Wednesday, June 30, 2021

5 Things Every Christian Should Know About the “Trans-Movement”

The proliferation of “gender identity” designations in every sphere of life, from educational institutions to corporations and government entities, has led many to ask how it began and where it might lead.

Until recently, the idea that someone might be “transgender” was confined to the margins of society and was seen as an extremely rare phenomenon. Today, rising numbers of people, especially in the younger generations, are not only identifying as the opposite sex, as transgender, but are choosing a new gender identity from an ever-growing list of made-up options. Some of these include “nonbinary,” “agender” or “genderqueer.” None of these so-called gender identities can be defined biologically or in material terms. 

Here are 5 things every Christian should know about the transgender movement.

1.The shift from 'transsexual' to 'transgender'

Critical to understanding how the push to normalize the idea that someone could be “born in the wrong body” or was “assigned” the wrong sex at birth, as is said among transgender activists, is an important shift in language. 

According to Atlanta-based endocrinologist Dr. Quintin Van Meter, whom CP interviewed in 2018 about the dangers of chemical puberty blockers, much of the foundation for shaping the public discourse regarding what is now known as “gender identity” can be attributed to one man: John Money.

Money was a New Zealand-American psychologist who was on staff several decades ago at Johns Hopkins, one of the most prominent hospitals in the United States. 

He also had a particular interest in children with sexual differentiation disorders, and it was his idea that a gender identity that might differ from the sex of the body developed in a person at some point in time, according to Van Meter, who also detailed this phenomenon in the new documentary film “Trans Mission: What’s the Rush to Reassign Gender?” that was released on June 17 by the Center for Bioethics & Culture Network. 

Back then, the cadre of patients that Money worked with were called “transsexuals.” Prior to that, sex and gender were used interchangeably.

"He had patients that he treated as adults, and then he also had the pediatric patients treated with surgical and hormonal manipulations with really phenomenally bad outcomes," Van Meter told CP at the time.

"He thought perhaps we could societally change one's gender by treating people differently, socially and with hormones. And what he found was that he was trying to change sex," which was impossible, he said.

Money’s operation was eventually shut down, but it was reinvigorated in recent years amid a growing cultural push in favor of transgender identities, Van Meter said. 

The word “gender” was a linguistic term and it did not even appear in medical literature prior to the 1950s and '60s, the Atlanta doctor explained in the documentary.  

Although many continue to use the word gender interchangeably with “sex” out of habit — and indeed the etymology of the word gender contains “gene” which connects it to DNA — trans activists pushing for gender identity to be adopted as a legal category to be enshrined in federal and state laws and public policies have redefined the word to mean something other than biological sex, sowing confusion among the masses. 

With this redefinition of gender by ideologues, it has become a weaponized tool to “de-sex” human beings in law and culture, according to Stella Morabito, a senior contributor to The Federalist.

“In a society de-sexed by law, would the state recognize your relationship as a husband or a wife? Mother or father? Daughter or son? Those are all sexed terms. A system that does not recognize the existence of male and female would be free to ignore the parentage of any child," she noted of the implications of this shift in language in a piece for Public Discourse in 2016. 

“You might be recognized as your child’s ‘legal guardian,’ but only if the state agrees to that. Anybody can be a guardian to your child if the state decides it’s in the child’s ‘best interest.’ In this vision, there is nothing to prevent the state from severing the mother-child bond at will,” she added.

2. Gender dysphoria afflicting teenage girls, young women

The psychological ailment known as gender identity disorder and later renamed “gender dysphoria," which is defined as persistent psychological distress or incongruence with one's biological sex, was until recently an extremely rare condition that almost entirely afflicted young boys. But a significant shift has occurred in the last decade.  

Today, for the first time in approximately 100 years of clinical diagnostic history, the predominant demographic of those suffering from gender dysphoria are teenage girls and young adult women.

Yet the kind of dysphoria these girls and women are experiencing is notably different, and the skyrocketing rates have many believing that it's the result of an internet-fueled peer contagion, what has been called “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria” (ROGD).

In the United Kingdom, for example, referrals to the Gender Identity Development Service increased by over 4,000-fold in the past decade, as was documented by the trans-critical website TransgenderTrend.

This medical mystery of ROGD was thoroughly explored in a book released last year titled, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by journalist Abigail Shrier. Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria was the subject of public health researcher Lisa Littman who published a peer-reviewed scholarly article in the academic journal PLoS One in 2018 after she noticed growing numbers of youth identifying as the opposite sex.

Littman’s research revealed that 65% of young girls who had self-identified as transgender during their adolescence did so after spending considerable time on social media. She thus posited that the sharp rise in transgender-identifying girls was not organic but a sudden social contagion.

Soon after publication, trans activists claimed her study employed faulty research methods, and PLoS One's editor-in-chief wound up apologizing for publishing the article. In an unprecedented move in March 2019, the academic journal published a "correction" for Littman's original article, even though her findings were unchanged.

Earlier this year, mothers involved in a secret online group who managed to connect because their young sons are mired in this peer contagion told CP that teenage boys are also suffering, even as the social dynamics and contributing factors vary from what girls endure.

3. The theological angle: Neo-Gnosticism, the meaning of being human 

The claim that a person can have a sexed body but a gendered brain, a body-mind split, a “mismatch” between their gender identity and their biological sex is not a particularly unique idea, though it might seem new, theologians say.

In a short letter to the editor of the U.K. Times published in August 2017, renowned Anglican theologian and author N.T. Wright opined that the contemporary confusion about gender identity in youth “is a modern, and now internet-fueled, form of the ancient philosophy of Gnosticism.”

He continued, “[t]he Gnostic, one who ‘knows,’ has discovered the secret of ‘who I really am,’ behind the deceptive outward appearance.”

“This involves denying the goodness, or even the ultimate reality, of the natural world. Nature, however, tends to strike back, with the likely victims in this case being vulnerable and impressionable youngsters who, as confused adults, will pay the price for their elders’ fashionable fantasies,” he said.

In CP's 2017 article series on the many facets of transgender ideology, CP executive editor and outgoing Southern Evangelical Seminary President Richard Land said that when a human being takes on a transgender identity it's the epitome of self-idolatry and an affront to God’s created order. 

"It is the ultimate attempt to become one's own god. I want to be different than the way God made me, so I'm going to employ modern medical science to change my gender, chemically and surgically," Land said at the time.

"The religion of America today is narcissism. … We want to define our own version of truth of who we are regardless of anything else."

Land believes that a particularly pressing philosophical question that all Christians must consider today is: “What is a human being?' The forces at work within modern culture ... are self-centered."

Echoing Wright, Land further explained that at the root of the transgender movement is a resurgent Gnostic view that the body and mind are not united, coupled with the hedonistic creed of the sexual revolution that “if it feels good, do it."

"The sacred trinity of modern man is I, myself and me. And it is only with modern science that people have the ability to claim they can change their gender and seek to do so," he added.

4. The Dentons document

In December 2019, journalist James Kirkup wrote a piece for The Spectator about a document from Dentons, which claims to be the largest law firm in the world; the Thomson Reuters Foundation; and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Youth & Student Organisation (sic).

The document, titled "Only adults? Good practices in legal gender recognition for youth," exposed the tactics that gender identity activists use in order to accomplish their policy aims, including how government entities should override parental rights so they no longer have legal control over their children on issues pertaining to gender

Although both Dentons and the Thomson Reuters Foundation noted that the document does not necessarily reflect their viewpoints, it nevertheless advises that "states should take action against parents who are obstructing the free development of a young trans person’s identity in refusing to give parental authorization when required."

The document also urged trans activist groups to wed themselves to politically popular initiatives, such as marriage equality bills, to "provided a veil of protection," particularly in countries "where marriage equality was strongly supported, but gender identity remaineda more difficult issue to win public support for."

"Another technique which has been used to great effect is the limitation of press coverage and exposure," the document adds.

For concerned citizens who wonder why corporate entities are in any way involved in driving the idea of the “transgender child” — a minor who claims by mere say-so to be the opposite sex — into legal structures around the world, it is necessary to observe the language manipulation, follow the money, and note the rise in pediatric gender clinics worldwide, according to investigative journalist Jennifer Bilek, who writes at The11thHourBlog

“Biological sex seems to be what is deconstructed in the global push to change the definition of female to include male, which deconstructs sex as a meaningful definition,” Bilek wrote in a January 2020 blog post.

“Children who experience body dysphoria about their sex, up until very recently were so rare a phenomenon, no one ever heard of them. Now we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 ‘gender’ clinics in the U.S. (the largest serving 1,000 children), treating a condition that is considered at once, disordered enough from the norm to need clinics, drugs, medical oversight and the halting of puberty, but also normal enough to be considered just another way to be human, hence the guidance from Reuters and Dentons.”

In 2007, the United States was home to only one gender clinic, located in Boston, Massachusetts.

“Biological reality is being legally queered, it would appear, to pave the way for more and more complex changes to human biology and children’s bodies are being used as the fodder for this experiment,” she added in a follow-up blog post.

“This experiment is being  run by the richest, global corporatists who naturally use the largest  and richest legal structures (Dentons and Reuters) to construct their lie.” 

5. Opposition spans the spectrum, pushed by Democrats, slow-walked by Republicans

In both the federal and state legislatures, the opposition to transgender policies, particularly regarding the experimental medicalization in youth, is almost universally voiced by Republicans.

Elected Democrats are almost entirely in favor of transgender-friendly laws, as it has largely been touted as the next civil rights frontier amid the push for "LGBT rights" to be codified in nondiscrimination laws. 

But legislative accomplishments pushing back gender identity ideology in public life are few amid pressure from heavy-hitting financial interests. Despite the seemingly stark left-right divide on the issue, opposition to certain policies spans the political spectrum in the general public, in both liberal and conservative states.

Left-wing radical feminist groups such as the Women’s Liberation Front and the U.S. chapter of the nonpartisan Women’s Human Rights Campaign have contended in a variety of fora in recent years that women’s rights are indelibly undermined with the inclusion of gender identity in the legal definition of sex.

The hard-fought legal gains that the suffragists and early feminists achieved were won on the grounds that biological sex matters and that women have been held down and discriminated against on that basis. They contend that no one was confused about what a woman was when they were banned from voting or serving on juries.

Last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to gain more attention, Idaho became the first state in the nation to adopt laws resisting trans ideology. These laws stated that women’s sports are reserved for females only and that vital statistics in state records must be maintained on the basis of biological sex. 

Since then, several states have passed similar laws forbidding males, regardless of how they identify, from competing in women’s athletic competitions. In Louisiana, several Democratic legislators voted in favor of its bill designating women’s sports as female-only. The state's Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, however, vetoed the measure.

Prohibiting the prescription of experimental puberty-suppressing drugs, cross-sex hormones and performing elective cosmetic gender surgeries on minors has proven to be a tougher battle, even in states with overwhelming Republican majorities, where many might think such proposals would pass easily.

In 2020, the first legislative effort pushing back against trans medicalization in the U.S. took place in South Dakota. Though the bill passed in the lower chamber, it died in a Senate committee under pressure from the Chamber of Commerce.

In May, despite its reputation as a conservative bastion, a Texas bill banning chemical and surgical sex changes for children younger than 18 failed to be scheduled for a vote in the House after stall tactics were deployed, activists and insiders told CP.

In South Carolina, it was notable that Rep. Cezar McKnight (D-Williamsburg), was the sponsor of a bill attempting to ban the experimental practices in the state. 

“Black Democrats tend to be more conservative than white progressives,” McKnight told The Associated Press in an interview earlier this year.

“I would not have ever put this bill forward if I didn’t think the people in my district wouldn’t be receptive, and they are. Pastors, young parents, older parents, they all tell me the same thing: if you want to do this, wait until you’re 18.”

This Report is Filed by Brandon Showalter, Christian Post Reporter Twitter
Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Thursday, June 10, 2021

“The people bowed and prayed / to the neon god they made.” - The Sound of Silence, Paul Simon

King Nebuchadnezzar sets up a statue of himself and says, in essence, “I have had this amazing image put up, and I want universal submission and worship, from everyone, or else.”

