Is Intersectionality A Useful Tool for Christians? | NSR
In this second episode on CRT and intersectionality, Brody, Zach Carter, and Zach Mabry walk through the dangers of using intersectionality as an analytical tool. This theory allows for the most oppressed voices to be heard as a standard for everyone. This puts people playing the role of God and calling the shots. Believers, the Bible is sufficient. We don’t have to go outside Scripture to find answers to the most important questions. The Word of God gives us what we need.
We are called to live in submission to the authority of Scripture and to listen to and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The problem we face is spiritual, and the Gospel of Jesus is our answer. God has created a standard for our source of knowledge and right understanding in the world. We know what we know based on God who revealed Himself to us through: (1) the incarnation of Christ and (2) the Bible, His written Word.
We need to remember that the Gospel is the hope and the answer for our world. We need to better understand these issues so we can articulate them with believers and nonbelievers. Christians are called to inform and shed light on sin. We can’t be afraid to do this. It’s our job to proclaim true redemption.
- Romans 13
Resources & further study
- Christ and Culture Revisited by D. A. Carson
- Intersectionality as Buzzword: A Sociology of Science Perspective on What Makes A Feminist Theory Successful by Kathy Davis, Feminist Theory 9, no. 1 (2008)
- Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics by Kimberlé Crenshaw, University of Chicago Legal Forum 1989, no. 1 (1989): 139, http://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/uclf/vol1989/iss1/8.
- The Complexity of Intersectionality by Leslie McCall, Signs 30, no. 3 (Spring 2005): 1771–1800. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/426800.
- Intersectionality by Patricia Hill Collins and Sirma Bilge
- Critical Race Theory: An Introduction by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic
- Whose Science? Whose Knowledge?: Thinking from Women’s Lives by Sandra Harding
Guest: Zach Carter
Zach Carter is one of the pastors at Rivertree Church in Huntsville, Alabama. He is a husband to one, lovely wife, and dad to two great kids. He is also pursuing his Ph.D. in American Church History at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he also manages The Commonwealth Project. He has also served as an adjunct professor, teaching worldview and church history at Boyce College.
P.S. If you liked this episode, we’d love to hear your feedback! Please leave us a review on Apple or Spotify and help us get the content out to help others grow in their faith and mission to equip the Church.
Speaker 1: Hey, Zach Mabry, worship pastor at Snowbird Outfitters, and I recently sat down with Zach Carter, another Zach, who is a PhD candidate at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and he’s also, he’s sort of a… I don’t wanna use the word expert, but he’s definitely authoritative when it comes to the topics and issues of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality. Those may be some words that you’re not familiar with, most of our listeners may not be familiar with those, but I think it’s very important that we talk about them. They’re issues that are prevalent right now in politics, and in media, and in the church. In fact, in 2019, it was a real big topic of conversation in the Southern Baptist Convention in…
Speaker 1: And so, and that’s a major denomination, I think 17 million people. So… I know all of our listeners are not Southern Baptist, but just saying, it’s in evangelical circles. It’s also very political, you hear about it, coming out of Washington, a lot of talk about it. So we wanna talk about Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, if you’ve never heard of those two things, I hope this is insightful, if you’ve never heard of them, do some follow-up research, but there’s three episodes here that we’re devoting to that conversation. We sat down with Zach Carter, spent a few hours with him, and edited that down to three manageable episodes. Hope it’s helpful. If you’ve got any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask, and we’ll do our best to maybe answer those in a follow-up episode. And as always, thanks for tuning in to No Sanity Required.
Speaker 2: Welcome to No Sanity Required, from the Ministry of Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters, a podcast about the Bible, culture and stories from around the globe.
Speaker 1: Okay, so we got Zach Carter back with us today, Zach Mabry is joining me here, and we’re continuing this conversation on Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality. And I wanna go back first to an illustration that Zach Carter used in the last episode, and it was that of, like the NFL Combine, where at the Combine… This is so good because I sat and watched the Combine this year with my 69-year-old mother, who grew… Like I grew up, she raised a bunch of kids, watched us play sports, she went to football games, she went to basketball games, but she’s looking at this Combine, nobody’s got helmets on, nobody’s got pads on, nobody’s playing football, and yet these football coaches are there watching these athletes go through these different exercises and drills, and then there’s a way that they’re able to watch that and determine how that would translate or transfer over to the field of play.
