How conservative white pastors invented New Jim Crow Theology: Recipe? A witches brew of logical fallacies, a Marxist hoax, stochastic terrorism and eisegesis.
Step 1 – Prepare the Stock: Use Two Cups of Logical Fallacies
All good soups begin with a good stock, and its ingredients are key. Preparing a false theology is no different!
Let’s first describe the stock, and then discuss its ingredients. But first, let’s recall the stocks of related soups our third-great grandparents and their ancestors made, for nearly 240 years. And the stocks of similar soups made by our grandparents and parents for another 90 years. We can then throw out ingredients that were strictly convenient for use in bygone eras. And we can replace them with present-day ingredients that are readily available and in vogue today. And we found a recipe used by our third-great grandparents in the pages of our family Bible. It was a ham stock. The Curse of Ham, to be exact, and the notes say it made a robust Slaveholder Religion stew!
A thumb through our box of kitchen counter heirloom recipes passed down from our grandparents yielded a recipe last used in the 1960s. It was a towering recipe with an international flair. The Tower of Babel, to be exact – with international metes and bounds. It was first used to make segregation stock for a Jim Crow Theology stew that would keep people in the neighborhood for sure.
But things change, and those ingredients aren’t suitable for today’s tastes. So, we’ll have to choose new ingredients for our stock. And in today’s new fact-free world and with elections approaching in the fall of 2020, wouldn’t you know, the authors of The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel came up with a recipe using ingredients that, to them, are logical choices for fall — logically fallacies, to be exact. The perfect ingredients to build a base for today’s New Jim Crow Theology stew! Yesteryear’s ingredients are a Lost Cause! Out with the old and in with the new!
So laying our analogies to the side for now, let’s begin by discussing classical logic and logical fallacies. Classical logic is based on the principle that every assertion has a truth value of either “true” or “false”, but not both. Generally-accepted rules govern it, by which a series of logical fallacies have been agreed-upon.
Published in 1872 by MacMillian and Co., Elementary Lessons in Logic : Deductive and Inductive contains one of the earliest discussions of logical fallacies. It defines logical fallacies as: “the modes in which, by neglecting the rules of logic, we often fall into erroneous reasoning”. Another definition is a concept within argumentation that commonly leads to an error in reasoning due to the deceptive nature of its presentation We still use these basic definitions today, and often abbreviate them as just: “an error in reasoning”.
Cup One: Start With A Cup of Glittering Generality
Within the academic profession of logic, logical fallacies have been classified by type. A glittering generality is one type of logical fallacy, and online descriptions of it here and here are instructive. Glittering generalities consist of highly valued concepts; which demand approval while almost discouraging thinking. For example, asking a person to do something in ‘defense of democracy’ is often more likely to get agreement than by just making a fact-based appeal.
Glittering generalities incite deep emotional responses. Thus, they are rhetorically useful and logically distracting. Terrorist and cultural Marxism are two glittering generalities currently in vogue in the conservative white evangelical Church. Most people abhor terrorists, and most political conservatives abhor Marxists. In addition, politicians and pundits use these terms so broadly that they apply to any almost act of war or any culturally abhorrent trend, respectively. We use the term repulsive generality, but the descriptor is not important: the effect is similar – in this case, it is to cause an emotional and illogical rejection of a valid concept.
Cup Two: Add A Cup of Affirming the Consequent, and Mix Well
Affirming the consequent is a second type of logical fallacy. It is categorical in nature and, essentially means reversing an argument, or putting the cart before the horse – meaning reversing or confusing the general category with the specific/sub-category. The error in affirming the consequent is between the premises and the conclusion; but the premises/reasons themselves are actually correct or valid. Usually, the error occurs because we incorrectly assume that the premise was a sufficient condition, when in fact it was only a necessary condition (one of many conditions) necessary to prove the conclusion. An easy demonstration of the logical fallacy inherent in “affirming the consequent” follows.
Premise#1 : Ducks are birds.
Premise#2 : Ducks swim in the water.
Premise#3: Chickens are birds.
False conclusion: Chickens swim in the water.
An illustration of the fallacy as it applies to developments described by conservatives as cultural Marxism, is as follows:
Premise#1: Cultural Marxism is a philosophically-based structure of prevailing social mores and practices that is foundational to pure Marxist socialism.
Premise#2: Cultural Marxism tries to replace the prevailing social mores and practices of western civilization, to usher in a utopia based on pure Marxist socialism.
Premise#3: Today’s quests for racial justice and a livable wage, the #MeToo movement and hip-hop music aim to replace key prevailing social mores and practices embedded for centuries in traditional western civilization.
False conclusion: Today’s quests for racial justice and a livable wage, the #MeToo movement and hip-hop music are cultural Marxism.
In addition to the two logical fallacies cited above in describing developments decried by political and religious conservatives as cultural Marxism, we will see in the remainder of this article that cultural Marxism isn’t even a thing — it is a conspiracy theory (i.e., hoax) first developed in 1992 by Michael J. Minnicino and soon thereafter popularized by William Lind and Pat Buchanan.
According to Wikipedia, American religious fundamentalists and paleoconservatives, including William Lind, Pat Buchanan, and Paul Weyrich originally popularized the cultural Marxism hoax; but it also holds currency among the alt-right, white nationalists, Neo-Nazi organizations, and the neo-reactionary movement ” It is very sad and unfortunate that today’s progenitors of New Jim Crow Theology have adopted this hoax as a Repulsive Generality in a vain attempt to justify their perpetration of and complicity in traditional systems of oppression (including but not limited to the New Jim Crow) against communities and beliefs they classify as “other.”
Step 2 – Prepare the Meat: Roast One Marxist Hoax on High Until Tender and Your Followers Can Easily Stick a Fork In It
Using “Cultural Marxism” as a Repulsive Generality to Attack Racial Justice in the Conservative White Church
Alarmed at a growing thirst for racial justice and equity in the white Church and a growing number of robust racial justice ministries in some primarily white denominations, combined with a fear of the unfamiliar and uncomfortable; and a fear that such trends were encroaching on conservative white denominations and churches under their sway; and a belief by its primary author that, where it exists, today’s quest for social justice in the church is “the most dangerous threat” to the gospel he has ever encountered, a number of conservative white pastors/populist folk theologians authored The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel in September, 2018.
Article 6—Gospel: Explanation by Josh Buice of the Statement’s supporting articles is a denouncement of cultural Marxism. It explains, “If a person is not careful, mission drift can lead the local church and the local pastor off into the world of cultural Marxism and fairly soon the pulpit which was once the focal point of Christian worship is transformed into a political stump with humanitarian “do-gooder” talks delivered to socially motivated people in the name of Jesus.”
A second supporting article entitled Article 3—Justice: Explanation by Phil Johnson labeled certain cherry-picked but uncited definitions of social justice as “neo-Marxist rhetoric.”
A third supporting article entitled Social Justice Is a Threat to Human Rights and the Gospel by Samuel Sey says ” Over time the term ‘social justice’ became associated with critical theorists and Neo-Marxists from the Frankfurt School in Germany. . . They essentially rejected liberty for individuals as the hallmark for justice in society. . . They rejected individualism and . . . agreed with Karl Marx that disparities between privileged and underprivileged members of society are indicative of injustice.”
And the Statement’s lead author Dr. John MacArthur stated in his supporting blog post The Injustice of Social Justice, “The connection between Marxism and postmodern social justice rhetoric is surely a valid and important point,” and went on to state that “Countless critics have pointed out that the rhetoric of “social justice” is deeply rooted in Gramscian Marxism. [Today as] for many decades, “social justice” is political shorthand [by which] radical leftists [another frequently used repulsive generality] call for equal distribution of wealth, advantages, privileges, and benefits—up to and including pure Marxist socialism.” [yet another commonly used repulsive generality]. (Words in brackets added by editor)
And MacArthur also believes that Critical Race Theory is contrary to the Gospel. MacArthur wrote In No Division in the Body, that “It seems very clear that the beliefs and attitudes that fuel this movement draw from harmful identity politics and Critical Race Theory — not from the Word of God”.
The Cultural Marxism Straw Man: All That Glitters Isn’t Gold
As presaged in the above quote from the evangelist Billy Graham and illustrated by the 82 percent margin by which the white evangelical church voted conservatively in the 2016 general election, the conservative white church in America has been largely subsumed within a conservative political paradigm.
But to be fair, the conservative white church isn’t alone in using cultural Marxism as a repulsive generality. Because they are so effective with large segments of the U.S. population, political demagogues love logical fallacies and conspiracy theories too, and many conservative politicians and pundits also make liberal use of the Cultural Marxism straw man. Thus, the adoption of that straw man by the conservative white church in the U.S. is a result of the water that it swims in, and its use is almost a foregone, but largely unconscious conclusion.
