Grove City College Caught in Crossfire of Evangelical CRT Battles

By Kathryn Post
Grove City College GCC
The Chapel on the quad at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. (Photo courtesy of Grove City College)

A small, conservative Christian college in Pennsylvania has become the latest battleground in the evangelical “woke war.”

Since 2020, concerns about “wokeness” — a term used for those aware of systemic racism and, recently, often connected to critical race theory — have pitted Christians against one another in the pews and in the classroom. Grove City College, nestled in the quiet borough of Grove City an hour north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been a prime example.

On Feb. 16, the college’s board of trustees stated that it “categorically rejects Critical Race Theory and similar ‘critical’ schools of thought as antithetical to GCC’s mission and values.” This week, in response, a petition from Grove City alumni, parents and students asked the school not to inhibit discussions about race and racism on campus.

The board’s decision and the dissenting petition follow months of debate over whether Grove City College has succumbed to “mission-drift” from its traditional values.

The controversy began last fall, when a group of parents and alumni authored a petition raising concerns that critical race theory, an academic framework that sees racism as embedded in institutions and policies, was “threatening the academic and spiritual foundations that make the school distinctly Christian.”

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The authors of the Nov. 10 petition, titled “Save GCC from CRT,” called the theory a “destructive and profoundly unbiblical worldview” that sees white people as “intrinsically racist” in a society that “favors Whites and oppresses Blacks and other minorities.” This, they said, undermines the Christian understanding that humans “equally share the image of God.” 

“What’s happening at Grove City is what’s happening within the conservative movement in America,” said John Fea, professor of American history at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Fea said in an interview that debates over wokeness and CRT are dividing theologically orthodox evangelicals into two camps: a “Trumpian” wing that sees CRT as antithetical to the gospel, and a “free inquiry” wing that believes CRT can be utilized as a tool for understanding racial justice.  

At Grove City College, where just 6% of undergraduates are “multi-ethnic,” according to the website, the board reaffirmed its commitment to “free society, traditional values, and the common good” in its Feb. 16 rejection of critical race theory. The statement also introduced a new committee that will investigate allegations of mission-drift and identify remedial actions that have already taken place or ought to be implemented. Some of the school’s stakeholders, however, fear that the board’s statement could curb free thought on campus, as they made clear in a new petition published Tuesday evening.

Grove City GCC
The Chapel on the quad at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. (Photo courtesy of Grove City College)

“In discussions with faculty, we have become aware that some faculty may be limiting their course content to avoid allegations of teaching CRT,” the petition says. “We ask that the board make a strong commitment to academic freedom and not ban whole theories or perspectives.” As of Friday morning, the petition had 134 signatures. 

Natalie Kahler, a Grove City alumna (’94) who authored the March 8 petition, identifies as a “very conservative” Republican who wants to see the school preserve its strong commitment to academic freedom. “To me, the whole point of an academic education at the collegiate level is to teach kids how to think, how to process information and how to hear debates and figure out where you land on them,” she said.  

The earlier November petition against CRT received 478 signatures from students, parents and alumni. The petition cited as evidence of CRT “asserting itself at GCC” a fall 2020 chapel presentation by Jemar Tisby, a historian and author who writes on race and religion; a chapel that included a pre-recorded TED talk by Bryan Stevenson, an Equal Justice Initiative founder and criminal justice reform advocate; a Resident Assistant training that included the concepts of white privilege and white guilt; and several books used in an education studies class and in focus groups, including Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to be an Antiracist” and Wheaton professor Esau McCaulley’s “Reading While Black.”

“As biblically grounded Christians, we are not defensive about racism,” the November petition said. “Where it exists, we should repent of it. We are concerned, though, when our students are falsely convicted and unbiblically indicted simply because of their skin color.” The authors of the petition did not respond in time to be included in this story.

Grove City College GCC
Grove City College President Paul McNulty. (Photo courtesy of Grove City College)

President Paul McNulty addressed the initial petition in a Nov. 18 letter. In it, he also wrote that Grove City does not accept “critical theory” as a “proper framework for examining and understanding the real challenges faced in our fallen world today.”

Since then, the CRT debate has only gained traction. The authors of the November petition responded that they were unsatisfied with the president’s letter, and in the following months, Grove City faculty and administrators publicly defended the institution.

In February, an unknown number of faculty published an anonymous letter also expressing concern that some instances of how CRT was being taught at the school illustrated “misalignment between their approach and the historic mission and identity of the College.”

The letter, which called for an investigation of the concerns raised in the November petition and of Grove City’s handling of the petition, said McNulty and his leadership team had “tarnished the College’s status as a trusted conservative alternative” and “eroded commitment and goodwill among the College’s core constituency.” 

On Feb. 16, the board issued its rejection of critical race theory. Two days later, 50 faculty members signed a letter, published in Grove City’s student paper, denouncing the earlier anonymous letter, saying it “does not speak for the faculty at large” and was “full of misunderstandings, half-truths and statements made without evidence.”

Warren Throckmorton, a professor of psychology who signed the second faculty letter, said that some faculty are unsure how to respond to the board’s rejection of critical race theory since it doesn’t offer a definition of CRT. “Are we talking about the CRT that is misused in social media, where it is referring to anything that anybody talks about related to race? Or is it the actual social science theory, or the actual legal theory of CRT?” he asked.

When asked whether the board’s statement was effectively a ban on critical race theory, McNulty told Religion News Service that the statement was an extension of the school’s mission, vision and values and that the new committee, the majority of whom are current board members, will provide guidance for next steps.

“I think that the board has an opportunity in this effort to try to provide more definition for the college in how we want to manifest this missionally aligned academic freedom going forward,” he said. The president added that the review would also help determine how Grove City will navigate conversations around race and racism in the future. 

Grove City isn’t the only Christian college to get caught in the crossfire. Concordia University Wisconsin, a Lutheran school and member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities, suspended a professor in February after he accused the school of being “under the influence of Woke-ism” for seeking a new president committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. In October, faculty at Cornerstone University, a CCCU school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, voted no confidence in their school’s incoming president, in part for his alleged opposition to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

According to Fea, Christian liberal arts colleges throughout the U.S. are in a time of testing. 

“There’s a certain fearlessness that a true Christian liberal arts college must have, not to be afraid of ideas, or of what the press or political pundits try to define as boogeymen, or of thinking critically about those things,” said Fea. “I think Grove City is a testing ground for this. And from what I’ve seen and heard on the ground, despite the criticism, they are doing a decent job at addressing the attacks from the right.”

Kathryn Post is a writer living in Washington D.C. She is a graduate of Calvin College and an editorial assistant for Sojourners magazine. 

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111 thoughts on “Grove City College Caught in Crossfire of Evangelical CRT Battles”

  1. Robert Simpson

    Since the racist writings of Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to be an Antiracist” book were being used on campus with the indication that it is a valuable book, it is clear that CRT was making an inroad. It is good to see a course correction by the Board.

    1. Have you actually read Dr. Kendi’s book or just listened to talking heads on Fox News make claims about it? As a middle aged white American dude I definitely didn’t find it racist and I definitely did find it helpful. Also, it was definitely different than CRT.

      One of the frustrating things in this whole thing is that people don’t actually research or know what they are talking about. I’ve often asked “define CRT” and get wildly off base and varying definitions every time.

      1. @ Brandon Jones

        “One of the frustrating things in this whole thing is that people don’t actually research or know what they are talking about.”

        There are many people who have done the research and do know what they are talking about. There are many resources available now that expose it for what it is. Their interpretation likely doesn’t match yours. If they didn’t reach the same conclusion, does that make them wrong?

        1. Marin Heiskell

          Peter –

          I notice there’s a lot of “they” but not a lot of “me” in your response. I think that was Brandon’s point. There are a lot of people expressing strong opinions on CRT who have not done the research on CRT THEMSELVES – they are just parroting what they were told, what they heard, and what they read that somebody else thought about it.
          Just as it is dangerous when people do this with scripture (people only able to quote their favorite authors and pastors but haven’t engaged with the scripture personally), it is dangerous when done here too.
          And just as I question anyone who wants to debate me on my faith but hasn’t read the Bible for themselves, I question anyone who wants to debate me on CRT and hasn’t read any writings on it for themselves.
          We really are a generation of people who will show up at a book club meeting and shout down the author yet haven’t read their book.

          1. Marin –

            If I didn’t reach the same conclusion, does that make me wrong?

            My two choices as outlined in the book in question. I’m either a racist or an anti-racist. He, like God, doesn’t allow for any middle ground. There’s no such thing as “I’m neither one because I don’t treat people that way.” Two choices only are allowed in his paradigm.

            My choice now is either I agree with him or agree to disagree. I choose the latter because I don’t accept his definition of terms or the way he frames the argument. I can make that choice as a free thinking human being and Christian.

      2. CRT is based on Marxist ideology. You cannot separate the two. I am a “white” dude as well. I live and work in a very diverse population. I studied it in the late 90’s.

        1. @Peter – the question was whether or not your views come from reading Dr Kendi’s book for yourself, or a bunch of other analyses and opinions about Dr Kendi’s book. (And you never answered that question).
          Everyone has a right to agree or disagree with whatever. I just said I call into question when arguments – even arguments I agree with – are based on hearsay and not direct knowledge.

          1. Marin –

            Cliffs notes version for me. I haven’t read all of Mein Kampf, Das Kapital, The Social Contract or any of Anton Lavey’s The Satanic Bible. I found Milton a bit ponderous for my taste so only partially through Paradise Lost and Regained.

            Have you read Faultlines or Christianity and Social Justice: Religions in Conflict?

            Would you require an atheist to read the Bible before talking with them about the Bible? Wouldn’t you be able to fill in the gaps for them and make a defense?

            So doesn’t the bottom line from Dr. Kendi’s book boil down to being either a racist or anti-racist? What nuance am I missing since there’s no middle ground?

          2. Marin Heiskell

            I have read Faultlines, but not the latter book mentioned. I will add to my list.

            And I do not get into debates with nonbelievers who cherry pick verses to put together a straw man argument against my faith. I say “read the whole Bible. Then let’s talk”. There is a lot of context that can be missed or misused when not reading entire texts. I stand by that belief.
            (I also had a mom who – when catching me with Cliffs Notes – gave me her own at-home quiz with nothing from Cliffs Notes to teach me this lesson. So it’s not the same. You have to be open to what you could have missed by not reading the whole thing)

            And when I say nuance here, I mean nuance in whether or not to agree with Dr Kendi. I do believe we must be intentional about addressing and eradicating racism (being anti-racist – and it saddens me Christians don’t want to be). That will not happen passively. If you are not, that’s less about being intentionally racist than it is about being ok with the status quo, which happens to INCLUDES an environment with racist systems in place. It’s like how I don’t think Trump supporters are racist. I just think they are ok or unbothered by racially insensitive things he says. It’s just not their dealbreaker, as it is for me. Then there’s the nuance of the racism vs prejudice vs bigotry angle…..
            Hope that makes sense. Hard to summarize here.

          3. Marin –

            “There is a lot of context that can be missed or misused when not reading entire texts.”

            I see where you are coming from, but people will still misuse a text even after reading the whole text. We live in a soundbite culture. It’s no different with reading. An atheist reading through the entire Old Testament isn’t likely to come away with a warm and fuzzy feeling about God. If he isn’t convinced that God exists, he will likely believe that the God of the Bible should be convicted of crimes against humanity. We both know the stories and accounts of God’s judgment he would use. If his spiritual eyes haven’t been opened up to see, he will maintain his innocence and God’s guilt.

    2. Yes. Exactly. That fact answers Mr. Throckmorton’s (loaded) question in the article. It is the popular, unbiblical view of Kendi that has infiltrated the school. Very wise to catch this early. A robust discussion of the ideas is fine in any academic institution. Pushing the racist “anti-racist” ideology will compromise the school’s mission.

    3. If you only allow yourself to engage with material that is critical of an argument, you are not really engaging with the argument at all.

      1. @Mark – one does need to be able to interact with opposing views. The big question is how is the material being taught? Is it being taught as “truth” or are there honest interactions with the material? We can see the disaster of teaching such ideas as “truth” from the products of many social science studies from our Universities and colleges. I have personally interacted with secular college graduates on some of these issues.

  2. As the article indicates, much of this comes down to how one defines Critical Race Theory. If you follow the work of Peter Boghossian, James Lindsay, and Helen Pluckrose, all three who are atheists and not conservative Christians, they all describe Critical Race Theory as a type of secular ideology opposed to the freedom of inquiry. If you follow other thinkers, Critical Race Theory is merely a tool for analyzing where racial oppression exists, and not an ideology itself; therefore, to dismiss Critical Race Theory itself, you are opposing freedom of inquiry.

    So, which definition do you follow??

    1. The crucial clause is “where racial oppression exists”. Racism exists in many parts of the world to varying degrees, at least in the minimal sense that in pretty much all large countries, there are always people with negative stereotypes about and prejudicial attitudes towards some other race. But CRT proponents go much further when they talk about the Anglosphere with multiracial communities and a White majority. Here’s how one proponent frames the situation in those societies: “race is ingrained and normalized in social structures and laws. CRT rejects dominant ideologies of objectivity, colour-blindness and meritocracy. Issues around race and racism are central to understanding power imbalances.” (https://theconversation.com/why-does-critical-race-theory-make-people-so-uncomfortable-176125)
      These are very controversial claims. Are all social and legal structures of American society – the judiciary, educational, economic and religious systems – organised on racial lines, oppressing the minorities? Should we reject “objectivity” in intellectual inquiries, “colour-blindness” and “meritocracy” in hiring practices and admission to universities? Few people today dispute that in the pre-Civil era, American society was structurally racist. But is it still the case today? This is an empirical question requiring careful thorough analysis, without presupposing the conclusion. But CRT is axiomatically premised on the assertion that it is, hence everything in society must be interpreted via this lens.

      1. @ Hon Wai Lai

        “…that in pretty much all large countries, there are always people with negative stereotypes about and prejudicial attitudes towards some other race.”

        It extends to tribes as well as the world witnessed in Rwanda when Hutus massacred several hundred thousand Tutsis, aided by the belief that Tutsis weren’t human. The Shiites and Sunnis murdering each other over the correct version of their religion is another example.

      2. Marin Heiskell

        I just wanted to say I love the post above and how it invites critical thinking and thoughtful discussion. All the other accusations aren’t necessary or productive.

        1. Marin-

          I’ll assume my post was one of the “accusatory” ones. I don’t know where I made an accusation. I followed Hon Wai Lai’s narrative and expanded it to include historical events. White Germans were convinced that white Jews were also inhuman, so help me understand where I’m being accusatory or what in that post or this post is unnecessary or unhelpful to the conversation.

          1. Peter – I was not thinking of you at all when writing that. I was thinking of the tone of respectful intellectual curiosity presented by Hon, which I wish were more present when these types of debates come up, especially on Christian sites.

          2. Marin –

            “I was not thinking of you at all when writing that.”

            My humble and embarrassed apologies to you. I wasn’t sure if what I had said sounded different then intended. Your comment posted under mine which is why I thought I had miscommunicated something.

            You’re right. His comment was very helpful and respectful.

          3. Marin Heiskell

            Peter – thanks for the apology. I see how it could have been read that way. Should’ve been paying more attention to how the thread is flowing. No harm, no foul 🙂

    2. For a classic textbook exposition of CRT, see “Critical race theory: an introduction” by Richard Delgado (NYU, 3rd edition)
      For critiques of CRT, look into the works of contemporary intellectuals, including Black conservatives and Black anti-CRT liberal thinkers:
      “Black fragility” by Coleman Hughes (November 2020, City Journal);
      “Stories and Data: Reflections on race, riots and police” by Coleman Hughes (June 2020, City Journal);
      “Woke racism – a review” by Jared Pollen (October 2021, Quillette);
      “The dehumanizing Condescension of White Fragility” by John McWhorter (July 2020, The Atlantic);
      “What is critical race theory, really” by Wilfred Reilly (October 2021, City Journal);
      “The nonconformist” by Coleman Hughes (Summer 2020, City Journal)

  3. It’s telling when non-Christians and Christians are in agreement that CRT is a mechanism to divide, assign blame and assign victimhood. It seeks to undo years of progress by reopening wounds. It’s telling when non-whites identity CRT as a dangerous, racist idea. Why Christians are even debating the usefulness of it is frightening. Why on earth does the Church continuously pursue secular means to address spiritual issues. Why is the Bible not good enough for Warren Throckmorton to address the sin of racism that he would accept the validity of an anti-Biblical Marxist approach. He should be smarter and more discerning than that. Why do we give the works of racist Ibram Kendi a forum? I believe, but I may be wrong, Grove and most other Christian colleges have tenure. They should not. Doctrinal purity and fidelity to Scripture can only be truly protected when professors can be removed.