S1: And so I’m explaining to my mom, “Well, right now, they’re running the 40-yard dash, a good time for this wide receiver would be anything in the 4.4 to 4.6 range, 4.7. These big linemen, 5.1 is acceptable. These running backs and defensive backs, 4.3 is really good.” So I’m explaining to her, “We’re talking tens of seconds, and what that is, is that’s analysis that says, ‘Yeah, that guy runs 4.7 and this guy runs 4.3, that doesn’t seem to be the same. But wait a minute, the 4.3 guy is a running back, and the 4.7 guy is a lineman, that’s really fast for a lineman.” Okay, so it’s an analytical tool that then you have to translate or transfer that over to the field of play. So when we say that Intersectionality is an analytical tool, and I’d like for you to answer, is Critical Race Theory also in that referendum or that… What’s it called, not referendum.
Speaker 2: Resolution.
S1: Resolution 9.
Speaker 3: Resolution, yeah.
S1: Just on Intersectionality. And then how… What do they mean when they say like in the Southern Baptist Convention, when they say, “This is gonna be an analytical tool.” Like I really like the way the last episode ended because we talked about how scripture, the word of God, gives us what we need. So what is the idea behind some of the people that we all love and trust, who are on board with using this as an analytical tool, but it doesn’t seem right, it doesn’t seem to be to me like the right tool, what are they saying? What are they saying we should do to analyze with Intersectionality?
Speaker 3: That’s a really good question. So all people are saying lots of different things, and I think it’s probably helpful also to maybe just maybe address kinda one thing. So Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality are… They almost have like a father-son relationship or a father-daughter relationship, where Intersectionality, in the same way that it is kind of critical analysis with a knife, Critical Race Theory is the exact same way, ’cause you don’t make those analysis without recognizing and saying that… Without believing really that… The whole reason you picked up the tool, even, is because you believe that white supremacy is a real thing. So yeah, the whole point of it is to deconstruct whatever it is you’re seeing, ’cause you’re… I used the analogy of looking behind the curtain in the last episode, as you’re looking behind the curtain, you wanna eventually tear the curtain down. The whole goal is to get rid of the curtain, not just to keep looking, to keep looking behind it, so yeah.
S1: And they’re inherently related with white supremacy being the thing that needs to be dismantled, right?
Speaker 3: Yeah, and Intersectionality goes one further, because it doesn’t just say white supremacy, it also has all sorts of other categories where oppression might occur, so someone might be… To use their own term, someone might be cisgendered and that person who’s cisgendered, that would be, for those who don’t know, it would be somebody who’s born feeling as if they’re the gender that their body represents.
S3: That person would also be more privileged than someone who is a transgender, or a myriad of other things. And there’s all sorts of different categories, immigrant status, I think I mentioned in the last episode, and so the idea that… The commitment is not just to race at that point, it’s about systems of oppression and if you have a second, I’d like to explain also why that is and how intersectionality theorists hope to attend to the truth. So how they hope to end up at a right diagnosis. I don’t know if this the right time for that.
S1: Yes, go for it.
S3: Okay. And so the goal here is to… As you’re assigning values to levels of a oppressor or oppressed, the goal here is to actually get at the most oppressed voice possible. And the reason for that is… Let’s go back and I want for the listeners, I want you to imagine that you’re in a room and you’re looking at a curtain and behind that curtain is a window, and you need to know what’s behind the curtain, and so you keep looking around it, and you’re the only one who can’t see what’s outside the window. The curtain, if it had eyes would be able to see who’s ’cause it’s right in front of it. And the goal of the intersectional theorist is to arrive at the most valid description of the truth. So it’s not just looking behind the curtain, it’s what’s outside of even the curtain, and who’s outside, who is the farthest person removed from the curtain, because they know all of the things that are in the way to seeing rightly.
Speaker 2: So if you’re in the room and you’re looking at the curtain, you know what’s in the way, but let’s say my wife is in the other room, or somebody that you’re… Is in the house with with you, they’re in the other room, they don’t know that you’re standing in front of the curtain. They don’t even know how far away they are from seeing rightly. So the goal ultimately is to find the most oppressed person to do this. And this is theorists who are committed to this, are committed to a… What they call standpoint epistemology, standpoint epistemology.
S1: Okay. What… Explain the epistemology.
S3: Yeah, so epistemology is the study of how you know the things that you know, basically. Now, Zach, is that a good working definition?
S2: Yeah, that’s great.