Unsurprisingly, everyone says, “Ok—we will bow.” Perhaps for most of them the sight of this magnificent image was sufficient to cause them to bow. Perhaps for some of them, the sight of everyone else bowing made it clear that it was the right thing to do. And for the rest of them, the thought of the furnace was more than enough to get their knees to bend: “As soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up” (Daniel 3:7).

All of Us Still Worship

What is going on here? It’s simple: idolatry—worshiping something that a human has made instead of the God who made humans. The people who gathered on that plain were bowing to an image as though it were God. Whether it was because they were impressed by what they saw, or because they wanted to fit in with everyone else, or because of the threat of what would happen if they did not, they chose to bow to the image, and so they made it an idol.

Idolatry is not only a problem of ancient civilizations. It is a problem of all human societies because it is a problem of human hearts. Romans 1 is speaking of everyone when it says that “although they knew God [deep down], they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him …. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man .... [They] worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:21–23, 25). As a result of that idolatry, “God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves” (Romans 1:24).

Idols Change, Our Reasons for Bowing to Them Do Not

Idolatry—in your life and more broadly in society—precedes immorality. If we would understand why immorality is tolerated or even promoted, we need to look behind the behavior to the worship—to the idol.

Of course, the idols change; few people in the West bow down to golden images today. But the idols have no less a hold, and our reasons for bowing to them are no different—they look impressive, our peers are worshiping them, and our society threatens us with penalties if we do not join in. As Paul Simon put it in “The Sound of Silence,” “The people bowed and prayed / to the neon god they made.” Great swaths of humanity bow down at various shrines—temples, malls, offices, strip bars—with great sincerity of heart, and every one represents a false religion.

It is far easier to identify the idols in other cultures than in our own. There are idols we bow down to not because we’re made to but because we want to, and those are the very hardest to acknowledge.

Examples of Modern Idolatry

To take two examples: first, the average Western Christian parent finds it natural to worship the idol of children, at the expense of fidelity to God and service of his people. Of course kids are a good thing—idols usually are—but they so easily and unnoticeably become a god. It becomes so vitally important that Tommy goes swimming and Zadie has skating and Rochelle does her tutoring, and maybe they won’t have time to go to the church youth group, and maybe we won’t have time as a family to read the Bible together each day. The word of God and the people of God are important, but the greatest commitment is to the kids. When push comes to shove, we worship the image of the perfect family, and the holy God can fit in around that.

Second, the average American Christian finds it natural to worship the idol of politics. We think and pray and speak as though if our guy wins, the kingdom wins; and if he loses, then it’s hell. In other words, we treat our favorite for president, or our political party, as a god.

American Christians are used to having a political home, and we have forgotten that this is Babylon—it may be Republican Babylon or Democrat Babylon, right-wing Babylon or left-wing Babylon, but it is Babylon nonetheless—and we have forgotten that the kingdom of God is not of this world. My sense is that in the US most of us worship capitalism, and none of us have any idea of what socialism actually is. Neither builds the kingdom of God; as the economist John Kenneth Galbraith once memorably put it, “Under capitalism, man exploits man; while under socialism just the reverse is true.”

Set up a political party or economic system as an idol and you’ll make sacrifices to it. Witness the ethical backflips that Christians on both sides of the divide (sadly, it’s more of a chasm) have started to perform to defend the biblically indefensible. There is no nuance and no ability to see the strengths and weaknesses of either our own position or of others. It’s idolatry—confidence in something other than God to deliver what we need.

So we bow down to the idol of party, and we attend our chosen network temples of Fox News or CNN and MSNBC. We don’t think—we just rearrange our prejudices. One way to discover if you are bowing down is to ask yourself this: Do you watch, and seriously consider, the views of the networks that embrace the other view to yours? If not, then when push comes to shove we are worshiping the image of president and party, and the holy God can fit in around that.

Dismantling Our Idols

The list could go on: status, acquisition, our bodies… These are the things that our culture worships, and so these are the gods to which we bow without thinking.

