At the start of the Cold War, a young Foreign Service officer named George Kennan wrote a lengthy description of the mindset of the Soviet leadership to explain their “uncooperative behavior.”
His insights eventually became famous as “The Long Telegram,” and it was critical to helping American leadership understand the worldview that drove the Soviets, and why that worldview was entirely at odds with the United States.
What Kennan did for the threat from the Soviet Union, theologian Owen Strachan has now done for the threat of critical race theory, and more broadly, wokeness.
In his recent book, “Christianity and Wokeness: How the Social Justice Movement is Hijacking the Gospel—and the Way to Stop It,” Strachan does a deep dive into critical race theory, and what he calls wokeness. He concludes: “Wokeness is not just not the Gospel. Wokeness is anti-Gospel.”
The reason Strachan’s analysis is so important is that wokeness is not a simple knot to unravel. As he explains, “Historical sins sit heavy upon us.”
The sins of slavery and the institutionalized racism of Jim Crow and segregation are very real. In spite of the false accusation that we don’t teach honest history in the United States, I would argue there isn’t an American alive today who is not keenly aware of the sins of the past and of the long difficult journey toward the Founders’ ideal of a nation in which all men are created equal.
That explains the eagerness with which many joined in one or more of the 2,000 protests that took place following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020. But an honest appraisal of, and remorse for, the sins of the past should not transmute into guilt for all who live in the present.
Strachan unpacks just how misguided and destructive wokeness is in a 14-point critique. At its simplest, the critique can be summed up in his simple formula: “In this system of wokeness, there is no grace and no love.”
Indeed, Strachan concludes that wokeness is a new religion, with no creator, libertine sexuality, all trust in the state to rule us, and salvation derived from anti-racism.
The problem is not only a theological one in the way wokeness seeks to upend Christianity, but it also has very real consequences for Christians and nonbelievers alike.
One such consequence is that wokeness rekindles racism. It even seeks to cancel Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision for a colorblind society.
As Strachan says, “Wokeness promises justice, but begets injustice.” It seeks to deconstruct all of our social structures—the nuclear family, first and foremost. It foments disunity, resentment, and hostility.
Americans of all races have worked too hard and they have sacrificed too much to allow this backsliding into a divided, racist past.
Strachan, in “Christianity and Wokeness,” provides the insights and the tools needed to reverse this dangerous trend.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal