The 21st century in which we live, while having brought technological and social advances, has also bloomed new problems, responsibilities, and obstacles which a Christian must address. In the current social climate, Black Lives Matter (BLM) must be understood not only for what it is, but also regarding how we should treat the movement and whether our involvement is justified. One way to determine the merit and morality of such an organization is to examine its history and actions, as well as its current trajectory, in relation to principles set forth in God’s word. On a deeper level, not only is the history of BLM one which is antithetical to Christian values, but BLM is also part of the culture that encourages rebellion, hating the neighbor, and denying God’s faith, justice, and grace.
On the night of February 26, 2012, in the gated community which George Zimmerman called home, a physical altercation was initiated between Zimmerman and a mixed-race teen, Trayvon Martin. This led to Zimmerman sustaining facial and head injuries, as well as the unfortunate death of Trayvon due to one shot to the chest by Zimmerman (CNN, 2020). Across America, the prominent reaction was that of immediate anger and accusation toward Zimmerman despite the various investigations being conducted into the incident by state, local, and federal law enforcement. On July 13, 2013, Zimmerman was acquitted of charges, including the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin the year before (Alvarez, 2013). On the same day as the acquittal of Zimmerman, the hashtag BlackLivesMatter was first used. Stemming from this, on July 20, 2013, protests, violence, and destruction of property rocked more than one hundred cities across the U.S. (Williams, 2013). Since this birthing of the movement, many protests have been perpetrated across the U.S. throughout the years. Looking back and peering forward shows no slowing of the mob mentality and reactionary thinking which shaped BLM into what it is today, and it is for this reason that it stands as imperative to maintain a firm grasp on the morality of association with and support of the movement.
As children of God, we stand for those principles which he sets forth in his word. Although many principles are provided for those in specific church roles (for example, 1 Timothy 2:1–10 regarding office-bearers), there are certain principles that extend to all of God’s children equally. The fifth commandment stands as the most obvious of these principles and calls for respect toward those whom God has appointed to rule. Black Lives Matter holds that rebellion, violence, and treason against authority and/or state is acceptable if done for a progressive reason. This has led to riots perpetrated consistently over the years for any death that the organization feels (with or without evidence) is wrong. In 2014 alone, BLM started riots over Dontre Hamilton, Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Laquan McDonald, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, and Antonio Martin, to name a few. In short, many of these riots not only took place over incidents that were not racist killings (Brodigan, 2020), but BLM also disrespects and hates the authority put in place by God. There is no doubt that racism exists within the sphere of law enforcement or that the legal system can occasionally fail, but this stands as no justification for any of the rash or ungodly actions demonstrated by BLM. Romans 13 states, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God…Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness” (vv. 1, 13). Not only does this make clear that the reasons for BLM’s actions are invalid, but it also condemns the method through which the organization attempts to create change.
How ought we treat and view our neighbor? Scripture provides us with clear guidelines and even states, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Gal. 5:14). During an August 2015 BLM riot, and hours after the brutal public murder of a Houston officer at a fuel station, rioters were heard chanting the phrase, “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon” (CBS, 2015). Although sickeningly wrong, this display was not inconsistent with the methods and moral standards continually shown by the organization. In showing love for our neighbor, it is obvious no Christian should in good conscience be capable of supporting these and other actions of BLM.
Lastly, if we were to support BLM, we would show distrust for God as a just God and deny Christ’s sacrifice for us. As children of God we are saved through grace alone and do good works only through Jesus Christ. Romans 3:24 puts it this way: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
We should not need to belong to Black Lives Matter for a sense of morality, security, or friendship, as those are provided by grace through Christ. While activists riot in the streets, one must remember the hand of God in every event and the reality of his justice. For every unjust action which may arise from law enforcement or riots in the streets, God will ultimately bring just retribution. As man scrabbles to exact revenge for supposed wrong acts, his denial of the afterlife becomes evident. As it is put in Revelation 21:8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
In conclusion, from conception to ideology and practice, BLM stands as a wicked movement which is antithetical to the laws of God. While we have a responsibility to stand up for what is right, we must remain faithful to God’s commandments and avoid the reactionary, hateful ideology and methods of the organization. Let us respect the authority of the magistrate and God in how we address issues, as well as be slow to anger: “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city” (Prov. 16:32). God has given his only begotten Son for his people; let us not take that for granted as we go about our lives. While evil deeds seem to go unpunished and we struggle to stay positive, let us remember the justice and grace in the word of God.
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him” (Ezek. 18:20). “The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy” (Ps. 145:8).
Brodigan. “DEBUNKED: #BlackLivesMatter Propaganda Exposed Case by Case.” Louder With Crowder. April 27, 2020. Accessed June 20, 2020. https://www.louderwithcrowder.com/blacklivesmatter-memes-debunked.
CBS News. “‘Pigs in a Blanket’ Chant at Minnesota Fair Riles Police.” CBS News. August 31, 2015. Accessed June 20, 2020. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/pigs-in-a-blanket-chant-at-minnesota-fair-riles-police/.
“Trayvon Martin Shooting Fast Facts.” CNN. February 17, 2020. Accessed June 20, 2020. https://www.cnn.com/2013/06/05/us/trayvon-martin-shooting-fast-facts/index.html.
Williams, Matt. “Trayvon Martin Protests Being Held in More than 100 US Cities.” The Guardian. July 20, 2013. Accessed June 20, 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/20/trayvon-martin-protests-us-cities.
Originally published October 2020, Vol 79 No 9