Why We Must Seek to Repudiate Resolution 9 in New Orleans in 2023

In 2019, the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) adopted Resolution 9. It was passed based on the stated value of using critical race theory (CRT) and intersectionality (INT) as neutral “analytical tools.” The second Whereas of Resolution 9 states, “Critical race theory is a set of analytical tools that explain how race has and continues to function in society, and intersectionality is the study of how different personal characteristics overlap and inform one’s experience.”[1]

Before presenting Resolution 9, the committee rejected the original Resolution that was written and submitted by Stephen Michael Feinstein, which argued against using critical race theory and intersectionality for any purpose.[2] Our leaders and successive Resolution Committees have continued to reject every annual attempt by messengers to displace Resolution 9 and the legitimacy it granted to CRT/INT. Maintaining this resolution is irrefutable proof that some of our leaders desire CRT/INT’s legitimization in our convention to continue.

In stark contrast to the Resolution Committees’ portrayal of CRT/INT as useful and neutral analytical tools. The CRT movement was founded to blend race issues, law, and the Marxist critical theory. The founding workshop of CRT met in a convent[3] on July 8, 1989,[4] at the St. Benedict Center in Madison, Wisconsin.[5] It “was spearheaded by Kimberlé Crenshaw and organized by her, Neil Gotanda, and Stephanie Phillips. It also included as its participants . . . Derrick Bell . . . Richard Delgado . . . Angela Harris, Mari Matsuda . . . and Patricia Williams.”[6]

Of the movement and name “critical race theory,” Crenshaw says, “The key formative event was the founding of the Critical Race Theory workshop. Principally organized by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Neil Gotanda, and Stephanie Phillips, the workshop drew together thirty-five law scholars who responded to a call to synthesize a theory that, while grounded in critical theory, was responsive to the realities of racial politics in America. Indeed, the organizers coined the term ‘Critical Race Theory’ to make it clear that our work locates itself in [the] intersection of critical theory and race, racism and the law”[7] (italics added).

Therefore, the critical race theorists unambiguously declare that they address the issue of race through “critical theory.” In contrast to traditional social theory, which seeks to explain society, critical theory (critical social theory) seeks to change society. The change they seek is the deconstruction of the present society, like American capitalism and Republican society and change it to a Marxist society; this process of critical theory is sometimes referred to as conflict theory, by which only the bad and shortcomings of the present society are emphasized and compared to a non-existent Marxist utopia. Nevertheless, leaders of the SBC and multiple Resolution Committees since 2019 have actively suppressed and dismissed any challenges to Resolution 9 while mischaracterizing those who seek its repeal as misguided at best.[8]

Confounding the issue further are acts by our leaders, like our seminary president’s joint statement on the incompatibility of the Baptist Faith and Message (BFM) with CRT, which is inconsistent with the employment of professors who embrace CRT being on faculty, as is the case at SBTS. Then combine these guarded statements with the presidents’ strategic silence at the convention regarding Resolution 9. To my knowledge, none of them have supported or spoken for the repeal of Resolution 9.  

Critical theory (CT), in “which CRT is grounded,” was developed by neo-Marxists Max Horkheimer and Theodore Adorno and is the mechanism by which Marxism deconstructs a society to replace it with Marxism. The crucial thing to see is there is no way to embrace CRT and not embrace the core mechanism of Marxism for advancing Marxism. And this is no secret. Consequently, when we say CRT is Marxist, we must ask why people accuse us of not understanding CRT or even misrepresenting it? Why would the Resolutions Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention adopt and continue to defend a resolution in support of using CRT as an analytical tool when the lens through which CRT sees the world is Marxist CT?

Kimberlé Crenshaw, referred to as the mother of CRT, wrote in one of her most significant essays, “Mapping the Margins,” Stanford Law Review, “Intersectionality may provide the means for dealing with other marginalizations . . . and thus serve as a basis for critique of churches and other cultural institutions that reproduce heterosexism”[9] (italics added). Once again, we see CRT and INT are not just about race. Heterosexism means maintaining heterosexuality as normal and includes teaching it as normative. It is stated explicitly that these critical race theorists (Marxists) are coming after any institution that teaches heterosexual normality. The church is the foremost teacher of heterosexuality as normal and that other sexual relationships are sinful and require repentance. Biblically, heterosexual relations between two adults married to each other are normal and normative.