S3: Okay. And so…
S2: How you come to know something, right?
S3: That’s right. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. How do you know the things that you know. And for Christians, our epistemology, we know what we know, based on the facts that God reveals Himself, mainly through the person of Jesus Christ. But then also in the Word and in the inspired Word of God, and the Holy Scripture, The Bible. And those are our sources of knowledge and right seeing in the world. But some of these intersectional theorists is gonna need to find the most oppressed voice because in their framework, and in their understanding the way that the world is, everyone is complicit in the construction of the curtain, and the people who are closest to the window in that room in that analogy are the ones who are not likely to see all the things that are in the way. So if you’re gonna eventually get to justice, if you’re gonna get to taking down the curtain, so everyone can see through the window, you’ve gotta find the person who’s the furthest point away from that, who can see all the things that are in the way, so they can remove all those things. And then everyone theoretically will be able to see through the window. And that’s the idea Kimberle Crenshaw actually uses the idea of a basement. But I think that at least in the audio format, probably the window is a better, is a better analogy.
S1: That’s really, that was really helpful for me.
S3: Did that help?
S1: Yeah, for me, it helped a lot.
S3: Alright. Okay, okay.
S2: Okay. And let me…
S3: And so…
S2: Go ahead.
S3: Can I go back… Well, can I go back to standpoint epistemology now just to define it a little bit more?
S2: Yes. Absolutely, sorry. That’s wonderful.
S3: Okay. You’re good. So then the way that you know something is true is based on where you’re standing, hence standpoint epistemology. And there’s been a subtle and subversive change, it’s been a bad change in the way we’re using our language, where we’ll saying, “Well, the way I see the world or the way I see things,” and everyone does that now, but what that reveals to me at least, is that in our education, we are beginning to adopt an understanding of knowledge that is relative to one’s position and standing in the world. So I only know something’s true, and so we rightly reject the notion that, “Well, it’s true, for me.” Most Christians can get it on what’s left, garbage. But we have… Without critically thinking about it, adopted a… “Well, it seems right to me,” and we approach scripture this way, we approach all sorts of things this way, but there are things that are objectively good and objectively bad, and it’s not based upon where you’re standing in the room, it’s based upon, as Christians we affirm, like I said in the last episode God has created something and that is the standard. So hopefully that helps clear up standpoint epistemology, as well.
S2: Right, and so, let me ask you a couple follow-up questions or if clarification, so what you’re saying is that someone who is holding to these tools, they’re viewing the world in a certain way to where for you because you are a white cisgendered man, and then of course, other things that you don’t have a… You can’t fully understand anything because of your perspective. Is that right?
S3: Yeah, that’s 100% correct. And then, yeah, so you can’t know anything. But worse, because you can’t know what you’re doing, you’re creating a world…
S2: You’re a part of the oppression.
S3: That increases the oppression, and not only that it increases the oppression on other people, and that’s why what the real contribution, and I say this respecting her as a scholar, not respecting the actual position. But the real contribution that Crenshaw has made to western philosophical thought is the idea that there’s no such thing as neutral objectivity, that the law cannot really be blind, justice cannot really be blind because it’s created by a bunch of, in their minds, crusty old white men. And because of that, they can’t see how much their world has oppressed other people. And unless you have… And I mean this respectfully, I’m not mocking at this moment, unless you have someone who’s a transgender African-American immigrant female who ascends to the Supreme Court. You could not possibly have justice because if it’s just White people, it’s not… There’s no way you could have justice. That’s why Clarence Thomas, who is an African-American Supreme Court Justice, is insufficient for justice to occur ’cause he’s…
S2: He’s a man…
S3: Also a man. He’s not… There aren’t enough intersections of oppression within him for him to rightly see what’s wrong. And we can get into why that’s… It’s a little more complicated, but however you wanna… I’m here for you, but we can get into why that is not just un-Christian, but at that point, it begins to go into the territory of dangerous at that point for Christians to hold onto.
S2: Well, let me just ask another clarifying question. For the Christian it is, it’s important to understand that if you’re gonna say, “Well, I think we could use intersectionality as an analytical tool.” Then you’re in the rabbit hole, and that means that it’s not just regarding race, but it’s also gender identity, sexuality, preference, all of that. Any supposed type of oppression has to be considered, is that right?
