Why neither “Black Lives Matter” nor “All Lives Matter” will get us anywhere
Right now, social media is rife with discussions (mostly arguments) about whether people should say “Black Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter”. Neither saying devalues any life. However, neither saying will move us forward, and here’s why.
A problem with both sayings is the glaring holes within them. They ultimately end up becoming empty pits that mean very little to those who feel left out of the equation. Black people feel like white people don’t care about black lives, and white people feel like black people don’t care about white lives. That’s because the issue has become about police brutality on one race. Why is the issue not just about police brutality? Why not say something like #civilianlivesmatter? Why not point out the white people who die at the hands of corrupt, power-hungry police as well? Maybe that will begin to change. We’ve seen it a little with the recent video from Buffalo involving an elderly white man.
Arguments can be made about the systemic injustices and disparities within the brutality, but the approach of making it about one race or the other just continues to fuel racial conflict and strife. Neither group feels heard. Make all the arguments you want, but can we at least agree that it’s simply not working? Can we not all agree that social media is full of anger and aggression?
I recently posted a comment on a friend’s post on Facebook about my disappointment in Christians who have all of a sudden found their voice because it’s trendy to do so, while abortion has never stopped and children (disproportionately black children) are daily being ripped limb from limb in cold blooded murder. No justice has come for them. We are desensitized and only care about injustices it’s cool to care about and videos that are trending online. How many Christians have watched the video of George Floyd but never watched an abortion?
My comment on his post was in love and support for black lives. Yet, it was met with some animosity by a black person. He seemed angry at me. I responded in love, but he felt like I was changing the subject. I said, “Man I love you. I care about you. It seems like you are angry at me when all I have done is point out the necessity to care for all black lives and not just a few. If you are mad at someone like me for something like that, then what does that say about race relations right now?”
In a way I am changing the subject. If I see a friend who has just had both legs cut off and is bleeding out, yet the doctor is trying to treat a paper cut on his hand first, I’m going to change the subject from the paper cut to the severed legs. I’m going to redirect the focus to the most pressing, imminent danger.
Police brutality is still such a small piece of the picture. It is wrong. It should end, but why are we so focused on that subject right now? Is it because that is the most pressing and imminent danger to black lives, or is it because that’s what we’ve been fed? In 2011, 360,000 black people were killed by abortion. In the same year, ALL other causes killed 287,072 black people. In 2015, black abortions accounted for 36% of the abortions in the US, while black people only make up 13.4%. 79% of Planned Parenthoods are located within walking distance of black communities. We are just talking our country. There are tens of millions of abortions each year around the world, or do only American black lives matter? In 2019, there were 235 black people killed by cops in the US, and that is total. Few of those could be considered racist and unjust killings. Every abortion is unjust.
We could go on and talk about sex slavery, African genocide, Christian persecution, black people who have been killed by rioters, etc. These black lives don’t get popular hashtags and hundreds of thousands marching for them. They feel excluded from care, as do all the other ethnic groups being oppressed. This is not a comment on the rightness or wrongness of people’s concerns right now. I’m just telling you why neither hashtag is bridging the divide.
You can say “Black Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter.” I don’t care which you use because what the world is truly experiencing is “some lives matter in certain situations some of the time.” Until that experience changes, we will continue having conflict and division.
I must point out the most important element to all this and the biggest reason these movements will not take us forward. It doesn’t matter how many people die or how they die if they die without Christ. Police brutality or falling asleep at an old age; both end in destruction and anguish without Christ. Have we not lived through enough history to realize we keep doing the same things over and over with different technology? Have we not stopped to wonder, “Is there something wrong with humans that we can’t fix?” There is. It is called sin. People without God will keep doing godless things. And even if you could somehow concoct a world of peace and civility, what good would that be if it’s a civil, peaceful, fair road to hell? Satan would love that world. Thankfully, God hasn’t allowed it. We get to see the depths of sin and be reminded that we need rescue.
Christ died for us to be rescued from this junk. He changes hearts. He reconciles enemies. His way is the only way forward. It teaches us to love our enemies, turn the other cheek, pray for our persecutors, rejoice in suffering, and never stop forgiving. His way will get us where we want to go. It’s the only way. It’s the only truth. It’s the only life.
Christians are easily distracted from the gospel and their purpose and mission to glorify God by making disciples. Therefore, I have changed the name of my blog to Distracted Christianity. I want to keep our focus directed on the most pressing, imminent danger to humanity right now and always: people dying in any way without Christ.
P.S. Don’t take this to mean I believe we should be rioting or showing aggression for other issues. I do not believe throwing rocks through Planned Parenthood windows is the way forward for Christians. Love, truth, and forgiveness is the posture of the Christian army to the lost world.