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February 1, 2022
Critical Race Theory, Fact or Fiction?
A story/event becoming more prominent in the daily news revolves around a conflict regarding Critical Race Theory. Critical Race Theory has become part of the educational curriculum in many school systems across the United States, and banned in many others. The question parents, educators, and society a whole must ask is: “Is the future of human society made safer and stronger by ignoring or obscuring past and present realities?” Are we really to believe that the future of human society is safer when built upon a foundation of lies; even convenient lies?
What is Critical Race Theory?
In its simplest form, Critical Race Theory (CRT) is an academic attempt to trace the historical background of racially influenced interactions of the government and society at large; to expose the racially biased programs enshrined in law and public policy. There are those who argue that while, yes, in the past, these conditions were true; but to focus on them now would only serve to vilify the past history of our great nation and fan the flames of hatred, retaliation and further violence. One might consider these arguments as having merit, but I ask then; Were Auschwitz and Birkenau really only popular Jewish summer resorts? (Unfortunately, there are some who choose to deny the Holocaust.) When we try to deny the realities of the past, we deeply inhibit the freedom of every future generation to rise above their mistakes and make better futures. American history is full of heroes and heroines, dramatic achievements by people of all races, social standings, and gender. We have a rich and proud history of defending Christian values, defending liberty and justice. But we also have our darker moments, times when we failed to live out the very principles and values our country was founded upon. To deny the whole history, the good, the bad and the ugly, is tantamount to ignoring a cancerous lesion because it’s ugly.
We are by nature nostalgic.
For many people, maybe even most people, our childhood memories bring back warm fuzzy feelings of security and comfort. For these people, there is great comfort in the ways of the past, a sense of normalcy and correctness that is at times incorrectly projected onto society as a whole. Our traditions are born in our past; how we celebrate and what we celebrate are reflections of what we experienced as children. If we blind ourselves to the injuries our past has inflicted upon others; if we ignore our failures, we are most likely to enshrine these attitudes and actions in the halls of a supposed normalcy. The attempt to teach Critical Race Theory is to take an honest look at both the legal and social structures, and public policies as to how they impact the lives of all people. As painful and ugly as the sexual misconduct of clergy and religious has been and continues to be, the Church is not made stronger in denial and obstruction.
Critical Race Theory is part of the Right To Life teachings of the Church.
It seems rather unfortunate that many people have allowed the idea of abortion to be reduced to a matter of religion. Pro-Choice thinkers allow themselves to disavow the arguments against abortion, on the grounds of religious preference. Abortion is not a religious issue! Abortion is a social issue, a crime against humanity itself; a crime that Christianity, religion, has taken a stance against. In one of the many encyclicals written by Pope Saint John Paul II, Evangelium Vittate (The Gospel of Life), John Paul II outlines a wide range of social attacks against a genuine Respect for Life. Abortion is at the head of the list, but abortion is not the list in itself. There is a wide multitude of human activities and attitudes that violate the dignity of human, every human, life. Abortion is one of these, but also is racism. It is most admirable to defend the l9ives of the most humanly defenseless, the unborn. It is not admirable to protest against abortion and be unmoved, uncaring toward or disinterested in the inequities perpetrated against generations of people who had the nerve to be born a different color of skin, a different nationality, a different social/economic level.
Critical Race Theory is a call to repentance.
Perhaps for some, the idea of repenting means simply to feel sorry for sins. And, it is quite true that genuine repentance demands a sense of ownership and regret for sin, but repentance is more than a feeling. To repent, in a Scriptural way, is to turn away from; to abandon sinful ways. The famous story of the woman caught in adultery, where Jesus challenges the one who is without sin to cast the first stone, and everyone disappears… (Cf. Jn 7:53 – 8:11). Two things are made clear in this story: 1 – The need to consider, to recognize one’s own sinfulness, and 2 – The need to change. The accusers of the woman disappeared under the weight of their own sins. But Jesus didn’t ask the woman if she was sorry, he just said he (who is the only one without sin and rightful “tosser” of the stones) didn’t condemn her and she is free to go, but do this sin no more. There is no true repentance without change of behavior and there can be no change of behavior until the acts of sin are recognized and owned.
Critical Race Theory challenges us as a nation, and as individuals, to look deeply into our past, to see where we have contributed to, complied with the sin of racism, and find courage and direction to change. It is inconsistent for Christian people to claim to be Pro-Life and deliberately ignorant of racial biases.
Deacon Bill Stimpson