S3: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, 100%. But that’s also why people… The language has changed in the last 10, 15 years where the way for reconciliation in the 2000s was color blindness, and the way for racial reconciliation today is actually acknowledging all of our intersections and working to share privilege and those sorts of things. You can’t actually get rid of race ’cause then the whole thing falls apart. You can’t actually get away from gender distinctions because then the whole framework falls apart.
S2: Right. Okay, that’s really helpful. Okay, so the next thing I wanna talk about was, let’s move it back towards this idea of race, and so thinking about… We need to acknowledge… ‘Cause the thing that… The reason why it seems like this is hitting us so hard right now is because we are realizing, especially in America, that there is racism. And then racism, Christians can say, “Man, racism is evil.” And again, I think your categories are great because we’re created in the image of God. Human beings, we have value created in God’s image because of created good, not just good, but very good. So we see that, and so we’re seeing in our culture right now, it’s been racist, and even Christians have been racist, sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally. America we think is awesome, but it has been super racist, even making laws saying that Black people are three-fifths of a citizen, so when someone talks about… What do they mean when they’re talking about systemic racism? What does that mean, and is this a helpful term to use?
S3: Yeah, so I guess this is a helpful, maybe a place to illustrate. So The New York Times started a project the end of last year, maybe at the beginning of this year, called the 1619 Project, and the goal was to expose kind of the racist historical beginnings of America. And when someone says that they are pointing out systemic racism, what they’re arguing is that people who have had power have built and organized society in such a way that they consolidate and control and keep their power. And that’s the basis of it. And there was another question you had in there that I lost, as I was thinking. I’m sorry. Go ahead.
S1: Well, that’s interesting because what you just described is Joseph Stalin, who did what… Lenin died before he could have… We don’t know what he would have done, but what Joseph Stalin did and what the Kim dynasties have done in North Korea, as good as this all sounds, someone has to be calling the shots at the end of the day. And so you’re talking about people playing the role of God at the end of the day whereas Christians, by having a biblical worldview, by living our lives in submission to the authority of Scripture, by recognizing that we are… That all Christians are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, and that there are convictions and guidances given to us by the Holy Spirit, that we have an identity so that the Scripture would teach that in Christ, we are one nation, we are one race, we are a royal priesthood. That the Scripture answers all these questions, it does all of this but… And the secular world is driving this narrative or this conversation.
S1: And at the end of the day, I’ll give you maybe two blue collar of an example, maybe this is too much of a Neanderthal example. We were running in my lane when we were talking about the NFL Combines, but okay. So I live in a place that is White. Rural Southern Appalachia is as White as… It’s just a White culture, but it’s also very poor and very low when it comes to education. The number of people that go to… The number of people that graduate from high school, then the number people that go get anything beyond a high school diploma or a GED. And then post-graduate work is like… That’s like a White Buffalo. It’s just real rare. And so, coming from this demographic, we’ve grown up… I grew up with very little… The only interaction I had with African-Americans was through sports and travel leagues. And so in my Southern Appalachian community, I literally went from kindergarten through 12th grade with all White people…
S1: But the demographic was, most of them were either blue collar, their parents worked at the paper mill in our town, or they were really poor, like post-industrial drugs, alcohol. It looked a lot probably like what you see in the inner city and some urban communities as far as absence of fathers, high unemployment, things like that. Now, what we do have here is we have a large Native-American population, but most of those people… ‘Cause we live on the border of the reservation for the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. And so… And we still say Indians here, of which apparently is not okay, but here, that’s… Oh like it’s acceptable. And so the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians or the Native Americans that live here, we have seen what happens when the government tries to compensate for… We can call it reparations or whatever you wanna call it, compensate for past grievances and sins, when that turns into over-compensation, because what we have here is huge financial handouts that come from profit sharing at the two large casinos that operate here. And so my kids go to school, and I grew up going to school, the only non-whites I went to school with were Native Americans, they were Cherokee. And the only people that my kids can… Now my oldest boy is at a private boarding school that is… That there’s a lot of diversity at that school, but here in our little community, Native American is about, “That’s what you’re gonna go to school with.”
