The Editorial Director for 9Marks Ministries, one of #BigEva’s proud sons Jonathan Leeman, gave a talk during TGC2020 entitled “Identity Politics and the Death of Christian Unity.” In it, he details both the deficiencies and praiseworthy aspects of identity politics, listing the many virtues of this system which he describes as the occasional “useful ally.”
Specifically, he seeks to make the case that because humans are subject to the stain of total depravity, it means that necessarily all our actions and motivations are suspect and in some way tinged with racism, including our virtuous acts. First, he describes the perspective of the identity politics advocate and then goes on to affirm it:
Everything is subject to the comparative competitions of power and powers as its wielded between oppressing and oppressed groups. All your decisions, everything you do is either an act of privilege or an act of being imposed upon. And not that you are necessarily conscious of these things.
So you might think of the little white boy in the Suburbs – he’s not consciously racist as he enjoys a nutritious four-square meal. And the little minority boy in the ghetto may not be conscious of his vitamin deficiency and stunted growth through his soda pop and potato chip breakfasts in comparison to the white boy. Yet clearly, one is privileged, and the other is a victim of injustice. And as that little white boy grows up, he will naturally make a host of decisions that maintain his privilege and power, meaning he will gradually becoming complicit or complicit [sic] in the injustices.
Leeman explains how identity politics is an “unexpected ally” because it helps us see the world through a biblical lens and aids us in our interpretation of scripture:
It’s an unexpected ally because it reminds us what the Bible teaches about the pervasiveness of sin…
Listen again to Psalm 51:5, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me…”
Now, I don’t want to charge that little white boy in the suburbs eating a four-square meal with racism per se. But if he is indeed sinful at birth, is it not least worth considering the possibility that he’ll structure his life in order to give advantage to himself and become sinfully partial toward whatever groups he occupies from his high school versus other high schools? [Editor’s note: The problem Leeman is not seeing is that such sinful behaviour is not restricted by the melanin concentration of one’s skin.] From the nation he lives into other nations? To his socioeconomic class compared to other classes? To his skin color versus other skin colors? To me that seems like a pretty basic application of Psalm 51 or Isaiah 64…
So when a critical race theorists come along and say that white people pass laws, like the civil rights acts, not out of altruism, but out of self-interest…Well, on the one hand, I want to affirm common grace and the fact that non-Christians certainly can love and certainly do desire to do justice. But I also want to affirm total depravity and say, yeah, of course, even our righteous acts are filthy rags. [i.e., racist…]
H/T to @WokepreacherTV for the video.