    1. “It’s telling when non-whites identity CRT as a dangerous, racist idea.” How so? Aren’t non-whites allowed to have differing opinions and fall on all sides of a debate? And what does it say that I know whites who support CRT being taught and debated in graduate schools and other institutions of higher learning?
      I get so frustrated at the “well these non-white people agree, so that means it’s true/false!” No race is a monolith. People of all races can hold all different types of opinions – finding others who agree with you does not suddenly validate your views.
      I am happy to hear Christians are discussing debating these topics so that we can be prepared with a thoughtful, well-researched, Biblically grounded response when approached in the world. Otherwise, it feeds into the stereotype that Christians run scared and afraid to even look at anything we disagree with – leaving us ignorant and ill-equipped to discuss and debate validly.
      “My school didn’t let us read that”, “my parents didn’t want me to learn that”, “I read an article by xxx saying that is bad” is NOT intelligent, critical thinking. School is too expensive to graduate learners who are limited to those answers when discussing issues prevalent in the world we are supposed to be saving.

      1. Marin

        I appreciate your sentiments here. You sound like you are advocating free and open debate about the subject. You sound like you are open to the possibility that the conclusion that CRT affirms is still up for debate particularly within the Christian community.

        “Otherwise, it feeds into the stereotype that Christians run scared and afraid to even look at anything we disagree with – leaving us ignorant and ill-equipped to discuss and debate validly.”

        I don’t think Christians are running scared. I think there are people who have engaged with what is being presented and disagree with the conclusion. Disagreement isn’t equivalent to running scared or being ignorant. Should everything be up for debate though? As Christians should we engage in an internal debate about whether such a thing as a man or woman exists, or are there non-negotiables?

        “I get so frustrated at the “well these non-white people agree, so that means it’s true/false!” No race is a monolith. People of all races can hold all different types of opinions – finding others who agree with you does not suddenly validate your views.”

        I don’t disagree with you here, but what you said goes for everyone. It’s interesting though that experiences of people are offered up as proof of the conclusion unless someone has the opposite experience. Also, you are correct that finding other Christians to fellowship with won’t validate Christianity.

        1. Marin Heiskell

          I have no problem with disagreement. I do have a problem when the disagreement is rooted in “what this person told me” and “what I heard by this person”, and not in reading the material for yourself.

          As it is in the physical, so it is in the spiritual: I have issues when people want to challenge me on my faith and do the same thing. Never read the Bible but come with all sorts of “but this scholar did and I read what he said….”

          Form your own views by engaging with the material for yourself. We should not deny students the opportunity to do this by “refusing to talk about it” or throwing a fit when it’s raised in the classroom. I would think a Christian classroom led by a Christian professor would be one of the BEST environments for believers to debate and discuss a hot topic like this.

          1. Marin –

            “I would think a Christian classroom led by a Christian professor would be one of the BEST environments for believers to debate and discuss a hot topic like this.”

            I have no problem with actual debate. However, kids are easily swayed by perceived authority, and in regular public schools this worldview is being presented as conclusive proof that white kids, their parents, grandparents, great grandparents, great great grandparents and so on have been and continue to be racist oppressors as if their very DNA is corrupted somehow. When kids aren’t told anything about how America worked to right the wrongs of the past, they’re left with the intended view that the racism and oppression never stopped and is ongoing.

            Remember, there are only two types of people in America now, the racist and the anti-racist. What kid can withstand the pressure of going against their teachers and peers by arguing for a position that puts them firmly in the camp of the cursed racists? Almost none, and those are the choices they’re being presented. If you say, “I’m not a racist because I don’t treat people that way” your response is considered racist because you refuse to make the expected connections.

          2. “When kids aren’t told anything about how America worked to right the wrongs of the past, they’re left with the intended view that the racism and oppression never stopped and is ongoing.”

            It is debatable that racism and oppression are still issues we battle (with statistics to support this). I think this should be discussed.

            I wish there was this much concern over what non-white students have been learning over the years. I was taught I’m a descendant of slaves, but MLK is one of the good black people who lived. That was it. Where was the concern of fellow Christians about how Black kids were being persuaded that people like us contributed little more than one speech during a March on Washington?

            Oh, and I was a kid – not in college but in 8th grade – who stood up and gave a report on Malcolm X in front of horrified white teachers.
            Huge lesson on the power of one voice.
            And in this article, we are talking about young adults. They should definitely learn this lesson. Our biggest movements as a nation were often started by young people.

          3. Marin-

            “Our biggest movements as a nation were often started by young people.”

            Yes. In the 60s, they followed the likes of Timothey Leary with psychedelics and “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”

            Hey, the students of the 60s gave us the sexual revolution as well. There are now more than 20 STDs and counting.

            Would you include the fine students from Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington among the young people starting a big movement?

          4. Marin –

            “Oh, and I was a kid – not in college but in 8th grade – who stood up and gave a report on Malcolm X in front of horrified white teachers.”

            He was a great person to do a report on, and definitely knew what he was about. I hope you received a good grade. I’m sorry teachers were horrified. We made up a song about our music teacher when I was in grade school. I can’t repeat it here because it was very rude, but she mostly inspired terror in her students.

  4. David Jankowski

    Read Mark Levin’s book “American Marxism,” and then you’ll know what real CRT is. He quotes multiple developers of CRT and many other contemporary proponents. Teach what CRT is, and then teach why it’s wrong.

    1. Marin Heiskell

      Peter – I would include a young John Lewis, who sat in as a college student at Woolworth’s to protest segregation. Or Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner, who lost their lives as young men trying to register Black voters in Mississippi. I can go on but won’t have space. I find it interesting you completely ignored the civil rights and suffrage movements and go to some random hippie extremists.

      1. Marin –

         “I find it interesting you completely ignored the civil rights and suffrage movements and go to some random hippie extremists.”

        An oversight on my part. I have a good friend whose father was at ol Miss when James Meredith started college there. He was part of the contingent trying to keep Meredith safe.

        I’ve also never heard of hippies described as extremists before. Many of them did grow up and became college professors and political figures. The free love concept hasn’t quite panned out as they hoped.

        1. Marin Heiskell

          Ironically, I was watching an old episode of Family Ties the other day (mostly in amazement and glee that it could be found on any network), and it was interesting all these years later to see the “hippie” parents clash with their Republican son. A lot of context I missed back then, as the show was on when I was in grade school.
          When reading or studying about activists, I’m often amazed at what they were able to accomplish or ignite before many people even graduate from college. I mean, love him or hate him, Fred Hampton was 21 when he was murdered. Look at what he was doing when most kids are picking majors in college! That’s why I don’t get this “shield them from that, it will hurt their feelings, it will make them uncomfortable” parents have towards what their kids are learning – especially in high school and college. There are more than enough movements to indicate they can handle it…often times better than we can.
          Heck, sometimes we just need to remember how we were when we were that age.

      2. Marin –

        “Or Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner, who lost their lives as young men trying to register Black voters in Mississippi.”

        “Mississippi Burning” was hard to watch. I still have a difficult time watching Michael Rooker in anything else. The worst part in the aftermath was the lack of consequences. Premeditated murder is still a capital offense and should have been employed. I understand at the time it would have never happened.

  5. Larry Shackley

    The left deliberately tries to conflate CRT with “talking about racism.” They are two completely different things. You can talk about racism and the evils of slavery and discrimination without going “full CRT,” which is a Marxist/atheist ideology.

    1. There’s no such thing as “atheist ideology.” Atheism is a position on the existence of deities. That’s it.

      You complain about conflation, then you turn around and do it yourself.

        1. As for myself, I try to be an anti-conflationist whenever possible. I’ll admit I’m not always successful.

    2. Who wants to talk about race when your job (or being sanctioned) may be on the line or you risk getting people upset? Or at least that is the perception. It is not a safe subject to discuss. People do not want to rock the boat.

    3. Marin Heiskell

      I actually find it is conservatives who do this. Any time there is education involving racism (slavery, Jim Crow, etc), my brother – who is a psychologist and teacher – can count on conservative parents demanding meetings, requesting their child be opted out, and more. He’s about to approach the time of year when they study the civil rights movement (in preparation for a special class on the anniversary of MLK’s assassination on April 4), and the conservative parents are already booking up his calendar to express “concerns about CRT”.
      I work in consulting – and when I’m asked to do a diversity and inclusion assessment or training, I can count on a conservative (who will identify themselves as so) scoffing, rolling their eyes, demanding to know why I’m there, refusing to attend sessions, starting email chains to rally up dissenters, or – my favorite – asking “when did we start bringing in Marxists?” as I’m introducing myself to the group in attempt to discredit or humiliate me.
      As a Christian, I am embarrassed by the condescending insults hurled by “fellow believers” at the very notion of discussing racism and its impact on our past and present.

