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Monthly Archives: February 2016


Feb 26 at 10:15 AM

After Donald Trump’s third win in a row, pundits and political observers are beginning to accept a stark reality: This guy may become the Republican Party standard bearer in the 2016 presidential election. (The morning after the bigoted, bullying tycoon triumphed in the Nevada caucuses, the Drudge Report splashed a headline simply declaring, “The Nominee,” below a photo of Trump.) And tweeters, scribes, and analysts throughout the political-media world began wondering if the GOP elite could do anything to stop him from seizing control of the Republican Party. Whether possible or not to de-Trumpify the GOP at this point, Republican insiders, pooh-bahs, and bigwigs only have themselves to blame for Frankentrump. In recent years, they have fomented, fostered, accepted, and exploited the climate of hate in which Trump’s candidacy has taken root. For the fat-cat donors, special-interest lobbyists, and elected officials who usually run the Republican show, Trump is an invasive species. But he has grown large and strong in the manure they have spread across the political landscape.

A short history of GOP-approved hate could begin with the 2008 campaign. After Sen. John McCain selected little-known Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, there was an explosion of right-wing loathing. Palin led this angry crusade of animosity. She accused then-Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, of “palling around with terrorists” and pushing socialism. She suggested that only certain areas of the United States were “pro-America.” (She had to apologize for that.) It was all part of a mean-spirited attempt to delegitimize Obama and his supporters. At McCain-Palin rallies, the atmosphere was ugly. Supporters of the Republican ticket wore T-shirts and carried signs branding Obama a communist. Some shouted “kill him” or “off with his head.” Little of this was discouraged. At a town hall meeting in Minnesota, one woman told McCain that Obama was an “Arab.” When McCain, to his credit, replied that this was not so, others in the audience shouted “terrorist” and “liar,” referring to Obama. McCain noted that he respected Obama and admired his accomplishments, and the crowd booed him. The hatred that Palin had helped to unleash was too much for McCain to tamp down.

And it only intensified once Obama took office. Of course, much of this was fueled by the conservative provocateurs and windbags, led by Rush Limbaugh and the like. But elected Republican officials and leading GOPers, who had adopted a political strategy of never-ending obstructionism to thwart Obama, often enabled the hate. While delivering a speech to a joint session of Congress in 2009, Obama was heckled by Rep. Joe Wilson, a South Carolina Republican who shouted, “You lie.” Wilson apologized, but following his outburst, he received a surge of campaign contributions and went on to win handily his next election. Meanwhile, a dozen or so GOP members of Congress were pushing birtherism—the notion that Obama had been born in Kenya, not Hawaii, and was some sort of usurper of the presidency. This conspiracy theory seemed tinged with racism, despite the denials of birthers, and ran parallel to other right-wing claims that Obama was a secret Muslim or a secret socialist or both. The big point was obvious: He wasn’t a real American, he had achieved power through furtive means, he had a clandestine agenda, and Obama hatred was fully warranted.

Top Republicans played footsie with all this. In the fall of 2009, then-Rep. Michele Bachmann called for a Capitol Hill rally to protest Obamacare. Several thousand people showed up. Protesters questioned Obama’s citizenship, depicted him as Sambo, or called him a traitor. Referring to Obamacare, the crowd shouted, “Nazis! Nazis!” The atmosphere was full of animus. And here’s the thing: The entire House Republican leadership, led by Rep. John Boehner, was there. Boehner did not admonish the crowd for its excessive rhetoric. In fact, he joined in, declaring Obamacare the “greatest threat to freedom I have seen.” Clearly, he and his lieutenants believed the hate-driven energy of these activists and voters could fuel the Republicans’ bid to take control of the House. So the more red meat, the merrier. Republicans fed the paranoia, claiming Obamacare would bring about “death panels” and ruin the country (as would Obama’s stimulus bill, his climate change bill, his budget, and almost every other initiative he advanced). In March 2010, after another Capitol Hill rally headlined by Bachmann, tea partiers reportedly hurled racial epithets at members of the Congressional Black Caucus and shouted anti-gay chants at then-Rep. Barney Frank. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) said one of the protesters had spit at him.

