Documentary producer and alumna Linda Midgett ‘92 is creating a documentary featuring former associate professor of political science Larycia Hawkins, called “Same God,” which could be finalized and distributed before the presidential election in November.
The documentary recounts the story of Hawkins’ choice to wear a hijab during the advent season and the responses to her Facebook posts from the evangelical and secular worlds. Midgett hoped her film could provide some insight on why evangelicals are diametrically opposed on some major issues.
While some have preferred to move on from the Hawkins controversies, hoping the problem will go away, Midgett believed the story surrounding Hawkins, which gained international media attention, is still of interest to the public, including both evangelicals and those of other faiths.
Midgett told The Record that she believed that the themes of race, Islamophobia, theology, religious liberty and academic freedom within evangelical communities that instigated this conversation “aren’t going away any time soon.”
A student, who wished to remain anonymous, disagreed with the timing of this film and said that she wanted Wheaton to get “over the drama and the negative international media attention.”
Sophomore Steven Watts suggested that it could be “harmful to the community, further dividing it at a time when we need to come together in healing.”
However, Midgett suggested the film would do the opposite. She said, “This has the potential to be healing, if approached in that spirit.”
Watts said that, as an evangelical institution, Wheaton College must “prioritize the education of many on the issues of racism that affect Muslims and brown people.”
The documentary has raised almost $7,000 of its $250,000 budget in two weeks on Indiegogo.com. Midgett told The Record that she is not expecting to raise the totality of the sum through the the well-known crowdfunding site. Most independent films tend to raise $10,000-$20,000 using crowdfunding, Midgett explained, and it appears that “Same God” may fall within that range.
Midgett told The Record that her documentary is not just about Hawkins, but about unsolved and ongoing issues like differing interpretations of the same Scriptures.
The trailer of the documentary began by framing Hawkins’ decision to wear a hijab in a context of vitriolic political debates and a fearful Western society.
Hawkins touched on other conversations of feminism and race. At the same time, some asked if she had a political agenda. Hawkins finally decided to leave Wheaton College as part of a mutual agreement with Wheaton College administration.
While Hawkins and other Wheaton professors agreed to be interviewed for the film, the Wheaton administration has yet to respond. But Midgett thinks that while “exposing truth is rarely a painless process … my hope is that they [the administration] will participate as part of the reconciliation and self-reflection they’ve publicly stated they seek.”
The Record reached out to Provost Stanton Jones, who has not yet responded.
Midgett mainly hoped to raise money from students, alumni and anyone who is either interested in the issue or has contributed.
If you are interested in contributing, visit the Indiegogo website here.