      1. Marin –

        “I actually find it is conservatives who do this.”

        Are you then maintaining that liberals never complain about someone presenting conservative ideas or try to opt out?

        Better yet, what’s your take on what happened in 2017 at Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington where the day of absence became the day without white people because white people were asked to leave?

        Do you think liberal (definitely not conservative) professor, Bret Weinstein should have left the campus as requested? He was subsequently labeled a racist even though he is very, very liberal and definitely not a conservative. At one point he was conducting classes off campus for his own safety? Was there an unknown group of conservatives that threatened him?

        1. Mark Gunderson

          Peter, I hate to say it but it sounds like you would be one of the ones opposing her or her brother before even listening to them.

          1. Mark-

            You’d be incorrect. I’ve always allowed people to speak their piece, even missionaries from a cult. Does it count if I don’t feel anyone’s listening to me? I get it though. You’re saying whatever I’m saying is immaterial to what someone else is saying, and I should stop saying what I’m saying. Honestly though, did you really hate to say it?

          2. Your reply disappointed me. That’s how I should have said it.

            I saw you troubled over the JMac stuff and that encouraged me that hey maybe everything isn’t instantly a political debate.

            She gave a personal example of how this politicization has negatively impacted her brother and her. Instead of acknowledging what she said you treated it like a call to arms.

            Looking over these comments, I can see exactly how she and her brother would get the treatment she describes. One might even describe the visceral reaction here as evidence of ‘white fragility.’

          3. Mark –

            “Instead of acknowledging what she said you treated it like a call to arms.”

            She made a statement and gave an example. I made a statement and gave an example. Where exactly is the “call to arms”? I have not called anyone names or been disrespectful. If I had been do you think the moderators would keep posting my comments?

            So what do you make of the events at Evergreen College? I’ve yet to hear a peep from anyone.

          4. Mark-

            “Looking over these comments, I can see exactly how she and her brother would get the treatment she describes. One might even describe the visceral reaction here as evidence of ‘white fragility.’”

            Just say it Mark. I would have been one of those frothing at the mouth conservative parents demanding an exemption for my children. The implication of your words isn’t lost on me though I do deny it.

            Visceral implies without thought or engagement of the intellect. Well that about sums it up folks. Anything and everything I offered instantly bulverized owing to my visceral “white fragility”. Of course I would say the things I said because of my visceral white fragility.

            I ❤ Bulverisms.

        2. Marin Heiskell

          Peter –
          The argument was that liberals conflate any conversation about racism with CRT. I was sharing from my experience (which I shared) it is vice versa. I wasn’t saying anything beyond that.
          You’re introducing other arguments and therefore avoiding the initial argument altogether.

          1. Marin –

            “The argument was that liberals conflate any conversation about racism with CRT.”

            I know you mean conservatives in the statement above. You made a broad general statement about conservatives. Since you felt your experience was indicative of conservative behavior in general, why am I not allowed to introduce liberal behavior that might not be seen in a particularly favorable light? Just because it wasn’t my personal experience doesn’t mean it didn’t occur. So, do you think what happened at Evergreen College is indicative of liberal behavior?

          2. “I know you mean conservatives in the statement above. You made a broad general statement about conservatives.”

            She did not. She said the people who give her brother and her problems in this area are conservative. She made no generalizations. Zero. This was about her and her brother’s experiences, not about national politics.

          3. Mark –

            “I actually find it is conservatives who do this.”

            That is a complete statement or a complete thought. After she made that statement, then she related her experiences and those of her brother.

          4. Mark –

            “This was about her and her brother’s experiences, not about national politics.”

            Is Evergreen College only about national politics? When whites are asked to leave a college campus so another group can celebrate a day without white people, you choose to interpret that as purely national politics?

            What I find most troubling is you aren’t joking.

          5. Mark Gunderson

            It does not help anyone to respond to personal experiences with news headlines. If Marin shared that with you from the church pew, I certainly hope your response would be different. This doesn’t have to be debate club. Nobody is keeping score.

          6. Mark –

            “It does not help anyone to respond to personal experiences with news headlines. If Marin shared that with you from the church pew, I certainly hope your response would be different.”

            So if the experiences she related had made national news, you would discount them? News headlines are typically related to the experiences of people. Granted, the people involved were not Marin or her brother. That doesn’t invalidate the experiences of the people who were involved especially since what happened at Evergreen is directly related to the discussion here, so the red herring of news headlines is duly noted and rejected. If we can equate what happened at Evergreen College as simply news headlines, then why not Grove City College?

            “This isn’t debate club.”

            Is that only for any responses I make, or does it apply equally? From your comments to me I’m guilty of the following:

            1.Confirmation bias
            2.Shout people down conservatism
            3.Visceral white fragility

            There might be other things I missed but those stuck out. Would it be fair if I leveled a charge of selective postmodernism given a demonstrated zeal to condemn behaviors and practices in some while apparently excusing them in others?

            Also, do you believe personal experiences alone should guide the current conversation? I’ve intentionally refrained from relating some of my own very negative experiences so the discussion didn’t devolve into a comparison of whose experiences were the worst.

          7. Mark –

            I have to make a retraction on my last comment to you.

            I listed:

            1.Confirmation bias
            2.Shout people down conservatism
            3.Visceral white fragility

            I was incorrect. The confirmation bias was for someone else. So it was just the last two, but you can add it on if you like. I’m sure I’ve been guilty before. My apologies though for any confusion. I’ll officially shut up now.

  6. Meredith Nienhuis

    Also read “By What Standard?”, “God’s World…God’s Rules.” Chapters with writers as follows:

    “Hollow and Deceptive Philosophies: Tom Ascol”
    “Cultural Marxism: Voddie Baucham”
    The Religious Root of our Sexual Perversion: Jared Longshore”
    “White Privilege: Tom Ascol”
    “Biblical Justice and Social Justice: Tom Nettles”
    “God’s Created Order – Living Justly as Male and Female: Jared Longshore”
    “Ethnic Gnosticism: Voddie Baucham”
    “Mature Manhood: Mark Coppenger”
    “Racial Reconciliation: Voddie Baucham”
    “Gospel Privilege and Global Missions: Chad Vegas”

    “Appendix – Identity Politics and the Bondage of the Will: Timon Cline”. The appendix is a detailed reference and discussion of CT (Critical Theory), CLS (Critical Legal Studies), and CRT (Critical Race Theory); And the roots thereof.

    1. You are correct. His book is about how the experience of being a Black Christian can give a different perspective while reading the Bible, specifically the Exodus story. It has literally nothing to do with CRT.

  7. Kristen McLaren

    Critical Theory and (its subsets such as CRT, Queer Theory, etc.) is a secular ideology used as an academic framework for research and has been widely promoted throughout higher education for decades. (I have encountered it regularly as a public university faculty member and have studied it for years as a doctoral level researcher.) Under CRT, the oppressed/oppressor narrative is a primary focus and key areas that are considered as oppressive “systems” include not only race, but religion, cis-gender/ gender normatives, traditional family structures, etc. Many Christian organizations and universities are unwilling to apply that framework to discussions as many of the tenets are contrary to Biblical teachings and go far beyond issues of race. Not supporting the use of CRT does not equal not addressing or promoting Biblical diversity and unity – it simply rejects elevating secular ideology over Biblical teaching. Dr. Thaddeus William’s book, “Confronting Injustice without Compromising Truth” is very helpful in this discussion and addresses important issues from a Biblical worldview.

  8. Reminds me of a comparable discussion that took place on Christian college campuses in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Then, the key issue was the sexual revolution and rock and roll music (which were pretty much intertwined). Need I say that that was a leftist ideological foot in the door that gave rise to the present issue being debated? Knowing what I do now, if I could go back in time a half century I would strike a different tone in the sexual revolution debate, because that clearly was a pathway of infiltration of Christian ethics and Biblical values.

