Those who claim that CRT has some compatibility with Christianity or at least can be used as a tool to diagnose the problem of racial stratification, tend to repudiate any claims of opposition as an endorsement of white supremacy. Why?
I’ll be honest right from the start, I’m growing weary of hearing about Critical Race Theory and the debates swirling around it. I think far too much time is spent on either debunking or supporting it. In my honest opinion, it is jeopardizing our focus on Christ and kingdom matters in the manner prescribed in Scripture. From what I’ve observed, the arguments are rife with lazy and uncharitable assessments that have pit members of the family of God against each other. This also has made it harder for pastors who are striving to be faithful and navigate through issues of race and justice from a biblical perspective. I’d really not even write about it any further especially since so much ink is being spilled already.
However, there is one argument that keeps emerging that I feel compelled to address because I think it is a generalized and unfair allegation that misses the mark on why many Christians are opposing CRT. It’s simply this: those who claim that CRT has some compatibility with Christianity or at least can be used as a tool to diagnose the problem of racial stratification, tend to repudiate any claims of opposition as an endorsement of white supremacy. Why? Because the idea of CRT is to address white supremacy that has had its tentacles wrapped in the warp and woof of American society (I’ll expound on this in a minute). So it was no surprise to me when six SBC seminaries released as statement clarifying their position against CRT, that it was immediately met with charges of perpetuating white supremacy with pastors actually leaving the SBC over it.
Now in fairness, I do think that some of the opposition against CRT is based on strained and superficial arguments from those who see addressing any issues of race and justice as a deviation from the gospel. For this group, the SBC statement only adds further fuel to this opposition. I do think it makes it easier to dismiss raising any concerns related to race and justice. And we should be honest that a sub-group actually do want to maintain some sense of racial superiority and use opposition to CRT as a mask to cover it up.
But that is not the entirety of opposition. From my own perspective based on some extensive observation and interactions, I believe the lion’s share of criticism comes from Christians who strive to be faithful to Scripture and believe that addressing issues of race and justice should be sifted through its lens. These are ones who would not be quick to sweep racism under the rug and are honest about the travesty of our historical record. But they also see the how the framework of CRT produces fruit that is at odds with Christian practice according to Scripture, and in some cases can be a deviation from the gospel. God has provided the means by which we can analyze and address the underlying sins of race and injustice and CRT is seen as incompatible. I am one of those people.
Because we have this wretched history of racial oppression, it’s not lost on me why some Christians want to hang on to the premise that CRT provides a framework for addressing issues even while acknowledging that parts are incompatible (though I’d love to know which parts exactly). I suspect one good reason why CRT friendly Christians are quick to dismiss opposition, citing some kind of compatibility, is that CRT is addressed as a theoretical framework–the idea that white supremacy has reigned and continues to reign, subjecting black and brown people to persistent subjugation. Though I do think there can be some hyperbole in this charge. Even the proponents would have to admit that surely we’ve some some significant progress since the Civil Rights Movement even though it was only 60 years ago.
But CRT is more than just an idea. When implemented it has feet and affects dynamics of situations. When carried out to its logical conclusions, CRT, and it’s application of anti-racism, has ramifications for our interactions and relationships that many are seeing at odds with Christianity. This is what I believe is missing in the pro-CRT’s evaluation and dismissal of those who have issues with this paradigm. So I thought it might be helpful to take CRT from the idea realm and see what happens when it has boots on the ground.