for that. The last sectarian conflict between Christians didn’t end until only 20 years ago. Christians were always killing Christians (of a different stripe than their own) almost from the inception of the faith.

    I live in a neighborhood of Northern New Jersey with a high concentration of mosques and Muslims. Guess what? Nobody is calling for Sharia Law, separation of church and state is alive and well and there is plenty of people walking their dogs. Churches, mosques and synagogues are within walking distance of each other.

    The majority of the Muslim world are dictatorships. Regimes which use religion to solidify power. In the past most of those governments were secular nationalists, even radicals.

    But why show some knowledge of conditions when you can just make an ignorant bigoted generalization and blame everything on that?

  • tommetzger

    Are spook wars far behind right here in the USA?Christ insanity VS Moslem insanity.

  • Daniel

    Christians have made up the majority of the electorate in America, if separation of church and state still exists, it’s because christians have participated in the idea of maintaining it, not because of government and certainly not because of the atheists like me. (there just aren’t enough of me to make an electoral difference)
    The only reason why muslims in America are docile is because of their stark minority status. (and the Second Amendment) Other comparable European Societies haven’t be so lucky. They are calling for sharia law and they are backing it up with, you guessed it…violence.
    Like in January, when islamists ran through the streets of Paris waving the black flag of jihad shouting “death to jews”. 7000 jews fled France in 2014 and double the number is expected for 2015. Clearly observable and predictable outcomes.
    So when the jews aren’t running for their lives from Europe (again) I will consider your words.
    Either you didn’t see that, or you just don’t see…

  • John

    It is fashionable today to stand in unity against a common enemy – terrorism. But we risk sliding too much into compromise to show our unity on warranted issues. Still, we do not worship the same God as Islam and the reason is the person and work of Jesus Christ. These two religions have quite different interpretations of who Jesus Christ was and is, and if Jesus is God, then we are not worshipping the same God. Christianity rests fully on Jesus Christ. Such is not the case with Islam. These differences matter greatly and must be kept as foundational and uncompromised. We can still stand in unity with Islam against terror and violence, but we needn’t declare that we worship the same God to get more respect. If that is what it takes to find acceptance in the culture, then we should prepare for criticism because the differences are it.

  • larry

    You are dealing in nothing more than overgeneralization. If a person raised as a Christian does something, it must be attributed to the entire faith. It’s nonsense.

    Plenty of “Bible believing Christians” have no regard for religious freedom. There is nothing inherent to the faith which extols such things.

    Muslims are calm in this country because they are free and are not subject to the kind of institutionalized sectarian bigotry you see in other developed countries. The french and most continental Europeans treat Muslims like garbage. Muslim neighborhoods there are ghettos. In the US, they are middle class enclaves for the most part.

    Downtown Brooklyn and Elizabeth NJ have large Orthodox Jewish and Muslim population almost side by side. The biggest fear there is gentrification, not sectarian conflict.

    What you are theorizing based on what you see on TV is nowhere close to the reality on the ground here.

  • Ben in oakland

    Actually, the Midianite Storm God formerly known as El was in fact the Storm God of all the Semitic tribes. El became El, Elohim, allah, and shows up in names like Micha-el, Isra-el, and Rafa-el.

    So you do indeed have the master of all of the Semitic tribes. Wikipedia will give you a good synopsis of the actual history.

  • Ben in oakland

    So, if you don’t worship the same God, is one of you lying when you clai to have the one true faith?

  • Tom

    In point of theological, and historical recorded data….the 12 disparate clans of YAHWEH(I Am) never used el, or ael, or Bael to address a “Personal
    ..”El shadia(sp)., Elohem are translated in Hebrew as the Lord, the un-nameable “I Am”.
    As for Wikipedia; I’m a Encyclopedia Britannica man myself.✌ Tom

  • Susan

    It is mind boggling that the administration and faculty of a Christian institution of learning are this ignorant of something this fundamental.

    Yes, Jews, Christians, and Muslims all recognize the same God, the God of Abraham. This is why they are all called Abrahamic religions.

    You see, oh administrators of Wheaton College, there are a lot of different languages in the world, and each language has a different word for the God of Abraham recognized and worshipped by Jews, Christians and Muslims. In English the word is God, in German it is Gott, in French it is Dieu, in Farsi it is Khoda, and in Arabic it is Allah.

    So, what word do you suppose Arabic-speaking Christians use when they refer to God? Yes, very good, they use the word Allah. And you know what? When Christians pray in Arabic, or read Arabic translations of the Bible they use the Arabic word for God. Yes, they pray to Allah.

    Allah is God. God is Allah. Get over it.

  • John

    And Jesus declared he was that God of Abraham, so what does Islam and Judaism say about Jesus Christ? The answer is rather important and distinguishing.

  • Larry

    Islam and Judaism are a lot closer to each other than they are to Christianity in terms of practices and theology.

    Both Judaism and Islam refrain from the worship of individuals. Since neither religion venerates people to superhuman status, Neither consider him to be more than a teacher who had some nice things to say once in a while.

    Mohamed is not considered some form of divine being like Jesus, nor are any prophets/patriarchs of the Old Testament treated in such a way by Jews.

    Fundamental prayers of both Judaism and Islam are very similar to each other and unlike Christian ones. (The Shahada and The Shema)
    “There is no God but God and Mohammed is his messenger”
    “Here O’ Israel the Lord is our God, the Lord is One”

    A singular God to be worshiped. Both religions claiming ownership of that God.

    Saying Abrahamic religions worship the same God is a courtesy. All three religions are exclusionary in nature, but many people still want to do interfaith actions.

  • Thomas Sporman

    Comment is ‘right on

  • The God of Christians has a Son who died on a cross and rose again. The Allah of Islam has no son. Their Jesus did not die on a cross or rise from the dead. The God of the Christians was a Jewish carpenter. The Allah of Islam calls for the annihilation of Jews and Christians and all other non-Muslims. The God of Christians says to turn the other cheek. The Allah of Islam calls for Jihad. The God of Christians is a Godhead comprised of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Islam, to believe that is shirk — a sin so great that it condemns you to hell for eternity. The God of Christians cannot lie. The God of Muslims is the greatest of all deceivers. The woman should go to Mecca and declare that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. She would soon have a meeting in the public square with an executioner.

  • I should add one more thing. In the Bible, the greatest of all deceivers is Satan. Yet, as I said earlier, in the Qur’an, the greatest of all deceivers is Allah.

    It’s not the same God. The woman should work for CAIR — not Wheaton College.

    Please see “What Every Christian Needs to Know About Islam” by David Wood. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKKNJ9tjo4Q