Equality, Race and Freedom

There is a lot of racism reported in the new Testament, always condemned I should add. The well known parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10v30-37) plays on the racism between Jews and Samaritans. The Apostle Peter needed divine education before he would accept that the gospel message was for people other than Jews alone (Acts 10v9ff). The Apostle Paul makes reconciliation between people, in Christ, a central theme of his letter to the Ephesians (chapter 2). In the book of Revelation John has a vision of a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language praising Jesus ‘the lamb’ in glory (Revelation 7). And the single verses that sums all this up must be Galatians 3v28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” What matters is what we are in Christ, all else is irrelevant to our status.

So, discrimination on the basis of race is absolutely wrong. As Christians, we must oppose it whenever we meet it, and first in our own hearts. Church leaders must ask, how are we living out Galatians 3v28 as a foretaste of Revelation 7?

So, do you support ‘Black Lives Matter’?

Well … er … yes, of course … that is, I believe the lives of black people matter as much as anyone else’s, so I must. Mustn’t I?

The problem is that if we say we don’t support ‘Black Lives Matter’ as an organisation, then we make ourselves out to be racist (the clue’s in the name), and therefore part of the problem! It’s a very clever name for a campaigning organisation, no one dares oppose them. It’s like setting up a charity and calling it, ‘Cancer needs treatment,’ or ‘end child exploitation’. No sane person could oppose. But is this what it is all about? We need to look further.

First, separating people into ‘black’ and ‘non-black’ is actually impossible. Sure, some people are definitely black, others definitely not. But in between there is a continuum. Genetically the DNA of a white person can frequently be more different from that of another white person than that of a black person. So, biologically, is ‘black lives matter’ a title without meaning? Well, biology is not the whole story. Sociologists distinguish between ‘race’ (ie. Genetics) and ‘ethnicity’ (social group, heritage etc.) In this case the term ‘black’ has nothing to do with the colour of a person’s skin, but their social heritage. Of course, there is a great deal of overlap, but we must not confuse the two. Theoretically a ‘black’ person may have white skin, and vice versa.

Next, we need to investigate what BLM actually stands for, not simply make assumptions that we know from the name. A quick trip to their website should help. Sure enough, we find their history, reports of their campaigns, and some useful resources to publicise their work. But we need to check out the ‘About/What we believe’ section. There is a great deal here that is good. However, some of it is not so promising:

  • We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk” There are a number of issues here that can easily be confused, but, for me, I am concerned about the negative attitude towards cisgender (that means male and female in the traditional sense). God made male and female (Genesis 1v27).
  • We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children” If I have read this correctly, it is a statement that categorically opposes marriage and family life as God has given it.
  • 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).” Where do I start? Stripping away the jargon, this statement goes way beyond inclusion and valuing all human beings equally (which I would wish to affirm). Rather, it is totally opposed to God’s plan for His world, for male and female relationships, for marriage and family life, and for the preservation of sexual activity for marriage, between husband and wife exclusively.

Next, the group is radically in favour of abortion. Now this may be a hot potato for some, but it does strike me as ironic that an organisation championing rights for the vulnerable denies any rights at all to the most vulnerable, those people not yet born. There is a serious contradiction here.

Finally, the organisation appears to support the use of violent protest. I cannot support this. I believe absolutely in the right to protest a cause. By the grace of God we live in a society that is free, and that is a real blessing. But freedom to protest does not mean freedom to use violence.

So, do I support ‘Black Lives Matter’. Whilst working for equality of all people, I find I cannot align with this organisation for the reasons above. My conscience is my own though, you must decide.

3 thoughts on “Equality, Race and Freedom

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