by Aaron Preston
The Annual Battle Over King’s Legacy
It’s January 2023, and another Martin Luther King Day has come and gone. With it has come the annual tug-of-war over King’s legacy. Some on the right commend his call to a “colorblind” vision of social justice as grounded in the moral character of individuals, but they won’t acknowledge the more communitarian aspects of his thought or the radical socioeconomic reforms they entailed. On the left, some claim that the Critical Social Justice (CSJ) movement, colloquially known as “wokism,” is, in whole or in part, continuous with King’s civil-rights work. This is what Kimberlé Crenshaw did last year when she claimed that King “was, in fact, a critical race theorist before there was a name for it.”
Both perspectives present a distorted picture of King, but the latter is a more serious distortion. The former has the virtue of preserving the heart of King’s moral vision; but while it retains his fundamental metaphysical and moral premises about human persons, it fails to draw from them the correct, action-oriented conclusions at the level of social policy. The latter replaces King’s moral vision with something very different: it erases King’s premises and substitutes its own. And from those new premises follow the all-too-familiar set of “woke” conclusions about how to identify and address problems of social justice—conclusions that lead inevitably to ”victimhood culture,” “cancel culture,” and worse.
Picking Up the Thread
It was Crenshaw’s audacious claim that motivated me to argue, in a couple of 2022 blog posts, that many of the tenets of Critical Race Theory (CRT) are logically incompatible with the Christian Personalism that King explicitly identified as his “basic philosophical position.” In the first post, I surveyed some of CRT’s central tenets and argued that King’s response to them would likely mirror his response to Marxism and Communism: not a reactionary, wholesale rejection, but a nuanced response “combining a partial ‘yes’ and a partial ‘no’,” depending on their logical compatibility with King’s fundamental philosophical and theological commitments. Since these commitments were largely defined by Christian Personalism, I introduced the philosophy of Personalism as well.
My second post focused on a single but fundamental point of incompatibility between Christian Personalism and CRT. CRT embraces an antiessentialist and social-constructionist theory of the human self, as captured in Crenshaw’s notion of “intersectionality.” By contrast, King’s Christian Personalism embraces an essentialist theory of the human self as made in the image of God, and hence as a person – a center of conscious, rational, moral agency. This fundamental, ontological disagreement has significant moral and social implications: King’s Personalist essentialism makes our common humanity the “center of gravity” in the moral domain. This entails a central focus on equal dignity for all human persons, which, in turn, generates a natural tendency toward unity and equality across demographic categories. It also entails that any effort to address injustices related to human differences must be pursued in a manner consistent with our common humanity and its moral implications. For King, this meant a genuine love of one’s enemies that desires to see them transformed into friends, even as injustice is transformed into justice. By contrast, CRT’s antiessentialist and constructivist views have no place for the idea of a morally significant “common humanity.” Consequently, they focus on differences and disparities across demographic categories in ways that naturally tend toward divisiveness and animosity.
In this post, I turn to Crenshaw’s claim that recognizing a “systemic” or “structural” dimension to racial inequality marks King as a proto–critical race theorist. This single point of partial agreement with CRT is the main basis for Crenshaw’s claim that King was a proto–critical race theorist. Here is what she says:
King was, in fact, a critical race theorist before there was a name for it. … Critical race theory explores how racial inequality was historically structured into the fabric of the republic, reinforced by law, insulated by the founding Constitution and embedded into the infrastructure of American society. Similarly, King observed in 1967 that “the doctrine of white supremacy was embedded in every textbook and preached in practically every pulpit,” entrenched as “a structural part of the culture.” … He argued elsewhere that “justice for black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society.” … Like today’s critical race theorists, King understood that American racism was systemic and demanded systemic remedies. He was forthright in acknowledging that anti-Black racism “was not a consequence of superficial prejudice but was systemic.” Throughout his career, King set his sights on institutional-level change, calling for solutions built on the race-conscious analysis of inequalities across our society.
