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SBC Seminary Promotes Critical Race Theory in 6-Part Blog Series

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We first revealed that Danny Akin had threatened Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) faculty for criticizing “Critical Race Theory” back in June. Threatened with racial sensitivity training and possible firing, faculty were told not to even utter the term, Critical Race Theory, on their personal social media pages. Now, SEBTS has run a series of articles promoting Critical Race Theory and advocating the political philosophy as compatible with Christianity.

We wrote at the time:

Pulpit & Pen has spoken to three witnesses – two faculty members and one non-faculty staff member – who have spoken on-the-record as confidential sources, claiming that Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) has threatened them with “sensitivity training” and possible termination for making posts referencing Critical Race Theory or Cultural Marxism.

At the time, scores of well-meaning but inattentive individuals claimed that never – under any circumstances – would a Southern Baptist Seminary like SEBTS promote or defend Critical Race Theory (CRT). They then called us “conspiracy theorists” for suggesting the SEBTS had any sympathy for CRT.

CRT is the intentional design of those belonging to the Frankfurt School of Cultural Marxism. Its chief architect was Derrick Bell (who passed away in 2011), a Harvard Law School professor who admittedly took the theory from Marxist thought. Any book on the subject by the advocates of CRT – as seen in Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic’s book aptly titled, Critical Race Theory – acknowledge that Bell’s theory is rooted in Marxism. Such a claim is not conspiratorial; it is readily admitted by CRT’s proponents.

Critics of CRT – which should include any Christian anywhere – take exception with the political ideology’s utilization of post-modern philosophy, moral relativism, and opposition to personal liberty. Nonetheless, the affirmative action program at SEBTS known as the “Kingdom Diversity Department” has done a six-part series lauding the overtly and confessedly Marxist ideology.

Written by Assistant Professor of English and History of Ideas, Dr. Matt Mullins, he entitled his article, Is Critical Race Theory “Unchristian”? He begins:

There has lately been some buzz in the evangelical world about Critical Race Theory (CRT). It tends to appear alongside terms such as Marxist, neo-Marxist, postmodernist, liberal, and social justice warrior (SJW) as a label for people and organizations accused of exchanging the gospel of Jesus Christ for a commitment to solving social problems, usually various forms of discrimination. The difference between CRT and these other epithets is that most Christians, like most people in general, have probably never heard of it at all, much less know anything about it.

If people haven’t heard of Critical Race Theory they’re not paying attention to anything political in nature…just saying. The term is out there a lot.

Like any Marxist, Mullins describes welfare reform and the penal system as “insidious forms of racism” caused by “color-blindness” (which ironically is what Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights leaders fought for).

New and more insidious forms of racism (mass incarceration, “broken-windows” policing, tearing down social safety nets) were taking the place of the blatant forms that had become socially unsavory. These subtler forms of racism were often the result of legislative and judicial action carried out under the banner of colorblindness, but which disproportionately affected people of color. CRT emerged in the worlds of political activism and academic legal studies in response to this idea of colorblindness to offer an alternative theory of race.

I’m glad that Comrade Mullins acknowledges that CRT is the product of political activism and the academy, rather than the Bible.

Imagine my surprise, then, when several Southern Baptist institutions, including my own, were recently accused of promoting CRT. I laughed aloud alone in my office. But I also began to think about this claim more seriously. It revealed two important truths. First, the accusation suggested that CRT was entirely evil and unredeemable. To be associated with CRT in the minds of those who use it as an epithet is to be associated with something bad. Second, it suggested that CRT must not be well understood in evangelical circles. As with any belief system, there are tenets of CRT with which any reasonable person would agree. But just because two people share some values does not mean that they will necessarily agree on enough to identify with the same philosophy of life.

Yes. Chuckle chuckle, chortle chortle. Giggles. How funny that SEBTS would be accused of promoting CRT (accused by their own faculty, by the way). Now, this may shock you, but Comrade Mullins goes on to – and hold on to your pants here – promote CRT as a helpful tool for Christians to use (he does so in the 6th and final post in the series).

In his second post on the SEBTS site on CRT, Mullins explains its origins. He leaves out the fact that it is a Marxist philosophy, although to be fair he at least tiptoes around it to the point that any cautious reader will see it. He names the founder of CRT, Derrick Bell, and gives a brief overview. In particular, Comrade Mullins – much to his credit – rightly points out that CRT was invented to combat “color-blindness,” the tenets espoused by previous civil rights leaders enshrined in MLK’s words, “judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin.” CRT, quite the opposite of color blindness, wants everything to be reduced to race (which is why it was invented by Frankfurt School Marxists). You can see that post here.

Mullin’s third post is almost a word-for-word citation of Delgado and Stefancic’s book, which I happen to have here on my desk as I write this. I feel it necessary to warn SEBTS that they might want to tighten up their standards on plagiarism. Nonetheless, that post is pretty milquetoast because it just defines the construct and framework of CRT. Chiefly, to summarize, CRT holds that “race” is as much nurture as nature and is a social construct. To be “black” really isn’t about skin tone, but it’s about a social construct that is indistinguishable from oppression. While a Caucasian person can never really be black in the CRT view, a black person may not be “fully black” unless they understand oppression. If you want to know why conservative and/or successful black Americans are often mistreated by other blacks as being less-than-black, this is why; they have the melanin count to qualify, but not the shared experience of systemic oppression and victimhood.

Instead of identifying by Christ, country, or some other worthy and meaningful component of an individual’s life, CRT teaches that race – more so than anything else – identifies someone. To be black is to be a victim. And to be a victim is to be black.

In his fourth post, Mullins further examines the evils of “color-blindness,” continuing to argue that looking at people irrespective of their ethnicity is actually racist, turning the entire civil rights movement on its head. And just as to be black is to be oppressed, in CRT, to be white is to be an oppressor.

In his fifth post, Mullins examines the goals of Critical Race Theorists, from promoting Intersectionality (the building of a coalition of oppressed groups, placing special emphasis on those who are a part of two or more oppressed groups) to advocating for verbal “micro-aggressions.”

Now up until this point, with the exception of calling basically everything and everyone racist in his first post, it could be said that Mullins is simply examing CRT impartially. However, in his sixth post, Comrade Mullins makes abundantly clear that CRT can in fact coincide – if not cooperate – with evanglical Christianity. He asks:

Is there any agreement between the beliefs of Christianity and those of CRT, or are the two at odds with one another?

Well, Marxism is the greatest enemy to theism that the world has ever known and is responsible for the deaths of more than 100 million people in the 20th century alone so I’m thinking that the two concepts are at odds with each other. But sometimes people in the Ivory Tower have a different perspective.

CRT is obviously not committed to the basic doctrines of sin and salvation briefly outlined above, and for that reason it is not strictly Christian. But neither is a strong belief in the free market or a passion for environmentalism, and these are systems of belief that many Christians hold alongside their Christianity. The question is whether or not Christians can hold to the core doctrines of Christianity and to any/all of the principles of CRT. 

First, Capitalism is presumed in the Eighth Commandment and Communism is forbidden in the Eighth Commandment, so there’s that. Second, I don’t know any serious Christians who have a passion for “environmentalism” because that, too, is the origin of humanist philosophical thought and is a tool used for the limitation of human freedom. But let’s listen to Comrade Mullins’ answer as to whether or not Christans can hold to the principles of CRT.

My own view is that CRT provides Christians with helpful lenses through which to view the problem of racism. I cannot see racism as a merely individual problem.

Thank Heaven for those commies, helping us Christians view the world through their handy lenses. Amiright?

Black and brown folks were cut out of the social safety net for years, intimidated and redlined out of housing markets, disproportionately sentenced to time in prison for the same crimes committed by white folks, and the list goes on and on. The most blatant result of these forms of racism is a country with an unclosable wealth gap.

First, the claim that “black and brown folks were cut out of the social safety net” is absolute malarkey. The welfare state was invented to subordinate and enslave “black and brown folks” to make them dependent upon the government plantation. Second, the fact that there is a wealth gap between blacks and whites (just as there is between whites and Asians, who earn far more money than whites on average) does not mean that there is systemic racism or ongoing oppression. A correlation is not a causation.

Then, the professor who “laughed” when he heard us accuse SEBTS of promoting Critical Race Theory, ended his series of posts by promoting Critical Race Theory.

I would argue that so long as we do not allow the beliefs and agenda of CRT to take the place of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Christians can take what is beneficial from CRT and discard what is not. We have a long history of “plundering the Egyptians” in this way, as Augustine famously said. 

Christianity and CRT both see racism as wrong and harmful to individuals and society. Because CRT is not based on Christian doctrine, it does not use the language of “sin” to describe racism, but that does not mean that its solutions are always antithetical to Christianity. What it means for Christians is that we can insist on a “both/and” strategy in the fight against racism, in which we put the gospel of Jesus Christ at the foundation and build our resistance to racism on that, using whatever tools we can find that do not damage that foundation.