Rethinking Black Live Matter
Read the Label
The definition of an allergen is a substance to which the body reacts, triggering an immune response. More than ever, consumers are paying attention to what is in the food they eat because they may be allergic or have a sensitivity. Look for the “gluten free” label or endure digestive distress. Lactose can result in unpleasant consequences. Peanut derivatives can cause anaphylaxis that may even result in death. To add to the challenges, some people may not be allergic to foods that might be deadly to others. It is vital we know what is in our food.
Similarly, in the halls of congress, certain bills can contain more than first appears. The strategy of hiding line-items in the text that are only loosely related to the main substance of a bill is called “pork barrel politics.” It is a way of directing money toward pet local projects of legislators by a sort of legislative sleight-of-hand.
More than Meets the Eye
I had a “things aren’t all they appear” experience several years ago when I made the acquaintance of a fellow that held the same opinion as I regarding the deployment of the National Guard to overseas duty. We both agreed that was a bad thing so I thought I had found a partner in the cause. But as time went on, I discovered that my “partner” had even more issues on his agenda, one of which was an antagonistic view of local law enforcement.
My son-in-law is a cop. We’re proud of it. The police we know are hard-working, honorable men and women. There was no way I was going to allow myself to get lumped into an anti-cop agenda while working on the National Guard issue. I parted company with my activist friend, leaving him to follow the dictates of his conscience.
I believe the ecclesia must do the same with Black Lives Matter because the movement is not “gluten free.” Why would I say that? Based on the singular meaning of the name, there can be no dispute. Black lives DO matter. The injustice and systemic racism that has been part of the black experience is unconscionable and plainly evil. The simple message of the name Black Lives Matter calls for national repentance and I agree with that unreservedly. Nevertheless, I would prefer to use a different rallying cry. Honor and Respect Black Lives, perhaps.
Moreover, BLM is disconnected from the roots of the civil rights movement. Dr. King’s activism was grounded in his faith. His call for equality was born of his understanding of the love of God and the redemptive, unifying work of the cross of Jesus. His strategy was non-violent. Black Lives Matter is linked only by the simple meaning of the words. It’s core values are purely secular.
The problem with BLM is that the agenda of the organization goes beyond the plain meaning of the name. Black Lives Matter comes “bundled” with secularism and the affirmation of a certain sexual ethic which stands in opposition to the values of the new community, namely the LGBTQ agenda.
Now, let me clarify something. We in no way approve demeaning or threatening behavior toward LGBTQ persons. All people are created in the image of God and members of that community are no exception. We will not tolerate hateful treatment toward members of the LGBTQ community any more than members of the black or Hispanic communities. Hatred is a cancer on the human soul that must be identified and opposed wherever it is found.
Furthermore, we decline to lobby for or against legislation relative to the free exercise of the LGBTQ lifestyle. We believe that choice is a God-given privilege and if the Creator himself declines to interfere with a person’s choices, we must follow that example. Though we may not agree with the choices people make, it is not up to us to prohibit them, nor to insist that others live like we do. Moreover, we believe that worldly governments and their affairs are separate from the Kingdom, so we stay clear of political involvement. As Frank Viola has said, it is not our job to make this world a better place, but for us to be a better place in this world according to the values of the Kingdom of God.
That said, within our community, we are unapologetically binary, cisgender and monogamous by conviction. Our reasons for that might be a topic for another day, but for now, let us simply say that is the sexual ethic that we affirm. It is assumed that anyone who would want to share our journey would choose to honor those convictions with us. As for those outside of our community, we ask that they practice charity toward us as we do toward them.
Honor and Respect
I hope they will, but I won’t count on it. Why? Because it seems the LGBTQ agenda allows for nothing less than full acceptance. When it comes to our beliefs within our community, “don’t ask, don’t tell” may not do. I get the feeling that we must acquiesce or be branded as hateful bigots. Hopefully, I am wrong about that. It would be nice if we can be left alone to believe what we must, but whether we will be remains to be seen.
In the meantime, our devotion to Christ invites us to love others whether we agree with them. It is our privilege to extend grace, compassion, and acts of kindness to all people. It is our responsibility to defend and protect from hatred and malice. Disagreement with others does not preclude acts of love toward them. We will join the national repentance that calls us to Honor and Respect Black Lives even as we extend charity to the LGBTQ community.