“We don’t do this to any other group that is asking for attention to be paid to their cause. Does anyone say, when the NFL does Breast Cancer awareness, ‘Oh, so you’re saying prostate cancer doesn’t matter? What about all cancer awareness?’. Do we do that? When someone says save the rainforests, does someone get all up in their face [and say] ‘Oh, so you’re saying the rainforests are more important than other forests? Why don’t you save all forests?’ No. We don’t do that. Because it would be absurd. Because it misses the point.”
– Nick Wright
Christian, this is a phrase that needs to be put to death in our community TODAY.
I understand your thought process. “God cares about everyone”, you say. God loves all races and ethnicities. While this may true, allow me to build on Nick Wright’s quote for a moment.
Would you walk up to a children’s cancer unit and tell a child “I know you have cancer, but all cancer patients matter”? You wouldn’t. That is insensitive.
Would you go to the site of a school shooting and say “I know you lost your 5-year-old daughter today, but all kids lives matter”? You wouldn’t. That is rude and inconsiderate.
Would you see someone with an “I love my church” sticker on their car and yell at them “ALL CHURCHES MATTER“? You wouldn’t. That is unintelligent
Even though you may very well have good intentions in saying “all lives matter”, the truth is you come off sounding insensitive, rude, inconsiderate, and simply unintelligent.
And worst of all, when you are angered by signs that read “Black Lives Matter”, you are going against the very heart of Jesus: a heart that breaks for those ignored and abused by society. Those in the Black Lives Matter movement aren’t saying that “black lives matter more” or that “only black lives matter”. Instead, they are simply saying “black lives matter”.
In a time of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, we need to declare that BLACK LIVES MATTER. In a time where kids like Treyvon Martin are killed senselessly and people like George Zimmerman are let go with no consequences…we need to, as Christians, as members of the Body of Christ, (a body with people from every nation, from all tribes, composed of all peoples and tongues), declare together that BLACK LIVES MATTER.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself “But I don’t agree with the riots associated with Black Lives Matter”. The truth is, I don’t agree with riots either (though, I do acknowledge that riots are the language of the unheard). But consider this: have you heard of Westboro Baptist? Those terrible people who stand at the funerals of U.S. soldiers with protest signs? I don’t agree with them (on anything). I know they’re not really Christian. You know they’re not really Christian.
Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Extremists like Westboro Baptist Church don’t invalidate the truth of the Gospel. Extremists that claim BLM (Black Lives Matter) who want to kill cops don’t invalidate the simple truth that Black Lives Matter.
So then, what should our stance be as Jesus followers?
- First, be empathetic: We are saying Black Lives Matter because statistics show that they don’t. From the percentage of African-Americans killed by cops versus Caucasian Americans killed by cops to the percentage of African-Americans imprisoned for minor crimes versus the same percentage for Caucasians, it’s hard to argue the system isn’t biased. Statistics even show juries are more likely to issue harsher sentences based on darker skin colors (1). Also, please stop responding and saying “All Lives Matter”. For goodness sake, it is the least empathetic thing you could possibly say to someone (for the reasons explained above). Remove that phrase from your vocabulary.
- Then, pray and have conversations: Pray for those marching, those protesting, and for minority communities in general (especially African-Americans). Have conversations with someone who supports Black Lives Matter. The truth is I’m not dark-skinned. I’m a Cuban, yes, but I’m of a lighter complexion and I grew up in Miami where I was in the majority anyway, so I don’t have the first hand experience of prejudice that some of my brothers and sisters have had…and the truth is I don’t need to. All I need to know is it is happening. People are being targeted unfairly based on their skin color alone. Because I am a Christian, I should care that people are being mistreated. I don’t have to agree 100% with their values to join the movement and continue conversations with those around me. Also, having conversations with people of different races allows you to glimpse into their experience, with broadens your understand of how the world works for those who look differently than you do.
- Finally, stand up and protest: One of the ways you show support is through action. Again, you do not need to agree with their “values” in their entirety. I believe in women’s rights, but I don’t agree with “feminist values” in their entirety because it includes being pro-choice. I can still protest and work towards equal rights for women. The same goes for Black Lives Matter. I don’t agree with all the values on their website, but I can still protest for equal rights for Black Lives. Show solidarity with your brothers and sisters in the faith and stand alongside them as they declare “we matter” to the world. Prove to them that they matter by fighting alongside them.
At the end of the day, the Word of God matters more than anything I have to say, so allow me to close out this long post by pointing everyone to the Word.
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.” – Romans 10:12 (In Christ, we are all the same, no matter our skin color).
“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” – 1 John 3:17-18 (You can’t say you love God if you’re okay with people being mistreated).
“Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.” – Jeremiah 22:3
“Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” – Proverbs 31:9 (I love the “open your mouth” command from God. Use your voice and speak up for those who can’t).
Grace & Peace.
(1) Eberhardt, Jennifer L., et al. “Looking Deathworthy Perceived Stereotypicality of Black Defendants Predicts Capital-Sentencing Outcomes.” Psychological Science 17.5 (2006): 383-386.