Why I Support Black Lives Matter But Not the Organization
In recent days, there has been a lot of posturing among Christians over whether they support black lives matter or not. Some believe that we should support the organization Black Lives Matter as co-belligerents or fellow warriors in a commons cause. Others are arguing that to even say “black lives matter” undermines the gospel and sufficiency of Scripture. Where do I stand on this matter? Do I support one or the other? Can you even support one or the other? The next couple of paragraphs, I hope, will clearly explain where I stand on this issue as a Christian pastor.
First, I support the biblical principle of black lives matter. I can say without hesitation that black lives matter. I say this based on Holy Scripture affirming that Holy Scripture is fully sufficient for all that we need regarding faith and practice. We are told in Genesis 1:26a, 27, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness….So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” We learn from this text that humanity’s origin came from God through one couple, Adam and Eve. That means each ethnic group that occupies the earth have come from this one couple created in the image of God. That means each person that has ever lived has been made in the image of God. We see this supported by Paul in Acts 17:26, “And [God] made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place…” Paul is making the point clear and explicit that is found in the opening chapters of Genesis. All people in all places were created by God and live where they are because God had placed them there. There are other texts we could go to but from these we know that since all people were created in God’s image then we can affirm that black lives matter. Why not just say all lives matter? That is a given based on these texts. Yet, in our moment of history, the gospel opportunity before us demands we say specifically that black lives matter. And, we can do so from the conviction that they matter because God created them in his image. To respond with, “Well, all lives matter” is to be tone deaf regarding the cultural moment we are in and the gospel witness we must give.
Second, I cannot support the organization Black Lives Matter. If you go to their website and read through the section on “Beliefs” you can learn quickly that they hold views that are clearly anti-Biblical. In fact, they have express goals that undermine the Christian understanding of sex (gender), marriage, and the whole Biblical concept of family. For instance, “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. (https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/)” Or, “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). (https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/)” In other words, the organization Black Lives Matter is anti-Biblical in their beliefs, and I cannot support them.
I can say black lives matter as a theological principle without supporting the organization Black Lives Matter. I can say that black lives matter because God created them in his image. I do not say all lives matter because that is presupposed in my statement that black lives matter. Black lives are a part of the global community which means all lives matter. Yet, in this moment, as a faithful gospel witness I say black lives matter because they are the ones who have suffered unspeakable harm, discrimination, and injustice for at least 300 years.