Can Christians and conservatives co-opt the ‘black lives matter’ movement to make it one of integrity and worthy of respect? Is it even worth it for Christians and conservatives to try and do so?
I think so.
In my opinion the only way for the ‘black lives matter’ movement to gain moral credibility is if Christians and conservatives actively become part of the movement. Progressive Christians — clergy and lay people alike that self-identify with and participate in this campaign, by definition, reinforce the movement’s inherent moral hypocrisy and myopia. As it stands, very few people of importance — if any at all — take the words and actions of this movement with any seriousness. Frankly, no one should, because members and supporters of this movement repeatedly prove that they’re not serious about confronting what actually cheapens black lives.
By now, most people are familiar with the ‘black lives matter’ movement and its petulant, recycled, and sanctimonious remonstrations that channels black rage and assertiveness in their off-putting attempts to raise awareness about police brutality toward blacks. To see the most recent example of such belligerent behavior, Google ‘black lives mater’ and Bernie Sanders to see the shenanigans ‘black lives matter’ uses to deliver their message.
Further, ‘black lives matter’ also claims to be a slogan under which “Black people can unite to end state sanctioned violence… across the United States of America, aspiring to, “end the insidious and widespread assault on Black life that pervades every stage of law enforcement interactions; be it in custody or in our communities.”
Because members and supporters of the ‘black lives matter’ movement intentionally diminish and ignore the self-destructive behaviors that actually do dishonor black lives — such as high abortion rates and black criminality — the campaign lacks the moral seriousness and credibility it requires to be effective. For many people, this proves that these so-called activists aren’t really concerned with preserving and redeeming black lives: they’re simply concerned with advancing a cynical political narrative of black victimology coming from the boogeyman of white supremacy.
By ignoring what truly degrades black lives it’s impossible for ‘black lives matter’ to be a socially credible, moral movement. That is to say, this movement can’t demand mainstream America hold black lives in high esteem when the social behaviors of many blacks reveal that blacks don’t either. Blacks aren’t in a position to demand the kind of love and respect from others that they don’t have for themselves. As such, a movement nourished with (self) righteous anger fixated on “racist” white cops — a proxy for a perpetual and irredeemably racist America — strikes many as disingenuous distraction at best, immoral at worst. This becomes even clearer when blacks themselves perpetrate the real reasons black lives appear not to matter.
With all this in mind, I think Christians and conservatives are in a well-placed position to properly subvert and co-opt this movement for the benefit of those who truly need help. The superficial symbolism — combined with the theatrics of anger and a resurgent militancy that currently characterizes the ‘black lives matter’ movement — is a clear reflection — and projection — of impotence. Sincerity, humility and pragmatic solutions are needed to help the people who need it most- in this case, those blacks who need and want help overcoming the calamities that are ruining their quality of life.
The first way Christians and conservatives can prove that black lives matter is to stop the habit of lying to — and about — blacks, especially when it comes to the kinds of behavior that diminishes black lives in the eyes of so many.
If black lives matter — so should the truth. Police brutality isn’t the problem; spiritual immorality that cultivates self-destructive behaviors is the problem.
To begin, when the issue of ‘black lives matter’ is raised, Christians and conservatives can and should say that black lives matter — not because of the color of their skin, but because blacks are created in God’s image. The color of one’s skin holds no currency; it’s one’s character — or lack thereof — that determines whether or not they “matter.” To be more direct, Christians — regardless of color — must courageously tell blacks, particularly black Christians, that it’s past time to end the idolatrous worship of race. Race worship by blacks is every bit as problematic as race worship by whites. Period.
Christians and conservatives can say that black lives matter, which is why the traditional black family needs to be redeemed. Christians and conservatives desire to see more babies born in wedlock, with fathers around, with their families, to raise their children. Not only is this a moral issue, it’s a socio-economic one as well. More fathers in the home raising their children means that the chances of said children abusing drugs and alcohol, engaging in gang activity, and interactions with the criminal justice system will be significantly reduced. The consequences of a seventy-three percent illegitimacy rate have been morally and socio-economically disastrous for black Americans.
This is a sad and inarguable reality.
And speaking of children, Christians and conservatives believe black lives matter, which is why we’re morally and politically against unrestrained access to abortion as a means of birth control. Abortion actively interrupts and violently destroys the process of being created in God’s image. Not only that, abortion has had a devastating effect on the black population.
According to one report, black abortions accounted for nearly 36 percent of all abortions performed between 2007 and 2010. The same report said blacks accounted for almost 54 percent of all abortions performed in Georgia (16,738/31,244), even though blacks make up less than a third of the population. In Mississippi, between 1995-2010, blacks accounted for almost 72 percent of all abortions (39,052) while comprising 37 percent of the population.
A report found that more black babies were aborted than were born in New York City (31,328/24,758)- totaling over 42 percent of all abortions performed. In 2010, 60 percent of all viable black pregnancies in New York City ended in abortion.
The recently released videos of what Planned Parenthood does with the bodies of babies during and after abortion is a clear, disturbing revelation and confirmation of the unmitigated evil of infanticide. Considering the disproportionately high rates of abortion, it’s safe to conclude that the majority of harvested body organs callously quibbled over by abortionists was likely from black babies.
So — black lives matter during police confrontations, but not in utero?
Christians and conservatives believe black lives matter, which is why we fervently fight for the rights of black parents to choose the school, and the teachers, that educate their children. We defend the need for school reform and for school vouchers that facilitate school choice because we want to extend to black families the same rights and opportunities to be involved in their children’s education as the president enjoys but actively withholds from his most loyal demographic. Both of president Obama’s daughters attend Sidwell Friends — a private school with a tuition cost of $38,000 per year, per child, yet he won’t allow poor families in inner city Chicago choose what school their children attend.
That’s not only hypocritical; it’s immoral.
Christians and conservatives can say that black lives matter, which is why we want to reduce the rate of black criminality. This too is a moral and socio-economic issue. Over a twenty-year period ending in 2008, the homicide offender rate for blacks was almost 25 percent, seven times higher than the offending rate of whites (3.4 percent). The homicide victimization rate for blacks was about six times higher than the victimization rates for whites. Blacks were also 47 percent of all homicide victims and over 52 percent of all homicide offenders. During the same period, blacks accounted for 62 percent of all drug-related homicides compared to 37 percent committed by whites. Over 65 percent of all drug-related homicide offenders were black whereas whites were only 33 percent.
Also during that same period, blacks were 44 percent of felony murder victims and almost 60 percent of felony murder offenders. For gun homicide rates, blacks were over 51 percent of all victims, but 57 percent of offenders. Also, black offenders committed 93 percent of all black homicides.
Realistically, what’s more of an immediate threat to black lives- blacks who kill 93 percent of all black homicide victims, or police that kill roughly 200 black lives per year (most of which are justifiable)?
It bears repeating: concentrating on alleged an trumped up cases of police brutality — or by extension, “institutionalized racism” — while willfully ignoring the reality of what contributes to the devaluation of black lives is morally irresponsible. It also doesn’t endear anyone to the ‘black lives matter’ message. That any member of the Christian clergy would share in this delusion undermines his or her moral, religious and theological credibility.
As is clear, Christians and conservatives can prove that black lives matter much more effectively than those who protest that ‘black lives matter’ but who diligently ignore the injurious behaviors that debase them. Moreover, Christians and conservatives who actively and genuinely get involved in redeeming black lives contribute to the difficult work of racial reconciliation, which works as a bulwark against the dishonest proprietors of racial grievance and division.
Re-humanizing black lives starts with spiritual redemption and reconciliation, not through political agitation and social intimidation. Christians and conservatives must speak these painful truths in love, regardless of how uncomfortable it will be.
Equally as important, blacks will have to accept these painful truths if they hope to spiritually and socially revive their families and their communities, proving to themselves and to everyone watching, that black lives do indeed matter — from the womb to the tomb.