Our hearts naturally worship idols that exalt our agenda, our goals, our significance, or our reputation. Christian faith does not mean that we are immune to idolatry; but it does mean that we have no excuse not to dismantle our idols. A Christian is not someone who does not struggle with idol-worship, but he or she is someone who prays:

“The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from its throne
And worship only thee.”
—William Cowper, 1731–1800


This material is an excerpt from Alistair Begg’s book Brave by Faith (The Good Book Company, 2021). All content from the book is used by permission, and this article was originally posted by The Good Book Company.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Confessing Sin Rather Than Celebrating It

 As America begins its month-long celebration of pride, leaders would do well to stop their smug virtue signaling

By Everett Piper - - Sunday, June 6, 2021

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

On June 1, 2021, Joe Biden used his bully pulpit to encourage Americans to stand proud in our nation’s march for what he called equality. “Pride stands for courage. [Pride] stands for justice, and most of all [pride] stands for love … Happy Pride Month!” the president tweeted.  

In the fall of 1942, C.S. Lewis took to the airways of his nation to encourage his fellow citizens to, likewise, stand resolute. But the differences between Lewis’ speech and President Biden’s tweet are stark.  

In the face of an actual existential threat, the Oxford don didn’t speak of contrived notions of social justice or the faulty logic of defining ourselves by our desires. He didn’t talk of a person’s right to do whatever he wanted but instead spoke of every man’s obligation to do what he must. Lewis didn’t flatter with messages of moral license, but rather he reminded all his listeners of God’s moral law.  

When C.S. Lewis took to his day’s version of social media via the BBC, he didn’t speak in platitudes of “affirmation” and “tolerance.” He didn’t talk sanctimoniously of “inclusion” and “love.” Instead, he spoke forthrightly about what he called his nation’s “Great Sin.”

And what was this sin that Lewis described as “worse than any other?” 

“There is one vice,” he said.,” [a sin] of which no man in the world is free … [That] essential vice, that utmost evil, is pride.

He went on. 

“Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison. It was through Pride that the Devil became the Devil: Pride leads to every other vice. It is the complete anti-God state of mind.”

Lewis argued that pride makes you feel you are “better” than everyone else. “It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest.” A proud person is never satisfied. Pride makes us always want more. More influence. More control. More power. “If I am a proud man,” he said, “then as long as there is one man in the whole world more powerful, or richer or cleverer than I, he is my rival and my enemy.”

Lewis characterized pride as the chief cause of human misery since the dawn of time. He said pride not only makes us enemies with each other, but it also makes us enemies with God. 

“In God, you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that — and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison — you do not know God at all. As long as you are proud, you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”

“How is it,” asked Lewis, “that people who are quite obviously eaten up with pride can say they believe in God and appear to themselves very religious? I am afraid it means they are worshiping an imaginary God … ; imagining how He approves of them and thinks them far better than ordinary people. That is, they pay a pennyworth of imaginary humility to Him and get out of it a pound’s worth of pride towards their fellow men.”

Lewis also said that pride leads to the damnation of self-righteousness. “Many a man has overcome [lesser sins] by learning to think that they are beneath his dignity … The Devil laughs. He is perfectly content to see you become [virtuous] provided, all the time, he is setting up in you the dictatorship of pride — just as he would be quite content to see your [common cold] cured if he was allowed, in return, to give you cancer. For pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of [true] love, or contentment, or even common sense.”

Pride leads to the disdain of others, said Lewis. “The real black, diabolical pride comes when you look down on others so much that you do not care what they think … But the proud man says … ‘All I have done has been done to satisfy my own ideals, or, in a word, because I’m That Kind of Chap. If the mob like it, let them. They’re nothing to me.’”

This all sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it? Self-righteousness. The loss of common sense. False definitions of courage, justice, and love. Looking downward at others rather than upwards toward God.  

Maybe as America begins its month-long celebration of pride, our leaders would do well to stop their smug virtue signaling and instead consider what C.S. Lewis told us some 79 years ago. Maybe in the face of this “most mortal of all sins” — this “complete anti-God state of mind” — our president would do well to call upon our nation to confess its sin rather than celebrate it. 

• Everett Piper (dreverettpiper.com, @dreverettpiper), a columnist for The Washington Times, is a former university president and radio host. He is the author of “Not a Daycare: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” (Regnery) and, most recently, “Grow Up: Life Isn’t Safe, But It’s Good” (Regnery, 2021).

