To hear some describe it, critical race theory is Marxism, a threat to the American way of life, reverse racism and a scheme to indoctrinate children. The reality is less sensationalistic.
"It's a legal theory that started in the early 1970s, after the civil rights movement, that comes mostly out of graduate and law school work," said Sam Rocha, a professor of education philosophy at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, who has studied and written on the subject.
Critical race theory is primarily an academic legal framework centered on the idea that racism is systemic; that it's embedded in institutions, culture, values and laws, and not just a manifestation of personal bigotry or animus.
"A lot of times I think people assume that critical race theory is a moral theory of anti-racism, but it's really not," Rocha said. "It's a legal theory that helps itself to a broad and wide tradition, from Black Reconstruction to the founding of the NAACP all the way into the civil rights movement."
Our recent editorial says that while women religious congregations are bravely forging ahead in addressing deep issues of racism, the official church hierarchy remains in denial.
Black religion scholars say their work is routinely undervalued and their advancement blocked by a bias that sees the study of Black religious experience as secondary to white theology.
In the face of social and environmental crises, the world would do well to follow the lead of its young people, Pope Francis said in a video message to mark the start of the Season of Creation.
"It makes me very happy to see that young people have the courage to undertake projects for environmental and social improvement, since the two go together. We adults can learn much from them, because in all matters related to care for the planet, they are at the forefront. Let us take advantage of their example and reflect on our lifestyle, especially during the moments of health, social and environmental crisis," Francis said in a video released Sept. 1 by the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network.
Each month, the network prepares videos related to the pope's prayer intention. For September, it is praying for environmentally sustainable lifestyles.
"Let us choose to change! Let us advance with young people towards lifestyles that are simpler and more respectful of the environment," including in the ways people eat, travel and use water, energy and plastics, the pope said.
Sign up here to receive At Home in Creation, reflections from EarthBeat every Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the Season of Creation, which is from Sept. 1 through Oct. 4. Each day includes suggestions for prayerful reflection and action for individuals, families or faith groups.
ICYMI: In his first interview since undergoing surgery in July, Pope Francis criticized the Western attempts to impose democracy on other countries in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal in Afghanistan, addressed concerns about his health, and spoke about the Vatican's efforts to curb corruption and sexual abuse.
At Global Sisters Report, read about Mother Mary Paschal of the Lamb of God, who was elected abbess July 29, taking on the same post that was once held by Mother Angelica, founder of both the monastery and the global Catholic communications network known as EWTN.
"This is the work of Jesus Christ," San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy said at the Aug. 30 groundbreaking ceremony for the El Centro Homeless Day Center, a collaborative effort set to open before Thanksgiving.