Why Did Wheaton Fire Larycia Hawkins?

Did you hear the news yet?  According to Christianity Today, Wheaton College in Illinois has begun termination proceedings against tenured political science Professor Larycia Hawkins.

HNN article Larycia Hawkins

All the news that about the old…

Why?  For explanations from Professor Hawkins and Wheaton College, take a look at the Christianity Today piece.

But for historical context, check out my essay at History News Network.  In short, I argue that this kind of faculty uber-supervision is par for the course at evangelical colleges, even elite ones such as Wheaton.

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  1. Well yes it is par for the course. Who is surprised?

    There is some important context to note. Hawkins has been called on the carpet three times previously for saying positive things about black liberation theology (considered “Marxist” by some), for suggested changes to the language about sexuality used in the school’s conduct code, and for appearing in photos on Facebook at a party possibly related to Chicago’s gay pride celebration.

    Also, in 2008 Wheaton’s president and provost signed onto — and then “unsigned” — a Christian-Muslim cooperative statement called “Loving God and Neighbor Together.” The statement was also endorsed by Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, NAE president Leith Anderson, YWAMission chairman Lynn Green, Greg Livingstone, Miroslav Volf, John Stott, and CT Media editor-in-chief David Neff. After Al Mohler, pastor John Piper, and Focus on the Family denounced this, the Wheaton pres and provost changed their minds, as did the college chaplain. Only the director of Muslim Ministries at the Billy Graham Center kept his signature on the document.

    When my alma mater joined the CCCU in the mid 1990s it was given some grief by the organization when they discovered Jewish members of the law school faculty. I’m pretty sure the university had Muslim and Hindu faculty too. They definitely had atheist or agnostic faculty members plus the semi-closeted gay faculty that exist everywhere. It was not a problem, nobody made an issue of it, and nobody cared. I can’t imagine it being controversial on that campus to suggest that everyone respected religion and theistic belief in general, or that the vast majority of the diversely religious members of the community intended the same thing in their notion of God. This sounds far too hazy and “liberal” to conservative dogmatists, but it seemed like a very positive situation at a very conservative, very free-will Baptist school that seemed to reach a decent, minimally sectarian identity in the later 1980s. It’s also an extraordinarily divers and international school whose student social media discourse during the Ferguson riots was uplifting. (I made a point then of looking at how students at a variety of colleges were responding to the riots.) The same was not true for some of the best known CCCU members who are known for throwing people under the bus to protect the integrity of their communities. I would suggest that approach does not work and is counterproductive.

  1. Wheaton College — shame on you | The Heretical Philosopher

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