I really try to avoid politics and current political events, but the death of George Floyd and the ensuing riots in Minneapolis have forced my hand. So let’s walk through the topic of “race” again since some people do not get this. I refuse to be quiet about this and social media giants can censor me if they want. We desperately need to think Biblically about these issues.
There is no such thing as race. That statement is deliberately provocative. Yet it is also Biblical. “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;” Acts 17:26 tells us that every nation is of one blood. We are all one race. This makes sense from a creation perspective. “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” Genesis 3:20 tells us that all people who ever lived were descended from Eve. The human genome project, when it completed, made the same statements.
How then do we apply this one race concept to the death of George Floyd and the ensuing riots? The police officers involved in Floyd’s death were “white” and “Asian”. Floyd was “black”. That is why the media is playing it up. They love controversy and a “black” man killed by a “white” police officer brings lots of views and lots of controversy. If the situation had been reversed, aka a “white” man killed by a “black” police officer, the media would have ignored it because it would not have generated views. Perhaps this is because more “white” people are killed by police officers in the US than any other “race” yearly.
Does that make George Floyd’s death any less tragic? Absolutely not! I can see no justification for kneeling on a man’s windpipe for minutes until he passes out. Zero. That said, the man is dead. That said, Floyd did not die because of some kind of “implicit racism” in the justice system. He died because a police officer was either poorly trained or went rogue. While both are tragic and sickening, neither justifies burning a police precinct (especially since the department fired the police officers involved immediately), torching hundreds of buildings, and looting local stores.
Why does looting and rioting happen immediately, every time a “black” person is killed by police? There are a couple of reasons. Some people are simply opportunists and will use death as a pretext to steal. Others are inflamed by social media postings from politicians and celebrities urging people to burn and destroy, telling them their anger is justified. There is, however, an underlying current that explains why the looters feel validated in stealing from a Target and burning businesses. That current is social justice and critical theory.
Social Justice and Critical Race Theory
I’ve avoided social justice and critical theory on these pages because I saw it as a largely political issue and I do my best to avoid those. However, with the recent allegations against the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary by a former professor that they are promoting the idea, it is time to speak up.
Social Justice is the idea that there are groups of people who are oppressed by people with power, money, and privilege. These people, who may or may not be minority groups, need to be freed from their oppressors. This approach is collectivist, not individualistic, meaning that a poor “white” man is an oppressor to someone like Lebron James who has millions of dollars, because “whites” supposedly have the majority of the power. Thus, somehow, a dirt poor “white” individual can somehow oppress an NBA megastar. How that works logically, I don’t know but that is their argument. The argument also applies to other “oppressed” groups such as women (despite them being the majority of people in America) the LGBTQIA+ mafia, and so on.
Critical Race Theory builds on social justice and defines “race” by position in society. It is Critical Race Theory that allows the left to call African-Americans like Candace Owens and Ben Carson “white supremacists”. They are “white” according to Critical Race Theory because they use their power and privilege to advance causes that supposedly uphold “white power”. I’m not entirely sure how it is “white power” to object to millions of “black” babies being murdered by Planned Parenthood but the so the twisted logic goes.
It is also Critical Race Theory that allows people in the church to talk about the “sin of whiteness”. Despite what they say, they do not mean that it is a sin to have light skin. They mean it is a sin to have power and privilege over people who are “oppressed”. They believe that justice would require every “white” person in leadership in the church to surrender it to a “black” person. Their definition of “white” only extends to people who hold orthodox positions, such as male-only pastorate, no gay ministers and so on. Those people must go and be replaced by the people they “oppressed” such as a lesbian pastor.
Ideas Have Consequences
This brings us back to the looting in Minneapolis. The individuals doing the looting have accepted, explicitly or implicitly, the idea that the stores and police precincts are part of their “oppressors” and thus they are justified in looting and destroying in their fight for “liberation”. This is in spite of the fact that many of these stores are own by “black” people. That is immaterial because they are no longer “black”. They are part of the “white” society that “oppresses” “blacks” and must be held accountable for their “oppression”.
Yes this is a bizarre, backwards way of thinking, but this is what is being taught in many churches. Consider this statement from the head of Morehouse School of Religion, a historically “black” seminary.
“Our message is clear; we believe that it is our duty to define global economic justice as the ethical imperative for the 21st century.
We define economic justice as the Word of Reconciliation. By that, we mean wealth and income equality. Wealth and income equality includes unbiased immigration, mass incarceration and economic reparations policies. We see these as related and necessary changes in order for people of African descent to achieve the Word of Reconciliation.”
This quote confirms what I just wrote. The goal is global redistribution of wealth from those who have it, ie those who are in “white power” and give it to “African” people. He regards this as necessary on a religious level. And this comes from the head of a seminary. He believes that to be reconciled, wealth redistribution is required.
This idea is starting to permeate even conservative circles. It implies that we should “listen to the experiences” of people who are “less privileged” than we are. I’m not doubting that there has been abuse of power. Power is a corrosive, corrupting force and only a select few are immune to its vice grip. However, we cannot live by experience. We must live by the principles in Scripture. Nor does abuse by a few, no matter how the media hypes it up, degrade the services of the many.
At its core, Social Justice is a works-based false doctrine. If you help the oppressed, God will accept you is the idea. This is purely false. God does tell us to help the poor and do justice. But justice has nothing to do with social justice. Justice is individually based. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” Ezekial 18:20 tells us. This verse is crystal clear. Judgment only came on those who were guilty, not those related to them. Social justice and critical race theory paint with massive brush strokes, claiming that all those with power, money or privilege are guilty of being oppressors. The Scripture paints with a very small brush, punishing only those who are guilty.
Applying the Scriptural principle of individual justice to the tragedy in Minneapolis yields fruitful results. The four police officers responsible for George Floyd’s death should have been fired and almost certainly should be charged. If the video portrays the events accurately, the one with his knee on Floyd’s neck should face a murder charge. However, looters and rioters should also face criminal charges for destroying private property and theft. The police and National Guard should be used to put down the riots. Protests are welcome, and indeed should be occurring given the slowness to act of the Minneapolis DA (unless they know things we don’t). But burning a police precinct, and looting a Target, are not protests. They are crimes. The civil rights movement got it right on protests. The current looters get it wrong because they have a fundamental misunderstanding of the word “justice”.
I cannot hope to cover all the complexities of this topic on one post, even if it’s about twice as long as my normal postings. For those who want more on the issues of Critical Race Theory and Social Justice, I recommend lectures by Voddie Baucham, which are easily accessible on YouTube, as well as a documentary by Tom Ascol and Founders Ministry which chronicles the rise of critical theory in the Southern Baptist Convention. I don’t agree with either man on everything, but on this issue, they are spot on. I want to re-emphasize for those in the back that I cannot stomach the way George Floyd was treated. The video made me sick (which is why I did not link to it). But nor can I turn a blind eye to how the response is wrong and being influenced by bad theology.
Featured image credit Fox-9 Minneapolis
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