In this age, where everything is political, there is a rising trend of many in the Church advocating for external causes that have the appearance of virtue and compassion. While it is good & essential for Christians to be engaged with social issues, the problem with certain movements is that they present a false compassion – a compassion not founded in truth.
Underneath, their values are not aligned to our faith which is based on the Truth of God’s word. In some cases, they are opposed to it.
Though well-intentioned, the outcome is ultimately destructive. Such a compassion gravitates to solutions that ignore the true complexity and causes of real-world issues, resulting in further harm to the problems being addressed.
For Christians to be involved in such a cause can only result in damage to our integrity, degrading our primary witness as representatives of Christ.
Rise of BLM & anti-racism
A prime example of this trend is the rise in support for the recent anti-racist movement that has taken the world by storm, and the organisation behind it - Black Lives Matter (BLM). Many saw this as a reckoning against racism past and present toward minorities living in the West, and blacks specifically. On the surface, it seems obvious to get behind anything against racism, and given that minorities were historically oppressed in the West, isn’t it a good thing to at least acknowledge it?
As a result, governments, corporations and institutions felt pressure to speak out against racism and show support in various ways. Many churches around the world joined in as well, having forums to discuss the harm caused by racism and hear from minorities about their suffering. Some went even further.
For example, bishops from the Church of England very publicly renounced their ‘white privilege’ and took the knee as a gesture of support for BLM. And though many churches and Christian leaders remained ambivalent on the issue, few have turned a critical eye on the organisation and its agenda.
The true nature of BLM
Given the impact of this movement on the Church’s relationship with different ethnic groups, it goes without saying that its values and behaviour should be scrutinised to determine if they are compatible with Christianity at all. So let us take a brief look at the organisation and its background to establish if it aligns with a Christian world view.
BLM rose to prominence on the heels of the high-profile deaths of two African Americans, Michael Brown and George Floyd, at the hands of police. Protests were organised, and claims were made that the deaths were a result of police brutality targeting black men, and that it was evidence of “systemic racism.”
The founders of BLM describe themselves as “trained Marxists”. Co-founder Patrice Cullors was mentored by Eric Mann – a Marxist terrorist involved with the bombing of Government buildings and police stations in the 70’s. Marxism is a materialist philosophy that has no place for religion and sees it as a crutch for humanity.
What is more, BLM’s particular flavour of Marxism substitutes class warfare (rich vs. poor) for race warfare (White vs. Black). In other words, all oppression, inequalities, and differences in outcome of wealth & status are directly or indirectly the result of racism.
These beliefs are rooted in Critical Race Theory (CRT) – an offshoot of Marxism which besides assigning all inequality to racism, defines it as inherent to white people. This “whiteness” cannot be eliminated but must be atoned for through an essentially pseudo-religious process of making amends for historical and current ‘oppression’ of minorities.
Before it mysteriously vanished, a page on the organisation's website describing its values included the aim of disrupting the “Western-prescribed nuclear family structure”. This is no surprise as Marx viewed the family as a tool of Capitalism.
Then there are the fruits of BLM’s activism: widespread damage and violence from BLM-instigated riots & looting that broke out last year. The result in the US was an estimated 1 to 2 billion dollars in property damage, and hundreds of people injured. Dozens of businesses, many run by black families, have closed their doors forever thanks to the looting and damage.
This is all without getting into the questionable nature of BLM’s claims around systemic racism or their explanation of disparities experienced by African Americans. In short, they don’t add up, as dealt with by a number of reports examining the evidence.
However, it should be said that we can both acknowledge the historic mistreatment of minorities, while also realising that no other culture in history has created a society in which people from all races and ethnic backgrounds can co-exist peacefully and flourish. Besides, if there was a movement that would redress the wrongs of the past, it certainly does not look like this...
BLM & Christianity
So given the true nature of this organisation and the violent outworking of its ideology, it should be clear by now this is not something the Church should be involved with. It cannot be reconciled with Christianity; it is something that seeks to replace it.
Where the Bible teaches that we are all one & equal under Christ – “no Jew nor Greek... slave nor free” (Galatians 3:28), BLM & anti-racism divides humanity down racial lines and assigns qualities accordingly. Where the Bible teaches of individual sin and the need for repentance before God, BLM substitutes it with a racial guilt and a virtue attained through activism and confessing one’s ‘privilege’.
Where Christians seek to hold authority to account while respecting it as ordained by God (Romans 13:1), BLM seeks to overthrow authority by force and replace it with its own. I could go on, but it is plain to see this is completely incompatible with our world view.
This should serve as a caution for those ready to jump on board with contemporary movements having the appearance of virtue. Where we do not scrutinise their claims to ensure they are truthful and worthy, the result may be damage to the credibility of the Church and its message – to glorify God, if not bringing further harm to the very issues we seek to address.
Our compassion must be grounded in truth and so should every cause we support.
William BJ Weir is an Australian traveling and working in Europe. He arrived in the UK just before the pandemic in March 2020, and have been there since. He has plans to see more of Europe as restrictions allow, while developing his writing skills and educating himself on current socio-political issues. He has a background in Geographic Information and the Public Service. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, exercise, reading, photography, and exploring Europe.