Wheaton College — a private Christian school outside Chicago — is criticizing Fox News for running a column accusing the institution of abandoning its Christian bonafides in favor of becoming “woke.”
The claims in the column are “incendiary,” Wheaton College President Philip Ryken said in a statement released Wednesday.
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Columnist Tim Scheiderer wrote in his article Wheaton has started to “mimic Harvard’s wokeness” by “banning biblical words, teaching critical race theory, and psychologizing gender identity issues.”
“In the 19th century, Harvard was slowly, and permanently, transformed from a Christian university into a secular one,” wrote Scheiderer. “At Wheaton, the biblical belief in only two sexes is being tainted. With this and the other shifts mentioned, it may seem like a slow drift. But a gentle tide can carry a boat far from its dock.”
In the column, Scheiderer rebuked Wheaton for reportedly discouraging the use of the word “mankind.” This writer could not find much to corroborate that claim, aside from a single reference in one piece from the college’s student-run newspaper, The Wheaton Record.
In the article, the student writer referenced the college’s supposed “Statement on Gender-Inclusive Language,” which reads, in part, “Terms such as ‘mankind,’ ‘man’ (when referring to both sexes), or ‘he’ as a generic third person singular, should be replaced with terms such as ‘humanity,’ ‘human’ or ‘person,’ and ‘he or she.'” That statement is reportedly included in all syllabi handed out on campus.
CBN News Digital has reached out to Wheaton for clarity on this point.
It should also be noted that, in January of this year, Wheaton College updated its student handbook with the intention of solidifying its belief in a sexual binary between male and female, according to The Wheaton Record.
The article informed, “College-created forms and surveys will only include the options male, female and, at times, ‘prefer not to say’ when gathering data on the sex of the respondent.”
“We’re trying to be clear about who we are, what we believe, how we’re trying to care for people, and also be faithful to the convictions, scriptural convictions, that the college has,” said Paul Chelsen, vice president of student development at Wheaton. “So we’re seeking to be faithful and caring both.”
The student handbook also bars Wheaton employees from implementing preferred pronouns, according to RNS.
It states, in part, “The College does not permit the statement of preferred personal pronouns by employees when conducting College business, when on a platform where they are publicly identified as College employees, and/or when using the College brand in print or digital media, except when employees are required to submit such pronouns when registering for a conference or for membership in a professional organization.”
A spokesperson told RNS in early January, when the updates were implemented, “Although it had been more than a decade since the policy was last updated, substantive changes to the policy were minimal. The biblical principles and theological convictions on gender and sexuality articulated in the College’s Statement of Faith and Community Covenant have not changed.”
Ryken, for his part, said this week the Fox News columnist’s allegations were “cobbled from out-of-context items found on the internet” and called out the writer for “not nam[ing] any sources or giv[ing] any citations for his many contentions.”
“Wheaton College remains fully committed to Christian service — which we embrace as ‘service’ in our very mission statement — to biblical orthodoxy and Christ-centered education, including in matters of human sexuality, gender identity, and race relations,” stated Ryken.
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