Freedom Forum Institute > Engage
In December 2015, Larycia Hawkins, Ph.D., posted a photo of herself wearing a hijab. A caption for the photo, quoting Pope Francis, stated that Christians and Muslims worship the same god. Hawkins made the decision to wear a hijab as an act of embodied solidarity with Muslims, who increasingly experienced threats and acts of violence during the 2016 election cycle.
At the time, Dr. Hawkins was a political science professor at Wheaton College (Illinois), a private Christian school. She was the first African-American woman to receive tenure there. She lost her position within two months.
The Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute invites you to a film screening of the award-winning documentary, “Same God.” The film explores issues of Islamophobia, religious freedom, academic freedom, race, theology, white evangelicalism and politics.
The controversy about Dr. Hawkins’s post and the college’s response raged for two months in every major news outlet in the country. During that period, Linda Midgett, an Emmy award-winning filmmaker, began filming with Dr. Hawkins. She continued filming with Hawkins for several years, documenting how one moment on social media shattered Hawkins’s entire life.
“Same God,” which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in September 2018, recently won the Jury Award for Best Documentary at the Bentonville (Arkansas) Film Festival.
Linda Midgett, an independent documentary filmmaker, TV producer, showrunner and screenwriter with more than 600 hours of writing, producing and directing credits on many major networks, including NBC-Universal, The History Channel, A&E, Discovery, PBS, National Geographic and LMN (Lifetime Movie Network). Midgett’s showrunning credits include History Channel’s iconic series “Gangland,” Investigation Discovery’s “FBI: Criminal Pursuit” and NBC’s daytime syndicated reality series, “Starting Over.” “Starting Over” won an Emmy in 2005 and was nominated for several more.
Midgett’s documentary credits includes “Hometown Stories: The Greek-Americans of Charlotte” for PBS, which won a regional Emmy for best cultural documentary, “Through My Eyes,” a documentary about teens struggling with thoughts of suicide, depression and eating disorders. “Through My Eyes” was nominated for a regional Emmy and awarded the national Voice Award for excellence in mental health programming. Additional credits include “The Line,” a film about people living below the poverty line, commissioned by social justice organization Sojourners, and “The Stranger,” a film on immigration reform commissioned by the Evangelical Immigration Table.
Larycia Hawkins, PhD., is a scholar, a political science professor and activist. Her efforts to embody solidarity with Muslim sisters throughout the season of Advent initiated a national and international conversation about the nature of God and the possibilities for multi-faith solidarity in a time where Islamophobia, xenophobia, religiously-motivated hate crimes and racism are more prolific than any time in history.
Today, Hawkins is general faculty in the departments of Politics and Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, serves as faculty in the Religion, Race and Democracy lab, is a co-convener of the Religion and its Publics Project of the Henry Luce Foundation and is a faculty fellow on the Race, Faith and Culture Project at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture.
Lisa Sharon Harper, From Ferguson, to New York, and from Germany to South Africa to Australia, Lisa Sharon Harper leads trainings that increase clergy and community leaders’ capacity to organize people of faith toward a just world. A prolific speaker, writer and activist, Ms. Harper is the founder and president of FreedomRoad.us, a consulting group dedicated to shrinking the narrative gap in our nation by designing forums and experiences that bring common understanding, common commitment and common action.
Asma Uddin is the author of “When Islam Is Not a Religion,” senior scholar at the Freedom Forum Institute, visiting scholar at Brigham Young University Law School and a nonresident fellow at Georgetown and UCLA. She previously served as counsel at Becket and is currently an expert adviser on freedom of religion or belief for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Rev. Steven D. Martin, is the Director of Communications and Development for the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. He has served United Methodist Churches as pastor for twenty years and is a graduate of Candler School of Theology. He brings his expertise in theology, the intersection of faith and politics, and media production to hear upon today’s most challenging problems. He has produced several films for public television, including “Muslims in Appalachia,” “Islam in America After September 11th,” “Theologians Under Hitler,” “God With US: Baptism and the Jews in the Third Reich,” “Elisabeth of Berlin,” and most recently, “Islam in America: The Christian Truth.” His writing has appeared in America’s top national media outlets including the Washington Post and USA Today.
This program was made possible by the generous support from Team Humans.