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Christian College Alum: Fear Motivated Suspension Of My Former Wheaton Professor

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Private, conservative Christian evangelical Wheaton College this week suspended a tenured professor, a Christian, for wearing a hijab in solidarity with Muslims for the attacks they’ve been facing. Larycia Hawkins says Christians and Muslims “worship the same God,” but her employer disagreed. 

In this op-ed, Justin Massey, one of Professor Hawkins’ former students, calls out the school, charging them with putting fear first.

“You have become a rallying cry for justice in a world that continually disenfranchises and neglects the most vulnerable.” 

I privately messaged these words to Dr. Larycia Hawkins, my mentor and former professor at the well-known Evangelical Wheaton College, upon hearing that my alma mater decided to put her on administrative leave. 

https://www.facebook.com/larycia/posts/10153326773658481?pnref=story

Her story has gained traction in the mainstream media recently after she posted a photo of herself (above) wearing a Muslim hijab on Facebook along with a message of solidarity to those of the Islamic faith. In particular, she came under fire by some alumni and the Wheaton College administration for the following statement: “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 College and many who criticize Dr. Hawkins have stated their concern is not with the solidarity she is showing, but rather with her “same God” comment which they consider to be contradictory to the college’s Statement of Faith, even though it is a rather non-controversial belief held by many respected Christian theologians, including Pope Francis, as Dr. Hawkins mentioned.

I, and many students and alumni with me, believe the college’s decision to suspend Dr. Hawkins is about much more than simply their “theological convictions.” Rather, it has everything to do with the fear mongering and tendency to act in a harsh, knee jerk manner that is far too common in conservative circles.

I say this out of more than just speculation. I say this out of experience. I graduated just six short months ago from Wheaton College with an incredible education and great friendships, but also with the lingering pain of the many times I experienced the college’s fear first-hand. As one of the most vocal gay students on campus, my very presence was a source of conflict for the administration who knew my presence and that of my peers meant the reality of angry alumni and a conservative sphere of media were just waiting for them to misstep. I had my integrity, faith and dedication to the community questioned more times than I can count, simply because of the palpable fear-mongering that exist on issues of “political controversy.”

I discuss my personal experience with the conservative culture of fear present within the Wheaton College community to demonstrate that the incident at hand does not exist in isolation. Such fear-based reactions are a trend that are evident both at this individual institution and in broader conservative society, and it’s a tendency that hurts us all.

Dr. Hawkins’ role on campus is far bigger than teaching courses in political science. She has consistently demonstrated herself to be one of the most radically supportive and loving members of the Wheaton community, breathing life and strength into disenfranchised students of all types. For many of us connected to Wheaton College, the administration’s decision to suspend Dr. Hawkins is not just an attack on one member of our community, but rather an attack on all of us who have felt marginalized for intentionally or unintentionally having stepped into a topic or identity deemed “controversial.”

I truly believe the idea I shared with Dr. Larycia Hawkins this morning, that she will quickly become a rallying cry against the culture of fear that stifles the justice we desperately need to see in this country. Wheaton College must act quickly to right this wrong and start to reject the fear that I’ve seen be so destructive to the lives of so many. I am taking a firm stand for justice along with many current students and alumni.

Join us in calling on Wheaton College to apologize and reinstate Dr. Hawkins.

Follow #ReinstateDocHawk on social media, including Twitter and Facebook, and sign the petition.

 

Justin Massey recently graduated from Wheaton College with a B.A. in Political Science. He is a community activist and voice for justice based out of Orange County, California. You can find him on Twitter: @JustinSMassey

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BREAKING NEWS

Highly-Anticipated J6 Committee Hearing Likely Postponed

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Wednesday’s highly-anticipated hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, the first one since July, and possibly the final publicly-televised event, will likely be postponed due to Hurricane Ian which is ravaging Florida.

The Washington Post’s Jacqueline Alemany and Josh Dawsey were the first to report the postponement. MSNBC has confirmed the likely postponement.

No new date has been scheduled yet.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Yes’: GOP Nominee Mastriano Supports Charging Women With Murder if They Have an Abortion After a 6 Week Ban (Audio)

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Pennsylvania’s GOP nominee for governor, state Senator Doug Mastriano, in 2019 said women who violate a bill he sponsored that would ban abortion after six weeks should be charged with murder.

“OK, let’s go back to the basic question there,” Mastriano told Pennsylvania radio station WITF, as NBC News reports. “Is that a human being? Is that a little boy or girl? If it is, it deserves equal protection under the law.”

“Asked if he was saying yes, they should be charged with murder, Mastriano responded: ‘Yes, I am.'”

