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What’s the Big Deal with Critical Race Theory (CRT)?

I hesitate to write this article; however, since people have asked me to I will. I do this knowing full well that I open myself up to the possibility of being attacked or critiqued for not knowing what I’m talking about, for misunderstanding things, for being ignorant of the subject matter, for not interacting with the best sources or material or “required reading” on the subject (which may or may not be true, and which are not listed here).  I know this because those are the attacks against others who are smarter than myself and better read on the subject matter who have waded into these waters.  And whether or not I’m interacting with the best materials on the subject, I can judge this philosophy by the fruit (or its lack of) and by the rhetoric its adherents apply. I can read the signs of the times.  I can judge these things by Scripture.

First, I want to make some statements from the outset. I do not deny that racism exists, nor do I deny that some systems and environments are systemically racist in the U.S.  I further acknowledge that this is sin and antithetical to the Gospel. 

As racial tensions have swept our nation, it is obvious that racism still exists.  It is further a reminder that corporate sins, national sins, sins against a people have long lasting effects.  To deny that racism exists is to deny history as well as current events.

It is also a fact because this is a fallen world.  Ever since the beginning of time people groups have sinned against other people groups simply because of the color of their skin, their ethnicity, and their cultural background.  The Bible shows this is true. To deny that racism exists is to deny Scripture.  Racism is above all else an attack on the Imago Dei, the Image of God in Man (Genesis 1:26-27)

But, I also know racism exists from my own experience. I’m of Middle Eastern descent. I grew up with my grandparents on both sides of my family who were from Syria. They spoke Arabic in our home. We went to an ethnic Church. I was made fun of from as early as kindergarten for the foods I ate and how to pronounce my last name. I remember what it was like after 9/11 for Arabs and Middle-Easterners in the U.S.  My cousin, who looks like he could be my little brother had the FBI called on him.  In the office where I worked they hung up the FBI most wanted listed and put my name under one of the men because we looked similar.  I’ve been called a camel jockey, a towelhead  and a sand-(n-word).  My family was refused service at a restaurant 2 years ago, I can only surmise because we look ethnically different. I had a man tell me to my face that he doesn’t trust middle-easterners ever since 9/11, not knowing I am 100% Syrian descent.

I tell you this not because I want sympathy (I actually hate it) nor because I’m implying I overcame adversity.  Rather it is a feeble attempt to show I understand a little bit about being in a minority group in this country. I also know the importance of having a dad to teach me to “remember who you are” and to not be defined by others.  And, as a Christian I know how the Gospel unites people and is the only solution to the racial tensions in this country and world.

My hope is that in our denunciation of godless systems to deal with the above issues, that we don’t make the fatal mistakes of denying these facts about racism in the U.S., nor in abdicating our Christian responsibility to work toward reconciliation, nor in being apathetic in our job to right systemic wrongs where we can.  Yet, we do so under no delusions.  The Gospel is the only force to break down these barriers.  And in fact, a prime reason Jesus came was to make for himself a people of “every tribe, nation and tongue” into one family (Rev. 7:9).  What a beautiful vision for humanity.  So, Christians should care about issues of race, injustice, and unity. Let us not forget that in these discussions.

However, in the U.S. there is a godless and evil philosophy taking root in our country and our churches known as Critical Race Theory (CRT).  And to make matters worse CRT is being pushed, in Churches since social justice we are told is a “Gospel Issue.” It, along with other Critical Theories and Intersectionality are forms of Cultural Marxism. I’m not going to get too technical in these descriptions.  If you would like to learn more, here’s a short list of ACCESSIBLE RESOURCES which speak against CRT from a Biblical Position. If you want a list of resources which speak on behalf of CRT, simply put that into an Amazon search and read to your heart’s content.:

Marx taught that all of life and history can be characterized by the struggle between the classes.  Those who are in power are necessarily and by definition the Oppressor.   Those who are not in power are necessarily and by definition the Oppressed.  Marxism is an economic system seeking to right this inequity.  But it is a zero sum game, meaning that somebody will always be oppressed, so all it actually accomplishes is swapping who is in each category.  Marx hated capitalism. Rather than see it as a system to help those who work hard to get ahead, he viewed it as helping keep in place the existing inequities.

Critical Race Theory applies this economic philosophy to racial and ethnic categories. It says the majority culture and race is by definition the Oppressor, Wrong, Privileged and orchestrating all systems in society to benefit them.   Therefore, minority cultures and races are by definition the Oppressed, Right, underprivileged and always at a disadvantage in all systems operated by the majority culture.  Once again, I admit this is an oversimplification.

And while the effects of this philosophy might not be inherent in the Philosophy (or even a part of the system) Here are some of the fruit and practical outworkings of Critical Race Theory as I see it.

