A satirical website is poking fun at the fear of critical race theory (CRT) among evangelicals by offering the fictional Anti-Critical Theory (ACT) Bible. Created by Dallas Theological Seminary professor John Dyer, the ACT Bible “is a new translation that seeks to demonstrate God’s desire that Christians be colorblind, class blind, and blind to many, many things.”
The debate over CRT has loomed large in evangelical circles and was even a major topic of controversy at the most recent annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). As the largest protestant denomination in America, the disagreement within the SBC over whether CRT can be employed without compromising a Christian worldview is emblematic of a broader debate within American evangelicalism about how to address issues of racism.
“Critical Theory, especially Critical Race Theory®, is a major threat to Christianity’s success. Critical Theories argue that oppression takes place not just between individuals, but through societal structures like law, education, and media, and that those systems reinforce hierarchies of race, ethnicity, and gender,” the website says. “The ACT Bible gently alters all references to race and ethnicity, allowing a truly colorblind approach to the Bible.”
“This radical new translation allows readers to see people simply as people, devoid of characteristics that might lead one to have Marxist thoughts,” the website continues.
Below this description, the ACT Bible website offers sample alterations of key biblical texts. In the selected passages, the ACT alters the text to remove words like “nations,” as well as references to identifiable groups such as “Cushite,” “Samaritan,” or “Levite.”
The new translation also removes phrases that could imply a need for systemic justice. For example, the words “a false balance” in Proverbs 11:1 are changed to “a false action.”
The instructions in Deuteronomy 15 for how to treat someone who was formerly enslaved are also abbreviated, with the editorial note saying, “Our editors decided that we prefer the Exodus version of this law better than the Deuteronomy. Both passages allow the slave to go free after seven years, but the Deuteronomy implies the need for blessing the person who was bought and even uses the word ‘liberally.’”
Beneath a “Buy Now” button, which links to a music video of Amy Grant’s “Baby, Baby,” the website says that the full text will be available in early 2022, “hopefully before the next boogyman makes this product obsolete!”
Dyer Confirms: Yes, This is Satire
At the bottom of the ACT Bible website, Dyer confirms that the translation is not real but, in fact, satire.
“It began when a Christian leader concerned with Critical Race Theory stated that the Bible demands all Christians be colorblind. This made us wonder what the Bible would look like if it truly removed all references to the dimensions of human personhood and interaction,” Dyer writes.