Southern Baptist Convention confronts critical racial theory

CRepeat “Church movements involving all Americans, not just one kind … It’s very difficult … And those who say it’s not true have never actually done it. These words from JD Greer, the 62nd President of the Southern Baptist Convention, have come to a difficult time these days for the largest sect in the United States. Glia, on his side, is somewhere between members of the Church who (in his words) value “South” over “Baptist” and those who have embraced Critical Racial Theory (CRT). I’m trying to navigate a point. The crime of racism is collective and always present. Two prominent black ministers left the sect a few months ago after a group of seminary presidents issued a statement that the CRT was incompatible with the SBC’s statement of faith.

Since then, both sides have said that exactly what the critical racial theory is, and whether it diminishes the role of forgiveness in the religious context, or that all people retain equal value in the eyes of God. I went back and forth about my thoughts. It is tempting for people to raise their hands to dismiss either the political debate over whether Christians are racists or the debate over academic abstraction.

But the truth is that this controversy over critical racial theory can have a real impact on the most vulnerable people, the foster children. In recent years, a large number of evangelical congregations, including the Southern Baptist Convention, have revolutionized foster care and adoption. They have formed hundreds of ministries and other organizations dedicated to recruiting, training and supporting foster parents or families adopting children from foster parents. And their efforts have shown great success not only in attracting more people to the system, but also in providing the education and support they need to stay in the system for the long term.

Of course, the foster parent system has a disproportionate number of black children and a disproportionately small number of (non-relative) black foster parents and adopted families. So, inevitably, many foster parents and families applying for adoption do not look like the children they care for. There were times when this development would have been celebrated as a victory for tolerance and racial harmony. But that time is not today. Instead, it is not uncommon for our cultural elite to question these interracial relationships.

A recent article by scholars at the Brookings Institute still states that the 1972 statement against transracial adoption by the Black Social Workers Association is “relevant.” Survival of black children in a racist society. “

And it wasn’t just the secular commentators who made this claim.Catholic magazine article America Citing the same statement, a white parent adopting a black child said, “We have established a situation where we are at risk of repeating dangerous stories. Whites are the benevolent rescuers of poor blacks. Being a patron. Therefore, when a white parent adopts a child of another race or race, it is important to first say that they are robbing that child of invaluable resources: A minority of mothers and / or fathers who can guide the child in navigating American culture, and can also link the child to their innate rich cultural heritage. “

Most Americans are largely isolated or unmoved from these ideas, but they are widespread. Telling foster parents and potential adoptive parents that they are responsible for “stealing their child” is a dangerous game and can result in more parents hesitating to step up. There is. Why do you want to be part of the problem?

And when critical racial theory comes to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, these ideas are spreading much faster than we think.John Wilson, Former Editor Books and cultureAn evangelical literary magazine, “These ideas have given me a foothold for members who at first glance wouldn’t think they were so vulnerable to buying them.” .. Wilson, who lives near Wheaton College, the flagship evangelical school and has many friends, said:(A person who criticized Supreme Court justice Amy Coney Barrett for her transracial adoption). “Or you are just perpetuating past racism.”

Even if supporters do not call these ideas critical racism, they are often collectively guilty of the problem of systematic racism, how whites treat blacks. And talk about how the racist stain created a permanent division between racial groups that cannot be bridged. Wilson said the rhetoric about these transracial relationships was “very imbalanced. This work is incredibly sacrificial, but instead of respecting it, these families perpetuated injustice. It is drawn. “

Jed Medefind, president of the Christian Orphan Alliance, told me that these ideas “may discourage some white Christians from engaging in child welfare.” .. He said in the Christian community that there are more elite people (“progressive churches tend to be more in sync with cultural tendencies”) and “now there are children in need and we help them. We are seeing a division between those who say “need”. “

Baylor University historian Thomas Kidd isn’t too worried. He states that his church in Texas is very unaware of these social media controversies. “I think the fascinating values ​​of adoption and foster care will overcome it altogether. For your average church, they are an unattackable promise.” But he is a more liberal region of the country. Among Christians, he admits that he “seriously” “may come across people who take ideas” about the adoption of systematic racism and transracial.

Indeed, these ideas spread fairly rapidly, especially in the age of social media. A message from yesterday’s hip and liberal minister is easy to find in today’s more conservative churches. All you have to do is look at the changes in the way you view intercountry adoption. Twenty years ago, there was no doubt that intercountry adoption was an “unattackable promise” for evangelical congregations across the country. I hear people now say they’re trying to help their children in their home countries and even suggest that bringing international orphans to the United States shows a sort of “white burden” attitude. Is much more common. In fact, last year, Bethany Christian Services announced the end of its intercountry adoption program. This was something no one expected 10 years ago. And that’s not because there is a shortage of orphans who aren’t cared for in their own country.

Medefind believes that these racial conversations “may be escalated.” Hope so for children in need of a family.

Other articles in National Review

Posted on