Missionaries battle “critical racial theory” in new online video course

In the right-wing joint crusade against “critical racial theory,” there’s a job for everyone: movement intellectuals and keyboard warriors, school board brawlers and politicians – from Congress to governors’ mansions to a new class of desirable local right-wing officials link Student test scores against faculty demographics. So it’s not surprising that people in the church also have a role to play.

This week, Focus on the Family – James Dobson’s massive Christian far-right ministry, with nearly 900 employees, its own zip code, and an estimated worldwide audience of 200 million – played its part. , ask followers to register online for free course teach parents how to “empower” their families to “face CRT.”

The five-video course, chaired by FOF vice president of parenting and youth Danny Huerta, talks to several mission leaders: Shelby Steele of the Hoover Institute; John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldviews; and Carol Swain, co-author of the book 2021″Black Eyes for America: How Critical Race Theory is burning down the house. ”

RELATED: “Severe Race Theory” is a fairy tale – but America’s monsters are real

After each video, viewers are guided, in a school workbook fashion, to a series of additional tasks. First, reflect on selected scriptures (“There is no Jew or Gentile, there is no slave or free…”) Second, consider a series of discussions that are informative. neutral: “How do you think the Major Racial Theory creates confusion, especially among children. ?” “What’s dangerous when people see themselves as victims or use shame and moral manipulation to get what they want?” Or most bluntly, “After watching this video course, do you have a better understanding of Critical Race Theory and how it contradicts the truth of God’s Word?”

Overall, it’s a softer approach than most of the discussion surrounding CRT over the past year – framed as more of a public service announcement than a threat to local school boards. maybe with violence, proliferated last summer and fall. But the message was largely the same, as Huerta and his guests offered some familiar but religious critiques: CRT “puts what it means to be human in a racial context”; “God created only one race: the human race”; any white child who refuses to be called an oppressor is a[ing] a target directed at themselves” (accusation illustrated in the video by a white boy being brutally beaten by two Black boys); and the promise that “America’s victorious struggle with imperfection” regarding racial equality reflects the redemptive message of the gospel.

But some of the larger themes from the videos shed light on how conservative evangelicals are grappling with debates about race today. First, there is the basic assumption that racism is real, but a matter of individual guilt. Second, the idea that critical racial theory is not only incorrect but constitutes an alternative, “destructive” and “twisted” worldview, contrary to the view that Christians should follow.

“The idea of ​​racism as individual sin is a hallmark of evangelism,” said Anthea Butler, chair of the department of religion at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the 2021 book “White Evangelical Racism.” In the book, she makes it clear: “The sins of evangelists are always personal, not corporate, and God is always ready to forgive worthy individuals, especially if they are men. white. The sin of racism can also be wiped out after an event or a confession. Rarely do preachers admit the need for restitution.”

In November, Swain made that case, when she spoke at the high-profile National Conservatism conference in Florida, which drew hundreds of right-wing intellectuals. One of the few non-white speakers, Swain calls the CRT not only “anti-American” but “anti-Christian”, lamenting that some “self-awakened churches” have accepted receive it. Among them, she said, are her own denominations, 16 million members of the Southern Baptist Convention, which last June was ended by a bitter, likely schismatic debate over whether to pass a resolution condemning the CRT.

“We have a lot of members who have woken up of [the SBC]. And when I think about Southern Baptists, the main thing I remember is apology after apology after apology – because slavery, even exists,” Swain said, referring to the steps that the sect, originally founded to protect slave ownership, has taken in recent decades to recognize its checkered history. “And what tells me is that the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention does not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross once for past, present, and future sins. Ours. Racism is a sin. And you don’t have to constantly apologize.”

Want a daily summary of all the news and commentary that Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.

As Pastor and Professor Andre E. Johnson Written Last spring, evangelical attacks on CRTs preceded the current war, widely credited to Christopher Rufo alone, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Evangelical heavyweights such as John MacArthur have condemned the idea that “postmodern ideologies rooted in racism, radical feminism, and critical racial theory are consistent with biblical teachings.”

“[B]By the time Rufo was beginning to learn how to manipulate the CRT for political gain, white evangelicals in churches around the country were already starting to set the stage,” Johnson wrote.[I]n at the hands of white Protestants CRT is not just an academic theory, it is a wicked worldly ideology that people of faith should oppose. So for better or for worse, those who teach CRT and Intersectionality will now have to compete with those who will bring their faith premises to class. “

Daniel Eppley, a professor of religious studies at Thiel College who has followed the debate, said one of the main complaints among Southern Baptists’ anti-CRT faction, said the CRT was “determined.” reinterpreted” racism is something different from “personal hatred towards others based on race.”

“From their point of view, racism is just thinking badly of another person because of their race,” Eppley said. “If you can look into your heart and honestly say, ‘I don’t think badly of people because of their race,’ then you’re not part of the problem of racism. Structural racism either doesn’t exist, doesn’t matter, or isn’t something you can do anything about, which is very similar to how an earlier fundamentalist evangelical leader, Bob Jones Sr., presented his opposition to apartheid in the 1960s. He denied considering one race inferior to another, but he believed that races should be kept separate. So his solution to racism is essentially, ‘Love your black neighbor’, even if he’s convinced, based on reading the passage. this particular, that the distinction is that God will.”

In the end, Southern Baptists voted for a Resolution that didn’t point to CRT specifically but rejected “any theory or worldview that finds the ultimate human identity within ethnicity or in any other dynamic group.”

The term “worldview” is also mentioned again and again in FOF’s anti-CRT lessons, as in a discussion prompt following the video: “Why Crucial Racial Theory Is Really a World Problem Mandarin?”

That language is ubiquitous in modern American conservative Christianity, as American journalist and historian of religion Molly Worthen has noted. Was observed. In the field of evangelism, the Christian media promises to instill or reinforce a “biblical worldview”. Christian colleges include the term next to campus buildings. Young people in the evangelical movement attend “Worldview Weekend” conferences.

At its most basic and well-intentioned definition, says Jacob Alan Cook, professor at Wake Forest University’s school of theology and author of the 2021 book “Worldview, Chastity, and the Future of Evangelical Faith, “the concept of a biblical worldview goes something like this:” If the Bible is what we say it is, then we should be able to logically extend its truth to include things The most important and most ethical issues must have a logical connection to the core of this which we believe. “In fact, he continued, “worldview theory “carries a lot of extra-biblical baggage” that has been incorporated into conservative evangelical doctrine, making things like capitalism, Christian nationalism or, decades past, segregation, seemed to be a matter of faith.

Cook said this is a way of evangelizing, “Everybody else has an ideology, but we have the truth.” In that context, faith becomes “really difficult to challenge this from within”, where a biblical worldview can function as “alternative facts” or a door to recognition. theory is closed.

That’s exactly the message Focus on the Family’s Huerta conveys, telling viewers, “Let’s not enter this discussion on CRT out of fear, but be bold: that we heard the word of God and that’s it. is the answer to this.”

Read more about the political battle over “critical race theory”: Missionaries battle “critical racial theory” in new online video course

Huynh Nguyen

USTimeToday is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button