The Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013, when the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter became common on social media. Since that time, the organization has grown tremendously. We all notice its influence – influence to motivate an entire activist group, influence to restructure an entire police department, and influence to significantly play into the political and social discussions of the day. In fact, if the Tea Party was a major force to activate conservatives, Black Lives Matter has been a major force to activate the liberal aspects of the African-American community.
Yes, the Black Lives Matter movement is an extremely liberal movement (just read their guiding principles to see this clearly). This is one of many reasons that I have serious problems with the organization (I also abhor their hypocritical and blatant disregard for the lives of black babies and support for criminal activity). However, I want to focus on perhaps the most basic issue with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement – a faulty approach to actually dealing with the problem.
The Biblical Foundation
Scripture teaches that we are all sons and daughters of Adam (Romans 5); in fact, we are even more closely related, since we all have the blood of Noah in our veins (Genesis 10:32). Perhaps this is why Paul mentions that God has made of one blood all nations of men (Acts 17:26).
Contrary to the claims of evolutionary scientists and historians that the Bible actually promotes racial differences through the idea of “kinds,” the Bible does nothing of the sort. From the first pages of the Bible to the last, human beings are viewed as one group, fallen into sin, and in need of a Savior. Even the distinction of Jews and Gentiles was made by God only to create further blessing for all nations, and that divide is bridged by the cross of Jesus Christ. This is why we are all equally able to obtain forgiveness through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The BLM Divide
For centuries, some whites have created an unbiblical divide between racial groups. (Please note that I hesitate to even use the words white, black, and race in this way, but I will do so because they are commonly understood). While not all whites have been guilty, there are only too many examples of white people treating black people unfairly. Yes, we can agree on this.
How did they treat them unfairly? They viewed them as fundamentally different in one way or another. By creating the concept of “black” as opposed to “white” – in other words, by creating the idea that humans beings are divided into specific “races” – they created an artificial divide.
Now BLM continues the practice, creating an artificial distinction between “black lives” and other lives. Whether they intend to do this or not is debatable. The simple reality is that they are doing this. For racial tensions to ease, we need to break down this divide. BLM only increases it, by promoting an “us-versus-them” mentality that sees people as fundamentally grouped by the color of their skin.
Perhaps the most hated slogan in the BLM community is a surprisingly simple and innocent one – “all lives matter.” Detractors argue that it misunderstands the purpose of the BLM movement, that it shifts the focus off legitimate abuses, and helps white audiences comfortably readjust their focus away from the real issues with which black people deal.
Perhaps the phrase “all lives matter” is misused in that way. That does not mean that it is a bad saying. “All Lives Matter” is fundamentally the right approach to dealing with racial issues. It recognizes that all lives are valuable, and that they are all lives, regardless of the color of skin. We need to understand that all lives matter, not simply as a response to the BLM movement. When police officers shoot innocent black people, we need to respond with this reality: all lives matter. That should be the reason to punish corrupt cops. When criminals target the lives of innocent police officers, we need to respond with this reality: all lives matter. These men and women are putting their lives on the line for us! All lives do matter. This is the proper application of the phrase. If we thought this way, we could decrease the racial divide that is tearing the nation apart.
Note on Acts 17:26: KJV ‘one blood,’ ESV ‘one man,’ Original Greek ‘enos haimatos,’ literally ‘one blood.’