Trigger warning for leftists: This commentary freely uses the terms “woke” and “woke-ism,” words you introduced yourselves as part of your attempt to control the language and, now that we use it pejoratively, criticize us for using. If this bothers you, so much the better. Curl up with some hot cocoa with mini-marshmallows and you’ll be fine.
The spirit of Christmas giving has been tarnished a bit this season with the revelation that the Salvation Army has published a new course of study for Salvationists called “Let’s Talk About Racism” --- gosh, we just never talk about racism any more, do we? --- that urges members to actively confront Christianity’s historic racism. National Review has details.
On the positive side, it does say this activity is for Salvationists “who choose to participate.” And it does say there are “no correct answers,” just the will to have “an authentic conversation,” prayerfully, and open to the Holy Spirit. You’re even allowed to disagree. But there’s a glossary of terms so you use the correct language when you do.
The main course book has a more concise companion document, “The Study Guide On Racism”; both were created by the Salvation Army’s International Social Justice Commission. They talk about unity and Scripture but still manage to parrot Ibram X. Kendi’s “anti-racist” view that white people carry “unconscious bias.” It reads, “The subtle nature of racism is such that people who are not consciously racist easily function with the privileges, empowerment and benefits of dominant ethnicity, thus unintentionally perpetuating injustice.”
The “Let’s Talk About Racism” book is the more in-depth of the two, with that exhaustive glossary of terms. We all know it’s very important to use the right vocabulary, at least until “progressives” decide to change it. (For clarification on what “anti-racism” is about, I recommend checking out this glossary.) For example, “structural racism...is the overarching system of racial bias across institutions and society. These systems give privileges to White people resulting in disadvantages to [blacks].” “Racist policy” is “any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between racial groups.” That refers to the anti-racist concept of “equity,” meaning equal outcomes for all groups. The implication: If there is not an equal outcome among groups, the policy must be racist.
Also, it defines racism so that only white people can be racist. Racism is “the prejudiced treatment, stereotyping, or discrimination of POC [people of color] on the basis of race. It is the “system of social advantage” based on a hierarchy of skin color that it describes as lightest on top and working down through darker shades. “What has not changed is that racial groups are placed into a hierarchy,” it says, “with White or lighter-skinned people at the top.”
You’d think the solution to this hierarchy would be to adopt what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said about judging people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. But no, that’s not it. Being colorblind “ignores the discrimination our Black and Brown brothers and sisters face and does not allow us to address racism properly.” Also, “Color-blindedness is often dangerous because while we may not claim to see color, we don’t address the race-based stereotypes of beauty, fame and intelligence which often support a supremacist ideology.” Sigh.
According to this study, there's no genetic basis for race at all. “Race is a social construct designed by humanity,” it says.
Here’s a link to the shorter, ten-page guide.
Much of what’s in this guide is very good. There’s a lot about unity. On the first page, called “The Salvation Army International Positional Statement on Racism,” it “denounces racism in all its forms.” But the SA apparently is not seeing what millions of concerned Christian parents do: that some of the “anti-racist” principles espoused here are, in themselves, racist.
The guide wisely says, “Racism is fundamentally incompatible with the Christian conviction that all people are made in the image of God and are equal in value. The Salvation Army believes that the world is enriched by a diversity of cultures and ethnicities.”
And the “Theological Framework” makes some valuable points about the spread of Christianity in the New Testament and the “global multi-ethnic reconciliation plan of God.” But, really, if it’s true that “in some mysterious way we shall retain our ethnic identities in heaven,” as this guidebook says, we hope the proponents of “anti-racism” will finally --- at long last --- look to their better angels and stop their eternal “harping” about race.
Oh, and the Salvation Army isn't the only charitable organization embracing Critical Race Theory. Goodwill industries is doing this as well.
UPDATE: In breaking news, the Salvation Army has said they will "review" their racism guides. RedState.com has insightful commentary.
Steve Hilton, on his Sunday FOX News show “The Next Revolution,” had a segment about “Woke-ism” in general –- which, of course, includes Critical Race Theory –- now that seemingly everybody’s woke: the Democrat Party, the media, corporate America and even classroom teachers and local school boards. He explained that this authoritarian ideology dates from 1920s Germany –- The Frankfort School of Marxist philosophy –- as a strategy to get the oppressed proletariats to rise up and throw off their capitalist masters, as they had thus far failed to do. These Marxists decided that three things were in the way and had to be destroyed: faith, family and culture.
“Woke-ism” targets all three. In fact, Hilton’s guest Michael Shellenberger, in an article on Substack.com, argues that it, in itself, is a religion, as it's based on “a whole series of mythological and supernatural beliefs...” Sadly, it can take the place of actual religion, which is to say, the worship of God.
For example, climate change. Shellenberger argues the belief that the world is coming to an end is a religious idea. It’s not based in science, but in faith.
In his book SAN FRANSICKO, he writes about something that CRT proponents might want to examine: “the idea that people that are victims of ‘the system’ are sacred.” For example, there’s enormous concern for black Americans shot by police but relatively little for the 30-times-greater number of blacks who are killed by other black citizens in their neighborhoods.
I would add that the assertion in the Salvation Army guide that race has no genetic basis and is merely a social construct is another example. The idea that gender is not biological is yet another.
This type of thinking isn’t rational. So when we try to counter it with a rational argument, the conversation goes nowhere.
“These are supernatural views,” Shellenberger says, “that accompany the new morality of victim ideology.” But he thinks we’ll see woke-ism come to an end, because there are unfortunate consequences from this ideology, such as the dramatic rise in crime. He thinks “reality will intrude on woke religion,” and that most Americans “really just want to be equal citizens under the law.” But for now, the Religion Of Wokeness is making problems of racism and injustice MORE difficult to solve.
This is a fascinating read, offering a point of view on victimology that the Salvation Army should not leave out of its “authentic conversations,” but probably will.