Wheaton College, an evangelical college in Illinois, had placed associate professor of political science Larycia Hawkins on administrative leave after she made a controversial theological statement on Facebook that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. The school has now begun the process to fire her due to an “impasse,” it said in a statement released on Tuesday.
Hawkins said on Wednesday that she is “flummoxed and flabbergasted” by the college’s decision.
Hawkins, a tenured political science professor, posted on Facebook that she would wear a hijab during the Advent season in support of Muslims.
“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book,” Hawkins wrote on Facebook. “And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”
It’s unclear what specific statement Hawkins was referring to from Pope Francis, though the pontiff said in November that “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters.” The Catholic Church has taught since the Second Vatican Council that Muslims and Christians worship one God, though they view Jesus differently.
The theological debate has centered on how evangelicals teach about a Trinitarian God, meaning that they believe in a three-person God — God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit — existing as one being. Muslims do not believe in the Trinity.