Should Christians Support Black Lives Matter?

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Do black lives matter? If the question is whether black lives are just as valuable as the lives of any other human being who is created in the image of God, then the answer is, “Absolutely!” If the question is whether black people deserve to be treated equally under the law and granted the same rights and protections as any other American citizen, then the answer is, “Absolutely!” These are Christian principles, and they should be championed, but we as Christians should be careful to clarify that our affirmation that “black lives matter” is different from supporting the Black Live Matter (BLM) political organization, its chapters, and its partners.

Far too many of God’s people have blindly endorsed the Black Lives Matter organization in their effort to champion the value of black lives. Others have created confusion about whether they support the organization by using the same language, phrases, and hashtags produced by the Black Lives Matter Network. In both cases, the eagerness of Christians to decry injustice and support our fellow citizens have associated God’s people with an organization that subverts God’s created order and undermines God’s instructions for living holy lives.

Regardless of what one believes about BLM’s stance on racism in America, it is difficult to understand how a Christian could support an organization that is so openly anti-God and anti-Bible—unless God’s people are simply unaware of what the Black Lives Matter Network truly believes and represents. So, let us take a moment to educate ourselves on who BLM is and what they believe.

 

What Is Black Lives Matter?                

The Black Lives Matter Network describes itself as a “Black-centered political will and movement” focused on “building Black power across the country.” According to the official “herstory” of its founding, “Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”[1]

In addition to being “unapologetically Black in [it’s] positioning,”[2] it emphasizes “the need to center the leadership of women and queer and transpeople.”[3] When expressing its beliefs, the organization goes out of its way to emphasize it’s distain for male leadership and it’s affinity for the LGBTQ community, saying it works to:

dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence. … We foster a queer-affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).[4]

“As a network, [BLM has] always recognized the need to center the leadership of women and queer and trans people.”[5] The organization promotes sexual confusion, intentionally subverts male leadership, and endeavors to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure.”[6] In short, the Black Lives Matter Network exists to undermine God’s created order.

 

The Founding of Black Lives Matter

In July 2013 George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder in the death of Trayvon Martin. Political activist and community organizer Alicia Garza responded with a “Love Letter to Black People” posted on Facebook. In it she wrote, “I continue to be surprised at how little Black lives matter.”[7] Her friend and fellow activist Patrisse Cullors responded by creating the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. However, it was another community organizer with a master’s degree in communications studies and rhetoric who recognized the slogan’s marketing potential. Opal Tometi created the BLM Facebook page and Twitter handle, helping the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter go viral.[8]

The next year a six-foot, four-inch, 292-pound black man[9] named Michael Brown was shot to death in Ferguson, Missouri while charging a police officer.[10] Witnesses lied to the police, saying Brown’s hands were raised in the air when he was shot,[11] and Black Lives Matter quickly made the slogan “Hands up, don’t shoot” along with its accompanying gesture of raising one’s hands above the head one of the movement’s core symbols.[12] Black Lives Matter also organized “freedom rides” to Missouri from New York, Chicago, Portland, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Boston to protest law enforcement’s handling of the shooting.[13]

Widespread media coverage, celebrity endorsements, and viral hashtags resulted in #BlackLivesMatter being named the American Dialect Society’s 2014 Word of the Year.[14] In 2016 President Obama invited Black Lives Matter activists to join him at a forum on policing.[15] By 2020—just six years after its founding—Black Lives Matter had grown into a multi-million dollar global network with more than 40 chapters.[16]

 

Meet the Founders

“Black Lives Matter’s founders and their demands are overtly socialist.”[17] Responding to an interviewer’s concerns that the BLM movement might not have enough of a “clear ideological structure,” BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors admitted, “We actually do have an ideological frame. Myself and Alicia in particular, we’re trained organizers. We are trained Marxists. We are super versed on ideological theories.”[18] Similarly, Sarah Onge reports in the Federalist:

[Alicia] Garza started her organizing career working in abortion advocacy before moving on to groups like NDWA, SOUL, and POWER—which merged with CJJC in 2014, and RTTC—all of which focus on worker and housing activism via anti-capitalist activism.

[Patrisse] Cullors works in jail and policing activism as the founder of Dignity and Power Now. Her philosophy rests on the concept of prison abolition and reparations in financial compensation and land redistribution. She promotes BDS—the leftist, antisemitic boycott, divest, and sanction movement—both as a signatory to public statements supporting Palestinians and in articles she’s written. She speaks eloquently about “peoples-led socialist movements” in South America and once was “mentored” by Eric Mann, a former agitator of the Weather Underground domestic terrorism organization.

