Unless you've been hiding under a rock for a year, you know America is now "woke." People are tearing down statues of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and other historical figures connected to racism. Celebrities are "canceled" because of racist comments they made 15 years ago. Protestors are burning down government buildings or looting stores to denounce racism.
At the root of this discussion is something called Critical Race Theory, or CRT, an idea that began decades ago on college campuses but became popular in 2020 after the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The philosophy was summarized in a bestselling 2018 book called White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo—a white woman who is described as a "diversity consultant."
Ironically, an African American professor at Columbia University, John McWhorter, picked apart White Fragility last year in his scathing review of the book in The Atlantic. This discerning Black writer didn't buy DiAngelo's argument, and he described White Fragility as "the prayer book for what can only be described as a cult."
McWhorter's words confirmed what I felt in my gut when I studied DiAngelo's philosophy. Critical Race Theory might sound good on the surface to some people, but it's a deceptive idea that divides people, makes race relations impossible and actually demeans people of color.
Critical Race Theory, in summary, says this:
— All white people are inherently racist, whether they realize it or not.
— White supremacy is built into our government and institutions—and even in the U.S. Constitution—because white people inherently seek to maintain power through law.
— White people must work hard to rid themselves of the need for "white privilege," but in the end they really can never be truly free of their whiteness. They will always be at a disadvantage because they are forever linked to institutional racism.
If that sounds depressing, you haven't heard half of it. Some people who embrace CRT believe we should abolish all law enforcement; they believe destroying neighborhoods can be an acceptable form of protest; and some have even suggested that private property ownership should be abolished.
Here are three fundamental ways Critical Race Theory contradicts our Christian faith:
- Racism is a human problem, not just a "white" problem. The "woke" crowd today insists that all white people are racists, but it leaves no possibility that a Black, Asian or Latino person can be racist because they are not "in power." To believe this is to deny the record of human history.
I've traveled all over the world, and I've see racism in every culture: White Europeans mistreat the Gypsies; Indians have marginalized Indians from lower castes; in Africa, various tribal groups oppress each other, sometimes brutally (for example, in Rwanda in 1994, members of the Hutu tribe slaughtered up to 600,000 of the Tutsi tribe.) In Latin America, white Spaniards mistreat indigenous people; in China today, mounting evidence shows the government is brutalizing the Uyghur people, a Turkic minority.
And let's not forget that there is such a thing as Black supremacy, a philosophy promoted in the United States by several groups including the Nation of Islam. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in a 1966 speech, famously declared: "A doctrine of Black supremacy is as dangerous as a doctrine of white supremacy."
We all have a common ancestry; our skin color is a secondary characteristic. Acts 17:26 (NKJV) says: "He has made from one blood every nation of men." We are all created by God, and because of Adam and Eve's sin, we all share in a fallen nature. Any fallen human being is capable of oppression and racial injustice.
- Racism is a sin that can be confessed and forgiven. The early followers of Jesus were all Jews, and they held to a form of Jewish elitism. But when they were filled with the Holy Spirit, their hearts changed toward people of other races. Peter first struggled when he went into the house of Cornelius, an Italian, but when the Holy Spirit fell on those Italians, he said, "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality" (Acts 10:34b, NASB). The Jewish-only mindset changed; suddenly the church became a loving family of all races and cultures.
In today's "woke" debate, there seems to be no hope of unity. The implication is that our entire society must be burned down and rebuilt in order to right the wrongs of the past. But that is a total denial of the redemption of Jesus Christ. When the Savior paid for our sins on the cross, He also paid for the sin of racism. That means that when people trust in Jesus, and embrace His love and mercy, their sins are washed away, and their hard hearts are transformed.
- To heal racism requires forgiveness and restitution, not revenge. Many proponents of Critical Race Theory teach that the only way to purge the world of white privilege is to dismantle our institutions and give minorities special privilege. Their unspoken mantra is: "Burn it down." But this is not the heart of Jesus, who told us to love our enemies and to pray for them. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. taught us in the 1960s that violence is never the answer. He preached: "He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love."
America has reached a critical junction: Will we choose the narrow path of Christian love, non-violence and forgiveness? Or will we embrace the wide road of hatred, division and woke political theories that have no power to transform us? I pray we will walk in the footsteps of Jesus.
J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. Author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, he has just released his newest book, Set My Heart on Fire, from Charisma House. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeeGrady or go to his website, themordecaiproject.org.
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