Richard Delgado, who attended this founding meeting and wrote one of the articles in the work, Critical Race Theory: The Writings That Formed the Movement, said of the gathering, “So we gathered at that convent for two and a half days, around a table in an austere room with stained glass windows and crucifixes here and there—an odd place for a bunch of Marxists—and worked out a set of principles. Then we went our separate ways. Most of us who were there have gone on to become prominent critical race theorists.”[10] (italics added).

Despite the overwhelming evidence that CRT/INT are grounded in Marxism and operate by critical theory to destroy existing free institutions, like the SBC, and countries, the SBC leadership continues to resolutely resist rejecting CRT, as evidenced by the repeated suppression of challenges to discard Resolution 9. But why?

I suggest the following as to why some leaders may speak negatively about CRT yet remain staunchly silent about condemning Resolution 9.

1. They fear many black and white WOKE pastors will leave the SBC if we categorically renounce CRT, which is what rejecting Resolution 9 effectively does.

2. They seek to protect professors in our seminaries that embrace and teach in agreement with CRT/INT and social justice.

3. They fear the SBC will be called racist. Their fear is what Shelby Steele calls “white guilt.” Steele does not use white guilt to mean moral guilt. Instead, it is a willingness by white people and their institutions to do almost anything to avoid the stigmatization of being called racist, even if it is untrue. He says, “White guilt is quite literally the same thing as black power.”[11] In the case of the SBC, this charge is based on the false notion that being anti-CRT/INT is racist.

4. They seek to support those who are not racists but wrongly equate anti-CRT/INT with racism or at least believe CRT/INT are actually neutral tools that can help as long as we steer clear of the bad stuff. But the underlying premise is faulty because CRT and INT are the bad stuff. They are all based on the neo-Marxian Critical Theory.

Therefore, we must once again seek to repudiate Resolution 9 and its claim of the neutrality and helpfulness of CRT/INT as analytical tools. By this act, we decisively evict the philosophy set on destroying the SBC. If we fail to so act, we partner with our enemy in our own demise.

[1] SBC.net, “On Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality.” 6/1/19. https://www.sbc.net/resource-library/resolutions/on-critical-race-theory-and-intersectionality/. Accessed 2/11/20.

[2] See the full text of the resolution, https://sovereignway.blogspot.com/2019/06/sbc19-resolution-9-on-critical-race.html?m=1.

[3] Richard Delgado & Jean Stefancic, Living History Interview with Richard Delgado & Jean Stefancic, Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems 19, no. 221 (Winter 2010): 225 found online at https://digitalcommons.law.seattleu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1039&context=faculty, accessed 11/26/2021.

[4] Angela Onwuachi-Willig, “Celebrating Critical Race Theory at 20,” Iowa Law Review 94 (2009), 1497, https://scholarship.law.bu.edu/faculty_scholarship/320/, accessed 8/3/22.

[5] Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (New York: New York University Press, 2017), xv.

[6] Angela Onwuachi-Willig, “Celebrating Critical Race Theory at 20,” Iowa Law Review 94 (2009), 1497–98, https://scholarship.law.bu.edu/faculty_scholarship/320/, accessed 8/25/21.

[7] Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement, edited by Kimberlé Crenshaw, et. al. (New York: New Press, 1995), xxvii.

[8] I use repeal in a general sense to mean any act that will end its status as a resolution thereby granting it status as unharmful.

[9]Kimberlé Crenshaw, “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color,” Stanford Law Review 43 (1991): 1299. https://edspace.american.edu/culturallysustainingclassrooms/wp-content/uploads/sites/1030/2017/09/Mapping-the-Margins.pdf, accessed 2/4/2021.

[10] Richard Delgado & Jean Stefancic, Living History Interview with Richard Delgado & Jean Stefancic, Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems 19, no. 221 (Winter 2010): 225 found online at https://digitalcommons.law.seattleu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1039&context=faculty, accessed 11/26/2021.

[11] Shelby Steele, White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era (New York: Harper Perennial, 2007), 24.

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Ronnie W. Rogers

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