The other night my family went out for ice cream. While we were waiting to order, several vehicles arrived together and close to 15 people got out and lined up with us to order. Each of them were black. And unconsciously, I began asking myself questions like:
- Do they think I'm racist?
- Do they see me only as a white male, assuming the worst about my character and intentions?
- Are they going to ask me about the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement?
Immediately following these questions, my first conscious thought was how toxic the BLM movement is when it comes to loving your neighbor as yourself. The area where I live in Minnesota is extremely diverse, but I'd never had a moment like that one. I've never walked past or lined up next to a black person (or any other ethnicity for that matter) and started asking myself questions like that or feeling fear that a tense interaction was imminent simply because we looked different from one another. I absolutely hated it.
Moments like this one are generated by the angst and division stemming from the BLM movement and its pervasive influence in both media and politics. Christians need to be conscious of, and actively resist their rhetoric. Why? Because it runs contrary to the great commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. Consider the following three statements on the BLM website.
We are guided by the fact that all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status, or location.
This might sound nice, but it's both empty and misleading. The "What We Believe" section doesn't mention abortion, the greatest injustice against the black community since slavery. They say that "all Black lives matter" but if anyone else says that all black lives matter, or even just "All Lives Matter", it's perceived as a slight against their cause. They say nothing about black-on-black homicide rates or the gang violence claiming far, far more black lives than law enforcement. BLM activists break with their own statement above by berating black police officers and neglecting the voices of black leaders if they don't align with the narrative. Inconsistencies abound in their application of this statement and they refuse to address the much more pressing atrocities facing the black community.
We are unapologetically Black in our positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position. To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a prerequisite for wanting the same for others... We are working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise.
Here is another instance where the fruit of their position is far different than it might appear on paper. They state that black people are "systematically targeted for demise", which simply isn't true. They assert this falsehood however because BLM makes everything about race. It's all about your blackness or your whiteness. Your individuality is abolished and your dignity as an image-bearer is cast aside. Anyone who imbibes this worldview begins to believe that large swaths of our nations citizens actually want to see oppression and racism thrive. Don't buy that non-sense. Don't flatten people out into indistinct ethnic groups easily characterized by a Marxist, oppressed vs. oppressor lens. Looking at the world this way doesn't do the cause of justice or equality any favors. It generates anger, discomfort and mistrust across ethnic lines and makes it far less likely that people will ever develop healthy relationships with people who don't look exactly like them.
We build a space that affirms Black women and is free from sexism, misogyny, and environments in which men are centered... We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and "villages" that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.
This movement demonizes men and is actively opposed to the nuclear family. Communities are not better off with fewer stable families. We don't need more feminism and attacks on masculinity - we need real men. Men who lead and serve, men who protect and provide. Men who are real men. Pushing to destabilize families and belittle the blessing that real men are to their wives, children, churches and communities harms the people within each of those spheres. If BLM realized their vision for men, women, and the family, it would be devastating. Loving our neighbor means we want what is best for others, meaning we cannot settle for broken homes, diminished masculinity, and aborted babies.
The BLM movement is harmful. It inhibits love of neighbor by stoking fearful division. It promotes destructive ideas about the family, puts the vulnerable at risk, and diminishes human dignity by reducing each of us merely to the color of our skin.
The Christian worldview on the other hand, has something so much better to offer. We know that every person is made in God's image and endowed with dignity and worth. We can joyfully celebrate the wonderful complexity of the whole person and the beauty of individual differences. The gospel reconciles people to God and to one another, creating an atmosphere where true unity can thrive.
At the end of the day, it comes down to the truth that theology matters and ideas have consequences. Embracing the dangerous ideology of the BLM movement is opposed to walking in love for our neighbors.