These Words Don't Mean What Christians Think

Due to pervasive ideas spawned by Critical Theory, there are some “buzz words” that Followers of Christ should understand. These words don't mean what Christians think.



One of these words is oppression, and its sister-word, oppressor. Oppression (in the context of Critical Theory), does not necessarily mean cruel treatment. A person is an oppressor if he/she is part of an oppressor group, as we discussed in recent posts. The individual is a non-factor. But what defines or determines an oppressor group? 

An oppressor group is not necessarily the largest group. Old white males, for example, make up 15% of the U.S. population. But they are deemed an oppressor group because they have “hegemonic power.”

Hegemonic power establishes what is socially normal. It is a “gate keeper" for socially acceptable behavior.

For many years, Christianity had “hegemonic power” in the U.S. When I was a boy, even non-Christians accepted Christianity as the “gate keeper” for acceptable moral behavior. It was common to hear people say, "we're a Christian nation.”  

In the 1830s, when the French historian Alexis de Tocqueville came to examine the U.S., he noted: “The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other” (from Democracy in America).