S1: And so in that world, this has been tried to some degree, and I know, again, I know this is a real dumbing down of all of this, but I guess the point that I’m driving at is that at the end of the day, somebody’s gotta be in charge, like the system doesn’t manage itself, and as soon as you put unregenerate people in charge of anything, they become corrupt with that authority, that power. And so to me, and I guess I’m just thinking out loud now, but I’m looking at the few observations I have and I’m going, “I don’t know what systemic racism looks like personally,” ’cause I’ve never lived within and around African-American communities, but I’m sure there are issues and problems that are real, but I know that here, there is…
S1: Classism is a reality, where people are really poor, really uneducated, they don’t… You try to… You walk through this town that we live in and try to convince people that they are privileged, they’re gonna be very confused about what you’re talking about. They’re scratching to survive. Drug addiction is through the roof, unemployment is through the roof. They live in dilapidated trailers, the majority of people in this community live in dilapidated trailers. You drive one county over and go onto the reservation where… I know one family that last year received over $30,000 in handouts from profit sharing through the casinos, and they live in a dilapidated trailer, there’s drug addiction and alcoholism. The problem is all… We know the problem is spiritual, and the Gospel is the answer.
S1: And so all of this for our listeners, just to know we’re dissecting this because we want you to understand that the Gospel is the hope, the Gospel is the answer, but we do need to understand these things so that we can articulate that in a better way, because too oftentimes I feel like we give unintelligible answers. Well, it’s good enough for the Apostle Paul, it’s good enough for me, alright. It’s good enough for the reformers, it’s good enough for me. It’s like, “Okay, but we have an issue here that we need to be aware of what’s going on, and that’s what you’re doing for me right now, is you’re shedding light on this and helping me process this in a way that I haven’t been able to.
S3: No, thanks. And I wanna go just… You said a couple of things that are really significant that you… You were thinking out loud, you may not have even thought that they were that significant, but one of the things that I think it’s really important for Christians to do is to tell the true stories about sin, and Christians shouldn’t be afraid of doing that because if we say we are without sin, we make Christ a liar. So it’s okay to talk about sin. For example, and where I’m going with this is the fact that at the end of the day, people do sin against each other, the whole reason you have, for example, laws about not moving the boundary markers, and I’m talking about the Levitical law, why you don’t move boundary markers is because human beings are going to try to cheat one another.
S3: And so if you have the ability to not pay someone to do work, you’re going to cheat them of their wage even though Bible is very clear, you ought to pay people for their wage. You cannot kidnap, and so kidnap slaves, in slavery. Those sort of things. So it’s right, it’s just, and it’s important for Christians to call sin what it is. But to Appalachia is a very interesting part of American history too, because historically, people have not always considered it white, and so even when we talk about whiteness we talk of white supremacy, the reason that… Brody maybe you’re left scratching your head, is America… I gonna say something very controversial potentially. I don’t think America has a race problem primarily, it has a class problem primarily. And I’m not saying that is the Marxist.
S3: I’m gonna say a couple of things that I need people to hear me all the way out, but… And I need people just to trust me that I know what I’m talking about. But Richard Bushman has a book called “The Refinement of America: Persons, Houses, and Cities”. And in it, he talks about how America changed its understanding of how its upper class is needed to present themself in order to give a young republic legitimacy. You see, we were a bunch of scrappy [0:25:39.9] ____ citizens who made up a country, it had never happened in the world’s history, we literally made up a country and then we had to go back to the people from whom we rebelled and said, “Hey, we are a country now, respect us.” So what we had to do is we had to adopt the customs of Europe, we had to adopt the aristocracy, we had to adopt all the pop and circumstance to give ourself legitimacy in that culture. But what that does is… There are other people who could not do that sort of thing, and so you have this distinction in class.
S3: Well, after slavery ends and in reconstruction Whites and newly-emancipated peoples were working together in the land and after reconstruction, however, in order to keep that stuff from just overtaking the current order, that’s when really the aristocracy, I need people to believe me, I’m not a Marxist here, but that’s when the aristocracy really began to create the concept and idea of Whiteness and really began to pit poor Whites against poor Blacks. So even though their economic circumstances were not different, their racial circumstances were different. And if we’re not telling the truth about that stuff, then we’re not really Christian. And it’s good and right for us to tell the truth of this, because what it allows us to do as well is it allows us to point out the ideal and then to aim towards that. But that’s why… You look at Hillbilly Elegy, all these books that are coming about Appalachia. Appalachia, what do they call you guys? You called yourself this. You said Neanderthal. Only someone who’s on the coast would think you were Neanderthal. We call people with, not me, but people call people who live in Appalachia hillbillies, backwards, White trash.
