Wheaton College, an evangelical college in Illinois, is planning to fire Larycia Hawkins, an associate professor of political science, because she posted her opinion on facebook, that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. I think the famous German philosopher and writer Gotthold E.Lessing of the 18. century would have no chance at this college. He lived in the age of enlightenment and he wrote the play Nathan the Wise. It describes how the wise Jew Nathan bridges the gaps between Judaism, Islam and Christianity. It major themes are friendship, tolerance, relativism of God and a need for communication.
In spite of the fact, that I live in Germany far away from Illinois, I feel obliged for three reasons to comment, what’s going on at Wheaton College.
At first it’s a matter of freedom of speech and opinion. I appreciate it’s an evangelical college and they want to have Christians in their staff, but Larycia Hawkins is. She agrees with the Statement of Faith of the college. It is only questionable whether she interpreted it in the same way as the management of the college. But with all respect she is a professor for political science not for theology.
At second it is a question of peace and understanding between religions. Christianity and Islam are the biggest monotheistic religions. They should not look, what does seperate them, but what does connect them. Reconcile and do not cleave.
My third point is anti-racism. I know, the board of the college denies, that the whole thing has anything to do with her skin color. But I can’t help, I have to ask, do you really think, all would be the same, if Larycia Hawkins wouldn’t be black but white.
Finally I quote Dr. Hawkins: “ Wheaton College cannot scare me away from the truth, that all humans – Muslims, the vulnerable, the depressed of any ilk- are all my sisters and brothers, and I am called by Jesus to walk with them.“
Larycia, walk on. I am in solidarity with you!