Christian conservatives should not be shy about standing up for Wheaton College right now. It is getting attacked after putting Professor Larycia Hawkins on leave. The public relations campaign waged on Larycia Hawkins’ behalf would have you believe she was put on leave for pledging solidarity with muslims. That is simply not true.
Professor Hawkins put on a veil, took a picture, and announced on Facebook that she would wear it and encourage others to in order to show her support for peaceful muslims.
Had she stopped there, nothing would have been wrong other than her inflated sense of purpose in doing something silly. But she went beyond that.
Her statement on Facebook included this:
I love my Muslim neighbor because s/he deserves love by virtue of her/his human dignity,” she wrote in the Dec. 10 post, alongside photos of herself wearing the veil. “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.
Wheaton is an evagelical Christian college and expects its faculty to adhere to its faith standards, including Biblical standards. Muslims are not “people of the book” in common understanding among evangelicals, though they do descend from Abraham. They do not worship the same God. According to Islam, Allah neither begets nor is begotten — a line explicitly rejecting the trinity.
Professor Hawkins and her supporters may wish to distract or may not even care, but Wheaton sets its hiring standards and requires fidelity to the Bible. Professor Hawkins’ statement suggests a theological diversion not in keeping with Wheaton’s standards.
Again, she was not put on leave for showing solidarity with muslims. She was put on leave for bad theology at a college that expects its faculty to have good theology.