Semantic Shift in Our Racial-Justice Vocabulary
I previously observed that this single point of agreement is not enough to make King a critical race theorist because CRT involves more than this one tenet. But there is a further problem as well: It is highly unlikely that King meant what contemporary proponents of CRT do when they use terms like “white supremacy,” “racism,” and “systemic.” For the past 50 years or so, proponents of CRT have promoted revisionary definitions of these terms, assigning them meanings that were foreign to King and are incompatible with his Christian Personalist worldview. (This ideologically driven extension of meanings is part of the phenomenon of “concept creep,” first recognized by psychologist Nick Haslam, and then popularized by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff in their book The Coddling of the American Mind.) In each case, the semantic shift has involved suppressing the role of rational agency that was at the heart of the Personalist worldview, and focusing instead on the role of impersonal, non-rational, often non-conscious, and largely deterministic forces in human life.
Focal Meaning and Legitimate Concept-Extension
Take “racism,” for example. Outside of CRT/CSJ, “racism” commonly refers to sets of derogatory beliefs and attitudes toward a group (or groups) of people on account of their race. This traditional understanding of “racism” is person-focused in that it is the individual person who has these beliefs and attitudes. This is consistent with Personalism’s insistence on the primacy of the personal, and with Jesus’ teaching that evils originate in the heart (Matt. 15:19).
Under Personalism, we can extend person-focused concepts to social systems, so long as the “focal meaning” is retained. The notion of “focal meaning” comes from Aristotle, and was employed by Christian thinkers like Thomas Aquinas. To take an example from Aquinas, the focal meaning of “healthy” has to do with a particular state of being in a living organism. But it may also be applied to tightly related phenomena, like the immediate causes and effects of health in an organism. Thus, a diet can be described as “healthy” because it produces health in the focal sense, and one’s complexion or appetite may be described as “healthy” because these are effects of health in the focal sense.
Similarly, when racist beliefs and attitudes are externalized in the form of behaviors, customs, laws, and institutional norms, it is reasonable to extend the description “racist” to these effects of racism in the focal sense. In such cases, it also makes sense to speak of “institutionalized” or “systemic” racism, just as it makes sense to speak of “dietary health.” Such extensions are acceptable because they do not challenge the original focal meaning of the term. To the contrary, they involve an implicit but definite reference to the original focal phenomena: a racist act, norm, custom, law, or institution is one produced by, or productive of, racist beliefs and attitudes in some set of persons. Similar points can be made about “white supremacy.”
CRT’s Rejection of Traditional Focal Meanings
But when proponents of CRT/CSJ use the terms “racism” and “white supremacy,” they do so in ways that detach these words from their traditional focal meanings. This is most obvious in connection with the spurious notions of “implicit” or “unconscious” racism, but it’s also true of the term “systemic racism.” As journalist Radley Balko explains:
Of particular concern to some on the right is the term “systemic racism,” often wrongly interpreted as an accusation that everyone in the system is racist. In fact, systemic racism means almost the opposite. It means that we have systems and institutions that produce racially disparate outcomes, regardless of the intentions of the people who work within them.
This definition is consistent with Ibram X. Kendi’s view that “’Institutional racism’ and ‘structural racism’ and ‘systemic racism’ are redundant. Racism itself is institutional, structural, and systemic” (How to Be an Antiracist, 18). For Kendi, racism’s defining mark is the production of inequality along racial lines, regardless of the beliefs, attitudes, or intentions that gave rise to the inequality-producing system.
It is also consistent with Robin DiAngelo’s assertion, in White Fragility, that “by definition, racism is a deeply embedded historical system of institutional power (24), “a system of unequal institutional power,” (125), “a network of norms and actions that consistently create advantage for whites and disadvantage for people of color,” (27–28), “a far-reaching system that no longer depends on the good [or bad] intentions of individual actors … [that] becomes the default of the society and is reproduced automatically,” (21) i.e., deterministically, without conscious choice or intent.
Historical Distance and Confounding Variables
Of course, both Kendi and DiAngelo, like Crenshaw, presume a historical, causal connection between the automatic “racist” systems of today and the attitudinal or personal racism of the past. As Crenshaw puts it, “inequality was historically structured into the fabric of the republic, reinforced by law, insulated by the founding Constitution and embedded into the infrastructure of American society.”
