Across the country, America's kids are headed back to school. Because of COVID-19, some will learn from in-person classes, while others will stay remote.
But this year, our kids are facing more than just coronavirus politics about the classroom; they're stuck in the middle of the culture war being waged by Critical Race Theory (CRT) and its advocates. For months now, everyone from school board members and teachers to politicians and parents have debated teaching CRT in our nation's schools.
Most of that debate has focused on what CRT gets wrong about race relations. By teaching our kids to view everything through the lens of white privilege and systemic racism, CRT undermines the foundation in liberty and equality that has made America great for hundreds of years.
But CRT is more insidious than that. It doesn't just teach kids to think about race in a Marxist and anti-American way; it also subtly and implicitly teaches that God's mercy, forgiveness and redemption can't heal the wounds of racism.
As a pastor, I know how common and virulent the lies are that the world tells us about God. The Bible says that after the fall of Adam and Eve, mankind is cursed with a tendency to sin. Part of that tendency is an unwillingness to believe God's truth, and a penchant to fabricate lies about who God is.
So it really should come as no surprise that a fashionable, secular ideology like CRT would obfuscate the reality of God's mercy. What's surprising is how many people have fallen for it.
We all crave healing. We want to be restored from the damage done by sin to ourselves, our loved ones, our relationships and our society. And our society today has been damaged by the sin of racism. CRT promises a way to address that damage and repair it; but all it in fact offers is hardness of heart and confusion.
CRT teaches us that racism is ingrained in the very nature of things. It says that white people, no matter their intentions or goodwill, are perpetrators of systemic racism. It also teaches that Black Americans are destined to be victimized and hurt by keeping society with whites. "White privilege" ensures that white people will always be on top, and Black people will always be on bottom. For CRT, repair and healing come from recognizing this inevitable condition of racial harm and enacting policies that protect Black people from it.
But that's not what the Bible teaches about racism at all. In the Biblical worldview, racism, like all sins, is a matter of the heart. The Bible teaches that God's mercy can heal and convert hearts – right here, right now. God doesn't depend upon policy proposals, and nobody, Black or white, is beyond God's power to heal and redeem.
To God, racism is just another sin among all the countless other sins that God forgives and fixes all the time. Race is not a destiny, and racial harm is not inevitable. We are always free, individually and collectively, to accept God's mercy and love one another better.
I think CRT should be kicked out of the classroom. But more importantly, I think parents, pastors and families should know that their kids are being exposed to damaging falsehoods about what healing from racism means. Christians shouldn't buy into the hype and rhetoric around CRT; they should oppose it because it is unbiblical, and share and preach the values of mercy and redemption as the Bible teaches them.
I'm not saying that America's kids need to be taught the Bible in school, but I am saying that we have to confront when our kids are being taught lies about God in school. We shouldn't take that lying down, and we should be the voices in our culture standing up to defend the truth when popular falsehoods malign it.
Timothy Head is the executive director of the Faith & Freedom Coalition.