|Stop CRT Action–Debunking CRT: CRT comes to church
Today’s Debunking CRT is a touch more personal to this writer than past posts. The email below is my response to the pastor of my church after hearing his sermon this past Sunday which was essentially an introduction to CRT. Names and identifying information have been changed to protect identities.
This past Sunday was my family’s first time back to church since the pandemic, and I am extremely disappointed with the service we attended. Your sermon, laser focused on racism, was incredibly tone deaf for the holiday weekend. I usually leave church feeling uplifted and inspired. I walked out of this service, midway through your sermon, feeling angry. You made a grand total of two positive statements about the United States of America and used the rest of your sermon to subtly condemn your community, and the country in general, as racist. I have major disagreements with many of the things you said, and I want to share this perspective with you because I guarantee I am not the only person that feels this way.
To begin your sermon, you said “We’ve made a lot of progress (on race issues), but we still have a long, long way to go.” Really? Please list for me the structural barriers that exist today for people in this country and are based on race. Can you think of any current law, business practice, or social policy that discriminates against minorities? No one can because those things are illegal and have been for almost three generations. In fact, the only discriminatory laws this country has discriminate in favor of minorities. There are minority people occupying the height of power across every area of life whether it be politics, entertainment, business, etc. Being a minority provides a competitive advantage over white people in corporate America, college admissions, and many other life situations. This does not sound like the description of a country that still has a “long, long” way to go on the road to racial equality.
· You lamented that “the racial tension in the country isn’t letting up.” I agree. This is the result of everyone, including you, being unreasonably obsessed with race, and it is not healthy. You mentioned several bible verses that illustrated that Jesus did not care about race. He loved everyone. Yet you focused your entire sermon on the issue of race. This obsession is quite literally the opposite of what MLK had hoped and worked for – that people be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. MLK’s ideal is in stark contrast to head pastor Joe’s statements in the video that was shown where he interviewed Jenny and Craig who happen to be a biracial couple. It was truly cringe worthy to watch pastor Joe awkwardly thank Jenny for being black and being a member of the church. Joe’s comments went something like “I remember watching services online before I became head pastor, and when I saw you (Jenny) I was like ‘Oh, thank God!’ And this was even before I knew you and how great you are.” That’s a disgusting message delivered in a pretty and deceptive wrapper. What Joe really said there was “Thank God we have some black people at this church. Now I can feel less guilty being the pastor of a mostly white church because at least we have a few black folks,” and what that says to Jenny is that the most important characteristic about her is the color of her skin. Had she not been black, Joe probably would not have noticed her. He used her to assuage his white guilt before he even knew her. Kind of racist, isn’t it?
· To condemn your community as racist you played a video of an older white man who said a local dealership gave him a price on a truck, which he declined to accept, and then the dealership subsequently sold the truck to a young black man at a higher price. This is not evidence of racism! There are literally hundreds of factors that could have led to this result and racism on the part of the salesman is just one of them and probably a very unlikely one at that. What time of the month was it when the white guy got a quote vs when the truck was sold? Prices at dealerships are generally better at the end of the month. How had inventory in the area changed during this period? How did the negotiating tactics of the black man compare to the white man? Maybe age was a factor? If I were a car salesman, I could reasonably assume that an older person might drive a harder bargain, so I might initially quote a lower price to keep an older person interested. I could go on with these examples, but none of these potential influencing factors matter to you or the man that shared this story. For you all, any difference in outcome when there is also a difference in skin color is evidence of racism, and you hold this up as a mirror to your community as if to say, “look at yourselves, you racist bunch. You ought to be ashamed.” I do not like people insinuating that I am a member of a racist community.
· The last thing I want to address is what I felt was a major contradiction in your message. You said multiple times during your sermon that you didn’t want to drive people to “pick sides,” and you gave examples like choosing to support police vs the black community. Then you ended with a PowerPoint slide that said, “accept that racism is real.” That IS you telling people to choose a side. That IS you saying that you want your congregation to agree with the MSNBC described version of American racism or the critical race theory message that racism is ordinary and everywhere. I know that this is what you meant because before you showed this slide you opened your sermon with a general statement saying that the country still has a “long, long” way to go fighting racism; then you spent fifteen minutes using a black person as a token and attempting to prove that your community is racist by providing dubious examples of supposedly racist things.
In case you are curious, I do pick sides. I pick the side that tries not to see race as the defining characteristic of people like MLK espoused. I pick the side that recognizes that this country has made tremendous progress on racial issues. I pick the side that knows that America is the greatest force for good that this world has ever known – even though we have not always lived up to the foundational principles and promises laid out in the Declaration of Independence. Sadly, just about everything you said on Sunday runs counter to the side I pick.
I am not willing to remain a member of a church that is going to have sermons like this one from last Sunday. For now, I will be suspending our monthly gift until I can see that damaging messages like this are not consistently presented to the congregation. Once I am satisfied, I will reinstate the gift. If it goes the other way, my family and I will be church shopping.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
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