Digging In — The Origins and Development of the Straw Man and Deck Stacking
a. The Origins and Development of the Straw Man
The cultural Marxism straw man is a logical fallacy of choice – in frequent use by political demagogues, conservative pundits and today’s progenitors of New Jim Crow Theology. On cable news and online forums, those of a conservative persuasion regularly throw it at anything they wish to destroy. The list of developments for which “cultural Marxism” has been blamed is long and constantly expanding.
In the area of racial justice and equity alone, it includes the following: the increasing recognition of and advocacy to correct systemic racism globally and in the U.S. — including the exposure of disproportionate policing, arrest and conviction rates and the mass-incarceration of African Americans and Latinos; the development of the School-to-Prison Pipeline; the recognition of the life-long collateral legal and social consequences of conviction; the publicizing and protests against continual police killings of unarmed and non-threatening black men, and the recognition of increasing minority voter suppression laws and practices and advocacy to re-strengthen minority voter protections.
And conservative white evangelical spokesmen in particular have often placed the blame on cultural Marxism for an extensive list of other developments, including the increase in a variety of ethnicities and women in mainstream media; the increasing recognition and acceptance of non-traditional nuclear family structures; the liberalization of divorce laws beginning in the 1960s; unfamiliar new art and music genres; acceptance of refugees and immigrants and the cultural pluralism they engender, and the rise of anti-fascist and anti-racist movements in the U.S. and globally, including a lack of tolerance for hate speech and hate groups on college campuses.
Conservative white evangelical spokesmen also blame the growing number of anti-racists and the growing awareness among progressives that the conservative white Church in the U.S. is a weaponized voting block contrary to the advancement of racial justice and equity on cultural Marxism and Critical Race Theory, rather than on those groups’ rational assessments of the facts.
And lastly, they blame cultural Marxism and Critical Race Theory for the growing recognition among these groups that, similar to past generations in which the white Church crafted racialized theologies to justify and promote chattel slavery and Jim Crow, that the conservative white Church is actively progenerating a New Jim Crow Theology today. These segments of the white Church deny the independent, rational and biblical (in many cases) thinking of the anti-racist and progressive segments of white citizenry and of Black, Latino, Asian, First Nations and other marginalized citizens, who simply recognize New Jim Crow Theology, racial oppression and their perpetrators when they see them.
This extensive packing list is not a new phenomena, especially from political and social conservatives. The twist was to begin to drag Karl Marx into it. Their narrative goes like this: After the horrific deaths of millions, communism is discredited as a viable economic system (disregarding China), but its proponents want to sneak it nefariously through the back door via cultural decadence. They want to bring it in inside the Trojan horse of political correctness. Thus, conservatives cast political correctness as a con job by “radical leftists” to take over America.
b. The Use of the “Stacked Deck”
No worries though . . . at a minimum, you do have to give the conspiratorial right credit for another commonly-used logical fallacy: clever rhetorical deck-stacking. After all, how can you approve of African Americans advocating for racial justice if it’s all part of a commie plot? The repulsive generality is like kryptonite to all but conservative social and political paradigms, and thus, to the progress of racial justice in the American electorate. Dr. King’s “moderate white” majority has prevailed again — aided by the FBI in its 2017 invention of the “Black Identity Extremist,” and by today’s progenitors of New JIm Crow theology in their churches.
It may comfort conservatives to believe that people who disagree with their ideology have “drank the Kool-Aid” of manipulative Marxist overlords. But it is a mistake to say that people who advocate for racial justice and equity are dupes of communist ideology, both culturally and historically, and it is foolish as a way to sell their conservative paradigm. At the end of the day, they won’t make any ideological converts by treating people who merely disagree with them as Trojan horses for a Marxist takeover.
Step 3 – Prepare A German Side Dish to Die For: The Critical Theory Conspiracy
Do you think that the history of cultural Marxism began with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels? If so, you are incorrect, because those two did not have anything whatsoever to do with this fairy-tale of pernicious cultural intrigue. Rather, the theory of cultural Marxism began in the late 1990s with essays, books and speeches by William Lind (then with the Free Congress Foundation) and Pat Buchanan, the conservative newspaper columnist, CNN pundit, and 1992, 1996 and 2000 presidential candidate.
