(NOTE: Please see our update to this story here.)
Students and alumni at Baylor University are miffed at the invitation of a speaker who offered a prayer to “Mother Mystery” before a talk on Native American rights and white supremacy.
Kaitlin Curtice, who according to her website is “an enrolled citizen of the Potawatomi Citizen Band Nation […] writer, speaker, mama, partner and avid coffee drinker,” was invited to speak at the Baylor Chapel on Wednesday. She offered prayers not to God or Jesus, the Lariat reports, but to a “Mother Mystery.”
(Video provided by Baylor to The College Fix shows Curtice invoked “Oh, Mystery,” not “Mother Mystery.” See our update.)
Baylor is a private Christian university.
Curtice then sounded like a typical “studies” professor, lambasting societal oppression:
“For the world to survive, for true justice to take place among us, decolonization must be a goal,” she told the audience. “We must fight against systems of oppression, systems like toxic patriarchy and capitalist greed that give no care to the land, and we must do it for the sake of all of us.”
The Baylor Young Conservatives of Texas issued a statement noting Curtice’s “understanding of Christianity” was “surface level at best,” and that the university “allowed a speaker with pagan sympathies to mislead students.”
The YCT also said Curtice’s invitation was another example of the Chapel following the “progressive wing of the Baylor Faculty.”
Baylor Democrats conversely issued a statement defending Curtice. The statement said inviting a speaker with different views of Christianity could help students grow in their own faith.
“We support Baylor’s decision to have the inclusion of someone who shares a view of Christianity that is strongly shaped by the cultures and ideals of the Potawatomi Nation of which she is a member of [sic], and providing a new perspective for students to have a personal relationship with their own faith,” the Democrats’ statement said.
Denison sophomore Jake Neidert, vice president of Baylor YCT, said he was particularly offended by the apparent lack of Christianity in Curtice’s prayers.
“I have no idea what she was talking about but it seemed to be very pagan, not very Christian, and I really had no respect for it whatsoever,” Neidert said.
KWTX reports the YCT veep also took issue with Curtice recounting her journey to Lake Michigan: “Mother Earth spoke to her audibly,” she said, after Curtice “dipped a leaf of tobacco in the water.”
“What is this?” Neidert said.
Former Baylor Regent Ramiro Peña told KWTX he’s heard from students about Curtice’s appearance and believes her invitation was a mistake.
“Hopefully, the administration can learn from this mistake and grow from it and make corrective action because praying to Mother Mystery is a big miss at Baylor University,” Peña said. “I am very confident Baylor, as a Christian university, wants to do the right thing in agreement with its Christian foundation and principles.”
The university told the Lariat Curtice’s talk can be viewed as a “problem — or a learning opportunity,” and noted speakers occasionally “veer away from […] the message they planned to convey.”