Home/Rod Dreher/‘He Is Unrecognizable To Me’

‘He Is Unrecognizable To Me’

Demonstrators outside St. John's Church in Washington, near the White House (Photo by JOSE LUIS MAGANA/AFP via Getty Images)

A reader e-mailed me something, and gave me permission to publish it as long as I took names out. I edited it slightly to protect his identity, and the identity of someone he mentions. It’s well worth reading:

I was very sad to read your piece on how CRT is dividing Christians because I have seen this happen in my own small circles. I attended and later taught at a school called [name], a small school operated by very conservative members of [Protestant denomination], which is a generally a very theologically conservative fellowship.

But this summer, a few individuals penned an “open letter” to the school’s administration addressing racism. You can read the letter here:

[I am not including the link. — RD]

As you can see, it is nothing more than standard Critical Race Theory.

[This is true. — RD]

Several hundred people signed this, including some former students of mine. I was stunned that something like this could garner as much support as it did. Honestly, I think (or hope) that many of the people who signed it were rightly disturbed by events in the news and wanted to do something to speak out and signed this letter without realizing what it actually represented. I spoke to a couple of people who signed it but later regretted it.

One of the most disappointing signees was a fellow minister who’s about 15 years younger than me. For years, my late wife and I often commented on his calm spirit on social media, and on the thoughtful way he interacted with people. But he has now “accepted Critical Race Theory with the force of a religious conversion” as you said in your post. He is unrecognizable as a person to me. It is one of the saddest experiences I’ve ever had.

We are going to lose a huge chunk of young disciples to the Great Awokening because they have not been taught a Christian view of the world — no philosophy, no theology, no ethics. They have little to bring to bear to complex moral questions other than emotional outrage, and they will inevitably find more in common with those who share their ungrounded outrage rather than those who share faith in Christ.

This is yet another reason the Benedict Option is desperately needed, even on the campus of small “conservative” religious schools.

I read my correspondent’s written response to the open letter’s signatories. It’s exceptionally good — full of facts and trenchant analysis, written by a white Christian who believes in fighting racism, both within and outside the church, but who rejects Critical Race Theory as anti-Christian. I fear that in this environment, though, none of that will matter. Everything is emotionalism. Nothing but passion and outrage. If you don’t accept their diagnosis and prescription, then you are on the side of racists.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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