(Today’s post will be broken down and shared over the length of the day. It is an extensive article and deserves to be digested a point at a time. Please take the time to reflect on each proposition and check its fit to your Christian worldview. It is worth the time and effort. Michael)
Dr. K. Hamren is an assistant professor of English at Liberty University. Her dissertation focused on twentieth-century Russian poetry, with an emphasis on the horrors resulting from Marxist-Leninist ideology in the Soviet Union.
During the weeks following the death of George Floyd, I have been following the news with an increasing sense of sadness and concern for the problems facing the United States regarding race and racism.
I’ve been unsure how to respond as I’ve scrolled through social media and watched increasingly polarized rhetoric on both sides of the political aisle—except to listen to the voices of Black friends and neighbors who are hurting and to pray for justice.
I’ve tried to apply the biblical principle of being “slow to speak” (James 1:19), but I’ve been convicted recently about joining a particular thread of the (inter)national conversation taking place among those who share my faith in Jesus Christ and want to support truth and justice without compromising on principles peculiar and integral to our faith—principles that they are afraid might be stealthily replaced by rhetoric from other, incompatible frameworks of thinking.
Two frameworks I’ve been hearing about increasingly often are familiar to me from my own field: Critical Race Theory and Marxism. Because I have some expertise in these areas, I want to offer some thoughts and, hopefully, clarification to the conversation.
I’ll begin by giving some credentials, not to ask for accolades but to indicate why I want to address these areas of the cultural conversation in particular. I have two English degrees (B.A. and M.A.) from a Christian university and a Ph.D. in literature and criticism from a state university.
In my field, Marxism is one of the most commonly studied and most influential perspectives, and Critical Race Theory is also a significant force and gaining momentum. As a result, I’ve studied these theories extensively.
What gives me an unusual perspective in my field, however, is the fact that my primary research interest—and the topic of my doctoral dissertation—is twentieth-century Russian literature. My studies have convinced me that the sufferings and deaths of millions are not only correlated with but largely caused by the Marxist-Leninist agenda, and I am therefore deeply opposed to Marxism as a framework.
I hope that, knowing this, those patient enough to read these notes will acquit me of being a closet Marxist covering a secular agenda with a veneer of Bible verses.
That said, I do believe that some reactions to the protests following the death of George Floyd in particular and the Black Lives Matter movement in general are based on a failure to recognize important nuances in the conversation.
I’m going to address what I believe to be some problematic reasoning I’m seeing come from Christian sources on race: