Black Lives Matter activists cornered a woman at a restaurant in Washington D.C. this week because she wouldn’t raise her fist in solidarity with their chants that “white silence is violence.” If you watch the clip of this happening, at about the 28 second mark you can hear the protester in front accusingly ask, “Are you a Christian?”
If you haven’t studied much of what’s going on ideologically behind recent protests, this question might seem strangely out of place. What does being a Christian have to do with whether this woman agreed to raise her fist or not? Why would these protesters single out Christianity as a potential cause of someone refusing to give in to what they see as a fight for social justice? After all, they didn’t ask, “Are you a Muslim?” or “Are you a Hindu?” They also didn’t ask any questions that weren’t religious in nature, such as, “Are you a racist?” (a question that would have seemingly been more relevant given the nature of the situation—not that they should have been harassing her in the first place).
Earlier this summer, protesters in Portland were burning Bibles. Again, one might ask, “Why so much anger toward the Bible? What does this have to do with protests? What does this have to do with racial injustice?”
Events like these that suddenly and explicitly pit Christianity against the cause of many Social Justice Warriors (“SJWs”) are the tip of an ideological iceberg that many Christians are (to a large degree) unaware of. Black Lives Matter is just one of many social justice movements, and these movements often share a hostility to Christianity. If you don’t understand the underlying iceberg, these hostile tips that peak out can seem out of place. But when you understand the worldview that SJWs often have in common, it’s not surprising at all.
Middle school and high school age kids—particularly those in public schools—are increasingly surrounded by this ideology that ultimately results in hostility toward Christians, even if they don’t yet see that that’s where it leads. Many Christian kids are getting caught up in it as well, and I’m increasingly receiving emails from parents who tell me that even their church’s youth group is promoting SJW thinking.
In this post, I want to shed light on why SJWs often not only disagree with Christians…but also hate us. We and our kids need to understand why.
The Worldview of the Social Justice Warrior
The term Social Justice Warrior gets thrown around a lot, and people can mean different things by it, so let me start by clarifying how I’m using it here (and how it’s typically used in culture).
An SJW is NOT just a term for anyone who cares about marginalized people, or for anyone who sees the importance of righting injustices in the world, or for anyone who believes that government should in some way be involved in achieving better outcomes for people.
The term SJW is typically used to describe someone fighting to right the perceived injustices experienced by specific identity groups, and they are fighting to right those injustices in a specific way. SJWs focus on issues like gender, race, immigration, and LGBT rights.
SJWs often root their ideas in what’s called Critical Theory (“CT”). According to CT, the world is divided into two groups: those who are oppressed (the powerless), and those who are oppressors (the powerful). Those who are in the identity groups considered to be oppressed—for example, women, people of color, and the LGBT community—are victims of the social structure that has empowered the oppressors. The ultimate oppressor is someone whose identity doesn’t fall into any of the oppressed groups: the straight, white male.
In this worldview, all relationships between people are understood to be functions of power dynamics. Those in power want to keep their power, so they will want to maintain societal structures that have always been in place because that is supposedly what gave them their power to begin with (and sustains their power still today). Because the historical structure of society is presumed to be the ultimate reason why anyone is currently marginalized, nothing less than a societal revolution is needed to fix the problems we see—a complete overturning of everything considered to be “normal” in America.
Read that last sentence again, as it’s very important.
SJWs who root their ideas in CT despise everything that has been “normal” for America because it’s all part of the “system” that resulted in the inequalities experienced today. The system is too broken to be fixed (goes the narrative), therefore the system must be done away with. Furthermore, those in power not only don’t want to see this, they can’t see this, because they can never see truth the way a member of an oppressed group can, given their “lived experience” of oppression.
Much more could be said, but this brief worldview summary actually gives us enough background to work with in order to understand how it logically works out to a hatred of Christians. (There’s a great video here that explains CT in more depth, which could be very helpful to watch with your kids. Note that this video shows why CT is NOT biblical, despite the title.)
