The Dismantling of Joe Carter’s Embarrassing “Racist Conspiracy Theory”
[P. Andrew Sandlin | Christian Culture] The Gospel Coalition (TGC) has been increasingly tolerant of and sympathetic toward the “social justice warriors.” Thabiti Anyabwile (aka Ron Burns), for example, champions leading tenets of Cultural Marxism (CM) under TGC rubric. He declared that whites should collectively repent for assassinating Martin Luther King, Jr. (Yes, he did write that.) So we shouldn’t be surprised, I imagine, that TGC’s Joe Carter exploits the recent synagogue murders by Orthodox Presbyterian teenager John T. Earnest to identify the latter’s racist, murderous ideology with those of us who consistently and vigorously — but thoughtfully and peacefully — oppose CM.
Carter situates Earnest within “kinism,” the racist ideology parading under the Christian banner which holds, in Carter’s cited definition, “that God specially ordained ‘races’ and that he intends for us to preserve that division to one degree or another.” Carter correctly identifies kinism as contra-biblical. The multinational, multiethnic gospel of Jesus Christ rests in the work of the Cross, which was specifically designed (among other things) to erase racial barriers (Eph. 2:11–22). Note carefully that the gospel doesn’t help people achieve “racial reconciliation.” The gospel is (among other blessings) racial reconciliation. Like justification by faith alone, it’s a reality, not an agenda.
From there, however, Carter makes an odd and ominous shift. He argues that those of us Christians who expose CM are guilty of using racist “jargon” that “make[s] us sound like we subscribe to an alt-right ethno-nationalist worldview.” Carter summarizes CM this way:
The term originally referred to the idea that since the Marxist concept of “class consciousness” was not merely an economic phenomenon but was also expressed in cultural forms (books, traditions, institutions, and so on), the production of culture as it relates to power must also be analyzed.
This at best is paltry, even as a summary. Even a simple blog explanation can do better. But what is especially (and embarrassingly) evident is how much Carter hinges his argument on the genealogy of the expression itself: “Many [Christians] are merely repeating a term they heard used by fellow Christians and are unaware of the anti-Semitic and racialist origin.” Unfortunately, Carter doesn’t document that the term has anti-Semitic and racialist origins, so it appears he expects the reader simply to take his word for it.
Even if the moniker itself has anti-Semitic and racialist origins, that fact wouldn’t disprove the accuracy of its content. In fact, this argumentative tactic is intellectually dishonest. You don’t refute an argument by disqualifying the moniker that describes it. I don’t refute Anglicanism by pointing out that its original moniker (The Reformed Church of England) originated within a strategy to validate King Henry VIII’s divorce. I’d actually need to disprove the tenets of Anglicanism. But Carter doesn’t refute the phenomenon CM describes. He claims the moniker originated as a racist conspiracy theory and leaves it at that: the moniker had racist origins, so CM is a conspiracy theory best forgotten.
Real Cultural Marxism
In fact, however, Carter exhibits no acquaintance with the original writings of, or important secondary literature about, leading CM thinkers like Adorno, Gramsci, Horkheimer, Lukács, Marcuse, and his sweeping identification of us critics of these Cultural Marxists with racists is frankly embarrassing — to him and TGC.
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[Editor’s Note: This article was written by P. Andrew Sandlin and originally published at Christian Culture. Title changed by P&P.]