Friday, May 7, 2021

Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe by Voddie Baucham

 Excerpt From the Preface to the Book:

Putting It All Together

 In order to understand Critical Theory, it is important to understand how the words “critical” and “theory” are used. In the social sciences, “critical” is “geared toward identifying and exposing problems in order to facilitate revolutionary political change.”7 In other words, it implies revolution. It is not interested in reform. Hence, we do not “reform” the police; we “defund” the police or abolish them. “It is more interested in problematizing—that is, finding ways in which the system is imperfect and making noise about them, reasonably or not—than it is in any other identifiable activity, especially building something constructive.”8 This is complicated by the fact that Critical Theory denies objective truth. “An approach based on critical theory calls into question the idea that objectivity is desirable or even possible,” write Özlem Sensoy and Robin DiAngelo in Is Everyone Really Equal?

“The term used to describe this way of thinking about knowledge is that knowledge is… reflective of the values and interests of those who produce it.”9 But this is only half the puzzle. The word “theory” can be used in two ways in the social sciences: as an abstract noun (as in “I have a theory about that”) or as a proper noun, as in Critical Theory. According to the New Discourses Encyclopedia:

Theory—treated as a proper noun and thus capitalized—is an appropriate catch-all term for the thinking behind Critical Social Justice, especially at the academic level. It is the set of ideas, modes of thought, ethics, and methods that define Critical Social Justice in both thought and activism (that is, theory and praxis). In a meaningful way, Theory is the central object—the canon and source of further revelation of canon—of Critical Social Justice. That is, Theory is the heart of the worldview that defines Critical Social Justice.10

In other words, Critical Theory is not just an analytical tool, as some have suggested; it is a philosophy, a worldview.

Critical Race Theory

Perhaps the most important concept to grasp for the purposes of this book is Critical Race Theory (CRT). “Critical Race Theory is an outgrowth of Critical Legal Studies (CLS), which was a leftist movement that challenged traditional legal scholarship.”11 There has been much debate over CRT within evangelical circles recently. Some have accused those of us who are leery of CRT of creating a straw man and labeling everything we disagree with or that makes us uncomfortable as CRT. Therefore, it is important that I allow CRT to define itself in order to demonstrate that when I refer to this ideology, I am not making things up, taking them out of context, or building a straw man. I am merely taking its founders and practitioners at their word.

According to the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs:

CRT recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society. The individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture. This is the analytical lens that CRT uses in examining existing power structures. CRT identifies that these power structures are based on white privilege and white supremacy, which perpetuates the marginalization of people of color. CRT also rejects the traditions of liberalism and meritocracy. Legal discourse says that the law is neutral and colorblind, however, CRT challenges this legal “truth” by examining liberalism and meritocracy as a vehicle for self-interest, power, and privilege.12

Many discussions of CRT have referenced this definition, and with good reason. First, it is as clear and succinct a definition as you will find. Second, it captures the essence and major tenets of CRT. Third, it comes from a source that has led the charge for CRT in recent years, which means, fourth, that it is a case of proponents of CRT defining themselves. Note also that this definition, without using the word “worldview,” describes precisely that. One way to define a worldview is “an analytical lens one uses to examine the world.” According to Richard Delgado, the worldview of CRT is based on four key presuppositions:

Racism is Normal: the usual way society does business, the common, everyday experience of most people of color in this country.13

Convergence Theory: “Racism advances the interests of both white elites (materially) and working-class whites (psychically), large segments of society have little incentive to eradicate it.”14 This means whites are incapable of righteous actions on race and only undo racism when it benefits them; when their interests “converge” with the interests of people of color.

