One of the responses I hear most often to things like CRT, or welfare, or Black Lives Matter, is that they will lead to socialism or Marxism in America.
Fear is increasingly being used as a political tactic by both parties. In this case, it’s being used by both the Republican party and the evangelical church.
Here’s an alternate point of view.
Perhaps the current path pursued mutually by the Republican Party and the evangelical church is far more likely to actually bring about the feared socialist/Marxist revolution than CRT or BLM.
Perhaps that sounds backwards, but let me explain.
Republicans and evangelical Christians have increasingly decried the “woke” crowd, disparaging them for pandering to Black concerns. They point to supposed Marxist origins and goals of Black Lives Matter and Critical Race Theory, and assume that any deference paid to BLM or CRT will necessarily result in falling off the cliff into full-blown socialism/Marxism.
The course that the leaders and influencers of the Republican Party seem to have chosen – to vociferously oppose liberal or Black attempts to find serious explanations and common ground and solutions for the racial problems that exist in society – seems to have been causing more and more people to abandon and even actively rise up against the Republican Party. Gallup data shows that solid+leaning Republican versus Democrat numbers were fairly balanced from 2018 until early 2020, when a clear split began to develop, and now Democrat-leaning voters hold a consistent 10-point spread over Republicans – which has persisted even after President Biden was elected. That timing coincides with the earnest beginning of racial issues, and I don’t find it coincidental. Meanwhile since the early 2000s the number of self-identified independents has been steadily climbing, now over 40%.
This indicates that the Republican party can no longer count on a solid support base for its policies – only about 25% of Americans firmly self-identify as Republican.
So it appears to me that, even as they are being disparaged by the Republican Party, many woke individuals are very aware of the hypocrisy and ignorance in these arguments about CRT and BLM. As they increasingly abandon conservative voting positions, ultimately the woke will probably end up supporting far more excessive liberal and secular policies.
The Evangelical Church
Those same woke individuals are also entirely disillusioned with the segments of the American church which are vocally siding with the Republican Party – mostly the evangelical church. Terms like “exvangelical” and “deconstruction” are gaining ground on social media. Data shows that they’re also leaving the church in droves because they see its failings clearly. Studies show that the failure of church attendance to fully rebound is not just due to COVID fears, but due to distaste for the hyper-political emphasis in evangelical culture. Other studies show that some people leaving the evangelical church are moving to mainline protestant churches – where political activism is downplayed.
The Ironic Result
I find it likely that in the very rush to condemn woke policies, and do everything in their power to oppose reform or substantive discussion, the Party and the church are driving away any chance of both political influence and spiritual influence. The very thing that they crave is exactly what they are actively destroying.
And the result of that destruction will actually be more socialist thinking and more calls for revolt against the Republican party and the church, and even increasing persecution against true believers.
And that is a far worse danger than anything I find in authentic CRT or the way that most people promote BLM.
I’m going to set aside any further discussion of the Republican party. It’s past its prime, and in my view isn’t worth fighting for. Contrary to what many evangelicals believe, I don’t think it’s particularly anointed by God for the nation’s future.
But the church is different. We’re serving a God who has already told us what to expect, and we can trust that His Kingdom will prevail. The question is how long, and how painful, will be the journey.
And more important is whether we will be standing on Jesus’ right or left on That Day, and if we will hear Him say to us “Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world… Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.”
Instead of being seen as opposing something, I would rather that the church find any possible points of agreement with CRT scholars, and to work diligently to understand what we as Christians can gain from that intellectual tool, so that we can move forward with finding – and be seen by the world to be finding – effective AND righteous means of recognizing and addressing racism.
I would also rather that the church listen carefully to those who cry “Black Lives Matter!” and do everything within its power to understand the heart of that cry, see from their perspective, and stop resisting any and all change. Stop fussing that we might support Marxism, and ask the Lord what we can learn from them.
I firmly believe THAT will bring a harvest of righteousness and unity, and win many to the Kingdom.
A Final Reminder
As a last thought, I’m not sure we should be paying so much homage and honor to the political systems in which we find ourselves. We Americans are a truly privileged bunch to live in this moment in history under such amazing freedom and peace. Our experience is very unusual for human history.
Of course we should seek to preserve it. But we cannot idolize it.
If the preservation of that system requires continuing to oppress sizable numbers of our fellow citizens, it won’t last; the Lord will eventually intervene for the oppressed, and when He does, it won’t be pretty.
And ultimately America won’t last anyway. Only the Kingdom will persist; even the great American experiment must be shown to be inferior to the Kingdom. God will have no other gods before Him, and these days it seems to me that many Christians have made a false god of America’s political systems, placing more trust in them than in the God that blessed us with them in 1776.