Same God Parent Guide
A thoughtful documentary about having the courage of your convictions and being willing to pay the price.
Parent Movie Review
On December 10, 2015, Larycia Hawkins donned a hijab, took a selfie, and posted it on Facebook along with a message: “I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God…”
Larycia Hawkins’ actions didn’t come out of the blue. Having overcome discrimination in the early years of school integration in Oklahoma, she was keenly aware of the injustice faced by marginalized groups and was deeply concerned by a rising tide of Islamophobia. A devout Christian, and the first female African American professor to be given tenure at Wheaton College, Dr. Hawkins was committed to following the example of Jesus Christ in reaching out to “the least of these”. She felt that her Christian duty required her to live in “embodied solidarity” – not just reaching out to those who suffer but standing with them.
Much to Dr. Hawkins’ surprise, her Facebook post provoked a firestorm. She received hate-filled, violent messages and Wheaton College was subjected to a flurry of correspondence, demanding her removal from the faculty. Apparently, embodied solidarity was going to have an even higher price than Dr. Hawkins expected.
Same God is a fascinating film that raises profound questions for viewers, especially Christians. What is more important for followers of Jesus Christ – doctrinal purity or Christ-like behavior? How do Christian schools manage differences of opinion amongst faculty and students? How do Christians engage respectfully with people of other faiths? How do “people of the book” – Jews, Christians, and Muslims – acknowledge both their shared heritage and theological differences in an attitude of goodwill?
The movie also asks big questions about academic freedom. Wheaton College came down hard on Dr. Hawkins, despite her adherence to orthodox statements of belief. From an academic standpoint, Wheaton’s actions are difficult to justify. I have a political science degree (Dr. Hawkins’ discipline) from a secular university and I was repeatedly disconcerted, offended, and forced to reconsider my beliefs throughout my undergraduate experience. Frankly, re-examining core beliefs is a critical part of the university experience, particularly in a social sciences or liberal arts context. Removing professors who force students to think deeply and grapple with unsettling perspectives does both the students and the institution a disservice.
Along with these issues, Same God also raises questions about racism and sexism, even among people who are acting without conscious malice. As one professor’s wife says of Wheaton College’s administration, “It’s not about badness. It’s about blindness.” Perhaps one of the best reasons to watch Same God is to force ourselves to open our eyes, not only to those who suffer in our world, but to our own blind spots.Directed by Linda Midgett. Starring Larycia Hawkins. Running time: 95 minutes. Theatrical release April 29, 2020. Updated August 31, 2020
Watch the trailer for Same God
Rating & Content Info
Why is Same God rated Not Rated? Same God is rated Not Rated by the MPAA
Violence: There is an image of a racial slur spray painted onto the side of a church. There is mention of people dying in concentration camps. There is a written threat of sexual assault.
Sexual Content: .There is a written threat of sexual assault.
Profanity: There are two uses of a mild curse word and one racial slur.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None noted (but I might have missed minor social drinking).
Page last updated August 31, 2020
Same God Parents' Guide
What do you think about Larycia Hawkins’ decision to wear a hijab? Do you think “embodied solidarity” is an important part of Christian witness? Or do you think it’s a meaningless gesture? Are you committed to demonstrating solidarity with oppressed or marginalized groups as part of your religious or ethical world view? How do you do that?
Larycia Hawkins said “Our religious liberty hands together. If Muslims don’t have the ability to practice their religion in purity and peace, then neither do Christians.” Do you agree? Why do you think members of one faith should support the religious freedom of those with whom they disagree?
Christianity Today: 4 Ways Muslims’ Religious Freedom Fight Now Sounds Familiar to Evangelicals
The Atlantic: “First They Came”: The Poem of the Protests
America The Jesuit Review: Muslims and Christians must unite against hate
The Atlantic: When Conservatives Oppose “Religious Freedom”
Dr. Hawkins also said, “At any point in history we can look and see when we were the other.” Do any of your ancestors come from a racial or ethnic group that has been the victim of persecution or hatred at some point? What can you learn from that experience? How does it affect how you treat others?
One year after Larycia donned her hijab to demonstrate solidarity, a group of university students at another Christian university across the country started wearing hijabs once a week as a gesture of solidarity. What do you think of this decision?
Here’s a bit more about embodied solidarity:
Law at the Margins: #FaithJustice: Embodied Solidarity In Proximity to the Five Ps
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Harvard Law School grad Bryan Stevenson devotes himself to representing people on death row, with particular attention to those who have been unjustly convicted. His story of professional embodied solidarity is told in Just Mercy. A youth version is also available.
Stephanie Saldana is an academic with an interest in the Arabic language and Muslim culture. A months-long trip to Damascus brings about a deeper dive into her own faith and Muslim belief. The result is an incandescent spiritual memoir – The Bread of Angels – that shows how much the “children of the book” can learn from each other.
Catholic priest Gregory Boyle recounts his ministry in rehabilitating gang members in the most crime-ridden parts of Los Angeles. His book, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion testifies to the power of embodied solidarity and reminds us that love can change almost anyone.
The most recent home video release of Same God movie is September 24, 2018. Here are some details…
Related home video titles:
In Just Mercy, lawyer Bryant Stevenson devotes his career to helping those on death row.
Nine aging monks refuse to leave their monastery and the Muslim village that relies on them when fundamentalist Muslims start staging violent attacks in Algeria. Their touching story is told in the subtitled French movie, Of Gods and Men.
London River tells the story of an Englishwoman searching for her missing daughter after the London tube bombing. She keeps running into a Muslim man and the two learn from each other.