Critical Race Theory is as an indictment of the United States as a systemically-racist society, but it is also something worse: an all-encompassing worldview, a guiding life philosophy that purports to explain the world in a staggeringly simple manner. With racism, slavery, imperialism, colonialism, and more, white people have inflicted incalculable harm on the world, and in fact are the source of evil in the world. The Nation of Islam has expressed this with devastating succinctness for decades, using the chillingly direct phrase, “The white man is the devil.” With officials all over the country pushing Critical Race Theory upon us in our schools and workplaces, the Nation of Islam is quickly becoming the de facto official religion of the United States. This makes the question all the more urgent: why haven’t the churches condemned it?
The immediate answer is, of course, that the churches are no longer in the business of condemning heresies; that went out around the time the United States stopped fighting wars in order to win them. But nevertheless, Critical Race Theory is a heresy, and one that directly contradicts a core Christian doctrine. Americans are far less Christian than they used to be, but this is one Christian doctrine that is readily verifiable by mountains of empirical evidence: the idea that no one is perfect or behaves perfectly all the time, but “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
The toweringly courageous Soviet dissident Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, a devout Orthodox Christian and an enduring hero of freedom, expressed the same idea in this way: “If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
When Solzhenitsyn said this, it was taken for granted as axiomatic all over the West, among Christians and non-Christians alike. But now it is being forgotten or rejected with jaw-dropping rapidity. The underlying assumption of Critical Race Theory is that there are evil people who are insidiously committing evil deeds, and they are the white people. Racism, or whiteness, is the original sin. This sin manifests itself in all sorts of “systemic” ways, most notably in the alleged police double standard for blacks and whites. In Christian thought, Jesus submitted to death in order to destroy it and enable human beings to enjoy eternal life; now (as Nancy Pelosi recently suggested) George Floyd submitted to racism and police brutality in order to destroy them and enable Americans to enjoy racial justice. Now what remains is to separate the white people from other people and destroy them. Then the non-white world can enter into the messianic age of redemption, with evil eradicated from the planet.
This is the kind of thinking that has led to genocide in the past. Hitler and his National Socialists taught that the Jews were the cause of all the afflictions that Germany and the world at large were suffering, and once they were eradicated, Germany and the world would enter a new age of peace and prosperity. Back in 1937, in the encyclical letter Mit Brennender Sorge, which was pointedly written in German instead of the customary Latin, Pope Pius XI denounced “certain leaders” pushing a “so-called myth of race and blood.” Just after World War II in Europe ended, on June 2, 1945, Pope Pius XII said that National Socialism was “arrogant apostasy from Jesus Christ, the denial of His doctrine and of His work of redemption, the cult of violence, the idolatry of race and blood, the overthrow of human liberty and dignity.”
Pope Pius XII has been accused of not speaking out or acting strongly enough against Nazism. Whatever the merits of these accusations may be, at very least the Roman Catholic Church was on record against “the idolatry of race and blood.” Nowadays, by contrast, Critical Race Theory is being taught in Catholic churches and schools.
Why isn’t the Catholic Church standing up for the core Christian doctrine that no particular race, ethnicity, nation, or group of people has a monopoly on evil, while the rest of the world is pure? Why aren’t the other churches? This pernicious theory, which could easily lead to and justify all manner of oppression and violence, has only been able to get traction in a post-Christian U.S., in which large numbers of people are ready to accept the idea that all the problems of the world emanate from one group, which should be eliminated for the good of all the non-evil people.
How many people are going to have to die before the nation awakens to just how evil and dangerous Critical Race Theory really is?