Author’s Note: Our faith demands that we look past our ethnicity and skin color to see each person as a human being created in God’s image. We at Forerunners of America want to see every person treated with dignity and respect, and we support efforts to expunge bigotry wherever it is found. There are biblical approaches to accomplish this, and there are other approaches that reflect our human brokenness that risk creating new problems.
With this in mind, Black Lives Matter is a difficult subject to discuss because it is an emotionally charged topic reflecting the pain of many people of all colors, especially on the heels of George Floyd’s death. This pain is real, and it should not be dismissed, but such pain should not prevent us from asking honest questions about a movement that is seeking radical change from our country’s Christian heritage and founding principles.
For far too many people, kneeling or holding Black Lives Matter posters are a way of expressing loyalty to an ideology that is foreign to America’s moorings. This is the notion that some lives are more important than others.
Although America has not always lived up to its ideals, America was founded upon the principle that all men are created equal. Most importantly, this equality stems from the belief that all men are created in the image of God. As such, it is wrong to privilege any race or class of people at the expense of another. Slavery was an abomination and an affront to what America claimed to represent, but so are affirmative action and wealth redistribution—the essence of what Black Lives Matter is demanding.
Regardless of the justifications proffered by political activists, Black Lives Matter seeks to codify inequality and preferential treatment in our national laws and policies—provided the scales tip in the favor of the black community. Net public support for this movement has jumped 11% since the brutal death of George Floyd and 17% since the Centers for Disease Control announced that COVID-19 has disproportionally affected people of color.
Despite the media narrative, Black Lives Matter is not principally motivated to hold Americans accountable to its declaration of equal value and equal justice under the law. If it were, it would ask difficult questions instead of cherry-picking exceptional cases designed to elicit emotional responses. These unaddressed questions should be a part of any conversation about the importance of black lives and whether the American system is inherently racist.
- If many police are brutal racists, why do the vast majority of people across all racial and political lines have a high favorability of police in their neighborhoods?
With 375 million annual police interactions with citizens, there are a lot of opportunities to anger Americans. Nevertheless, a January 2020 United Coalition of Public Safety national poll found 82% of people have a favorable opinion of police officers, and 85% believe officers care about the people and communities they serve. Only 10% had a somewhat unfavorable view of the police, and 4% a very unfavorable view.
- Why did homicide rates—especially among black populations—spike following the Ferguson and Baltimore riots?
Fearing increased legal liability and publicity, police were less proactive in enforcing the law and they made fewer arrests after the Ferguson and Baltimore race-riots. Research conducted by the University of Missouri found that “the number of murders in 56 large cities rose an average of nearly 17 percent in that one year —the steepest annual increase since at least the 1980s—and 12 cities recorded spikes exceeding 50 percent. Most striking was the revelation that the 10 cities with the biggest increases were characterized by large African-American populations.”
- Why are black and Hispanic police officers more likely than white officers to shoot and kill unarmed black suspects?
If white police officers are using the color of law to murder black people, then why do they kill fewer unarmed black suspects than black and Hispanic officers?
- Why is the disproportional black homicide rate largely ignored?
Black men are three times more likely to be victims of homicide than Hispanics and seven times more likely than whites—usually at the hands of another black person. From 1980 to 2008, 93% of black victims were killed by other African Americans. These figures are ignored by Black Lives Matter when discussing the exceptional instances of white-on-black homicides and the need for law enforcement reforms.
- Why are black suspects who are shot and killed by police officers disproportionally underrepresented?
More white unarmed suspects are shot and killed by police per capita than black suspects. On average, three black people are killed for every 10,000 arrested for violent crimes, but among whites, the number increases to four deaths for every 10,000 violent crime arrests. Put another way, of the 1,004 people who were shot and killed by police officers in 2019, only about a quarter were black (235)—a ratio that has remained stable since 2015. However, Heather McDonald writes, “That share of black victims is less than what the black crime rate would predict, since police shootings are a function of how often officers encounter armed and violent suspects. In 2018, the latest year for which such data have been published, African-Americans made up 53% of known homicide offenders in the U.S. and commit about 60% of robberies, though they are 13% of the population.”
- Why are police three times less likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than unarmed white suspects?
Police are 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black assailant than an unarmed black person is of being killed by police; nevertheless, police officers are three times less likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than unarmed white suspects. The reason cannot be that black people comprise only 13% of the population because police do not engage with black suspects only 13% of the time. Black perpetrators account for over half of several violent crimes, including homicide and robbery.
- Why is the solution less policing when police drawdowns lead to increased black crime and black-on-black homicides?
Racially-charged police misconduct investigations that weren’t prompted by well-publicized events produce little change in violent crime, but an upcoming Harvard study has found that in highly publicized investigations, homicides and felonies spike immediately because police become reluctant to protect black neighborhoods. Jason Riley, one of the study’s authors, writes:
In Chicago, there was a 90% drop in police-civilian contacts immediately after the announcement of an investigation, and Baltimore literally went to zero after a probe was announced there. In cities where these contacts fell the most, homicides increased the most. Sadly, the decision to launch department-wide state and federal inquiries into the deaths of Brown, McDonald and Gray resulted in numerous additional deaths. … What happens, he said, is that police effectively pull back. They don’t stop doing their jobs, but they become less proactive and curb their interactions with civilians.