Anti-Liberalism: [CRT] questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law.15

Knowledge is Socially Constructed: Storytelling/Narrative Reading is the way black people forward knowledge vs. the Science/reason method of white people. Minority status, in other words, brings with it a presumed competence to speak about race and racism. The “legal storytelling” movement urges black and brown writers to recount their experiences with racism and the legal system and to apply their own unique perspectives to assess law’s master narratives.16

While this is a well-established summary, Tara Yosso, one of the most-cited academics on Critical Race Theory, expands Delgado’s fourth tenet with a very important dimension:

The centrality of experiential knowledge. CRT recognizes that the experiential knowledge of People of Color is legitimate, appropriate, and critical to understanding, analyzing and teaching about racial subordination.…17

Intersectionality

If Derrick Bell is the father of CRT, then he is the grandfather of Intersectionality. The idea was popularized by Bell’s Harvard Law School protege, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and is best summed up in her two seminal papers: “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics,” published in 1989, and “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color,” published in 1991. I offer the full titles as they give a glimpse into Crenshaw’s worldview. Put simply, Intersectionality is about the multiple layers of oppression minorities suffer. For instance, if a black person has one layer of oppression, a black woman has two, a black lesbian woman has three, etc. The Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice offers a helpful summary:

Our experiences of the social world are shaped by our ethnicity, race, social class, gender identity, sexual orientation, and numerous other facets of social stratification. Some social locations afford privilege (e.g., being white) while others are oppressive (e.g., being poor). These various aspects of social inequality do not operate independently of each other; they interact to create interrelated systems of oppression and domination. The concept of intersectionality refers to how these various aspects of social location “intersect” to mutually constitute individuals’ lived experiences.18

There are volumes written on these concepts, and I commend them to you. I have benefitted greatly from the work of people like Neil Shenvi, Helen Pluckrose, James Lindsay, and a host of others. Their work is thorough, insightful, and much-needed in these times. I also recommend diving into the sources I have cited here and throughout this book for an inside look at what CRT and Intersectionality say about themselves.

 WACMM Highly Recommends Voddie's book
(As always WACMM receives no remuneration or compensation for its recommendations)

Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism's Looming Catastrophe

 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Looking at 1 John 5:21, ("keep yourselves from idols") David Powlison provides us with an insightful means of self-examination:

“Idolatry is by far the most frequently discussed problem in the Scriptures…The relevance of massive chunks of Scripture hangs on our understanding of idolatry…John’s last line properly leaves us with that most basic question which God continually poses to each human heart":

Has something or someone besides Jesus the Christ taken title to your heart’s trust, preoccupation, loyalty, service, fear and delight? It is a question bearing on the immediate motivation for one’s behavior, thoughts, and feelings. In the Bible’s conceptualization, the motivation question is the lordship question.  Who or what “rules” my behavior, the Lord or a substitute?

In addition, in Tim Keller’s excellent book Counterfeit Gods, he shares the following twenty questions that will help you diagnose the idols of your heart.

“Life only has meaning/I only have worth if…

  1. I have power and influence over others.” (Power Idolatry)
  2. I am loved and respected by _____.” (Approval Idolatry)
  3. I have this kind of pleasure experience, a particular quality of life.” (Comfort idolatry)
  4. I am able to get mastery over my life in the area of _____.” (Control idolatry)
  5. people are dependent on me and need me.” (Helping Idolatry)
  6. someone is there to protect me and keep me safe.” (Dependence idolatry)
  7. I am completely free from obligations or responsibilities to take care of someone.” (Independence idolatry)
  8. I am highly productive and getting a lot done.” (Work idolatry)
  9. I am being recognized for my accomplishments, and I am excelling in my work.” (Achievement idolatry)
  10. I have a certain level of wealth, financial freedom, and very nice possessions.” (Materialism idolatry)
  11. I am adhering to my religion’s moral codes and accomplished in its activities.” (Religion idolatry)
  12. This one person is in my life and happy to be there, and/or happy with me.” (Individual person idolatry)
  13. I feel I am totally independent of organized religion and am living by a self-made morality.” (Irreligion idolatry)
  14. My race and culture is ascendant and recognized as superior.” (Racial/cultural idolatry)
  15. A particular social grouping or professional grouping or other group lets me in.” (Inner ring idolatry)
  16. My children and/or my parents are happy and happy with me.” (Family idolatry)
  17. Mr. or Ms. “Right” is in love with me.” (Relationship Idolatry)
  18. I am hurting, in a problem; only then do I feel worthy of love or able to deal with guilt.” (Suffering idolatry)
  19. my political or social cause is making progress and ascending in influence or power.” (Ideology idolatry)
  20. I have a particular kind of look or body image.” (Image idolatry)