  • Individuals are not individuals, but viewed within the group they belong to
  • All Personal Responsibility is absolved for those in the Oppressed group.  They are after all the product of their environment.
  • Sins and Crimes are neither when they are committed by persons in the minority group, since they are just trying to survive in an unjust system that drove them to it.
  • All Personal Achievement is marginalized for those in the Oppressor group.  They are after all PRIVLEDGED simply because of the color of their skin.
  • Successes by persons in the oppressor group are viewed as ill-gotten gains for all the reasons given above.
  • Struggles (financial, relational, health)  by people in the majority/oppressor group are not viewed with sympathy, because the systems are there to benefit them anyway.
  • Ironically, minority voices in the minority group don’t matter, because if they go against the group narrative, they are viewed as traitors to their group, and serving the purposes of the majority group.
  • It is dehumanizing and lacking dignity because CRT doesn’t see people as individuals but as a caricature of the group.
  • It is fatalistic, because those within the minority group are told they are doomed to fail and simply a product of the unfair system that is stacked against them.
  • Those within the majority group are told they don’t deserve what they have because they didn’t earn it.
  • Solutions and opinions from individuals in the majority group are discounted when they go against CRT dogma.
  • It ignores the actual progress that has been made in race relations.
  • There is No Category for Reconciliation Nor for Unity
  • It creates a never-ending System of Penance without Hope for Salvation
  • There is no Forgiveness offered in CRT
  • It Creates Disunity in the Name of Unity, Intolerance in the name of Tolerance, and Racism in the name of Anti-racism.
  • It perpetuates racial struggle in the name of solving racial struggle.

Can’t we Just take the Good Parts of CRT?

My question is: what are the good parts that can’t be found elsewhere?    I don’t need Critical Race Theory to tell me Racism exists and that the U.S. has committed horrible sins against people of color and the effects are still being felt today.  I stated that at the beginning of this article.  Furthermore, the CRT definition of Racism is not remotely close to the historical and actual definition of racism. (see the above bullet-points and this video by Voddie Baucham) So, no you can’t take the “useful” parts without taking the whole philosophy.  In the words of Pastor Harry Reeder of Briarwood Presbyterian Church, “you can’t eat the meat and spit out the bones when its all bones. It’s like a thirsty man going to the ocean for a drink and trying to spit out the salt.” (paraphrase). (I commend that Harry Reeder talk to you)

Why are CRT, BLM, Marxism, the LGBTQ+ movements all aligned against Christianity?

The answer to this is long and complex.  For an academic explanation I commend Carl Trueman’s masterful work on this entitled The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self.   There is a sense that enemy of my enemy is my friend.  Suffice it to say it raised eyebrows when the Black Lives Matter Website described as part of its mission that they wanted to “disrupt the nuclear family,” and they claimed their struggle won’t yield fruit unless they locked arms and fought for LGBTQ+ rights as well.  It is no surprise then that the founders describe themselves as self-trained Marxists.

So what’s the connection?  Well, again, in the Marxist scheme these movements view the oppressor as white, straight, able-bodied, Christian Men.  It starts with our founders and Judeo-Christian principles. This oppressor group is responsible for slavery, for upholding the patriarchy, for maintaining the nuclear family.  So in a Marxist scheme, the same system that is responsible for racism is also responsible for traditional family values which condemns LGBTQ+ lifestyles.    Hence, the connection between “oppressed” groups fighting to bring down and discredit their common enemy, white evangelicalism. This also explains cancel culture toward our history and the founders.

What About CRT and the Church?

There can be no union or overlapping between this worldly, anti-Christian, pagan philosophy.  It is itself a false religion and if brought into the church, it produces a False Gospel.  I think Civil Rights Leader and Christian Minister John M. Perkins summed it up best in his forward to Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth in this quote.

We are in the midst of a great upheaval. There is much confusion, much anger, and much injustice. Sadly, many Christian brothers and sisters are trying to fight this fight with man-made solutions.  These solutions promise justice, but deliver division and idolatry. They become false gospels. 

-John M. Perkins: Author of One Blood, Let Justice Roll Down, and With Justice for All. 

This godless system that is itself a religion is destroying whatever strides in unity the Church has made and is causing more division.  It is antithetical to the Gospel.

Yet, the Church should be the one place and organization that can show the world that we do care about racial reconciliation.  The Church needs to show the world a different type of unity. A different type of love. The Church needs to model repentance and forgiveness, not never-ending penance without hope for salvation. We need a Biblical model that doesn’t demonize one culture in order to elevate another.  This is tough work, but I believe it can be done, and I hope the church will step up to the task without using godless philosophies to do so.

26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:26-29)

Here’s a Short Clip explaining some of what I wrote above.

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George Sayour
George is Senior Pastor of Meadowview Reformed Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Lexington, NC. When he's not pastoring or writing, he's fishing, kayaking and spending time with his family.
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