Over the last five years, Critical Race Theory has become a hot button issue in our country and among Christians. Concerning the latter, local churches are breaking apart, as pastors are—or are perceived to be—adding elements of social justice to the message of the gospel. Larger organizations too—seminaries, denominations, etc.—have had to debate the issue of social justice and Critical Race Theory. And to date, the results have not born the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Part of the reason for this division is that those advocating CRT—in part or in whole—are imbibing a way of thinking that is intended to divide and deconstruct. Conversely, many who respond to CRT do so with the same spirit of anger and division. Hence, the dumpster fire that is the current state of evangelicalism. We will save comment on the church for another day, but suffice it to say, the division caused by CRT is significant and growing.
Outside the church, CRT continues to be just as divisive. For instance, local school board meetings have become battle grounds for what will be taught about America and the history racism. Companies large and small are virtual signaling their wokeness by celebrating equity and inclusion and canceling those who will not join them. And more to the point of this post, federal, state, and local agencies are introducing policies that champion the ideas of CRT and the tools of Intersectionality.
Our county is one of those places where the tenets and tools of CRT are trying to be implemented. And recently, our Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) invited public comment on their new 10-page Equity and Inclusion Policy. As a resident interested in this subject and its impact on the church and its freedom to live and move and have its being in our increasingly secular age, I took time to read the proposed document and comment on it. What follows on this post is my letter to the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.
I share this as a model of what it might look like to speak up for truth in the public square. As a resident whose convictions lead him to have massive concerns with the proposal, and a Christian who is called to seek the welfare of the city (Jer. 29:7), it leads me to speak. I also encouraged other church members to do the same. Maybe I’ll share more of my biblical rationale for that later, but here’s my pastoral rationale.
If members of my church who work in my county will be disciplined, silenced, or terminated for holding beliefs that I share—and that is what is at stake with this new policy—then I need to speak up out loud and in public, so that they might have the liberty to express their convictions out loud and in public. And then, even if they don’t have the freedom to speak, I need to model what it means to speak up. There are lots of sheep speaking up on these matters (see the school board meetings), while pastors remain silent. This will not do. After studying the matters and coming to a biblical conviction, we must speak up for the saints who enter the public square.
There’s much more to be said, but that’s start.
For those reading this blog, I post this edited letter to show where I see CRT infecting our culture. While countless churches have experimented with (or embraced) tenets of CRT, others have refused to address it at all. This leaves Christians in the lurch, wondering what to do. In my estimation, such indifference has real world consequences. Christians are having to navigate the increasingly hostile marketplace of ideas, and it helps no one when pastors refuse to address the subject with full-throated biblical exegesis (Citing generic proof texts that prove your point, doesn’t qualify). Similarly, if pastors are not willing to speak truth in public, then we should not expect our voices to have a place there much longer.
So here is my attempt, as a pastor and theologian, to engage our public officials for the good of my neighbors and the good of local churches. I share this not in fear that falsehood will ultimately prevail—a day of reckoning is coming!—but because I do believe that lies hurt people. And because the ideas associated with CRT are filled with lies about humanity, sin, justice, grace, and goodness, I wrote this letter, in hope that the lies are being forced upon our county and country would be not go forward without serious opposition.
Here, I hope this letter reveals what’s at stake with the debate about CRT and that my voice may spur others on to speak truth out loud and in public.
Dear County Supervisors,
This policy proposal is a solution looking for a problem. Instead of providing rationale for the need for equity and inclusion, the problem is assumed. Then, based on this unspecified assumption, another undefined set of tools, namely, Intersectionality is put forward as pathway to making PWC more inclusive and equitable. While Intersectionality is named it is not defined. In Critical Race Theory, where Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw developed the concepts surrounding Intersectionality, the goal is to over turn perceived power structures with preferential treatment for those with greater degrees of perceived disadvantage.
In other words, to paraphrase the arguments of Ibram X. Kendi, past discrimination must be resolved with present discrimination, and present discrimination must be resolved with future discrimination. When I was growing up, I learned from Martin Luther King Jr. that we should judge a person by the content of their character not the color of their skin. Fast forward to today, where sexual orientation and gender identity have been proffered as the new civil rights, and we are told by the like of Crenshaw, Kendi, and others that we must pay most attention to a person’s group, not their individual character. Accordingly, such attempts at equity and inclusion displace King’s dream with an obsession with race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity.
To implement this policy will not result in greater equity; it will heighten suspicion among groups; it will invite groups to plead their case for being most oppressed; it will result in the future politicization of every area of life; and it will force every department in our county to care more about quotas than the character of the people who are working there. Moreover, in the name of justice, it will disallow charity, mercy, and diversity of thought and opinion. While the online pictures of departments may appear diverse; such superficial diversity will eliminate many honest individuals whose refusal to participate in identity politics makes them a “problem.”
Unfortunately, what this policy seeks to do is implement the ideology of a few at the expense of many, and more tragically, instead of making PWC a more happy and harmonious place to live, it will inculcate a spirit of group think that forces individuals to conform to PWC policies or else. Is that the kind of environment you are looking to foster in our county? I hope not. That is not the American way, nor the spirit of Martin Luther King who led a generation to see the need for genuine civil rights.
What is being put forward in the name of equity and inclusion is an authoritarian power play to make the citizens and employees of PWC departments play by the rules of those in power. This will not turn out well. And I am urging the BOCS to rescind, or at the very minimum, rewrite this policy.
David Schrock, Ph.D.
Resident of the Potomac District
Soli Deo Gloria, ds