Likewise, Roland Fryer, another of the study’s authors, comments:
When I look at cities in which the investigation was preceded by a viral event, homicide goes up considerably. Total crime goes up considerably. … My estimates show that we lost a thousand more lives, most of them black as well, because of an increase in homicides. … I never would have guessed that if police stopped putting in the effort, that homicides would change like this. … You hear some people say, “Oh, we want to police our own neighborhoods, get out.” No, you don’t want that. I guess I always knew it was a foolish idea, but I didn’t realize it was this deadly.
- Why are we not discussing and grieving the 14 black lives that have been lost during the George Floyd riots?
At least 14 black Americans have been killed in the riots sparked by George Floyd’s death. One of these was retired police captain David Dorn who was shot and killed when guarding a pawn shop against looters. His alleged murderer is a fellow black man who was sentenced in 2014 to seven years in prison, but he never spent a day inside a jail cell because a judge suspended the execution of the sentence. Despite violating his probation twice, he never went to prison. Is the death of David Dorn at the hands of a black convicted criminal whose sentence was suspended any less tragic and unjust than that of George Floyd’s? Why are some black deaths worthy of nationwide protests and riots while others are almost entirely ignored by Black Lives Matter?
- Why should we believe that a movement that embraces violence and anarchy will produce a better and more equitable system for black people?
Many people have peacefully protested George Floyd’s death, but peaceful protests involving Black Lives Matter have a history of becoming violent and even produced race-riots in Baltimore and Ferguson. The organization’s tactics center around fear, oppression, and violence, and the stated goal of Black Lives Matter includes “disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure.” Moreover, social data confirms that its objectives of defunding and abolishing the police will increase crime and anarchy in America. What makes us believe a violent organization intent on destroying America’s stabilizing forces will produce a more just, equitable, and peaceful system for anyone?
- Why are black unborn babies disproportionally aborted in America?
Anyone who affirms the importance of black lives ought to be declaring this question from the rooftops. Abortion is the number one killer of black lives in America. Black women in America are almost five times more likely to abort their babies than white women.
The NFL Players Coalition has suggested that police brutality toward black people be considered a form of genocide. In truth, only nine unarmed black criminal suspects were killed by police in 2019, but tens of thousands of “unarmed” and innocent black babies were murdered by their own mothers in the same year. When one considers that more black children are aborted in New York City than are born, abortion among the black community begins to look like a self-directed genocide. Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, himself black, tweeted in 2016:
Guttmacher Institute estimates that since 1973 USA has aborted 57 million+ babies! Isn’t this something we should be apologizing for? Of those 57 million+ babies disproportionate number, +/- 31% have been Black! Isn’t that also something we should be apologizing for? That figure starts looking like genocide when one factors in that Black women make up only 13% of total number of women in USA.
Black Lives Matter is a politically motivated organization that refuses to have calm, rational, and honest conversations about racial disparity in America. Worse, their rhetoric and tactics make it nearly impossible for anyone to ask the above questions. This is because the value of black lives is not what drives the Black Lives Matter organization. Under the guise of equality and the value of black lives, the Black Lives Matter movement is dividing our country and demanding an opportunity to become the very thing they decry—a privileged race in America. This certainly is not the intent of everyone associated with the movement, but it is, in effect, the heartbeat of the organization.
Rather than show solidarity with Black Lives Matter, Americans would do well to embrace our history of progressively realizing the implications of our founding principle that all men are created equal and are endowed by God with the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The color of a person’s skin should make no difference. While we still have room for improvement, we are far more likely to see meaningful change if we embrace our heritage and adhere to our founding principles rather than seek to destroy the system our founding fathers established.
Bigotry is always evil, and our country’s track record is far from perfect. Nevertheless, we cannot allow our guilt to destroy a system, rooted in the truth of God’s Word, that has increasingly reduced racism in America simply in the naïve hope that a new system rooted in political activism, emotional fervor, and idealism will make us a better nation. In our pursuit of expunging racism in America, we cannot permit our emotions to justify supporting and defending organizations that call for a new system that openly values some lives over others.
1. “Black Lives Matter: Registered Voters, April 25, 2017–June 10, 2020.” Poll. Civiqs, n.d. Accessed June 11, 2020. https://civiqs.com/results/black_lives_matter?uncertainty=true&annotations=true&zoomIn=true&net=true.
2. McDonald, Heather. “The Myth of Systemic Police Racism.” Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2020, 1:44 p.m., ET. https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-myth-of-systemic-police-racism-11591119883?mod=opinion_lead_pos5.
3. “National Poll Results Show 82% Favorable Opinion of Police Officers.” United Coalition of Public Safety, February 12, 2020. https://ucops.org/national-poll-results-show-82-favorable-opinion-of-police-officers/.
