Thursday, October 17, 2019

How Should ACNA Deal With Critical Race Theory? III – By Directly Addressing Its Racism

Last time, we noted (admittedly with a lot of thinking out loud) that if a church addressed Critical Race Theory (CRT) by name, there may be a number of problems, the complexity of CRT being among them.  I perhaps should say that if I were in a synod that proposed a resolution unequivocally opposing CRT, I would vote for it in a heartbeat.  But I have my doubts about that being the best way to proceed.
Instead, I think it better to address particular concepts of CRT; for these concepts can and will recur under different labels in different contexts.  Also, it is easier to understand and address a particular concept than an entire complex and evolving ideology such as Critical Race Theory.
One CRT concept stands out as one to be opposed by the Anglican Church in North America and by all orthodox churches – that racism is prejudice plus power and that therefore (in America and the West at least), racism by people of color against white people does not exist.
As noted in the first of this series, this is a profoundly unscriptural view of sin that should be banished:

…Believing that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” but thinking only white people can be racist is inconsistent to put it very mildly.  To justify blatant racism against white people as CRT also does is worse. If we clearly oppose White Supremacist views in the church (And we should.), we should oppose CRT in the church, too.  To do otherwise is noxious sin against the dignity all have from being created in God’s image.  Why should whites or anyone put up with bigotry against white people?  Racism is racism and should be given no place in the church.
And this concept has infiltrated the church and has indeed enabled racism against white people.
It has been suggested that I should “chill” about this. Really? Let’s flip the colors. If some insane group was somehow justifying white racism against people of color by saying racial prejudice by whites is not racism at all or if actual White Supremacists were saying in church contexts that racism against black and brown people was right and justified, the church should not and I hope would not put up with that.  At the very least, people pushing such views in the church should be told to repent (or get mental help).
Full strength CRT is about that racist and noxious in denying the existence of racism from people of color and enabling racism against white people. Those who do so should also be told in no uncertain terms to repent.  And at least those in leadership should be disciplined strictly.  The dignity of men and women created in the image of God and scriptural teaching about sin is at stake.
So, no, I am not going to “chill” about this, thank you.
Unlike CRT, that racism is racism no matter the target or the source is something most can understand easily.  And although many are not familiar with CRT, most are aware of blatant racism from non-white sources and the absurd justification of it. Most also oppose such.
And that not just in the church.  Here is an opportunity for a positive witness.  People may be impressed if a church has the backbone and common sense to condemn racism from all ethnicities and to oppose the enabling of it.  The contrast with the CRT nonsense in academia and elsewhere would be a refreshing one to many.
So a well written resolution stating that racism is racism and opposing the concept that non-white racism is not racism at all should be one the church can understand and unite around.

In ACNA, there will be a minority, small I suspect, that would be upset.  I doubt more than a very few would leave.  But if they are that wedded to this aspect of CRT, then so be it. ACNA should not be hospitable to willful racism, period.  Yes and again, saying only whites can be racist is racist.  And if you want real division then allow CRT, especially its racism, to continue its infiltration of the church unchecked.
Those of a social justice inclination actually should welcome such a resolution; for it would facilitate conversation.  Using myself as an illustration, I am hesitant to engage in discussion with someone I think has a CRT concept of racism as something only white people do.  I’m even more hesitant if they seem to think that if a white person breathes, that’s racist. I doubt we have the common ground necessary to fruitful discussion.  But if there is agreed upon standard that racism is racism no matter the source, then we can talk. Put another way, if we somewhat agree on what racism is and that it is not just a white sin, then conversation is facilitated.
A well written resolution stating that racism is racism no matter the source or target would be effective not only because it narrows the subject to something people can understand and be united in opposing. In an important way, it would also be broader than directly addressing only CRT.  For there are a number of current ideologies that condone non-white racism and say it is not racism at all.  It would also be broader in time as well for false teachings have a way of recurring under different names, and the CRT view of racism surely will as well.  And, of course, it would be broader by opposing all racism.
Now there is no perfect resolution or bishops’ statement that solves all problems.  And passing a resolution alone will not do in opposing CRT racism.  There has to be the will to back it up and discipline when necessary.  But if the Anglican Church in North America clearly states that racism is racism and that it is a sin all can commit and all should avoid, then that would be an important and helpful step forward.

I may revisit this and act on this after further prayer and thought. Respectful comments to guide this are welcome. 

No comments: