Identity politics, “wokeness” and critical theory push the same worldview. They are closely related, and the Body of Christ needs Biblical discernment to recognize such destructive ideas, even when at first glance the ideas seem appealing.
The Book of Proverbs says, “If you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding … discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you, to deliver you from the way of evil” (Proverbs 2:3, 11-12).
Under schemes of misguided identity politics, people are divided into two groups, the oppressors and the oppressed, and are pitted against each other. One group is favored and the other is irredeemable. This woke framework—wokeness defined as essentially being engaged in the left’s modes of activism and addressing social injustice—is intentionally divisive and spiritually unhealthy. You have to walk on eggshells to make sure you never offend any member of the oppressed—the favored class—even at the cost of truth, against all reality, and to the detriment of the best interest of others. This “walking on eggshells” is a dominant feature now deeply engrained in culture, including in some churches.
Author Carl Trueman courageously exposed this in a recent World article titled “Pride, Promiscuity, and Preventable Illness,” which describes the intentional failure of public health officials to be honest about the connection between the monkeypox outbreak and gay promiscuity. Public health officials knew that to publicly speak truth about the cause of the outbreak would offend the LGBTQ community. The mandate to protect the optics of the sexual revolution collided with public health consequences. Officials remained far too silent, hurting the very community they were afraid to offend. Identity group politics, in this case sexual minority activism, trumped the importance of public health outcomes. Trueman’s perceptive article focused on what happens when public health and identity politics collide. Hypersensitivity to offending favored identity groups left those groups uninformed and vulnerable.
Yet the problem goes far beyond public health concerns. The ideology behind identity politics, wokeness and critical theory collide with God’s design for human life.
Examples of leftist ideology bypassing the science, facts and reality are endless. Children wrestling with gender dysphoria grow to accept their biological sex in a vast majority of cases, yet the sexual revolutionaries demand “gender-affirming care” consisting of irreversible toxic hormone treatment and surgery for minors. Many European countries are putting the brakes on sex transitions for youth due to poor results and lack of scientific support for these harmful practices. Unfortunately, the American medical establishment, along with the Biden administration, are going full steam ahead, touting transgender theory as the gospel truth. This ideological groupthink ignores the thousands wanting to detransition and plows forward, wrecking lives at unprecedented levels.
Remember how churches were fined for gathering during COVID restrictions while Antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters were free to gather in mass demonstrations? That’s another example of how woke government officials favored certain identity groups and punished disfavored groups like churches. Again, ideology trumped fairness and disfavored groups such as the church became targets.
The battle cry of the woke to defund the police resulted in increased crime and suffering in communities with already-high crime and weakened police protection. And undoubtedly, the unhealthy, divisive and destructive ideas within identity politics, wokeness and critical theory will cause highly qualified, outstanding people to leave the medical field to avoid forced participation in killing children in the womb and harmful gender transition procedures.
A military that protects our nation and many other nations is now weakened by identity politics in more ways that can be detailed here. The value of a college education is diminishing, with far too many degrees focused on the indoctrination of students instead of developing employable skills and productive citizenry.
Perhaps the most obvious example of the progressive train pushing dangerous practices to favor one privileged group to the detriment of others is permitting biological males to play in women’s sports. Biological males steal championships, scholarships and cause frightening injuries to women, not to mention the gross violations of privacy and safety, all in the name of identity politics. Radical ideology is trumping common sense, decency and God’s wise design at the cost of trauma, feelings of helplessness, and bewilderment. Rejecting nature and God’s Word never ends well.
How many are living in irreversible regret after doctors permanently damaged their bodies with harmful toxins and surgical removal of healthy body parts?
How many children are thrown into sexual confusion by being introduced to experimental, confusing and damaging ideas in first and second grade?
How many children have died because police department budgets were slashed in the name of identity politics?
The church needs to know truth so well that it recognizes nice sounding counterfeit ideas. Every follower of Christ must have awareness, vigilance, Biblical discernment and courage to stand up to the wind and the waves of powerful cultural movements.
The more we know God’s Word, the more we will recognize bad ideas, even when they seem appealing. As Christians, we must examine our sources of truth, knowledge, news and information and be Biblically discerning of what is trustworthy.
We must think about whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise, as instructed in Philippians 4:8.
Ultimately, praise be to God, in the midst of the chaos, He is on the throne and we can rest and trust in Him alone. ©2022 BGEA
The Scripture quotation is taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version.
Todd Chasteen serves as vice president of public policy and general counsel for Samaritan’s Purse.
Photograph: Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call / Newsroom