I saw an interesting article from Barna Research a few weeks ago titled “White Christians have become even less motivated to address racial injustice.”
From the article:
“One might assume that the events of 2020 have increased awareness of racial injustice in the United States and motivation to address it. But the story isn’t so straightforward, new Barna research (conducted in partnership with Dynata) suggests. Yes, there are signs the past year has clarified how Americans think about racial injustice—but that doesn’t mean they see the issue, or their role within it, with greater urgency. In the Church especially, there is a sense that people are doubling down on divides.”
The article looks at a couple of data points. They polled different racial groups with the question “do you think our country has a race problem?” Across all respondents, 46% affirmed the statement, slightly higher than 43% of self-professing Christians. When broken down by race, 33% of white professing Christians affirmed that statement (a 7% drop from the same survey a year before).
In another survey question, Barna asked self-professing Christians “how motivated are you to address racial injustice in our society.” In the survey, the number of white Christians who felt “not at all motivated” to address current issues doubled in the past year from 11% to 22% (compared to 3% of African American responders).
I distinctly remember earlier in the summer when there were people who refused to call out the rioting and looting. In fact, there were those who justified it. People talked about this as a response to injustice because of all of the hurt and pain. There were people who wanted to compare the protests to the Boston Tea Party. We needed to tear down statues of Abraham Lincoln and Christopher Columbus. We needed to
But all of this was counterproductive. Violence does not engender public sympathy. It turns people away. That’s why people are less likely to talk about these issues. Because Americans have seen months of looting, fires and destruction in major cities. We’ve seen dramatic increases in crime and murder rates in major cities. We’ve seen story after story of black children being killed in the crossfire of inner city violence without groups like BLM ever protesting those deaths. We’ve seen roughly a billion dollars in property damages this summer.
Whose lives have all of this violence and destruction helped? Who has this advanced? Who has this empowered?
We’ve seen a rise in police officers being shot.
Americans have been lectured all summer from the media, from sports, from Hollywood, from music, from our education systems about how racist we all are.
So yes, its’ not a shock that some people are less likely to address these issues given the destruction that has come forth from the radical movements who are beating the drums the loudest. And this is a point which many thoughtful people have brought up which is that this summer is creating greater racial divides not helping to heal racial divides.
I believe the these poll numbers will continue to trend in that direction.
We’ve seen calls to defund police in democrat controlled cities. Meanwhile, all of these efforts disproportionately harm inner cities and disproportionately harm black communities. All of this works against public support. We see increases in violence and destruction. There have been young black children all over the country who have been killed in the cross-fire of inner city violence, without a word from BLM. And I think a lot of people feel like black communities are being used as political pawns to advance an agenda.
As far as why many Christians are less likely to discuss these matters, I think there’s also the concern that the movement is ultimately supporting an ideology which is contrary to the world view of Christianity and find it unsavory and difficult to support. Critical race theory, which is the overarching ideology behind much of the current racial discussion in our culture, is popular on the political left. Modern liberalism and socialistic policies are influenced by Marxist thought, while religious people tend to be more conservative (not exclusively, but religious people are more likely to be conservative than liberal). So what we are left with is a discussion that is controlled by the left and where religious peel on the right have several areas of disagreement. All that to say: it’s not at all surprising that white Christians are less likely to talk about racial injustice.
Is it because we’re all racist or prejudiced? The cultural Marists would say yes. Which feeds into this vicious cycle of diminishing interest in discussing these matters. Interest will continue to wane in the face of radicalism.
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