But the connection between past racism and present racial inequalities is complicated and often unclear. The overtly racist threads that were woven into “the fabric of the republic” have long since been plucked out and replaced. Compensatory policies and programs instituted by Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon have been in place for roughly half a century, during which time racism in the traditional sense has all but disappeared from American culture, retained only by what the vast majority of Americans regard as a lunatic fringe of white supremacists (in the traditional sense).
During this same period, a number of new contributors to racial inequality have come into play that have little if any direct connection to racism in the traditional sense. These include rising income inequality, the rise in illegal drug use and the government’s “war on drugs,” the rise in violent crime and violent police responses, mass incarceration, the dissolution of the family, and the general breakdown of traditional morality. Under such circumstances, to characterize the plight of contemporary black Americans solely or even primarily in terms of “systemic racism,” rather than in terms of economic factors (as black political scientist Adolph Reed does), or in terms of moral/behavioral issues over which individuals have ultimate control (as black economist Glenn Loury does), seems out of touch with reality.
In defense of CRT’s position, proponents note that, although these additional problems have affected Americans of all races, they have had a disproportionate impact on many black communities. The best explanation for this fact, they claim, is that black Americans faced these new challenges from a position of relative disadvantage on account of racism in the past. The clearest example of this concerns economic inequality: Institutional manifestations of racism, from slavery to segregation to redlining, meant that, as a group, black Americans entered the new order created by the Civil Rights movement in a position of a significant economic disadvantage, one that has proven difficult to overcome. To me—as to Reed and Loury and just about everyone who has thought about the matter—this seems highly plausible. But it does not follow from this that “racism” is either the most relevant, the most accurate, or the most useful lens for understanding the problems of black Americans today.
Here is an analogy to make the point. In 2020, I contracted what may have been Covid. (Testing wasn’t available at the time, but in what follows, I will assume that it was Covid.) It resulted in the worst upper respiratory infection of my life. I was sick for a full month, coughing until my ribs were bruised and suffering from shortness of breath severe enough to make me wonder, upon going to bed, if I would wake up the next morning. Mercifully, I recovered. But, ever since, my airway has been hyper-reactive to cold, dry air. Whenever the temperature dips much below freezing—a common winter occurrence where I live – I begin to wheeze, cough, and experience shortness of breath. And if I get a big, direct blast of that frigid air in my lungs, those symptoms will intensify to a level that is only slightly less severe than what I experienced in 2020.
Am I still suffering from Covid? In an obvious sense, I am: I am suffering downstream consequences of having had Covid in the past. But if I were to visit my doctor during one of these episodes and say “I’m suffering from Covid,” that would be misleading—and to call it “systemic Covid” would not help to clarify matters. Such statements are naturally taken to mean that I am suffering an active Covid infection, which is false. It’s true that Covid played a role in the etiology of my present condition. It’s probably also true that, if I hadn’t had Covid previously, I would not be suffering the way I am now. But these facts are irrelevant to treating my current condition. Because the SARS-CoV-2 virus is not among the active causes of my current condition, antiviral drugs like Remdesivir or Paxlovid won’t help. The fact is that I am suffering not from Covid, but from a “post-Covid condition” that is better managed with asthma medications. (Incidentally, “post-Covid condition” is the preferred term for what is also called “long Covid,” and it’s preferred precisely because “long Covid” misleadingly suggests an ongoing Covid infection.)
Likewise, to say that black Americans are presently suffering from racism, systemic or otherwise, is both misleading and unhelpful for practical purposes. In order to find solutions, we need to know the active causes of today’s problems. And at the level of contemporary American society as a whole, racism simply is not one of them. This is why, in order to justify their continuing focus on racism, proponents of CRT and CSJ are forced to tell a “just-so story,” according to which the overt racism of the past does not merely have downstream historical effects but is somehow preserved and perpetuated in those effects in a non-conscious and automatic way.
Relativism and Resentment
Why go through these conceptual contortions just to keep the term “racism” at the heart of CRTs diagnosis? In part it is because CRT grew out of the Black Power movement of the late 1960s, and it is motivated by the same anger, resentment, and identitarian pride that made King so uncomfortable with the term “black power.” In part it is because CRT accepts the Marxist perspective that human life is fundamentally a struggle between oppressors and the oppressed. And in part it is because CRT accepts the “postmodern” view, associated especially with Foucault, that truth and knowledge are socially constructed via language by those in power. On this view, language is primarily a device for controlling the minds of others by shaping their view of reality. As such, language is a weapon in the struggle between oppressors and oppressed. As I have argued elsewhere (in a piece that was quoted in Voddie Baucham’s book, Fault Lines) CRT’s understanding of “racism” (etc.) is the product of a
radical redefinition … made for political purposes. This is the standard M.O. of those coming out of the [critical theory and postmodernism-inspired] “school of resentment” and “grievance studies” traditions. As the philosopher Richard Rorty observed two decades ago, practitioners in these fields are “resentful specialists in subversion” who treat literature and philosophy, and indeed language itself, as tools to be used for political purposes. Hurling the damning label “racist” at people and systems that don’t deserve it in order to incite revolutionary outrage is exactly the kind of subversive linguistic manipulation prescribed in their playbook.
Indeed, Crenshaw’s claims about King contain subtle linguistic manipulations of this sort. For instance, King never said that “anti-Black racism” was systemic. Rather, in the 1967 speech to which Crenshaw refers, he said that “the plight” of black Americans was grounded in systemic causes:
Ten years of struggle have sensitized and opened the Negro's eyes to reaching. For the first time in their history, Negroes have become aware of the deeper causes for the crudity and cruelty that governed white society's responses to their needs. They discovered that their plight was not a consequence of superficial prejudice but was systemic.
The “plight” King had in mind was a multifaceted one. In the late 1960s, attitudinal racism was still a very real presence in America, both as a proximate, historical cause, and as a concomitant, sustaining cause of “the plight” of black Americans. Consequently, King could have helped himself to the notion of “systemic racism” without departing from the traditional focal meaning of the term, but he did not. Unlike proponents of CRT, he believed that sufficient progress had been made against racism that it should now be counted a minor factor in thinking about the ongoing plight of black Americans. This is why, just two years earlier, in reflecting upon the Watts riots of 1965, King had said
What we witnessed in the Watts area was the beginning of a stirring of a deprived people in a society who had been by-passed by the progress of the previous decade. I would minimize the racial significance and point to the fact that these were the rumblings of discontent from the “have nots” within the midst of an affluent society. (The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., pp. 291-292.)
Henceforth, and for the tragically short remainder of his life, King focused on poverty and economic inequality as it affected people of all races. This is where King’s Christian Personalist critique of capitalism—part of King’s message that those on the right like to ignore—came to the fore. The problem with capitalism, King thought, is that it “forgets that life is social,” that is, “that all life is interrelated,” and “somehow we're caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny.” Within that network of mutuality, he argued, we must have proper regard for our fellow persons, and this entails that “there must be better distribution of wealth.”
That, and that alone, was King’s guiding mandate in the economic sphere. How best to achieve it was up for debate; but, like most other Christian Personalists, King thought the best solution would be found in a hybrid political and economic system usually called “social democracy” or “democratic socialism.” By 1967, King had reached the conclusion that “the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed matter: the guaranteed income,” also known as “universal basic income.” The debate over the wisdom and efficacy of such programs continues. But for King, the specific policies and programs, let alone the terms we use to describe them, were less important than the goal of an equitable economic system. “Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism,” King said, “but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God’s children.”
That was the bottom line for King. And this, rather than racism, was his focus from the mid-1960s until the end of his life. All of this suggests that, were King alive today, his analysis of the plight of black Americans would have more in common with that of Adolph Reed (mentioned in the previous section) than with that CRT.
Material Determinism Implicit in CRT’s Extended Concept of “Racism”
At bottom, CRT’s emphasis on the non-conscious, automatic replication of racial inequality via social processes and “systems” is a manifestation of its commitment to material determinism. Identified in Part 1 as a key tenet of CRT, material determinism is the view that one’s beliefs and actions are ultimately controlled not by rational thought and free choice, but by one’s material interests—basically one’s needs and wants—in relation to the environmental factors that affect one’s ability to satisfy them. Prominent among these factors are social structures that confer or restrict access to the goods of life within a society. If you occupy a privileged place in society, with lots of access to the goods of life, you will find yourself believing things and acting in ways that will help maintain your privileged position, simply because doing so serves your interests. Likewise, if you occupy a place of deprivation, you will find yourself believing things and acting in ways that are conducive to improving your access to the goods of life, either by conforming to existing social norms or by attempting to change them by persuasion, subversion, or revolt.