And the idea, but not the name, originated in “The New Dark Age: The Frankfurt School and Political Correctness,” a 1992 monograph written by Michael J. Minnicino, an acolyte of the infamous conspiracy theorist Lyndon LaRouche. Quoting but a small representative portion of that work which speaks of our universities, “This is not the academy of a republic; this is Hitler’s Gestapo and Stalin’s NKVD rooting out deviationists, and banning books — the only thing missing is the public bonfire.”
Never mind that neo-Nazis and assorted alt-right zealots attempted to “root out” aspects of our culture and marginalized communities they felt threatened by at the venerable University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 2017 neo-Nazis and assorted alt-right zealots attempted to “root out” aspects of our culture and marginalized communities they felt threatened by, not the other way around. Complete with TIKI torches.
Another gem in the document states: “The problem [with the U.S.’s Judeo-Christian religious beliefs] was, that as long as the individual had the belief — or even the hope of the belief — that his or her divine spark of reason could solve the problems facing society, then that society would never reach the state of hopelessness and alienation which Lukacs recognized as the necessary prerequisite for socialist revolution.”
To the contrary. It is valid to ask in our day: what if biblical faith is corrupted, mythologized and transformed? And what if its outworking is unregulated capitalism, a widespread belief in the myth of trickle-down economics, an unlivable wage for tens of millions, unconscionable income inequality, campaign finance determined via super PACs; elections controlled by racial and political gerrymandering and minority voter suppression; and politics controlled by an oligarch class (i.e., our current situation)? And what if the weaponized voting block of tens of millions of conservative white evangelicals drove those public policies? (They do). Such corrupted “faith” is killing true biblical faith and will eventually drive the U.S. to seek solutions found by the rest of the industrialized nations of the world in democratic socialism (not to be confused with the Straw Man logical fallacy).
Said another way, what will drive the U.S. to democratic socialism is the hopelessness promulgated by the religious right’s destruction of our social safety nets and by the assurance of inter-generational poverty inherent in the cementing of racial inequities via conservative white evangelical attacks on racial justice and critical race theory.
And Katy-bar-the-door if poor and middle-class whites ever realize that right-wing conservatives are now monetizing them into their “Southern Strategy” and turning it into their new “National Strategy” by wholesale attacks on “entitlement programs” (another Repulsive Generality), [i.e., social security and medicare], and via irreversible multi-trillion dollar transfers of wealth to the already wealthy via “tax-reform” (another Glittering Generality).
And the fact that the people in the pews are so effectively blinded to these developments indicates clearly that the Alt-Right conspiracy theorists belief that the Frankfurt School inspired “the left” to adopt “Cultural Marxism” to deconstruct our society (including our religious mores) is incorrect. Because the opposite is occurring – the “religious right” is driving the U.S. to cultural paralysis and cementing in a caste-like two-tiered society that has the capacity to do great harm to our entire economy (in the same way that lynchings did) by locking in inter-generational poverty in the face of shifting demographics.
Ultimately, it will either kill Christianity in this country in it’s current, right-wing form, or result in a true resurgence of biblical Christianity, in which there is an exegetically proper respect for the oppressed, whether they be ethnic groups, refugees, or any other type of currently-marginalized community.
In prophetical terms, the Lord Himself will either see His church restored to her intended beauty where we love our neighbors as ourselves, seek justice and stop oppressors (Isaiah 1:17), or He will remove the conservative white church’s lamp stand (Revelation 2:5). The Church either changes things for the better, or it is not Christ’s Church (Revelation 3:15-16) – it is either hot (like soup is supposed to be), or cool and refreshing (like a cool drink on a parched day). But if we are lukewarm, He will spew us out of His mouth.
Indeed, a brief perusal of the rest of the document reveals it’s tenets and methodologies to have been almost perfectly adopted not by “the left,” as intended by the document, but by the alt-right and its conservative but powerful electoral minority (with help by racial and political gerrymandering and the Electoral College system)– most comfortably nested in the conservative white evangelical church today.
Lind and Buchanan claimed that assorted progressive legal and social changes—from speech codes on college campuses to sex education in public schools—are the direct result of a program set in motion decades ago by a cabal of philosophers, psychologists and sociologists fomented out of a Marxist/Freudian witches brew between the world wars in Europe.
That cadre, known as the Frankfurt School, launched their Institute for Social Research at Goethe University Frankfurt in the 1920s. Their orbit included such abstruse social philosophers as Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin.
