By Jonathon Van Maren
First published at LifeSiteNews.com on October 12, 2016
Like many other columnists, I’ve avoided the subject of the Black Lives Matter movement for the most part. One reason, of course, is that any comment on the ideology of this movement is bound to be ignored in favor of accusations of racism. Another is that many of the instances of police shootings used by the movement’s spokespeople are hard to analyze from a bystander’s perspective—snippets of video that show a horrifying murder to some people are dismissed by others as police acting in self-preservation, and the logical response seems to be to await the decision of a court of law, which would presumably be in possession of facts to which amateurs on the Internet do not have access. And then there is the fact that even if some of the police officers in question are not white, the reaction seems to always highlight the situation as a racial clash.
The race riots of the last several years notwithstanding, it would be foolish to claim—as some conservative commentators have—that racial tension is not still alive and well in the United States. Republican Senator Tim Scott, one of only two black senators, has emotionally recounted the discrimination he himself has experienced. “While I thank God I have not endured bodily harm, I have however felt the pressure applied by the scales of justice when they are slanted,” he said. “I have felt the anger, the frustration, the sadness, and the humiliation that comes with feeling like you’re being targeted for nothing more than being just yourself…Was I speeding sometimes? Sure. But the vast majority of the time, I was pulled over for nothing more than driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood or some other reason just as trivial.”
It was when I began to go through the “Guiding Principles” of Black Lives Matter that I realized how completely incompatible the ideology of that movement was with Christian principles.
It’s important to realize that while the Civil Rights Movement is a historical event for many people – the murdered Martin Luther King now stands in marble in the nation’s capital, after all – for African Americans it is often a part of recent family history. Many remember their grandparents or even their parents being treated brutally under the regime of segregation – refused service at restaurants or other business establishments, barred from voting, and simply treated like second-class citizens. Others may remember savage beatings and lynchings and other violence that resulted in white criminals promptly being exonerated by white juries and walking free. If I consider for just a moment how connected I feel to my family’s Dutch heritage, even though I was born in the United States and raised in Canada, I can only begin to imagine what it would be like to hear stories of family members being treated with casual cruelty on the basis of their skin color not just by fellow countrymen, but also by the courts and the politicians. Such scars do not heal overnight simply because they were inflicted in the recent past.
That being said, Black Lives Matter is not the answer to the problem of historical racism and present racial turmoil. Many well-meaning Christians have decided to support the movement, because on the surface of it, who can disagree? Of course black lives matter, and of course we should say so. That statement, when rendered in lowercase letters, is utterly uncontroversial. When our black friends and neighbors feel unsafe or threatened, we should respond. Where there are systemic prejudices, they should be addressed and rooted out. But again, Black Lives Matter is not the answer.
I started going through the Black Lives Matter website in order to learn more, and soon discovered that they are not the simple anti-racism organization that many believe them to be. Here is their statement of identity: “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’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”
That seems simple enough, although I searched high and low for anyone who was willing to address the appalling abortion rates within black communities, facilitated by butchers like Philadelphia’s Kermit Gosnell and clinics placed within poorer communities by the bloodthirsty capitalists at Planned Parenthood. To be fair, I did find one mention of this, in a description of an event they had advertised for April 7, where candidate for the US House of Representatives Dr. Deborah L. Williams wrote that Black Lives Matter needed to own the sentiment in their name by stopping the abortion “of our babies (because more Black and Hispanic babies are aborted worldwide than any other groups), and learn who Margaret Sanger (the founder of Planned Parenthood) was, and what her plan was for the Black and Latino communities. It wasn’t family planning. It was voluntary genocide, then we show how much we matter.”
If only such sentiments weren’t isolated. It was when I began to go through the “Guiding Principles” of Black Lives Matter that I realized how completely incompatible the ideology of that movement was with Christian principles. A few examples:
We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable.
I’m not sure how “disrupting” the “nuclear family structure” would assist in the running of “villages” or assist in the collective care of those within said villages, especially because a stable family unit is the number one way of ensuring that mothers, parents and children are comfortable in the first place. And with some two-thirds of black children being raised without their fathers present (at least, as of the early 1990s), it seems obvious that the “nuclear family structure” has been already thoroughly disrupted, anyhow. It boggles the mind to see that Black Lives Matter somehow looks at the problems plaguing the African American community and decides that a further attack on the family is the answer.
We are committed to embracing and making space for trans brothers and sisters to participate and lead. We are committed to being self-reflexive and doing the work required to dismantle cis-gender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.
So in addition to dismantling the family structure, Black Lives Matter also wants to dismantle “cis-gender privilege,” as well as working to affirm the bizarre post-reality ideology of transgenderism, which even finds many opponents in feminism. Again, this is not something that Christians can support.
We are committed to fostering 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.
To sum up, Black Lives Matter seems to believe that the answers to the problems faced by the black community include embracing transgenderism, attacking the already weakened-family structure (and thus eliminating the safest place for children to be nurtured and loved), and “freeing” the black community from the “tight grip” of “heteronormative thinking,” which presumably led to the oppressive family structure and the transphobic cis-supremacy in the first place. It’s also ironic to note that in all of their Guiding Principles, they do not even mention the opposition to law enforcement that characterizes so much of their protests and public rhetoric. Apparently the heteronormative family poses an even greater danger to black families than purported institutionalized racism does.
Others have written extensively on the racial politics of Black Lives Matter, the possibility that their rhetoric has led to the shooting of police officers, and the violence that so often accompanies their public actions. I wish to avoid attempting to analyze such things, and state that regardless of whether or not Black Lives Matter is guilty of such things, Christians cannot support them. Their guiding principles enshrine a blunt repudiation of biblical sexuality, a declaration of war on the family structure, and the not-so-subtle insinuation that communities are more responsible for their children than parents are. America is in need of racial reconciliation, and there are very real issues that Christians must grapple with.
But Black Lives Matter is not the solution. They are part of the problem.