The decade's most triggering comedy
Each time Dr. Voddie T. Baucham returned in recent years to visit his native United States from Zambia, where he lives and serves as the dean of theology at African Christian University, he further cemented his resolve to write a book.
During a recent interview with The Daily Wire, Baucham explained the unique insight he offers as a black pastor and theologian who now views the country from the outside after having been raised in an American inner city.
“I’ve come back three or four times a year for speaking tours and it’s always interesting to be an American expat looking back at the U.S.,” Baucham said. Each time he came back, he explained, he could “sense the temperature change” around flashpoint issues such as social justice, Critical Race Theory (CRT), Intersectionality, and antiracism.
“Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe” is the new book that emerged from Baucham’s years of studying and reflecting on such ideologies, which he believes are new fronts in a spiritual war that is fracturing both evangelicalism and the nation.
“I think that’s one of the reasons that I just became so keenly aware and so passionate about writing this book, because it was really noticeable to me that things were shifting quickly and deteriorating quickly,” he said. “And I’m watching families be divided, churches be divided, institutions and schools and denominations be divided over this thing. Being an expat coming back and seeing that, it was just alarming to me.”
“A Black Christian”
Born 1969 in Los Angeles, Baucham was raised by a single teenage mother, whose many sacrifices he credits with his survival. He spends the first part of the book recounting his formative years, which took place during an especially tumultuous time for the black community. He remembers well the era of desegregation busing and the ravages of the crack epidemic.
In a struggle he describes in a chapter titled “A Black Christian,” Baucham wrestled for some time with the challenge of whether to find his identity primarily in his race or his faith after he converted to Christianity during his freshman year of college.
“The question of the proper order of faith and ethnicity is critical to understanding the various positions people take in the broader social-justice debate — one with which all people must wrestle, regardless of their ethnicity,” he wrote. “However, for black Christians, this concept has often been difficult to embrace for several reasons.”
As a young man, Baucham had been drawn to the Black Nationalist ideas of Malcolm X, who “denounced Christianity as a religion designed for slaves.” When he became a Christian, he found he had to renounce such a worldview, but it gave him unique discernment into the nature of CRT and other ideologies that seek to politically weaponize race and undermine faith.
“A Religion Without Grace”
Baucham dissects over several chapters how CRT and the social justice movement twist traditional religious categories into a means by which to assert power. Characterizing the battles facing the U.S. as fundamentally spiritual, he deftly traces such philosophies to their origin in what he describes as the “demonic ideology” of Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci, and their neo-Marxist successors in the Frankfurt School.
“This talk of antiracism and this talk of critical social justice is very much religious in its overtones,” he said, explaining how it “borrows from the Judeo-Christian worldview in terms of the words that it uses.” With its emphasis on slavery and reparations, he pointed out, the so-called antiracism of Ibram X. Kendi, for example, is replete with notions of original sin and atonement.
“But more specifically, this religion has its own cosmology, its own understanding of the way the world came to be. This religion has its own theology and theological terminology. It has its own saints, its own priests, it has its own rituals. And it has a dogged commitment to its ideology and its theology and a punitive approach to those who step out of line,” he continued.
“So it’s a religion, but as a religion, it offers no hope. There is no ultimate redemption in antiracism. You just have to do the work of antiracism for the rest of your life and hope you never step out of line, because if you do, then you go back to zero.”
In a recent op-ed for the New York Post, he put it another way: “a religion without grace.”
As someone who traces his ancestry to slaves in North Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, and Texas, Baucham himself had to personally come to terms with what he believes is the only answer to historic injustice. “The most powerful weapon in our arsenal is not calling for reparations: it is forgiveness,” he writes. “Antiracism knows nothing of forgiveness because it knows nothing of the Gospel. Instead, antiracism offers endless penance, judgment, and fear.”
“This Present Darkness”
Because it has the trappings of Christianity, Baucham believes many Christians have “fallen prey” to the social justice movement. “What Christian does not want to be for justice, right? What Christian does not want to empathize with people if they are oppressed? What Christian doesn’t want unity and reconciliation and everything else? So I think there’s a sinister aspect to the religious nature of this movement in that it’s those religious terms and that religious ideology that it tapped into that has really led people astray.”
Apart from what it co-opts from Christianity, Baucham also discerns a darker element in the rites of these pseudo-religious ideologies and the movements that spring from them, such as BLM. Referencing the verse in Ephesians that teaches mankind contends with invisible forces of evil, Baucham writes in his concluding pages: “I see Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, Critical Social Justice, and their antecedents — Marxism, Conflict Theory, and Critical Theory — as ‘cosmic powers over this present darkness.’”
“The organization is Marxist, revolutionary, feminist, misandrous, pro-LGBTQIA+, pro-abortion, and anti-family, with roots in the occult,” Bachaum writes of BLM. “It is unacceptable for Christians to partner with, celebrate, identify with or promote this organization.”
He notes how, in addition to being self-described “trained Marxists,” Patrisse Cullors and her BLM co-founders are also open practitioners of witchcraft, whose rituals to invoke the dead feature prominently in the organization’s protests for slain people of color.
“In my tradition, you offer things that your loved ones who have passed away would want,” Cullors said during an interview with Los Angeles BLM chapter founder Dr. Melina Abdullah. “Whether it’s like honey or tobacco, things like that. It’s so important, not just for us, to be in direct relationship with our people who have passed, but also for them to know we’ve remembered them.”
“Hashtags for us are way more than a hashtag,” Cullors said of social media protests. “It is literally almost resurrecting a spirit so they can work through us to get the work that we need to get done.”
“This movement is much more than a racial and social justice movement,” Abdullah added. “At its core it’s a spiritual movement.”
“People Are Beginning To Wake Up”
Baucham’s cultural and spiritual diagnosis is sober, but he remains hopeful. “I was worried for a while that we’re moving toward a race war,” he said. “I don’t see that now. I see a pushback against Critical Race Theory and some of these other things, and so I’m excited about that. The other thing is, I feel like this is running out of steam. There’s only so much guilt and self-flagellation that people can go through before they finally say, ‘You know what, I’m tired.’ I think we’re at that point now.”
“Also, the emperor has no clothes and there are people out there who are screaming that from the rooftops. I’m trying to do that in my book to basically say, ‘Listen, this ideology is bankrupt.’ I’m hopeful that people are beginning to wake up and become aware. I think we’re beginning to turn a corner, but there’s a lot of damage that’s been done. And there are a lot of people who are still entrenched in this, because ultimately this is about power.”
Explaining how the neo-Marxists shifted Marx’s idea of economic class conflict to apply instead to “an oppressor class” and “an oppressed class,” Baucham said, “The whole idea of Critical Theory is that you assume those categories and then work your way toward this revolutionary overthrow of the oppressor by the oppressed. So that’s still there and there are a number of people who are committed to it, mainly because of the power that it gives them. And people will ride that all the way to positions in Fortune 500 companies, or positions in the government, or whatever else is available to them.”
“So there are those people who are going to hold onto it for dear life,” he added. “But I’m hopeful because people’s eyes are opening.”
Regarding what the average person can do to push back against this ideology, Baucham stressed the importance of knowledge and courage. “You’ve got to be informed,” he said. “And I think a lot of people have just decided to curl up and not engage this because they haven’t been informed.” He hopes his book will be useful to that end.
“And then secondly, when you’re informed, be engaged,” Baucham continued, adding how much of the ideology has advanced through bully tactics. “We have to engage and we’ve got to refuse to be bullied. We’ve got to refuse to be silenced on this.”
“And then, when we engage, we have to engage in a way that we’re exposing this ideology for what it is,” he added.