These cabal-heads recognized that Marx’s predictions that contradictions in capitalism would produce a working-class revolt were not coming true, the back story goes. They decided that traditional Western culture (and especially its religious mores) were keeping the working class from their revolutionary mission and should therefore be annihilated. Religion, the traditional family, traditional gender mores and belief in objective truth—all had to be overturned. (Never mind that it is conservatives who have ushered in the post-truth political world in the U.S. since 2016). So, the narrative goes, they launched “critical theory” to demolish the traditional principles that built Western civilization, and to pave the way for communism and an eventual utopia without borders.
Summing up all that the Frankfurt School’s gainsayers actually wrote or believed is beyond the scope of a short essay, although it can be imagined by reading Minnicino’s 1992 monograph. But fortunately, it isn’t necessary for understanding the conspiracy theory of cultural Marxism. In a nutshell, the Frankfurt School philosophers beliefs included that knowledge and rationality do not necessarily exist independent of history and culture, but are embedded within and arise out of it, since everything we believe proceeds from socially embedded perspectives.
This view indeed exposed all sorts of existing institutions and traditional mores to criticism, but that needn’t be an inherent threat to Western civilization. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy sums it up, “the task of critical social theory is to evaluate the degree of rationality of any system of social domination in accordance to standards of justice.” This isn’t in itself a civilization-threatening idea as it is based on justice, and might actually, by democratizing entrenched ideas to the light of rational debate, result in improvements to everyone’s benefit.
Horkheimer and Adorno, for example, hoped to discover the root cause of the “authoritarian personality” through a mix of Marxism, Freudianism and data from surveys. Unfortunately, this attempt to understand disturbing trends in 20th century politics led their followers to write off substantially all nonprogressive paradigms as “fascist” (nevertheless, the rise since 2010 of global neo-fascism and the alt-right lend a grain of almost prescient credence to this part) and to treat political differences as signs of mental defects (and they may even be partially excused for this last conclusion by the spectacle of mass cognitive dissonance reduction and the resultant paradigm incorrigibility evidenced by the overall conservative U.S. electorate since 2016).
Nevertheless, there are two problems with these conclusions. First, they are incorrect, attributable more to largely unconscious bias than the indisputable rise since 2016 in neo-fascism or to mental illness. And secondly, they apply to the “right,” not to the “left”. In their analysis of the family, though, they weren’t nearly as dismissive of the role of parents, especially as bulwarks against the immense power of unregulated industry in the capitalist culture they criticized and feared. They blamed pop culture for warping the traditional moral values of the populace, much as today’s conservatives do.
Conspiracy-minded conservatives interpret critical theorists’ views of the powers of modern electronic media as proof they intended to take over those media for communist goals. An honest aficionado of the Frankfurt School would doubt that such a plan could work under capitalism anyway.
Who Will Save Us?
The alt-right and conservative white evangelicals have used barrels of ink and rolls of paper by the ton on what flowed from the Frankfurt School in our universities and churches. But for our purposes it barely matters, because theories of cultural Marxism hardly depend on anything those writers actually proposed in their own work.
Nearly all the proponents of the theory today draw their analysis from sources such as Lind’s essays and Buchanan’s 2001 book The Death of the West. The original Frankfurt School writers mostly appear via a handful of twisted quotes taken out of context that are repeated ad nauseam. As an example, Georg Lukacs (not an actual “member of the school” at all, but a contemporary intellectual often lumped together with them), in a preface to his obscure book The Theory of the Novel, penned: “Who was to save us from Western civilization?”
This is a passionate outcry from a man who despaired of a world violently torn apart by the bedlam of World War I. Nevertheless, conservatives use it as supposed proof that today’s cultural progressives are not pursuing what they think is pure, just and Godly, or trying to ameliorate the very real continuing impacts of historical wrongs; but deliberately seek to destroy western civilization. This linking of Lukacs to the Frankfurt School and the twisting and misapplication of the context and meaning of his quote in an attempt to “prove” conservative dogma is both disingenuous and pathetic.
Of course, the glaring truth is that the cultural Marxism obsession on the part of today’s conservative media and conservative white progenitors of New Jim Crow Theology is strictly a red herring (another generally-accepted logical fallacy). American right-wingers and conservative white folk theologians despise multiculturalism, and are anti-any meaningful racial justice or equity (or at least anti-the-church-having-any-role-in-bringing-it-about-or-repenting-of-its-complicity-in-racial-oppression). And they have to know, due to their sway over the majority white electorate, their opposition makes racial justice and equity dead in the water. They use and cite cultural Marxism and Critical Race Theory as glittering generalities, not for their own sake; because neither is designed to, and neither in any way does, pave a pathway to communism. Hoaxes cannot do that – they can only make the non-critical thinker believe that is happening.