The Republican effort to portray Obama as the other never waned. In 2010, Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House and a future presidential candidate, told two reporters that Obama was “outside our comprehension” and “that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions].” He claimed Obama had played “a wonderful con” to be elected president, was “authentically dishonest,” and had a worldview that was “factually insane.” This was a heavy indictment, but one that echoed what conservative writers, bloggers, and talkers were saying. Though out of office, Gingrich remained a party leader, and his remarks were an indicator of the state of play on the right and within the party.

After the House Republicans’ bet on the tea party paid off and they gained control of the House in the 2010 midterm elections, the party’s dance with hate did not stop. In 2011, as the GOP’s 2012 presidential candidates jockeyed for position, they pandered to those voters who considered Obama a dangerous phony. While pondering a second presidential run, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee claimed Obama’s perspective was skewed because he had grown up in Kenya and had been subjected to plenty of anti-imperialist talk. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney did not go full birther. But he pitched a related line, declaring, “The Obama Administration fundamentally does not believe in the American Experiment.” In other words, Obama was not truly American. A top Romney campaign adviser, John Sununu, put it more bluntly, noting he wished the president “would learn how to be an American.” Romney also claimed (falsely) that Obama had gone on a global “apology tour”—another dig designed to suggest Obama was essentially a foreigner.

Though Romney did not contend Obama was a covert Kenyan, he warmly accepted the endorsement of the nation’s most prominent birther: Donald Trump. Appearing with Trump at his Las Vegas hotel before Nevada’s GOP caucus in February 2012, Romney praised the real estate magnate and noted it was awesome to be backed by Trump: “There are some things that you just can’t imagine happening in your life.” By this point, Trump had sent investigators to Hawaii—or said he had—to investigate Obama’s birth, and he had even suggested Obama might be a Muslim. With this meeting, Romney signaled that Trump was fine company for the GOP. Trump’s over-the-top birtherism was not a disqualification. The Republican tent had room for this reality-denying reality television celebrity. (Romney, his former strategist Stuart Stevens tells me, did say no to Trump’s requests to campaign with Romney and to speak at the GOP convention.)

After Obama’s reelection, the hate machine churned on. Republicans continued to whip the false meme that Obama was bent on taking all guns away from Americans. They routinely claimed not that his policies were wrong but that he was feckless and weak—or dictatorial and authoritarian. Last year, Rudy Giuliani said, “I do not believe the president loves America.” And Dick Cheney claimed Obama operates as if he wants to “take America down.” (That’s a theme Sen. Marco Rubio has, uh, repeatedly, pushed on the campaign trail, contending that the president is deliberately weakening the United States.) Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz, another presidential wannabe, gave credence to the wacky notion that Obama was going to invade and seize control of Texas.

It’s been a long run of Republicans accepting, encouraging, and exploiting uncivil discourse, anti-Obama hatred, and right-wing anger. (Republicans also welcomed nearly $300,000 in campaign contributions from Trump since he went birther.) The GOP raised the expectations of its Obama-detesting base and primed the pump for Trump. There is not much wonder that a xenophobic and misogynistic bigot and bully who bashes immigrants and calls for a Muslim ban—and who also slams the Republican insiders for rigging the system—should now find a receptive audience within the GOP’s electorate. For years, Republicans gave their voters a taste for the reddest of meat. That increased the appetite for more. And here comes Trump the butcher with a heaping plate.

Oh, the clichés abound. You play with fire. The chickens come home to roost. Hoisted on your own petard. You reap what you sow. The call is coming from inside the house. The GOP elite laid the foundation on which Trump is building the biggest, classiest—really classy—most beautiful insurgent presidential campaign in all of US history. And there may be no emergency exit.

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The current public feud between Apple and the FBI is something that should never have been made public. I am for openness but sometimes it is improper or incorrect. I understand Apple’s viewpoint however a sit down with the Feds out of the public eye would have been a better approach. The information that may or may not be on the IPhone is definitely worth a look. If there is information that could prevent loss of life and/ or property it should be revealed. I think if Apple were to enter the phones system and down load what could be information relating to other potential terrorist attacks or information on network associations, then that is what should be done. I believe the Government should accept that information and move on. I do not believe the method of obtaining it should be given to the Government, Now that the issue is public you have people who for their own reasons jump on the bandwagon of misinformation and misplaced anger towards the Government and Apple. The issue is National security and should be seen as such. My fear is that too many people are too angry about almost everything to think clearly about what is really happening in this country. There are no longer only 2 sides to any story but most are multisided and all sides bear a look or a listen.

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Several candidates for the Presidency have espoused the idea of how to handle the conflict in the Middle east and Asia with no real knowledge of what is involved. Their rhetoric and the related theories of execution are no more than circa WWII thinking when we were attacked. The difference is: 1. We were already supplying our allies in their struggle with Hitler’s armies and associated allies

2. There was no UN

3. The combatants were some of the people we now are against.

4. We have been complicit in some of the issues that exist due to  our actions on behalf of several dictators

With the above in mind we still have several runners and their followers warfare who do not have a full grasp of the realities of war. War requires millions to billions of dollars to support the personnel and material needed. With our economy  in a just out of recession stage and stagnating due to an ineffective Congress that spends more time politricking rather than legislating, the last thing we need is another military commitment in another part of the world and especially the Middle east and Asia where we have had a less than stellar result. Any future military actions on our part should only occur  if requested by the affected Nation, the UN as joint venture or if we are attacked on a scale larger than the towers. The idea of attacking because it appears to be correct isn’t correct. Our focus needs to be here and now. If we in the heat of election campaigns elect a firebrand then the past 10 to 15 years will seem like paradise. If  we allow the existing Congress to put us in an unwarranted or unneeded, war we need to unseat them as they will not improve with age. The existing Congress is so filled with obstructionists as to be mildly effective at best but can weigh in events that have not happened. Remember it is our children, fathers, brothers and sisters that will be on the front lines not the warmonger.

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On the heels of the death of Judge Scalia, the scruples of the Dupublican leaders has again been shown to be nonexistent. Justice Scalia was not yet feted in a proper manner before  the senate leader and others stated that they would either not act on any nominees by this President or delay confirmation until a new President is elected. This is just another indication of how broken our system is. It is unfortunate that the not so covert Racism exists in our country from top to bottom. The Constitution which has been quoted in part and many times out of context dictates the offering of a nominee by the President not the Congress, their job is to confirm or not. This Congress has for 8 years obstructed and basically subverted the Presidency because they did not like the President. Anyone who reads understands that there is more to this subversion than politics. I submit that too many of us have followed our party leaders too blindly to see the real story and it does not bode well for us voters. The big issue here is our politricks have made us as corrupt as some of the countries we see in other parts of the world. If we as voters don’t get it yet, here it is- no one can change the country more  than a vote for people who really are for the people , all of the people. The two major parties are after our votes but only to continue their errant ways.

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As I read this statement my mind went to the actual budget situation in Illinois, this statement is in fact possibly true until the last line, which I find possibly false in part.

Refund Alert

The Illinois Department of Revenue does not anticipate releasing any Individual Income Tax refunds between January 1, 2016 and March 1, 2016.

We are working with the IRS and other states’ revenue departments to protect taxpayers. Enhanced identity theft prevention measures and security protocols will lengthen timeframes for refund issuance.

Filing your return electronically and requesting direct deposit into your checking or savings account is still the fastest way to receive your refund.

For electronic returns filed prior to March 1, 2016 – We anticipate your refund will be issued within two to three weeks from the March 1st date when we begin issuing refunds.

For electronic returns submitted error-free on or after March 1, 2016 – We anticipate your refund will be issued within two to three weeks from the date you submitted your return.

Click here for Refund Delay Frequently Asked Questions.

Note: Tax refunds are not subject to budgetary appropriation by the Illinois General Assembly and are not impacted by the current budget impasse.

The death of Justice Scalia has left a hole in the High court and the Dupublicans have jumped all over it. Since the Congress has opted to fight everything the president has proposed and to the detriment of all of us, there is a great chance that the nomination will be stalled as long as it can be stalled. If we as voters do not raise our voices on this we will all suffer for years to come, our current Congress is as divisive as the rifts between the various religious sects in Asia. This Congress led by Senator Mitch (turtle) McConnell will move to block any nomination presented by this administration. Keep in mind that “Mitch’s” agenda is based solely on what good for Mitch  and not his constituents or the united States, this has been proven by his record during the 30 years he has been in the Congress (you must read it for yourself as there is too much to set down here). It is our duty to start the process of controlling the government with our votes and voices because we ALL MATTER!. Each of the Dupublican candidates has weighed in on this and made it part of their Shtick but have no idea for the most part what is really involved in replacing a Justice and the long range effect of placing another “Thomas” on the bench. Our opportunities to have a voice is now and has to continue every day. We as voters have to use the electronic media to let our representatives know when we are unhappy or happy but in a reasoned way , not in a knee jerk fashion. Do not be influenced by sound bites, buzzwords or school yard fights which provide no information at all.

