Potowatomi author Kaitlin Curtice heckled at Baylor University

February 24, 2020
(Photo by Amy Paulson Photography)

On February 12, Potawatomi author Kaitlin Curtice was heckled during a chapel service at Baylor University in which she addressed God as “Mystery” and spoke about the need to decolonize Christianity and to dismantle “capitalist greed” and “toxic patriarchy.”

When Curtice stated that in many churches, men and women are not seen as equals, a student shouted, “No one even thinks like that!”

Following the chapel service, the Baylor chapter of the Young Con­serva­tives of Texas released a statement re­questing that the Baylor administration apologize to students, faculty, and alumni for “breaking their mission to provide an unapologetically Christian chapel experience and for allowing a speaker with pagan sympathies to mislead” students.

Ramiro Peña, former Baylor regent and senior pastor of Christ the King Bap­tist Church of Waco, told a local news station that students had come to him to express their concern—and that he thought inviting Curtice was a mistake.

In a letter responding to parents who complained about Curtice’s address, the university did not back away from its decision to invite Curtice to speak, although it did say the university was working with staff to better understand what happened and how to learn from it.

“At Baylor, we strive to be both a marketplace of ideas and a place where the love of Christ is extended toward others,” the letter read. “When students encounter individuals with whom they disagree, we challenge them to look first and foremost for what they have in common with the other person, before focusing solely on what may divide us.”

This was not the first time a chapel speaker was heckled at Baylor. In Feb­ruary 2019, a student was removed from the audience after interrupting author Kathy Khang’s prayer that included a reference to an 11-year-old Florida student who was arrested after refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. —Christian Century staff