But their narrative has the self-justifying and soothing emotional advantage of allowing them to believe that the developments they despise weren’t the result of a long history of the social dominance of Jews, Blacks, Latinos, women, refugees, immigrants, and the gay and non-binary gender communities by the dominant culture which they have always steered; but from evil plots of commies out to enslave us.
Never mind that despite the much-decried “cultural decline” of the past last several decades, the U.S. is no closer to public ownership of the means of production (a top communist ideal). Instead, due to many decades of legislated income inequality, the U.S. is now a nation of entrenched haves and have-nots – with the top 0.1 percent of the population having captured nearly 20 percent of the nation’s wealth, giving them a greater slice of the American pie than the bottom 80 percent of the population combined. Of course, conservative public policies promoted by conservative media pundits and believed and voted into place en mass by conservative white evangelicals cause this income inequality. But of course they blame this on “the left” (which is another Repulsive Generality).
Hoaxes Have Consequences:
The use of logical fallacies and hoaxes have consequences. The major proponents of belief in the conspiracy include Andrew Breitbart. Brietbart authored articles on his Big Hollywood site in 2009 headlined “Political Correctness is Cultural Marxism”. And he appeared that year on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show to declare that “cultural Marxism is political correctness, it’s multiculturalism, and it’s a war on Judeo-Christianity”. While shadowy, right-wing cultural trends are hard to pin down with precision, his Breitbart media empire was undoubtedly one of the main progenitors.
The cultural Marxism conspiracy cultist who made the most despicable public impact was Anders Breivik, who murdered 77 people in Norway in 2011. Breivik wrote in his 1,500-page manifesto that “you cannot defeat Islamization or halt/reverse the Islamic colonization of Western Europe without first removing the political doctrines manifested through multiculturalism/cultural Marxism.”
Google Trends shows an uptick in internet searches for the phrase cultural Marxism since shortly after the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in late 2015, in that they doubled over the previous ten years. The fever also infected the administration itself: Trump national security official Rich Higgins insisted in a 2017 memo that “Islamists ally with cultural Marxists because…they properly assessed that the left has a strong chance of reducing Western civilization to [Islam’s] benefit.” (The fallout from exposure of the memo irritated Higgins’ boss, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, enough to get him fired).
One of the more recent adherents to the conspiracy theory is the libertarian-leaning former Texas congressman Ron Paul.
In July, Paul’s Facebook page featured a brief post attacking cultural Marxism, which offered a weak argument, even for the genre. According to the post, progressive cultural trends are communist infusions. “Marxists just shifted their ‘exploitation’ schtick to culture: — women exploited by men; — gays exploited by heterosexuals — The old exploited by the young — and vice-versa — This list goes on and on.” Apparently, to religious conservatives, it is a Marxist plot to tell the truth about the society they built.
But the post drew attention far beyond its intellectual merits because of the cartoon that accompanied it. Following the familiar trope of blaming negative cultural change on an invading nonwhite Other, the cartoon lined up classically offensive stereotypes of Jewish, black, Asian, and Hispanic characters punching out Uncle Sam. The cartoon features a Jewish man with a hooked nose, a black man with exaggerated lips, an Asian man with slanted eyes and a man who looks like a neanderthal punching Uncle Sam and yelling “Cultural Marxism”! Their shared fist was branded with a hammer and sickle, and they were united in a shout of—you guessed it—”CULTURAL MARXISM.”
They quickly blamed an intern for posting the picture, and took the illustration down. A generic sign reading “No Political Correctness” replaced it.
The anthropologist Grant McCracken observed another example and quoted: “The Rev. Pat Robertson famously suggested that feminism ‘encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.’ Pat Buchanan, campaigning for the presidential nomination, called Mexicans ‘José’ and emphasized each syllable of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s name. The right is not always so unsophisticated, but it has been inclined to harbor misgivings about ‘outsiders.’…There is nervousness here—and a brute and thoroughgoing discomfort with difference.”
And social scientists posit that stochastic terrorism is an underlying factor in domestic terrorist incidents like that perpetrated in El Paso, Texas on August 3, 2019, in which 22 innocent U.S. citizens, many of Latino heritage, were murdered. Racist conspiracy theories have consequences.