    Despite the wonderful comments preceding this one, we all pretty much know (hopefully) what’s really at stake here: Invasion of Christianity by secular ideology. Race, diversity, equality, and inclusion are all issues important to the Christian ethic, few would disagree. Beyond that, tread carefully and keep a watchful eye, because the enemy has found another means by which our Christian campuses and communities are negotiating for peace with Jezebel

  9. BRANDON: I got you beat. I’m an old white guy from the sixty’s. Riddle me this. Why is ours the only country that, as part of our education, attacks our history and values, not for the purpose of education but for the systematic demoralizing affect of our youths’ ability to see value as an American. Just like the Marxists of the sixty’s projected. And please spare me asking to provide proof. Use google and ask google the right question and you will get the right answer. Start with (what did Russian leaders in the sixty’s say about how to destroy America). Google it or add the guys name that Kennedy took on during the Cuban middle crisis. And who flipped the switch that makes our children open season on there sexual identity at the ripe age of k-6. This is just another attack on family. And no Brandon I didn’t get this from Fox News.

    1. Marin Heiskell

      Gary –
      I don’t see it as attacking our history and values at all, but telling the FULL STORY of our history, including the times we fell short of living out our values. This is no different than how we learn of David’s sins – but that did not take away from him being a man after God’s own heart.
      It does not have to be an “either/or”. We CAN learn that people of color contribute A LOT to the founding and establishment of this great nation – more than being slaves and ONE of them saying “I have a dream” – without that being a threat to our individual or collective value as Americans. We CAN learn that it was wrong to have slavery and Jim Crow without that being a threat to our individual or collective value as Americans.
      Perhaps we should see this as a ‘yes/and’ – it’s expanding the conversation and understanding of our history so that we can understand how we got here AND not make the same mistakes going forward. THAT will be what cements our standing as a great nation. Not holding onto the good ol glory days that weren’t as perfect as we’d like to remember.

      1. Marin –

        “I don’t see it as attacking our history and values at all….it’s expanding the conversation and understanding of our history.”

        Two examples:

        A non-white Harvard professor recently called the constitution trash. I guess he should know.

        When non-white psychiatrist Aruna Khilanani addressed a Yale School of Medicine audience in a live stream about her own rage and that she “had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any White person that got in my way, burying their body and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step.”

        What conversations are such sentiments supposed to get started? If the constitution is trash, what do we get instead? If a respected psychiatrist has fantasies about killing white people, how should I or any other white person deal with her stated aggression?

        1. @Peter –

          If a professor of ANY color said that, I’d ask why they feel that way and I’d discuss and debate. Maybe it’s just me, but I saw that as the point of college.
          I say that as a Black woman who endured an Ivy League professor teaching that slavery wasn’t that bad, it benefitted Black people by igniting one of the largest “necessary migrations” of all time, and slaves were investments so there is NO WAY any slave owner would ever do anything to harm a slave, and slave narratives like those of Solomon Northup were exaggerated fiction. Interesting how silent conservatives were then, huh? Well, I guess it’s no different than how much conservatives love defending the good ol Confederacy – I’m sorry, the “Slave Holding Confederate States of America” (as it is called on their constitution).
          But I spoke up both verbally and in writing to dissent, citing sources in my argument. It made me dig deep and learn a LOT more about world history at the time. (My friends to this day tease me about “going toe to toe with the history prof!”).
          I do not debate any expressions of violence, period. I don’t care the color of the professor. That’s just dangerous.
          But again, I have yet to understand how going back to old ways of teaching history (that diminish or ignore the contributions and experiences of people of color) will make people feel more value in being American.

          1. Marin –

            “Well, I guess it’s no different than how much conservatives love defending the good ol Confederacy – I’m sorry, the “Slave Holding Confederate States of America” (as it is called on their constitution)”

            This is another very general statement and as unfair as me saying,

            Well, I guess it’s no different than how much liberals love defending good ol Margaret Sanger and her baby aborting organization- I’m sorry, the organization that helps people plan out their parenting time.

          2. Peter –

            It’s not a general statement. It’s the actual name of the Confederacy! If you go to the Confederate museum in VA and read its original constitution, the full name of the Confederacy is “the Slave Holding Confederate States of America.” It then goes on to say in the opening paragraphs that it will be the first nation to officially affirm the supremacy of the white male. (There’s a reason this flag was adopted by white nationalists!)
            Yet a LOT of conservatives – especially where I am from in the South – proudly defend the Confederacy and wave Confederate flags. The part of me that wants to believe they have positive intent thinks that they truly have not read its constitution, and that if they did, they would understand why Confederate symbols are so offensive, take them down, and move them to museums.
            I mean, I have lived in a state where my taxpayer dollars went towards waving a flag that stands for my inferiority on the capitol. Yet conservatives and fellow believers remained silent. But start introducing conversations on race in the classroom or history/social studies books, and they show up in droves to protest. That in and of itself should speak to a problem.

    2. Mark Gunderson

      “Use google and ask google the right question and you will get the right answer. ”

      I hate to be blunt, but this is how confirmation bias works. It is very easy to direct ourselves to the answers we already want to hear.

      All this raging over CRT in the church is a reaction to a reaction. It’s trying to make CRT the problem and divert attention from the continued harm and hurt experienced by non-white Christians. All these books people cite as refutations of CRT probably begin with lengthy acknowledgments of ongoing and problematic racism. But the people throwing these books around, and quoting Christian celebrities on these issues gloss right over those parts and jump straight to heretic denouncing.

      1. Mark –

        “I hate to be blunt, but this is how confirmation bias works. It is very easy to direct ourselves to the answers we already want to hear.”

        Amen. The statement above will preach

        It reminds me of two stories. One involves a recently convicted member of the entertainment profession who lately resides in the Chicago area. He relayed a story about two men wearing Maga hats assaulting him and making racist statements. His account of what happened was given instant credibility followed by near universal condemnation of 45 and his minions. Of course it was true because 45 inspired that kind of hate and racism. It was true…until it wasn’t…until it was determined to be a hoax.

        The other story happened on January 18, 2019, near the Lincoln Memorial when Nick Sandmann and his Covington
        Catholic High School henchmen became aggressive with native Americans demonstrating in the area. Who didn’t see the picture?It was the Maga hat that made the initial account believable because that’s the kind of behavior 45 inspired. Universal condemnation ensued followed by doxing, death threats and the school closing briefly out of concern for the safety of the students. Let’s not forget a particular media celebrity wanting to punch him in the face.

        He was a bad seed until other pictures taken from different angles told a far different story. But he wore that hat, and that validated the instant condemnation. Wearing that hat confirmed all any reasonable thinking person needed to know.

        Thank you for pointing out confirmation bias.

  10. Natalie Kahler

    Thank you Roys Report for sharing this story. The Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword and GCC continues to teach students to know the Word and filter and philosophies and information through it. May our decisions as Believers, not individually and corporately, not be driven by fear but out of love and a sound mind.

    1. Meredith Nienhuis

      Natalie – “To know the Word”? As in John 1:1? Would you not say that it is of primary importance to know Christ and to make Him known? Hopefully GCC is not a college of good works but always a witness of the Work of Christ, his death and resurrection.

  11. The enrolled student population at Grove City College is 91.9% White, 3.08% Two or More Races, 1.94% Asian, 1.19% Hispanic or Latino, 0.66% Black or African American, 0.088% American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0.044% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders.

    An Institute that is 92 percent white is debating whether there is institutional racism? Lol!

    I wonder if the grandparents of the .66 percent black students have been accepted at GCC in the 50s?

    And could they have afforded tuition at that time since black soldiers coming back from WW II were denied GI benefits by the US government?

    But there is no institutional racism.

    1. “An Institute that is 92 percent white is debating whether there is institutional racism? Lol!”

      This statement assumes the conclusion without digging deeper into the numbers listed. There are multiple reasons that can account for the percentages mentioned in the article. Did anyone ask how many non-white applicants applied and were refused? If a significant number of non-white applicants applied and were refused admission, did anyone ask if they were refused based solely on skin color or ethnicity?

      Since Morehouse College has a similar small percentage representing white students, would such a low number of white students prove conclusively that Morehouse College somehow engages in institutional racism? The same could be said for Southern University and A&M College. I don’t believe racism plays into the ethnic makeup of either college, but if I were to look at percentages alone, I could make the statement and challenge anyone to prove me wrong.

      The inequitable application of the GI Bill when it was signed into law in 1944 doesn’t mirror its application in 2022.

      1. My point is that America’s systemic and institutional racism severely inhibited the black students’ parents and grand parents from accumulating the kind of money it takes to send their kids and grandkids to a private college.

        We all know the story of the baby boomers. Soldiers came home from WWII, built homes, received educations, had babies,etc., thanks in large part to the GI Bill. But blacks were ineligible. Instead of college, many Black soldiers came home to work where racial discrimination in employment was legal for the next 20 years. Their black children were excluded from white schools for another 10-15 years after coming home. (Black children were excluded from Christian schools for another 15 years) Until 1964 these soldiers and their people faced poll taxes and literacy tests to vote. Housing laws ‘redlined’ them in to city ghettos until 1968 while creditors denied customers based on race until the 1970s. Until the late 80s, blacks could be excluded from juries for being black.

        The fact that America’s institutions systematically cut off those black grandparents from employment, education, lines of credit and from getting a fair shake in our legal system, has most definitely had an effect on their grandchildren from affording tuition at a private college.

        And why shouldn’t the white students be allowed to learn about this?

        1. Greg –

          “My point is that America’s systemic and institutional racism severely inhibited the black students’ parents and grand parents from accumulating the kind of money it takes to send their kids and grandkids to a private college.”

          I graduated from a private Christian college where black students were well represented among the student body. I should add I had to work my way through. My parents didn’t pay for my degree. My grandparents were literally dirt poor, and my own parents represented the bottom of the lower middle-class, or we were the upper middle poor. I had food, clothing and shelter. I know…cry me a river. My point though is that whatever advantage there was to being white didn’t materialize for me.

          “And why shouldn’t the white students be allowed to learn about this?”

          I don’t believe any of our history should be secret from people even though much of it is due to national security or whatever excuse someone wants to use. However, you know as well as I do that delivery of information and indoctrination are separate things.

          Why limit teaching about racism to just this country? Why not expand it to note how racism and various forms of discrimination happen in every country of the world? Why not talk about forms of religious and tribal discrimination throughout the world? While I agree that America has a less than stellar record with regard to discrimination it seems to be endemic.

          Why should only white students have to learn about discrimination? Is it based on the already certified assumption that white children can never experience discrimination and can only practice discrimination? Such a splintered view of humanity has no Biblical warrant.

          1. “Why limit teaching about racism to just this country? ”

            Because we are the ONLY country that wrote “all men are created equal” in our founding documents and failed to live up to it. No other country can say that. We brag about the principles and values on which our nation was founded and how they make us “the greatest nation to ever exist.” But we betrayed ourselves – and denied it for decades. THAT should be one of the biggest lessons on racism in THIS country.

          2. Marin –

            “Because we are the ONLY country that wrote “all men are created equal” in our founding documents and failed to live up to it.”

            Did the Civil War not happen? Is chattel slavery being practiced in America right now? Why must what happened then, but isn’t happening now be the center of this country’s national dialogue?

            Because Thomas Jefferson, a white slave owner, penned those words and other white slave owners signed the document, white people, many who are much more recent arrivals to America, are now looked upon as if they too were slave owners via ancestral proxy over 240 years later.

            In 2022, what avenue of achievement is being denied non-whites in this country? I know that question doesn’t even matter at this point. What matters is white people need to watch their world burn and to voluntarily light the match.

            So let’s declare that the constitution is trash and throw it into the ash heap of history and file the whole messy business under failed experiments. Throw the amendments away as well. There are powerful forces at work that really, really want us to voluntarily trash it all.

            The constitution allows you and I to banter back and forth and heartily disagree with one another. It won’t be that way once it’s gone. Thoughts and ideas will be shunted off into the dark recesses of what used to be conversations. They’ll only exist in guarded whispers.

            You’re not wrong though. Men wrote words they didn’t mean at first. Fortunately, others came along who did mean them. Perhaps it was too late.

      2. The conversation about CRT seems to be very presuppositional in that people have been given great latitude to define terms and frame the argument. Few dare question their conclusions and motives. A new category of sin has been introduced that only applies to certain people. Refusing to repent of this new category of sin will earn you multiple new appellations describing your lack of character, basic humanity, and impoverished Christianity.

        Can we apply this same academic framework to other sins? Let’s take adultery for instance. Since Jesus only spoke about men lusting after women in their hearts, then women can’t be guilty of lusting after men in their hearts. Men need to renounce adultery and become anti-adulterers; there is no middle ground. I actually agree with this one, but it has to apply to women as well. Under the academic framework, I can’t make it apply because Jesus only mentions men.

        1. Marin Heiskell

          You bring up my point: we wrote words we did not mean. And it took wars, protests and movements for them to come to fruition (and we still have progress to make, especially as it relates to classism). We should discuss why that is.

          It’s hard to use today’s morality to judge the past. Lots of nuance there. Not once have I indicated I’m in support of a cancel culture that would lead to burning the Constitution or desecrating our founding fathers. I DO think we need to talk about it. And that will mean having conversations that make some uncomfortable.

          It saddens me that a push for inclusion is translated as “white people need to watch their world burn.” Sad to say, my grandma (who worked in a whites only restaurant in the 50s) heard the same argument when there was a push for integration. She said something I hope you consider: “We don’t want to burn their world. We just want access to the same things they have!”
          I’ve never understood why that translates into doom and gloom among whites. As a Black woman, I can say there are some fringe views out there among us – just like there are among whites. But just as you don’t want to be lumped in or judged by fringe views, extend the same courtesy to Black people.
          And if you don’t know if it’s a fringe viewpoint, ask. :)

      3. Peter – It is a lot more complex than the argument you are trying to present. You left out the fact that Morehouse, Southern, and A&M are historically Black colleges, established when education was strictly segregated. AND it is common for schools to have family ties, encouraging children of alumni to attend – and without intentional effort, demographics (along the lines of race, socioeconomic class, place of origin, etc) will remain the same.
        We also love to say things like “prove it’s SOLELY because of race” to ignore a lot of code language and derivative behaviors that skew admissions in favor of (or against) specific groups. (Although I have seen an apology letter from Baylor University – a Southern Baptist school – that was delivered to a cousin in the 60s, saying they apologize their conference has not budged on admitting Negroes yet).
        I think we as a Christian community should discuss the lack of diversity in our colleges. Edward Gilbreath shared a lot about his experience as a Black student at an evangelical school that warrants examination of the culture.

        1. Marin-

          I left out many things as did the original post I was responding to. I know Morehouse and Southern A&M are historically Black colleges. They still are but are multi-ethnic now.

          “It is a lot more complex than the argument you are trying to present.”

          I don’t really believe it is. I believe people would like it to be. I believe people would like to frame the argument in a very narrow and specific way where only two options exist. I think that’s introducing a false dichotomy where people must accept the terms someone else defined and choose from the two choices someone else decided to give them.

          “Edward Gilbreath shared a lot about his experience as a Black student at an evangelical school that warrants examination of the culture.”

          We all have stories from our lives. We all have our own frames of reference and standpoint. I could use my own school experience as an example and my personal standpoint to justify a multitude of negative thoughts and feelings. If I did justify those thoughts and feelings, who could tell me I’m wrong since they would have been formed based upon my own lived experience?

          1. Marin Heiskell

            I don’t think only 2 options exist. That was my point. There are a lot of other factors that introduce nuance – something I think has been lost in our society.

            And no, I would not tell anyone their thoughts and feelings about what they experienced are wrong. I WOULD say – in the case of Edward Gilbreath – that when more and more Black evangelicals are speaking up and saying “So I’m not alone?! That happened to me too!”, and that is being reflected in the struggle of evangelical colleges to attract Black students – it SHOULD warrant a conversation. Especially if we want our colleges to set an example.

            I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: secular colleges should not be ahead of Christian colleges in creating diverse, inclusive campuses. After all, isn’t that what the kingdom should look like?

          2. Marin –

            “…secular colleges should not be ahead of Christian colleges in creating diverse, inclusive campuses. After all, isn’t that what the kingdom should look like?”

            In what way are secular colleges inclusive? Surely you don’t mean with respect to varying thoughts and ideas. Free thought and inquiry were chased from the public square at most secular universities some time ago. You could get quick confirmation by going to almost any campus and declare only biological men and women exist.

            Most secular colleges believe such statements are the equivalent of violence perpetrated against those who have a different opinion. Making such statements would be to visit acute emotional trauma on the student body. Trauma counselors would be brought in to deal with the devastation all because words equal violence now.

            If this is an example of being ahead…

          3. Marin –

            “I don’t think only 2 options exist. That was my point. There are a lot of other factors that introduce nuance – something I think has been lost in our society.”

            I’m glad you said this, but then does that mean you disagree with the idea people are either a “racist” or “anti-racist”? There’s no nuance in such a framing of the argument. Can he be wrong in positing such a narrow view? Mind you, I have no particular need for him to be wrong. It doesn’t give me a smug sense of satisfaction. I honestly wish we could just talk about MLKs dream. He was a great orator and nothing that he said ever threatened me. I’ve been through Selma multiple times and wondered what it must have been like. He and those with him displayed a remarkable degree of courage.