CRT’s Marxist Inheritance
Material determinism is a perspective that CRT inherited from Marx. In The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels express a material determinist perspective when they say:
man’s ideas, views, and conception, in one word, man’s consciousness, changes with every change in the conditions of his material existence, in his social relations and in his social life … intellectual production changes its character in proportion as material production is changed[.]
In an 1890 letter to one J. Bloch, Engels gives a more complete and nuanced picture of their material (also known as economic) determinism:
We make our history ourselves, but, in the first place, under very definite assumptions and conditions. Among these the economic ones are ultimately decisive. But the political ones, etc., and indeed even the traditions which haunt human minds also play a part, …. In the second place, however, history is made in such a way that the final result always arises from conflicts between many individual wills, of which each in turn has been made what it is by a host of particular conditions of life.
We should not be deceived by Engels’ use of the term “will” and his talk of us “making history ourselves.” This is misleading doublespeak; the selves in question are socially constructed “ensembles of social relations,” just as in CRT, and the “will” of each self is not free, but is “made what it is by a host of particular conditions of life,” among which “the economic ones are ultimately decisive.” In sum, one’s material conditions, which are largely determined by one’s social position(s), ultimately determine what one believes and does. This is why CRT follows Marx in making structural change the principal form of change needed to improve society: In order to change people’s behavior, you have to change their minds—but changing minds requires a change in the material conditions of life. Change the social order, and the prevailing ideas, feelings, and attitudes will change; without such a change, no amount of rational or rhetorical persuasion will help you.
Free Will and the Power to Rise Above
Obviously, this deterministic picture conflicts with the Personalist understanding of the self, which affirms both free will and a spiritual environment in which choices for higher, non-material goods are always an option. In material determinism, there is no possibility of “rising above” one’s material conditions in virtue of freely choosing higher values, as King believed there was. This is why King explicitly rejected material determinism in its Marxist form: “In so far as Marx posited a metaphysical materialism, an ethical relativism, and a strangulating totalitarianism, I responded with an unambiguous ‘no.’” Material determinism is a part of the general “metaphysical materialism” that King here rejects.
Proponents of CRT are, in general, less forthcoming than Marx about their metaphysical commitments, but their embrace of material determinism is telling. CRT follows a trend in post-Marxian Continental thought called “Freudo-Marxism,” exemplified by some of the original critical theorists of the Frankfurt School as well as various “postmodern” thinkers who have influenced CRT. This enables them to invoke the Freudian subconscious—a theoretical dimension of the human psyche that Personalists also tended to reject—as a mechanism of material determinism, and to expand their understanding of human wants and needs into psychological territory in a way and to a degree that Marx never did. But apart from these modifications, material determinism is the same in CRT as it was in Marx, and I see no reason to suppose that King would be any friendlier to CRT’s version than he was to Marx’s.
Indeed, King’s perspective on human agency in relation to social systems is much closer to Glenn Loury’s than to CRT’s. In a 2005 reflection “on being a Christian and an economist,” Loury wrote:
I am of the view that social science can capture only a part of the human subject. Of necessity, our methods project the full person onto those material and deterministic dimensions that we think we understand. As an object of scientific inquiry, the human subject must ultimately be reduced to a mechanism. Yet, in so doing the social scientists leave out that which most makes a person human. We leave out the soul. As a believer, my fundamental conviction is that human beings are not defined by our desires at a point and time. Indeed, I would even deny that we are defined by our biological inheritance. “God is not finished with us when he deals us our genetic hand,” I would say. As spiritual beings, what we are in the fullness of our humanity transcends that which can be grasped with the particular vision that an economist, a sociologist or psychologist might bring. (Hope in the Unseen: On Being a Christian and an Economist)
The material determinism that Loury was pushing against derives not from Marxism but from a more general and widespread scientism. Marxist material determinism is but one variation on this scientistic theme, but all such variations have similar implications for human agency: they nullify it. As a Christian, Loury views the human person as a free agent capable of choosing higher, spiritual values. This is essentially a pre-theoretical version of the Christian Personalist perspective that King endorsed. It is therefore unsurprising that, over a decade later, Loury has emerged as a powerful critic of CRT insofar as it has played a role in “the Great Awokening.” In these respects, King would seem to have more in common with Loury’s position than with CRT’s.