READ MORE: ‘Seize the Power’: Christian Nationalist Doug Mastriano Prayed MAGA Would ‘Rise Up’ Against the Gov’t on 1/6 (Video)

Mastriano is a conspiracy theorist, election denier, and white Christian nationalist with ties to Gab founder Andrew Torba, an antisemitic Christian nationalist and white supremacist.

Mastriano’s bill would have barred abortions once a so-called “fetal heartbeat” could be detected, NBC News adds, “usually around six weeks,” generally before most women even know they are pregnant.

Mastriano, when confronted, falsely attempted to downplay the ability of a governor to shape laws.

“My views are kind of irrelevant because I cannot rule by fiat or edict or executive order on the issue of life,” Mastriano told the conservative network Real America’s Voice, NBC adds. “It’s up to the people of Pennsylvania. So if Pennsylvanians want exceptions, if they want to limit the number of weeks, it’s going to have to come from your legislative body and then to my desk.”

READ MORE: Watch: Torba Warns GOP to Not ‘Disavow or Condemn Us’ Because ‘Christian Nationalists Are the Republican Party’

Mastriano, endorsed by Trump, is facing Democrat Josh Shapiro, who is leading in the polls.

The New York Times reports Mastriano’s campaign is “sputtering,” and says he “is being heavily outspent by his Democratic rival, has had no television ads on the air since May, has chosen not to interact with the state’s news media in ways that would push his agenda, and trails by double digits in reputable public polling and most private surveys.”

Earlier this month Rolling Stone just days before the January 6 insurrection Mastriano “was video taped leading a group in prayer, asking God that the MAGA movement would overthrow the federal government, praying they would ‘seize the power’ and ‘rise up’ on January 6.”

Listen below or at this link:

 

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CRIME

Trump Mocked for ‘Sidelining’ His New $3 Million Attorney: ‘Must Have Given Him Actual Legal Advice’

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It’s no secret Donald Trump has been virtually unable to hire highly-respected attorneys to defend him in the many legal and civil cases he is facing for a variety of alleged crimes and misdeeds, including his actions surrounding fraudulent efforts to overturn a free and fair election and the January 6 insurrection, his retention and refusal to return hundreds of classified documents, and his alleged real estate and tax fraud cases, and more.

One of the rumored reasons Trump, a former President, has been unable to retain quality legal representation is he “has a long history of allegedly not paying his bills,” as Vanity Fair has noted.

Trump did manage to hire what many consider a qualified and respected attorney for his legal issues surrounding his classified documents case.

READ MORE: ‘Bright-Red, Ear-Splitting Alarm Bell’: Former Top GOP Congressman Blasted for ‘Normalization’ of Fascism (Video)

Chris Kise, the former solicitor general for Florida, agreed to work for Trump but only if he was paid up front.

Thanks to Trump’s massive fundraising operation Kise is being paid millions, effectively by Trump supporters.

Kise is also no longer leading the case.

CNN reports Kise “has been sidelined from the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation less than a month after he was brought on to represent Trump in the matter, two sources familiar with the move tell CNN.”

READ MORE: Embattled Trump-Appointed DHS Inspector Was Given Phones of Secret Service Agents in July, Raising ‘New Questions’: Report

“Kise’s hiring came with an unusual price tag of $3 million, paid for by Trump’s outside spending arm. The retainer fee, paid upfront, raised eyebrows among other lawyers on Trump’s team, given the former President has a developed a reputation for not paying his legal fees.”

Legal experts are mocking Trump for sidelining his top attorney.

“Obviously this means the lawyer must have given Trump actual legal advice,” teased George Conway.

“Which is just RUDE,” replied attorney Ken White.

MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst and anchor Katie Phang asked, “So Kise is a $3 million dollar benchwarmer?”

“Trump is already throwing over Chris Kise after signing a $3M retainer and convincing him to leave Foley & Lardner? That seems … not smart,” says Liz Dye, who writes about law and politics. “Chaos monkey gonna chaos monkey, I guess.”

Dan Berman, CNN Politics managing editor for legal, immigration, and the Supreme Court serves up the perfect headline: “Trump’s 3 Million Dollar Man is sidelined already.”

LA Times columnist Harry Litman, a frequent guest on MSNBC and a former U.S. Attorney offered perhaps the most amusing response:

“The one credible lawyer that Trump has hired in years, Chris Kise, paying $3M up front, now has been demoted and is no longer leading the MAL defense. Must be Trump’s payback for the fix he’s now in w/ Judge Dearie. He thinks he’s Goldfinger/Dr.No but he’s really Austin Powers.”

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