          4. Marin Heiskell

            Peter –

            We were talking about the abysmally low numbers of Black applicants and students at evangelical colleges, and in his book Edward Gilbreath speaks to his rather isolating experiences. Since then, his sentiments have been echoed by many others, to the point that – in my opinion – they should be examined.
            We are talking about racial diversity here. Like it or not, secular colleges have evangelical schools BEAT in the number of Black applicants and students. And this is despite the financial burden – even at evangelical schools with NO tuition (e.g. Moody), they struggle to get Black applicants. You can try to go off on tangents all you want, but the numbers do not change.
            If we want to be like the kingdom – which I believe should include people of ALL races – we should be willing to explore WHY these numbers are so low, especially since other numbers – like the % of Black high school and college students who identify as Christian and/or regular churchgoers is significant – indicate a drop off.
            Again, you can go on about “diversity of thought” , but that should not be a cover for addressing the causes of horrible racial diversity at evangelical schools. “Yeah, we have never had fewer than 95% of our students be white, but they come from different backgrounds…that’s good enough!” shouldn’t be the attitude of Christian schools. Perhaps that is an area in which they could do some evangelizing?

  12. a chapel that included a pre-recorded TED talk by Bryan Stevenson, an Equal Justice Initiative founder

    If anybody has a problem with attorney Bryan Stephenson’s life mission of getting innocent people off of death row, they should really rethink their what it means to be an American, a conservative or a Christian.

    1. I’m very glad people like him exist who are committed to finding the truth. I know the stereotype of people in prison is that they all maintain their innocence. I happen to believe that many are.

      1. This reply is from the GCC Board of Trustees:

        Critical Race Theory and Chapel Programming: CRT has never been promoted in chapel. This inaccurate charge stems from two chapel presentations over the course of a year. During an October 12 chapel service on the subject of mercy, students in attendance watched a six-minute TED Talk featuring Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative. Mr. Stevenson discussed his work on sentence reform for minors (e.g., 8- and 9-year-olds being sentenced to life in prison) and erecting educational monuments in Alabama pertaining to slavery. CRT was never mentioned nor advocated.

        The second event concerns an address by Jemar Tisby… He spoke as one burdened by what he sees as the church’s historic complicity in racial injustice. I read his book, “Color of Compromise,” before his address, and my copy is filled with my personal notations of dismay over Christian support for slavery and Jim Crow, and disagreement about many of his conclusions. A panel discussion offering rebuttal observations was held several days after the event. Again, CRT was not the topic of this program.

        In the last six months I have read both “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stephenson and “Color of Compromise.”

        I was shocked to see how unjust our justice system is to poor blacks in America in Stephenson’s book. And I was very saddened to see how complicit the Christian church was in slavery, Jim Crow, segregation and discrimination in the US from the book “Color of Compromise.”

        Those books should not be banned in any Christian college. Instead, they should be required reading.

    2. Marin Heiskell

      @Peter –

      you mentioned: “I honestly wish we could just talk about MLKs dream. He was a great orator and nothing that he said ever threatened me.”

      MLK said SO much more than “I have a dream” – a lot that could be viewed as in support of BLM, CRT and several other acronyms that scare white Americans.
      I encourage you to read “Where Do We Go From Here”, which MLK wrote in 1967. It includes quotes like: “Why is equality so assiduously avoided? Why does white America delude itself, and how does it rationalize the evil it retains? The majority of white Americans consider themselves sincerely committed to justice for the Negro. They believe that American society is essentially hospitable to fair play and to steady growth toward a middle-class Utopia embodying racial harmony. But unfortunately this is a fantasy of self-deception and comfortable vanity.”
      and “Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn.”

      It won’t be as comfortable to read. I wish these other writings and speeches got more attention. MLK’s dream was more than a few lines made in Washington.

  13. When Mr. Fea states the disagreement as, ” a “Trumpian” wing that sees CRT as antithetical to the gospel, and a “free inquiry” wing that believes CRT can be utilized as a tool for understanding racial justice” I believe he shows his biases and errs in his analysis. Those who disagree are somehow “Trumpian” while those who embrace CRT are the “free inquiry” wing. I studied this “ideology” in the late 90’s and found it wanting then as in now.

    CRT is based in Marxist ideology and pits one group against the other. As a sociology major this ideology has been going on since at least the 90’s.

  14. “…a “Trumpian” wing that sees CRT as antithetical to the gospel, and a “free inquiry” wing that believes CRT can be utilized as a tool for understanding racial justice.”

    What if one believes neither? CRT is a worldview that is hypocritical in its very approach. Trumpism is also a huge problem. Why do we have to keep having these horrible dichotomies?

  15. “wokeness” — a term used for those aware of systemic racism”. No. ‘Wokeness’ is an empty trope for those who want to assert an undefined ‘systematic racism’. This is a propagandistic cover for sub-cultures that want to avoid engagement in the commonweal and seek their unproductive social habits being cossetted from their natural consequences.

    1. David,

      America was founded on systemic racism and sexism. Right?

      White males prevented Blacks and women from participating politically, economically, socially, etc. from the time before America’s founding until the 1950s, 60s, 70s. Right?

      Schools, banks, job market, political offices and voting booths were infected with systematic racism. Unfortunately evangelical Christian schools and institutions were always the last ones to stop discriminating.

      The work today is to make sure there is no lingering racism (or sexism) in each institution. And if there is, we should be fully supportive of making changes. Right?

      There is no reason why we shouldn’t welcome that discussion.

      1. Greg –

        “White males prevented Blacks and women from participating politically, economically, socially, etc. from the time before America’s founding until the 1950s, 60s, 70s. Right?”

        Nice leading question, but I object.
        The 19th amendment was ratified on August 26, 1920 allowing women to vote. Before that Jeannette Rankin was elected to the House of Representatives in 1916 and once again in 1940.

        Whether women can participate or not no longer matters since we no longer have an agreed upon definition for a woman. Do you have one?

      2. Greg-

        “Unfortunately evangelical Christian schools and institutions were always the last ones to stop discriminating.”

        Have you read about James Meredith’s first day of school at Ol Miss? There was bloodshed and people died. The total number of federal officials on hand rose to around 31,000 to keep the peace. Ol Miss is not an evangelical college of course. I’m trying to think of a comparable evangelical college with a similar experience. I’m not saying racism wasn’t practiced at evangelical institutions, but your statement was all-encompassing and worded as an uncontestable fact.

        1. Marin Heiskell

          Hi Peter –

          I’d like to quote the rejection letter from Baylor University (a Southern Baptist school) to a Black applicant in my family, dated August 28, 1961:
          “Thank you for your application. I have discussed it with my superiors in office and across the conference with nothing favorable to report. We have not yet taken down the racial barrier here, although I do have hope it will be taken down eventually. It seems every schools is waiting for another, with none willing to take initiative in such manners. I sincerely wish it were possible for me to process your application to Baylor University, but as it stands, we are not processing applications for Negroes.”
          Sounds to me that Baylor was looking to FOLLOW rather than lead. To Greg’s point, this should not be the case for Christian universities.

          1. Marin –

            “I sincerely wish it were possible for me to process your application to Baylor University, but as it stands, we are not processing applications for Negroes.”

            That was abhorrent and sinful. I’m going to assume then that this is still the current practice of Baylor and other Christian colleges. People without the correct skin pigment are still actively denied admission to colleges and universities, particularly Baptist ones.

            Of course, that’s not the point is it? The point all goes back to power structures and “who benefits” or “benefitted”. Since that’s ultimately where America has been weighed in the balance and found wanting, how does someone like Carol Swain fit into the intersectionality of systemic injustice, race, and gender? I doubt she’s unknown to you, and I’m already aware of controversy, but I’m curious if you believe her to be deluded or worse?

      3. Greg –

        “The work today is to make sure there is no lingering racism (or sexism) in each institution. And if there is, we should be fully supportive of making changes.”

        I know how God does it, but how do you propose to stamp out sin?

        19For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20These are the things which defile a man:

        True salvation will do wonders to eradicate racism. sexism, fornication, adultery, thefts, false witness. You get the picture. You don’t get there without God. So I’m assuming evangelism would be your recommendation. Yes? People need to repent and allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify them. Yes?