Opal Tometi focuses almost exclusively on immigration activism. She has spoken at Left Forum events, shared a stage with Venezuelan dictator Nicholas Maduro, and helped oversee “fair” elections in Venezuela in 2015. … All three women have spoken at Left Forum, a think tank for socialists, which engages high-profile communists, socialists, and Marxists as keynote speakers.[19]

 

*****

Given the above information, how can we as Christians support the Black Lives Matter Network? How can we stand with an anti-Semitic and pro-abortion organization that champions Marxism, subverts God’s created order, belittles men, lauds sexual confusion, and seeks to subjugate generations of black children to the dysfunction of fatherless families? How can we bear even the possibility of being mistakenly associated with this organization because we have created confusion by adopting the language, phrases, and hashtags of Black Lives Matter?

As Christians, we ought to take special measures to protect our gospel message from being confused with the anti-biblical message of the Black Lives Matter Network. Sarah Onge cautions:

Christians should limit our use of popular hashtags—primarily #BlackLivesMatter and #HandsUpDontShoot—to share messages regarding equality. Hashtag advocacy leads back to the organizations that create the hashtags. In this case, it means directing friends and family to an overt effort to fundamentally remake the world with socialist ideas—ideas that often directly contradict the message of the gospel.[20]

Moreover, it is incumbent upon us to inform our fellow brothers and sisters of these truths. In any church where this message is not being preached from the pulpit, it is probably safe to assume that there is great confusion regarding BLM and its adversarial role in our spiritual struggle.

Christians absolutely should champion the value of black lives, but we cannot support the Black Lives Matter organization. Second Corinthians 6:14 commands, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? … Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord.”

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Timothy Zebell

Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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1. “Herstory.” Black Lives Matter, n.d. Accessed June 30, 2020. https://blacklivesmatter.com/herstory/.

2. “What We Believe.” Black Lives Matter, n.d. Accessed June 30, 2020. https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/.

3. “Herstory.”

4. “What We Believe.”

5. “Herstory.”

6. “What We Believe.”

7. Cobb, “The Matter of Black Lives.”Cobb, Jelani. “The Matter of Black Lives.” The Political Scene. New Yorker, March 7, 2016. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/03/14/where-is-black-lives-matter-headed.

8. Ramshaw, Emily. “A Black Lives Matter Co-Founder on Surveillance and Social Media.” Coveteur, February 23, 2017. https://coveteur.com/2017/02/23/opal-tometi-co-founder-black-lives-matter-social-media-power/.

9. Robles, Frances and Julie Bosman. “Autopsy Shows Michael Brown Was Struck at Least 6 Times.” US. New York Times, August 17, 2014. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/18/us/michael-brown-autopsy-shows-he-was-shot-at-least-6-times.html.

10. “Department of Justice Report Regarding the Criminal Investigation into the Shooting Death of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri Police Officer Darren Wilson.” Department of Justice, March 4, 2015. https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/opa/press-releases/attachments/2015/03/04/doj_report_on_shooting_of_michael_brown_1.pdf.

11. Ye Hee Lee, Michelle. “‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ Did Not Happen in Ferguson.” Fact Checker. Washington Post, March 19, 2015, 3:00 a.m., EDT. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/03/19/hands-up-dont-shoot-did-not-happen-in-ferguson/.

12. Daltonk, Khanya. “‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ Belongs to the Black Lives Matter Movement.” Opinion. Black and White, April 22, 2019. https://theblackandwhite.net/63870/opinion/hands-up-dont-shoot-belongs-to-the-black-lives-matter-movement/.

13. Cobb, “The Matter of Black Lives.”

14. Steinmetz, Katy. “#blacklivesmatter Is the American Dialect Society’s 2014 Word of the Year.” TIME, January 10, 2015, 3:32 p.m., EST. https://time.com/3662593/2014-word-of-year-blacklivesmatter/.

15. Schleifer, Theodore and Allie Malloy. “Black Lives Matter Activists Join Obama at Forum on Policing.” CNN, July 14, 2016, 12:56 p.m., ET. https://www.cnn.com/2016/07/13/politics/obama-black-lives-matter-meeting/index.html.

16. “Herstory.”

17. Onge, Sarah. “Why Supporting Black Lives Matter Is Anti-Christian and Anti-Life.” Religion. Federalist, June 12, 2020. https://thefederalist.com/2020/06/12/why-supporting-black-lives-matter-is-anti-christian-and-anti-life/.

18. Ford, Adam. “Video Surfaces of Black Lives Matter Founder Saying, ‘We Are Trained Marxists.” Disrn, June 20, 2020, 5:15 p.m. https://disrn.com/news/video-surfaces-of-black-lives-matter-founder-saying-were-trained-marxists.

19. Onge, “Why Supporting Black Lives Matter Is Anti-Christian and Anti-Life.”

20. Onge.

 

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.