Step 5 – Making the Secret Sauce
The Use of Eisegesis by by Conservative White Evangelical Pastors to Progenerate Today’s New Jim Crow Theology
In addition to basing their arguments on multiple logical fallacies and a well-documented and debunked conspiracy theory (hoax), today’s progenitors of New JIm Crow Theology have constructed an elaborate, but erroneous theology to justify their belief that racial justice is dangerous to the gospel, or at least that the church should downplay its biblically-commanded role in pursuing it. This newly-crafted theology is based on eisegesis of scripture (reading your own conscious and unconscious biases into scripture to derive its meaning) as opposed to the careful exegesis of scripture (carefully digging into the Bible to discover its real meaning).
For the sake of brevity, I won’t go into those subjects in greater detail here, because you can find my brief explanation of the critical differences between exegesis and eisegesis here, and my extensive blog post detailing the eisegesis used by today’s progenitors in their formulation of New Jim Crow Theology here.
The Way Out for the Conservative White Church
The way out for the conservative white Church is to return to the Church’s first love, of course (Revelation 2:4-5). To do that, it must return its focus to the real Christ – the One who commanded His white Church to repent of its perpetration of New Jim Crow Theology; and who inextricably enmeshed racial justice and equity work in His Great Commandment to it; and away from “cleverly devised myths” (2 Peter 1:16), including logical fallacies, Marxist hoaxes and scriptural eisegesis. If racial oppression is still perpetrated by the conservative white Church, (it is) then racial justice and equity work are dyed-in-the-wool of the Great Commandment, as 1 John 4:20 somberly reminds us.
It is true that progressives have shifted some of their attention from specifically economic concerns and from amelioration of the effects of systemically-caused poverty on individuals (charitable relief), to ones based in part on cultural identity. But that does not invalidate either the truth of their claims, their aims, or their fidelity to biblical truth and commands. All truth is God’s truth, and some of it is contained in physical science and social science text books – including those that examine Critical Race Theory.
First Thessalonians 5:21 (NASB) says to “examine everything carefully;” and to “hold fast to that which is good” (i.e., biblical). This applies not only to “prophetic utterances,” but to everything that purports to be knowledge or wisdom. Do not “demolish arguments” that do not “set themselves up against the knowledge of God” or “cast down” those that are in fidelity with scripture, but take those “captive for Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). To pretend that the broad grievances of Black or Latino citizens or women are based in communism rather than American history and a quest for dignity and, all too often, the basis staples of life is to misunderstand the world around you.
Also, to pretend that individual charity will ever be sufficient to satisfy either the biblical commands to end oppression (Isaiah 1:17, Isaiah 10:1-4, Proverbs 31:8-9 and Amos 5:10-24, et seg.) or the physical or emotional needs (Romans 12:15 and James 2:15-16, et seg.) of the massive communities both in the U.S. and globally that have been impoverished by systemic racism, absent the biblically-commanded work for justice, is also to misunderstand not only the world around you, but also Matthew 23:23 and Scripture’s ubiquitous commands to advocate for racial justice. And those are never a good ideas for those who are trying to change hearts and minds, win people to the gospel of Jesus Christ, or fulfill both the Great Commandment (love your neighbor as yourself) and the Great Commission (make disciples of Christ) of the Church.
If you were destitute due to systemic oppression, wouldn’t you be careful how you vote and advocate day and fight for justice for yourself with your elected representatives just like the widow who pleaded with the unaware and non-God fearing judge to give her justice in Luke 18:2-6? Of course you would. You wouldn’t just ask for a sandwich — but you would ask for a change to the conditions that made you need the sandwich, despite your best efforts to obtain it through hard work.
And further, could you conservative white pastors preach and teach and exhort and rebuke “with all authority” (Titus 2:15) both the gospel of salvation and the fullness of God’s commands regarding seeking after justice and stopping oppression — thereby fully loving our neighbors as yourself? Of course you can! The gospel does not permit these to be an either-or duality, but a “both-and” inclusivity.
This article is an adaptation of Don’t Blame Karl Marx for ‘Cultural Marxism‘ — Political Correctness Isn’t a Communist Plot, by Brian Doherty. Doherty published the original article in the November 2018 issue of Reason.com Magazine. You can find it online at: https://reason.com/2018/10/14/dont-blame-karl-marx-for-cultu/