        1. Peter,

          1- Yes, white men finally allowed women to vote in 1920. But in the 1970s, women were still being denied at Ivy League schools, still discriminated against in employment, getting fired for being pregnant and even being denied credit cards independent of their husbands.

          2- Yes, Christian institutions were usually the last to come around. We all know the 1954 Brown vs Board case that integrated *public* schools. But white only private Christian schools, run by people like Jerry Falwell, continued to refuse black children, even after civil rights laws passed in the 60s. Supreme Court cases in 1976 and 1982 finally shut down legal discrimination by Christian education administrators like Falwell and Bob Jones.

          3- We stamp out sin by challenging unjust laws and policies. For example, Moody Bible Institute was still discriminating against women as a matter of policy as recently as 2016 until a female student, Coria Thornton, threatened a Title IX action with the Dept of Education.

          We also begin to stamp out sin by acknowledging the sin of our own leaders like The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary did:

          The founding faculty of this school were deeply involved in slavery and deeply complicit in the defense of slavery. Many of their successors on this faculty, throughout the period of Reconstruction and well into the twentieth century, advocated segregation, the inferiority of African-Americans, and openly embraced the ideology of the Lost Cause of southern slavery…

          How could (they) …at the same time own human beings as slaves—based on an ideology of race—and defend American slavery as an institution?

          …We cannot repent for the dead. We must, however, offer full lament for a legacy we inherit, and a story that is now ours.

          https://www.sbts.edu/southern-project/

          1. Greg –

            In Adam all fell. How much further back do I need to go with regard to sin? Do I need to repent for my father’s sins? The soul that sins shall die, not the soul of a child of a soul that sins and so it goes down the generational line. It’s true for everyone.

            I’m not a southern baptist, so am I still responsible for the sins of southern baptists a generation ago? Am I responsible for the sexual abuse of certain people at Christianity Today or multiple other pastors? Am I responsible for James McDonald’s or Mark Driscoll’s inability to play nice with people?

            In 2022, how many women, if we know what one really is, are attending Ivy League colleges versus men? How many women are being denied credit because they’re women? What rights and opportunities are currently being denied to women, if we know what one really is, and non-whites in 2022? What unjust laws and policies need to be corrected in 2022?

            I’m not disputing bad, bad things happened. Why is this generation suddenly responsible for the sins of past generations? If you say, it’s because people still commit the same sins, I’ll agree with you. People haven’t changed any at all since Adam fell until Jesus came and didn’t.

          2. Peter,

            1- How far back? We are teaching American history. Right? I think America can survive teaching the truth- that the nation’s systems and institutions have been deeply infected with racism and sexism since its founding.

            2- I’m not Southern Baptist either. But as Americans our nation’s founders share the same racist history at that school. Fifteen of our first sixteen American presidents were slave *owners.* Forty one of fifty six signers of the Declaration of Independence owned slaves.

            As American Christians, we have the same problem. For instance, George Whitfield and Jonathan Edwards, two of the most influential Christian leaders in early America were also slave owners. Many of our Christian denominations were also pro slavery.

            We as Americans and Christians are not responsible for the sins of our fathers. But we are responsible for coming clean about the system that was created.

          3. Marin Heiskell

            Peter –

            No one is saying you have to repent for the sins of others. What I am saying (I cannot speak for others) is that you should acknowledge the GENERATIONAL impact of such sins, that is still felt by us all to this day.
            Just as scripture speaks to how faithfulness can lead to blessings for one’s “children and children’s children”, the SAME is said (and shown) for sin. We have entire BOOKS of the OT that show how plagues, enslavement by the Egyptians, wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, and having kings dethroned (or killed) by God, and the God-permitted invasion of other nations – all due to sin and faithlessness — impacted Israel for generations. MANY were impacted even when they did not directly sin. We see God command us to obey so He can bless us and our lineage for generations.
            So why do we not see that sin has the same ability to impact generations? As Christians, we should want to point this out as a call for all to return to God. But instead, we lead the way with “well, me and my family didn’t do that, so why are we talking about it?”

          4. Greg –

            I wholeheartedly agree with you that when Adam fell, every single human since has been impacted by sin all the way down to our current generation.

            It’s been remarkably consistent throughout human history that humans haven’t stopped sinning. We seem particularly bent on being generally disagreeable. You might say we’re also a bit bloodthirsty at times.

            We also have a nasty habit of enslaving each other. It’s been an ongoing characteristic of human interrelationships for millenia. It’s still happening today. Sex slavery is de rigueur in the U.S. at the moment although highly illegal.

            Knowing that many, though not all, signers of the Declaration of Independence were slave owners, how would you change it? Is the statement “all men are created equal” somehow any less true because the man who wrote it was a sinful human being? Do you propose we get rid of the Bible because God allowed Israel, His people, to be enslaved in Egypt and Babylon? He made sure they went to both places. Is the Bible somehow foundationally flawed because of systemic antisemitism?

            I’ll pose another question to you. What will keep the Bible outside of any of the critical theory frameworks? Multiple people already believe the Bible is the source, the root, of all the current injustice and inequality. Related to this, do you also believe the 1st amendment to be fundamentally flawed, thus requiring hate speech legislation?

          5. Marin –

            “GENERATIONAL impact of such sins, that is still felt by us all to this day.”

            You are correct that we still feel the impacts of sin. We differ in how far back we go. I go back to the beginning, not a few hundred years. We also differ in how we apply systemic.

            I believe we have a systemic sin problem. I understand you can’t countenance such a non-nuanced view of humanity because it lumps every human back into the same bubbling cauldron of existence where we were born. The devil is always in the details though.

            Is there any level of cognitive dissonance for you when you think how God had His own people enslaved twice?

    2. Marin Heiskell

      David –

      The actual definition of woke is to be “alert to injustice in society, especially racism.”
      The politicization of the term to mean anything different is just that – politicization. Doesn’t change the meaning, only how it’s used, which is unfortunately as some sort of condescending weapon to swing against anything a conservative disagress with. I’ve seen “woke” used in the most random, inaccurate ways…it’s both sad and laughable.
      And I stand by my statement that the church SHOULD be alert to injustice AND be first in line to stand up for those vulnerable to it.

  16. It’s tough to have a debate about CRT when it’s detractors are working from a definition that is more informed by their fears than reality.

    If one reads the petition linked in this article it should be fairly clear that their premise definition of CRT is taken more from current CRT detractors than from an honest weighing of the majority of – an admittedly very diverse group- CRT scholars.

    That’s not fair to the scholarship but it’s easy to do.

    In that way, CRT is allot like Conservative Christianity. Not that CRT is a religion or claims ultimate truth (both distortions by it’s critics) but in that it has some useful core truths that are worth considering. Both also have some proponents who are extreme, some who are weirdly legalistic in their interpretations, and some who propose “solutions” that are wildly out of step with the majority of Americans. Both would like to not be defined by these fringes.

    Conservative Christians generally want the benefit of the doubt that they are “not like” the worst examples of their tribe. They want the freedom to to define themselves in their own terms and to relate to culture in that way.

    Unfortunately they seem unable to offer that same grace to Christian (and non Christian)scholars and educators who have actually studied the issues deeply and see CRT as a useful tool in the analytical toolbox.

    If conservative Christians don’t want to be defined by outsiders then they need to allow for the same for those they consider outsiders.

    1. Karl –

      Do you have an opinion about what happened at Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington, and how the behavior of staff and students there intersects with the national dialogue about CRT?

      I’m curious if you think CRT experts who have thought “deeply” about the subject could have predicted the behavior, and whether they would have considered such behavior constructive and entirely within the realm of what is considered reasonable.

    2. Marin Heiskell

      Peter –

      Actually the sin of racism can be traced back to Biblical times (Miriam upset with Moses for his interracial marriage, the racial conflict between Samarians and Jews, etc.)
      So the SIN of racism has been impacting our world from the beginning. The US did not invent racism a few hundred years ago. We perpetuated a sin that’s gone on since the beginning of mankind.
      And how does sin fester? Denial and deflection. And in discussions about racism, you’ll see a lot of both. And so it continues.
      I won’t pretend to say I know why God allows anything. I WILL say His grace and strength has seen entire nations through slavery and genocide.
      Speaking for me as a Black woman, I actually see the plight of Black people in the US as one of faithful perseverance in the many faces of evil (slavery, lynchings, Jim Crow, etc). It’s why I hate when people say bringing up slavery, segregation, etc is “victimhood.” It SHOULD be a testimony and call to faith for people of all races on what God can and will do when He has a hand on people (especially considering the role the Black church has played through it all). It’s unfortunate people miss that.

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