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In case you need to know or not.

An inspection won’t always reveal the state of your plumbing, especially if it’s inside a slab and walls.

A major home repair can tax any budget. But you don’t have to be surprised when something in your home goes kaput.

It’s possible to know, more or less, how long most home components are likely to last and plan for their replacement. Plus, knowing the life span of appliances and home fixtures can help you decide when to repair and when to replace.

The most expensive components of a home are generally the roof, electrical system, plumbing, furnace and air-conditioning systems. The stakes are high for homeowners because replacing any one of these systems can mean a bill of four or five figures.

“The main systems are 90 percent of repairs of a house,” says Cannon Christian, president of Renovation Realty, which repairs and sells homes in Southern California. “Everything else is pretty much minor.”


Exactly how long your heating, plumbing, roof, air conditioning, water heater and other home components will last varies, of course, based on the quality of the items, how well they’ve been maintained and where you live.

Knowing the life span of home components is also helpful if you’re looking at homes to buy. A home that needs all its major systems replaced can cost you a lot more than the purchase price. That’s a reason to get a thorough home inspection, pin down the age of major systems and then negotiate from there.

“Each of these things is really ammunition for buyers,” Christian says. If systems are old, ask for concessions or a lower price. “Are you going to get everything you asked for? No. More than likely, you’re going to get some help buying it.”

An inspection won’t always reveal the state of your plumbing, especially if it’s inside a slab and walls. But if a home was built with galvanized pipe, used in most homes before the 1960s, anticipate that it will need to be replaced sooner rather than later. “You can’t tell what’s going on until you notice something” is beginning to fail, Christian says of plumbing. “As soon as you do, you want to correct it immediately.”

Before you replace your air-conditioning system, furnace, water heater or appliances, see if your utility company offers any rebates or incentives, Christian suggests. Kansas City Power & Light, for example, offers rebates on air conditioning systems and Energy Star-rated refrigerators and freezers. You can check for rebates at your utility company or at the Energy Star website.

In general, if an appliance is more than six or seven years old, and the repair will cost more than half the amount of a new one, it’s better to purchase a replacement, advises Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List.

“Replacing an appliance with a newer, more efficient one can also save in energy costs,” Hicks wrote on the Angie’s List website. Angie’s List has an info graphic giving the average cost of appliance repairs, average maintenance cost, cost of a replacement and some advice on deciding whether to repair or replace.

The National Association of Home Builders did a survey of manufacturers, trade associations and researchers in 2007 and produced a report called “The Life Expectancy of Home Components,” with estimates of life spans for everything from appliances to windows. Based on the association’s research and the research of others, here is how long you can expect these 10 home components to last.

Roofs: Slate, copper and tile roofs can last more than 50 years. Homeowners with wood shake roofs should expect them to last about 30 years, while fiber cement shingles last about 25 years and asphalt shingle/composition roofs last about 20 years, the NAHB found. Climate and weather conditions, such as snow, hail and hurricanes, can cut the life span of all types of roofs.

Air-conditioning system: These last 10 to 15 years. Having your unit serviced every year or two, keeping filters clean and trimming bushes around the outdoor unit can keep your it working longer, but eventually the components wear out.

[Water heater: A conventional electric or gas water heater typically lasts about 10 years. If you have a tankless water heater, expect it to stick around for about 20 years.

Appliances: Expect most popular appliances to last no more than 15 years: refrigerators (six to 15 years), ranges (10 to 15 years), washers and dryers (eight to 12 years) and dishwashers (eight to 10 years), Angie’s List reports. The NAHB estimates the life span of a microwave to be nine years. In its report, the NAHB also noted that appliances are often replaced before they quit working because consumers want new styles or technology.