I believe it boils down to three key reasons, as follows. Note that my purpose here is not to do a full compare and contrast between CT and Christianity (that would be a much longer post), but rather to highlight the elements of CT that specifically have led to outright hostility toward Christians.
First, Christianity is part of the perceived “norm.”
When we’re talking about emotionally charged terms like “oppressed” and “oppressor,” no one should be surprised that those identifying themselves with the “oppressed” group have more than a passing feeling of disagreement with those considered to be oppressors. When a person feels they’ve been victimized, they’ll of course have resentment and anger toward those believed to be responsible. As I explained above, many SJWs blame everything related to the (perceived) “norms” of society for the injustices we see.
Christianity is considered to be part of these norms.
Let’s see an example of how this works out. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of History and Culture made headlines in July because of a graphic they placed on their website under the “Whiteness” section of their “Talking about Race” portal (it has since been removed). At the top, the graphic stated:
“White dominant culture, or whiteness, refers to the ways white people and their traditions, attitudes and ways of life have been normalized over time and are now considered standard practice in the United States. And since white people still hold most of the institutional power in America, we have all internalized aspects of white culture—including people of color.”
The graphic included a broad selection of allegedly “white” value examples, such as rational thinking, a family with a father and mother, hard work, planning for the future, and even the bland taste for “steak and potatoes” (who knew?). So much could be said about this, but for our current purpose, I want to specifically point you to the Religion section on “whiteness.” It says:
- Christianity is the norm.
- Anything other than Judeo-Christian tradition is foreign.
- No tolerance for deviation from single god concept.
That first line says a lot. It would be easy to pass by if you didn’t realize just how much SJWs hate anything associated with the deadly “norm” today. There’s no point in even discussing the validity of the claim that Christianity is a norm, or that all norms are bad. Because SJWs believe norms of society are the evil source of all inequalities today, and have labeled Christianity as part of those norms, Christianity too is evil.
Not just wrong. Evil.
Second, Christians believe that objective truth exists, which bluntly challenges the SJW’s claim that authority can and should be based on “lived experience.”
Christians believe that truth exists outside of any one person’s opinion, because truth has been revealed to us by God himself. That means no human has special access to knowing truth just because of their status in a given society. This is a direct challenge to the claim that it is only those who have the lived experience of being in a specific identity group who can speak to what’s true about the world (along with what’s wrong with the world and what the solutions should be).
From an SJW perspective, asserting that there is truth that’s independent of power structures is just one more way of using power (through so-called “truth”) to oppress people. Remember how I mentioned that the “whiteness” chart from the Smithsonian listed rational thinking? That seems absurd until you realize this is why it made the list. People use rational thinking to show that truth and authority can’t be a simple function of a person’s lived experience. SJWs know that’s a threat to their whole paradigm.
Again, Christianity is not just wrong. It’s evil because it allegedly uses objective truth as a weapon to deny the authority of people’s lived experiences so Christians can allegedly remain in societal power.
Third, Christians believe the Bible is God’s Word, which repulses SJWs who see the Bible as a tool of oppression against marginalized groups.
SJWs believe that the Bible supports slavery, the oppression of women, and discrimination against the LGBT community. It’s far outside the scope of this post to defend the Bible against these claims. Again, for my current purpose, I just want to show that the belief that the Bible is guilty of these things drives hostility. If the Bible was simply a guidebook on what to eat or wear, it wouldn’t even be part of the hate equation. But because the Bible does speak about slavery, women, and homosexuality—and in a way that SJWs take to be in opposition to these groups—they are repulsed by the idea that any morally upstanding person would look to such a book as an authoritative guide.
Here once more we see that SJWs believe Christianity is not just wrong. It’s evil.
With these points in mind, it’s not surprising at all that a BLM protester would scream accusingly in a woman’s face, “ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?” It actually makes complete sense. You just have to understand why.
The more we can help our kids understand that today’s secular social justice movements are in no way just about helping marginalized people, the more we can help them think critically about the chaos that will undoubtedly continue to unfold around them in coming years. Rather than fear such conversations, we should embrace the chance to show them just how much a person’s worldview impacts everything they believe, think, and do in this life.