4. Madhani, Aamer. “‘Ferguson Effect’: 72% of U.S. Cops Reluctant to Make Stops.” News. USA Today, January 11, 2017, 1:31 p.m., ET. Last updated January 11, 2017, 4:18 p.m. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/01/11/ferguson-effect-study-72-us-cops-reluctant-make-stops/96446504/.
5. Morin, Rich, Kim Parker, Renee Stepler and Andrew Mercer. “Behind the Badge.” Pew Research Center, January 11, 2017. https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2017/01/11/behind-the-badge/.
6. Maciag, Mike. “Is There Really a ‘Ferguson Effect’?” Governing, September 2016. https://www.governing.com/topics/public-justice-safety/gov-ferguson-effect-homicide-rates.html.
7. “Documenting and Explaining the 2015 Homicide Rise: Research Directions.” National Institute of Justice. US Department of Justice, June 2016. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/249895.pdf.
8. “Documenting and Explaining the 2015 Homicide Rise: Research Directions.”
9. “Patterns and Trends: Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980–2008.” US Department of Justice, November 2011. https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/htus8008.pdf.
10. Walsh, Matt. “WALSH: Are Cops ‘Hunting down Black Men’? Statistics Say No.” Daily Wire, June 3, 2020. https://www.dailywire.com/news/walsh-are-cops-hunting-down-black-men-statistics-say-no.
11. McDonald, “The Myth of Systemic Police Racism.”
12. McDonald, Heather. “Academic Research on Police Shootings and Race.” Washington Post, July 19, 2016, 11:54 a.m., EDT. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/07/19/academic-research-on-police-shootings-and-race/.
13. McDonald, “The Myth of Systemic Police Racism.”
14. Sheffield, Carrie. “Harvard Study Finds Black People Die as a Result of Police Pulling back after Brutality Protests.” Just the News, n.d. Last updated June 3, 2020, 10:47 a.m. https://justthenews.com/government/security/harvard-study-finds-black-people-die-result-police-pullbacks-following.
17. American Thought Leaders – The Epoch Times. “Are the Riots Really about George Floyd?—Burgess Owens on Marxism, Racism | American Thought Leaders.” YouTube video, June 11, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOLUEk9cozY.
18. Fox News Channel. “Deadly Unrest: Here Are the People Who Have Died Amid George Floyd Protests across US.” Fox 6, June 8, 2020, 3:00 p.m. https://fox6now.com/2020/06/08/deadly-unrest-here-are-the-people-who-have-died-amid-george-floyd-protests-across-us/.
19. Saavedra, Ryan. “Man Accused of Killing Black Police Captain Once Got 7-Year Jail Sentence. Never Served a Day in Jail.” Daily Wire, June 9, 2020. https://www.dailywire.com/news/man-accused-of-killing-black-police-captain-once-got-7-year-jail-sentence-never-served-a-day-in-jail.
20. “What We Believe.” Black Lives Matter, n.d. Accessed June 11, 2020. https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/.
21. “Genocide: Black Abortions in America.” Grand Rapids Right to Life, n.d. Accessed June 11, 2020. https://www.grrtl.org/genocide/.
22. Right to Life of Michigan, n.d. Accessed June 11, 2020. https://www.grrtl.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Abortion_Black2.pdf.
23. “Abortion and Women of Color: The Bigger Picture.” Guttmacher Policy Review, 11, no. 3 (2008). https://www.guttmacher.org/gpr/2008/08/abortion-and-women-color-bigger-picture.
24. “Players Coalition Issues Statement Regarding George Floyd’s Death.” NFL, May 30, 2020, 5:15 p.m. https://www.nfl.com/news/players-coalition-issues-statement-regarding-death-of-george-floyd.
25. McDonald, “The Myth of Systemic Police Racism.”
26. Caruba, Lauren. “More Black Babies Are Aborted in NYC Than Born.” Politifact, November 25, 2015. https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2015/nov/25/cynthia-meyer/cynthia-meyer-says-more-black-babies-are-aborted-n/.
27. Cardinal Napier (@CardinalNapier). “1/3 Guttmacher Institute estimates that since 1973 USA has aborted 57 million+ babies! Isn’t this something we should be apologizing for?” Twitter, July 1, 2016, 11:54 p.m. https://twitter.com/CardinalNapier/status/749088895430561794.
28. Cardinal Napier (@CardinalNapier). “2/3 Of those 57 million+ babies disproportionate number, +/- 31% have been Black! Isn’t that also something we should be apologizing for?” Twitter, July 1, 2016, 11:54 p.m. https://twitter.com/CardinalNapier/status/749088955618856963.
29. Cardinal Napier (@CardinalNapier). “3/3 That figure starts looking like a genocide when one factors in that Black women make up only 13% of total number of women in USA.” Twitter, July 1, 2016, 11:54 p.m. https://twitter.com/CardinalNapier/status/749089017333886976.
30. “Declaration of Independence.” National Archives, n.d. [July 4, 1776]. https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.