Moral Aspiration and Material Reality
Now, it is probably true that the early King overestimated the ability, or perhaps just the willingness, of the average person to sacrifice material wellbeing for spiritual goods and ends. In the wake of the Watts riots, we see King reflecting painfully that
When all is finally entered into the annals of sociology; when philosophers, politicians, and preachers have all had their say, we must return to the fact that a person participates in this society primarily as an economic entity. At rock bottom we are neither poets, athletes, nor artists; our existence is centered in the fact that we are consumers, because we first must eat and have shelter to live. This is a difficult confession for a preacher to make, and it is a phenomenon against which I will continue to rebel, but it remains a fact that “consumption” of goods and services is the raison d’être of the vast majority of Americans. When persons are for some reason or other excluded from the consumer circle, there is discontent and unrest. (The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., p. 295)
To an extent, King is here struggling with the dual nature of the human person: mind and matter, soul and body, made in the image of God, a little lower than the angels, but also made from the dust of the earth. He is coming to understand more fully the wisdom of Proverbs 30:8-9, which asks God to
Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, So that I will not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?” And that I will not become impoverished and steal, And profane the name of my God.
The proverb almost reads as if material determinism is true, as if one is determined to do whatever they need to do to satisfy their material needs. Of course, it need not and should not be read that way. Instead it should be read as acknowledging the fact that material deprivation or excess can make it harder to choose the right and the good. Sensible proponents of free will recognize that we make decisions on the basis of our reasons and our feelings, and in light of contextual and environmental factors. These factors operate as influencers, but not determiners, of choice. While poverty does not force anyone to steal, it does tend to make stealing more tempting, to the point that refraining from stealing may, under conditions of sufficient material deprivation, count as an act of great moral heroism. The same can be said of the choice to refrain from rioting, or from retaliating in response to violent assault.
This is the position that King seems to embrace. Ultimately, he came to see the above facts as reasons not to embrace material determinism, but to continue to reject it (“it is a phenomenon against which I will continue to rebel …”). That is because he understood them as revealing less about the nature of the human person and more about the nature of our capitalist and consumerist society. King did not say that “a person is primarily an economic entity,” but that “a person participates in this society primarily as an economic entity.” This contingent social reality was the problem. To solve it, King said in his famous 1967 speech, “Beyond Vietnam,”
… we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing‐oriented” society to a “person‐oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered … True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth … A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
Rather than embrace material determinism, King doubled down on his Christian Personalist vision (implicit in his reference to a “‘person-oriented’ society”). This included a vision of the human person as capable, in principle, of transcending material circumstances to embrace higher moral and spiritual goods. But it also included a vision of a just society that would not willingly allow any to live in conditions of deprivation severe enough to make such transcendence a painful and heroic choice.
In my view, the rise of CRT has much to do with America’s failure to follow King’s prescriptions for economic justice. In light of this national dereliction of both duty and compassion, the frustrations that have animated both CRT and “the Great Awokening” are understandable. But that does not make CRT’s diagnoses or its proposed remedies correct. In light of all the issues covered in this post and my previous two, I believe it is clear that King would have regarded them as largely incorrect. Given his Christian Personalism, King would have judged several of CRT’s core theoretical commitments to be false. And insofar as CRT’s understanding of “systemic racism” presupposes material determinism—and, along with it, the social construction of the self and a Freudian theory of the unconscious—King the Christian Personalist could not have meant what proponents of CRT do by that term, even if he were to have used it.
Dr. Aaron Preston is a Professor of Philosophy at Valparaiso University. He is also a member of CFBU’s Academic Advisory Council.