Furnace: A furnace lasts 15 to 20 years. If your furnace is nearing the end of its life, upgrading to a newer, more energy-efficient model can also cut your heating bills.

Decks: Because of weather, the life span of a deck varies. In optimal conditions, a wood deck can last 20 years, the NAHB study found. A deck can last 20 to 25 years in dry areas, but is likely to last only 10 to 15 years in the South, where there is more rain and humidity.

Doors: Exterior doors made of fiberglass, steel and wood will last for decades, or the lifetime of the house, as will closet doors, according to the NAHB study. Screen doors last about 40 years, and vinyl doors typically last about 20 years.

Floors: Wood floors last 100 years or more, as do marble and slate floors if they are maintained well. Tile floors can last 75 to 100 years, and terrazzo lasts more than 75 years. Linoleum lasts about 25 years and vinyl up to 50 years, while laminate floors have a life expectancy of 15 to 25 years. Most carpet needs to be replaced every eight to 10 years, even if it’s maintained well.

Gutters: Aluminum gutters last about 20 years, while copper gutters last about 50 years.

Windows: Wood windows can last more than 30 years, while aluminum windows are expected to last 15 to 20 years.

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The controversy over Hillary Clinton’s private email servers is still lingering in spite of recent revelations about Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice also had private Email servers yet the RNC has pushed the Clinton issue with great vigor. The FBI is investigating the issue about Hillary Clinton’s emails seemingly at the behest of the Dupublican establishment. If there were issues about email servers in previous administrations then surely Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice’s emails bear examining too. Political tricks is not the way to fix an internal problem. The way to fix it is to acknowledge it then do what a business would do and fix it. Of course we know politics is a dirty business and many time the stink of it cannot be removed by washing.

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As we enter phase 2 of the 2016 election season the gloves appear to be off. In New Hampshire the latest dust up has several candidates at  each others throats. All of this to get to the stage of  being the candidate of choice for which ever party. This is without a doubt one of the most raucous campaign in a while and pretty diverse.  These aspirants are now actively attacking one another in any way at all. It is quite unfortunate that we have to have this type of infighting and muck raking in order to select (not chose) a person to run for the Presidency. It seems that too many of us do not understand how “Washington DC” works. The first thing to keep in mind is “no President can get anything done without Congress, I repeat NO PRESIDENT can get anything done without the Congress! With that statement it is reasonable to consider closely who we elect to represent us in Congress. These are the law makers and only act on bills presented by committees and or the President. It is easy to ask, beg or demand actions on our own personal desires but often those desires do not work as much for us as it does for the Representatives we elected to do what we want.  Think about politics as a Circus-the purpose is to present a show with a variety of acts that amaze, inform and many times fool us. Your real mind understands the concept but your entertainment hungry mind ignores all reason and accepts it all. Enter election time theatrics, if you look at each race as a competing circus act, you will see that the most thrilling acts will gain more attention but in reality have less material worth. We as voters have made own beds in that we have owned this quasi infotainment electioneering. Since the advent of TV politics we have just sat back , laughed, cajoled hated and loved the candidates while viewing this serious process as entertainment. The reversal of this awful process is simple, as voters you’re going to be assailed, cajoled and often assuaged with rhetoric ranging from I’m like you, I’m smarter than you and I am the same as you. Do not be fooled by these words , in the end these are no more than Snake oil salesmen who you know are out to get as much from you as possible while giving you something of often lesser value. Your only protection is read everything you can about the issues and keep in mind that just because you do not agree with other views it does not diminish the value of that view and could possible enhance yours. I have been a voter for a few years  now and have learned to look at several aspects of the races including any available information on the candidates but the one thing I have found is critical to who they are and that is their history before and after they were elected. Do your homework and you will become the type of voter who will not be fooled by Politispeak!

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The same old issue of a different Deity for each religion arises again, if the assorted  and varied religions were truly led by religious guides this discussion would not exist. There is no separate Deity for each religious faction or group, the difference is created by the elders whose faith is less  than it should be. That lack of faith is what creates the rift among the Various faith groups. All paths of belief end up in the same place – at the foot of one Deity no matter what detours the sect takes to get there. The story below is one of many that shows how basically backwards we are as far as religion is concerned. The Crusades was another.

Wheaton College political science professor Larycia Hawkins has decided to part ways with the college just five days before a faculty hearing was scheduled to help decide her fate at the school, according to an email from president Philip Ryken to the campus on Saturday.

“The Administration and Dr. Hawkins have come to a place of resolution and reconciliation,” Ryken said in his email. “With a mutual desire for God’s blessing, we have decided to part ways.”

In a separate email to the faculty, Wheaton provost Stan Jones said in an email Saturday that he has withdrawn charges for firing Hawkins and asked Hawkins for forgiveness.

“I asked Dr. Hawkins for her forgiveness for the ways I contributed to the fracture of our relationship, and to the fracture of Dr. Hawkins’ relationship with the College,” he wrote.

Jones wrote that he apologized for his “lack of wisdom and collegiality” in his original contact with Hawkins, which was through another colleague, as opposed to through direct contact.

Hawkins was placed on administrative leave on Dec. 15 after she published a Facebook post suggesting that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. The statement set off a wave of controversy across the country amid larger debates about the role of Muslims in America. “I stand by my concerns that Dr. Hawkins’s theological statements raised important questions,” Jones wrote.

The college said at the time that her comments raised significant theological questions and requested the professor provide a theological statement. Faculty are required to sign a statement of faith, which some felt Hawkins could not affirm after making her comments. Several faculty raised questions about the college’s process during the controversy, which Ryken noted in his campus-wide email.

“Because concerns have been raised about many aspects of this complex situation—including concerns related to academic freedom, due process, the leaking of confidential information, possible violations of faculty governance, and gender and racial discrimination—I have asked the Board of Trustees to conduct a thorough review,” Ryken said in his email.

After Hawkins issued her theological statement, Jones requested further clarification, and upon the request, she declined to continue the conversation, telling The Post, “I don’t want to be subjected to a theological inquisition.” Jones then issued a notice for termination-for-cause, which he has now revoked.

Saturday’s email from Jones came one day after 78 current Wheaton faculty members signed a letter petitioning for Hawkins’ reinstatement, and after the school’s 12-person Faculty Council, which represents the faculty, issued a similar letter, outlining their concerns with Hawkins’ termination proceedings. There are 211 faculty.

Jones said in the email that while he still has concerns that Hawkins’ theological statements “raised important questions,” he revoked his termination charges because of the “deficiencies” in his early responses, and recognizing that Hawkins’ theological response was a “promising start” toward the conversation he wished to hold.

Hawkins remains on administrative leave, a matter, Jones said in his email, Wheaton’s president Philip Ryken will resolve.

Political science professor Leah Anderson, who is Hawkins’s department chair, said that faculty she spoke with on Saturday are rejoicing after receiving Jones’s email and before she received Ryken’s email stating that Hawkins would leave the college.

“We’ve been hallelujah-ing,” Anderson said. “Everybody is just so relieved. I’m so impressed with the provost because I just can’t imagine the courage it took to reverse that decision.”

Anderson said she does not know what the next steps will be in the process.

“I think there are still issues and concerns and questions among faculty that we’ll have to work out as a community, but this creates a foundation on which we can work on,” she said.

Hawkins’s December comments that she would wear the hijab in solidarity with Muslim women during Advent, and her comment — Christians and Muslims worship the same God — became especially controversial in evangelical circles. She received criticism from leading evangelicals, including evangelist Franklin Graham, and was defended by others, including theologian Miroslav Volf.

The underlying debate that took place among evangelicals was complex, centered on how the Christian belief in a Trinitarian God — God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit — differs from the God of Islam and Judaism.

Theologians have debated whether Christians and Muslims understand God in the same way, and if so, whether they worship the same “one God.” Do they define the word “worship” in the same way?

But those questions have been set aside amid the personnel dispute that had faculty concerned about the process the college used. Hawkins is one of Wheaton’s five black tenured professors, who make up 2 percent of the faculty, and its only full-time black female professor.

Calls to Wheaton’s spokeswoman and Hawkins were not immediately returned on Saturday. In a statement from college on Saturday, it said that Wheaton officials and Hawkins will not speak to the press about their relationship or their reconciliation before the press conference on Feb. 10, and there will be no questions taken at or after the press conference.

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