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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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Fulton County DA Slams Lindsey Graham’s Efforts to Avoid Testifying: Causing ‘Substantial Injury’ to Grand Jury

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Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis is punching back hard at U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s efforts to avoid testifying to the Special Purpose Grand Jury (SPGJ) investigating efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Politico’s Kyle Cheney points to a new court filing in which Willis urges the judge to not indulge Graham’s efforts to delay.

A stay would “significantly harm” and “result in substantial injury to the Special Purpose Grand Jury,” Willis warns. She calls Graham’s testimony “crucial,” and notes that Graham has already delayed the grand jury’s work by six weeks by filing motions in “three separate jurisdictions.”

READ MORE: Georgia DA Says ‘Possible’ Trump Could Be Subpoenaed, Lindsey Graham ‘Doesn’t Understand Seriousness’ of Investigation

Granting Graham’s request “will ensure that the Senator’s involvement with the SPGJ will not be resolved for months.”

She notes on Monday U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May denied Graham’s attempt to delay his testimony, but on Wednesday Graham filed an emergency motion to get the court to grant his request.

In her conclusion she eloquently reminds Sen. Graham and the judge what the law is about.

“Senator Graham insists that he seeks to delay his appearance before the Special Purpose Grand Jury not just for his own sake, but also for the sake of the separation of powers, federalism, and ‘for the People,'” Willis writes. “The Special Purpose Grand Jury, however, is the People: a collection of citizens called together to perform their civic duty on behalf of their neighbors and families. They have sacrificed their time, effort, energy, and attention for months in order to investigate matters that affect themselves, their community, and the nation as a whole. The District Attorney asks that this Court deny Senator Graham’s motion in order that he, for a single day, can assist them in that great task without further delay. The People have requested Senator Graham’s testimony and stand ready to receive it. All that is left is for the Senator to meet them.”

READ MORE: ‘Should Expect to Be Indicted’: Giuliani Now Target of Georgia DA Investigation Into Efforts to Overturn Election – Report

Willis also explains exactly why the grand jury needs his testimony.

“As this Court recognized in its Order, Senator Graham’s testimony is sought by the SPGJ not simply because he possesses necessary and material information but also because he is expected to provide information regarding additional sources of relevant information,” Willis tells the court. “As a result, delaying the Senator’s testimony would not simply postpone his appearance; it would also delay the revelation of an entire category of relevant witnesses or information, each of whom would require additional time and resources to secure on behalf of the SPGJ.”

On Monday, Judge May wrote: “Senator Graham has direct personal knowledge of conversations with Georgia election officials which have been the subject of public dispute as to the nature of his inquiries and requests, including any implicit or overt suggestions to discard ballots or otherwise alter the election results.”

Judge May added, “the District Attorney described Senator Graham as a ‘necessary and material witness in [the Special Purpose Grand Jury] investigation’ not only because of his personal knowledge of the phone calls with Georgia election officials, but also because he possesses ‘unique knowledge’ concerning ‘the Trump Campaign and other known and unknown individuals involved in the multi-state, coordinated efforts to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.’”

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ANALYSIS

George Conway Exposes Three Games Trump’s Lawyers Are Playing With FBI Affidavit

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Attorney George Conway revealed the games Donald Trump’s lawyers are playing after the FBI search of Mar-A-Lago.

Multiple media outlets have asked a judge to unseal the affidavit that justified the search, and Trump and his lawyers have publicly called for that evidence to be revealed — but Conway told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that it’s telling that they haven’t joined the request in court.

“Chances are good that while they would like to know the names of now two, possibly two people inside calling, you know — the call coming from inside the house,” said host Joe Scarborough. “Maybe there are two people now inside of Mar-A-Lago or inside of Trumpworld informing on him.”

“Donald Trump will do what Rudy does outside of courthouses and howl and make a scene,” Scarborough added. “But go inside the courtroom and stay silent. What Republicans in Washington, D.C. know, and I had friends tell me a couple days ago, it’s one of the reasons this IRS conspiracy theory started, is when they figured out how bad this is going to be for Trump. They’re trying to change the subject.”

READ MORE: Former Trump official warns GOP can’t win if it’s the party of ‘indictments, subpoenas and investigations’

Conway said Trump’s attorneys were essentially juggling three balls in the air.

“They’re trying to have it three ways,” he said. “They’re being mendaciously three-faced about it. First of all, they themselves would like to see the affidavit because, you know, Tony Soprano wants to know who is the rat. They want to see who is finking on them. That’s one. Two is, they don’t want us to see the affidavit because it’s bad. It’s a long affidavit, and it is going to have a lot of information about a lot of people saying a lot of bad things about the bad things that the president, the former president of the United States, did and how he squirrelled away these documents and refused to give them back when he was repeatedly told he had to give them back and was subpoenaed to return them. Then, third, they want an issue, a B.S. issue, so they can send out the fundraising grift emails to raise money by saying, ‘Oh, they’re hiding the affidavit from us.'”

Watch the video below or at this link.

 

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Florida Christian School Warns Parents All LGBTQ Students ‘Will Be Asked to Leave Immediately’

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Citing the Book of Leviticus a Florida K-12 private Christian school is telling parents any student found to be LGBTQ will be asked to leave “immediately.”

NBC News reports it “obtained an email from the Grace Christian School in Valrico, about 20 miles east of Tampa, sent before the beginning of the school year by Administrator Barry McKeen.”

The school’s email lumps being LGBTQ, or engaging in acts including “bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography” as “lifestyles.”

“We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgender identity/lifestyle, self-identification, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography are sinful in the sight of God and the church (Genesis 2:24; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; I Corinthians 5:1; I Corinthians 6:9; I Thessalonians 4:2-7),” the email reads. “Students who are found participating in these lifestyles will be asked to leave the school immediately,”

READ MORE: Authoritarian Orban at CPAC Texas Delivers Anti-LGBTQ Attack on Marriage to Standing Ovation: ‘Leave Our Kids Alone’

NBC News says the “June 6 correspondence to parents cited scripture and said that students will be referred to by the ‘gender on their birth certificates’ during the school year beginning this month. While the email refers to ‘biological gender,’ the National Institute of Health defines ‘gender’ as a social construct, as opposed to ‘sex,’ which is the biological difference between females and males.”

On its website Grace Christian says annual fees are up to $6595, plus items including books and other fees.

“It is our desire to provide the best Christian education and training for ALL children, for God is not a respecter of persons,” Grace Christian says. It calls “humanism, materialism, secularism, and New Age” philosophies “godless.”

The school’s website also says, “Students are only admitted when the administration believes that the parents and their church are in full support of the purposes and policies of the School. Expressions of dissention or lack of support for the School’s mission, policies, or leadership are grounds for dismissal of any students of a family in which such action occurs.”

“ALL STUDENTS are expected to abide by rules set forth by the administration. Attendance at Grace Christian School is considered a privilege and not a right. Students forfeit this privilege if they do not conform to the standards and ideals set forth by the administration. The school may insist on the withdrawal of any student that, in the opinion of the administration, does not conform to the spirit of the ministry.”

 

 

 

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