Bishops Misfire on “Racial Equity”
The American bishops drew a crucial distinction in a statement on President Biden’s Inauguration Day between things on which they can cooperate and “dialogue” with the new administration and those on which they cannot. Those distinctions were absolutely necessary to avoid the impression – amounting to grave scandal – that they had no problem with a self-proclaimed “Catholic” taking steps to further abortion, homosexuality, or transgenderism, all of which have been criticized by Pope Francis as a kind of “ideological colonization” in the developing world, but also in developed nations.
So far, however, almost no one has paid attention to potential dangers in the other half of the bishops’ Inauguration Day statement, those issues on which the Biden administration is supposedly “good” – immigration, environment, racism, etc. – as if other approaches to dealing with these matters than the usual progressive pieties are “bad.”
The bishops need to pay careful attention to what they and the administration mean – and even the wisdom of entering into various controversies – when they “dialogue” about social problems in this highly polarized period. For example, they just commended Biden (see here) for promoting “racial equity” in housing and prisons. Equity sounds like good-old American equality. But in the current lexicon of Critical Race Theory and Critical Legal Theory, “equity” means something far different, and far closer to the ideological extremism of Black Lives Matter than Liberty and Justice for All.