S3: And what are we doing when we’re saying that? We are racializing people, and then we’re saying there’s an idea of Whiteness that they don’t conform to. So in saying all that, what I’m also saying is that Critical Race Theory and intersectionality are not all flat wrong. They can tell the truth in part because all truth is God’s truth, and they do identify some sinful things. And if Christians aren’t willing to say that sort of stuff, you don’t have to use this tool to arrive there, you just read history books. The Refinement of America. Another good one is Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. That one I don’t agree with every point. I wanna… I recommend that with qualification. But then another book that has been influencing my thought, again, I don’t don’t recommend this wholeheartedly, I just recommend it kind of as a historical work, is Nancy Isenberg’s White Trash, 400 year History of Class in America. If we’re gonna tell the truth and redeem the world, it’s not our job to be Christ but it is our job to proclaim redemption.
S3: If we’re gonna redeem the world, so to speak, from the curse to create culture, I think that there’s a culture-creating mandate in Genesis, then we need to tell the truth about these things. We need to work for them so that people that live in Andrews, North Carolina, don’t call themselves Neanderthals. I’m not picking on you or something, but I’m saying that just proves kinda the point that human beings sin against one another, and they do create structures of sin, but the Bible already tells us that. The Bible already tells us that sort of stuff. We don’t have to go to materialistic understandings of things to come up with solutions to that. What we know then is that the people in Boston who consider the people in North Carolina backwards had hard hearts and didn’t acknowledge the image of God within the people who lived in North Carolina. And for that they were sinners, and they need to repent, but they are no more sinners than I am, and they are no less sinners than I am. But the blood of Jesus makes us all whole and restores us all.
S3: I hope that’s helpful, I don’t really know, but any time I hear people in Appalachia apologize for being an Appal… I don’t know. It just… It’s kind of like, “Man, you don’t even know like… ” Well, I’m not saying you don’t know, I don’t know what you do and don’t know, Brody, but… And it’s so complex and humans sin against each other in such devastating ways. Sometimes it’s hard to be a History major ’cause you read these books and you just think it’s unbelievable what we’ve done to one another. But I’m not surprised because God has already given me the tools to understand. We’re gonna keep doing that to one other until God remakes this world, that it won’t stop until then. Unfortunately, it won’t stop until then. We’re gonna hear of genocides, we’re gonna hear of… And you can fight that with the sword to an extent, Romans 13, but those sorts of things only come about through regeneration. Those sorts of demons can only be exorcised through fasting and prayer and man… Yeah.
S1: That’s very helpful.
S3: You might decide to scrap all of that. You might decide to get rid of all that, but I think it’s important we tell the truth.
S1: No, that’s super insightful. That was something I wanted answered in this series is help me reconcile the Hillbilly Elegy world with White fragility, ’cause it was interesting…
S3: Yeah. And what’s he even doing there though? He’s writing to all of his Yale buddies, trying to apologize for where he came from in Ohio, and they’re laughing at him. But had he written that book about any other… And I’m not trying to say that that’s… I’m not trying to weigh some kind of White oppression flag here, but had he written that group about any other kind of people then it would have never… It would have never been picked up by an editor, but the fact that it’s about Appalachia made it okay. But then what I’m pointing out is that that is what in my view, if we’re gonna say there’s a systemic racism, that’s what it looks like. Is it codified in our constitution? I don’t think so, and I think I’m on good ground to say that. Does America have a racist founding? Is the 1619 project correct? Well, it’s been reputed by The New York Times itself. They’ve publicly apologized for it now. It’s really hard to find, they’ve renamed all the titles and stuff.
S3: But also figures that you guys are all familiar with, Frederick Douglas, for example, a great kind of speech he gave is “What is the Fourth of July to a Slave?” And he critiques America in using its own founding document. And he says this is the ideal, and you’re not living up to it. So he does not believe… Douglas does not believe that America’s founded as a racist country. He believes it’s founded as an enlightened country, but its people have failed to live up to their standard. So he’s calling people to, in a sense, repent of their civil sin and live up to their civil gospel, so to speak, if I can use that analogy. The sins that they commit against the constitution, so to speak, and against the Declaration of Independence, he’s calling to look to those documents, “This is what you believe. This is what you say you believe. Live up to that.” Martin Luther King Jr said the exact same thing, and that’s why they’re so powerful. It’s that… Philip Gorski calls it kind of a prophetic republicanism.
S3: They’re calling out, they’re protesting, they’re dissenting at the way that Americans fall short of their guiding document. And every generation is gonna need that kind of prophetic voice to say, “Hey, we do believe in these things, we need to reform.” So I don’t think America was found as a racist country, going all way back to one of your first questions. I think that we do sin against each other, and I think our societies, we sin against one another in the way we create laws, those sorts of things. But I don’t think that there’s an overarching world that we’ve created, that unless we affirm racism and white supremacy, that we can’t undo it all. I don’t think that that’s what the solution is. I think that if we acknowledge them, and we try to, as best we can, make good church members be willing to die for themselves for the sake of one another, that’s one of the best ways that we can undo this mess that we’re in.
S2: I think that’s really… That’s super helpful and ’cause let me follow that up with a train of thought because there are so many people that will say, “Man, how can you… ” And this is… I know you don’t follow sports as much, but this is what’s happening in professional sports, is they’re like, “Look at what America has done. America is so racist. I can’t believe you would want to stand up for when people are singing a song about the American flag.” And so where they’re saying, “America’s racist, we’ve been racist.” Look at what, even when the settlers came here, they fought back the Native Americans. And then we’ve got the institution of slavery. We’ve got the Three-fifths Compromise. And then even as a Christian and specifically, as a Baptist, the Southern Baptist Convention, part of the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention was the separation to still hold to the right of slavery, and so…
S3: Yeah, that’s right.
S2: And I think your… The counsel, to speak the truth is so good because, “Yeah, okay, here’s the deal: Those people… ” As an enlightened country, we said in our Declaration of Independence that these unalienable rights have been given by the Divine Creator to all men because they’ve been created equal. And of course, that’s the use of men, to mean all human beings created equal.
S3: Yeah, human beings, that’s right.
S2: And so, and then we would say as a Christian, especially if someone who holds to the tenants of the Southern Baptist Convention, we hold to the authority inerrancy of Scripture, that which says that all human beings are created in God’s image. And I think it’s really helpful to say, “Okay, you’re pointing out all of our failures, and you’re exactly right, you’re exactly right.”
S2: Yeah, has America been super racist? Does it continue to be racist in a lot of times? Yep, absolutely. Are there Christians? I mean Christians, solid pastor Christians who’ve had a huge blind spot in the area of race? Yes, yep.
S2: They have. And I think that’s really helpful. We need to speak, we need to speak the truth, and we need to say, “When we were doing that, we weren’t being very good Christians.” And we could even say, “Oh, yeah, and all of those laws were not very American because they were going against what we’d said in the Declaration of Independence.” I think it’s super helpful.
S3: Yeah, and then repeal them where you can. On the ballot, actually, yesterday, ’cause this is… We’re recording this the after the election. On the ballot in Alabama, amendment number four was to strike all of the racist pro-segregation language from the Constitution, reorganize it, that sorts of thing. And amendments to the Constitution such as, “The State shall establish schools for white and colored children,” I think it’s the wording in the Constitution, the State Constitution. And so it was on the ballot to repeal those…
That’s awesome, yeah.
S3: Of course, they’re not enforced anymore, obviously, but… After the Civil Rights Act. But those things are not insignificant, and Christians should do it. You should vote… I voted yes, I think Christians should vote yes to say, “That was sinful. Will you forgive me?”
S3: And not forgive me like I’m responsible for the sins of my grandfather, but we are all sinners and we all desperately need the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. And if we pretend otherwise, then we’re deceiving ourselves and we’re making Christ a liar.
S3: That weights heavy on me, personally, so that was a lot of rambling, I don’t know. Yeah, I hope it’s helpful, but yeah, I just… The Bible is sufficient. If there’s anything that people are listening to today, it just we don’t have to go outside of the Scripture to find the answers of life’s most important questions. Who are we? What is this world we live in? Why is it bad? Why do I feel like it should be better? If you… You feel like it should better because you have, per Romans 1, an idea of what God has created, and you know something of His character, and it’s not measuring up. So you’re proving Scripture right on that point. But then second, you’re also proving the fact that the Fall has happened, which is the most liberating thing for Christians, I think, because then, you don’t have to… You can affirm and say, “100%, it’s not like it’s supposed to be,” and more on that with me, but then like, “Let’s press in and live as the church of Christ.”
S2: Right, that Christians, because of the way that God has revealed Himself to us in the Bible, we know, one, that this was all created good, and we know why it’s bad, and why even non-believers think there’s something wrong with the world.
S3: Yeah, 100%.
S2: That’s good.
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