InterVarsity Seduced by #BlackLivesMatter, Compartmentalized “Justice”

Despite the incongruity between its activist agenda and what the name of the organization (and hashtag) superficially implies, the social current of #BlackLivesMatter has successfully swallowed a number of churches and Christian organizations in its supposed quest for racial and social “justice.” InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is the latest victim to be seduced by the cultural fad of “justice” — always compartmentalized — at the expense of biblical justice, which is supposed to permeate the totality of the Christian’s life.

During InterVarsity’s Urbana missions conference, Michelle Higgins, director of Faith for Justice, a Christian advocacy group — and herself a member of #BlackLivesMatter — lectured listening Christians about the need to be involved in the fight against racial injustice. Fighting against racial injustice, in addition to all forms of injustice, is a Christian obligation that’s firmly rooted in the mission of the church. The body of Christ is — and should be — the vessel of racial reconciliation, predicated on Christ having overcome all superficial forms of division and separation, including those based on racial and ethnic considerations.

But for Higgins, or any Christian, to conflate the fight against racial injustice with supporting the agenda, intent, and behavior of #BlackLivesMatter is “chasing after the wind” — a fool’s errand that leads many sincere Christians astray. Christian leaders have a tremendous responsibility to be voices and examples of reason. Christian credibility is at stake. So it’s a cause for concern when Christians engage in negligent and questionable behavior. Here it involves using racial guilt to manipulate Christians into supporting a movement that perpetuates a secular social and political narrative that consists of lies and racial paranoia under the guise of fighting racial inequality.

During her speech, Higgins sought to religiously justify support of #BlackLivesMatter in a manner similar to the Christians and theologians that used Christianity to justify the black power movement of the past.  Higgins said, “Black Lives Matter is not a mission of hate. It is not a mission to bring about incredible anti-Christian values and reforms to the world. Black Lives Matter is a movement on mission in the truth of God.”

That a Christian felt comfortable enough to say this with a straight face is disturbing. The fact that the audience was so embracing of her message, especially in light of the rhetoric and strategies used by #BlackLivesMatter activists is even more disturbing, reflecting poorly on Christians. The claim that #BlackLivesMatter is on ‘mission in the truth of God’ is about as true as the claim made at Michael Brown’s funeral — that he was “out spreading the word of Jesus Christ” before he was killed.

Brown was actually stealing a box of cigarillos from a liquor store shortly before he was killed.

Higgins continued, noting the presence of racism in various areas of life where she claimed the church is silent, including the racial disparities in education and the criminal justice system — obligatorily mentioning the cases of Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner and Michael Brown. She then clarified what she wants people to think #BlackLivesMatter means, saying,

“Now, I don’t want all people of color to go scot-free for wrongdoing – I don’t want to see people of color never arrested for anything. Black lives matter doesn’t mean all black folk can kill people and steal stuff…. that’s not what we want, that’s not what I want. What do we want? Justice. And what is justice? Justice means my baby boy, my baby girl will not be tried, condemned… executed on the street. That’s justice. Justice means the burden of supremacy…is not up on you, because God is pleased with you. Therefore, you can be pleased with everyone he has made.”

Higgins added,

“BlackLivesMatter demands that we face facts and tell the truth…it demands that I know myself and that I see you, it demands that [we see] those that have been in prison… and executed… because of their skin color, and that we free them. It demands that white and black and brown and Asian and Hispanic brothers and sisters be treated as one. Redefine justice the way that God defines justice; your God is not white, he’s not Japanese or Congolese — your God is God.”

Ok, let’s face facts and tell the truth.

Here’s a fact. There are racial disparities in education and the criminal justice system. And there is a case to be made, at least in education, that the disparities are partially the result of substandard education intentionally delivered to poor black and Hispanic children. Deliberately giving poor children less access to quality education is a partial predictor of future dependency, contributing to a growing underclass. Chicago, Detroit and New York are perfect examples. This cause should be taken up by Christians, but #BlackLivesMatter has nothing to do with it.

Further, if the goal is to reduce the racial disparities in education, people should not only advocate that poor children receive better quality education, they should also encourage the redemption and reconciliation of the black family. Not only would that contribute to the mitigation of academic disparities suffered by blacks, increasing the number of intact black families would also mitigate the racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Blacks aren’t locked up disproportionately simply and only because they’re black. Blacks are imprisoned disproportionately because of the disintegration of the family and the collapse of the Christian moral value system.

Speaking of criminals, here’s another fact: #BlackLivesMatter valorizes black criminality and sanctifies black criminals. The lives of everyday blacks don’t matter to this movement, including the lives of blacks tormented by black criminals. This is why #BlackLivesMatter is a misnomer. The only black lives that matter to these social agitators are the ones killed by (white) cops, largely the result of the actions of the criminals themselves. Defending and honoring the lives of black criminals over the lives of blacks that aren’t criminals, but in need of our attention, is despicable and unworthy of being called or legitimized by Christianity.

Moreover, with the exception of Tamir Rice — who was shot and killed because he was playing with a toy gun that police officers mistook for real — Michael Brown and Eric Garner were killed because they attacked police officers or resisted arrest when their criminal behavior was confronted. (Sandra Bland also refused to listen to an officer’s command, which resulted in a physical confrontation.) This isn’t to say that they deserved to die, but they also weren’t “innocent” nor were the merely “victims” because of their race. There are consequences when one confronts police officers, is insubordinate to police officers or resists arrest. For Higgins to conflate their deaths with the possibility of her “baby boy” and her “baby girl” being “tried, condemned… and executed on the street” — presumably because they’re black and nothing else — trivializes any real understanding of what justice entails.

Further, where specifically has anyone, in modern America, been “executed” in prison only because of his or her skin color? That’s a heavy charge that deserves to be supported by very firm evidence, particularly when said by someone who self-identifies with the name of Christ. Without supporting evidence, it’s a lie. Additionally, why exactly should we “free” anyone in prison, as a rule, merely because of his or her skin color?

Now the obvious but compulsory disclaimer: fighting against racial injustice and inequality is the Christian thing to do; there aren’t many Christians that would argue against doing so. Christianity’s influence was responsible for ending slavery and was the moral motivator and sustainer of the civil rights movement — the last great moral movement in our nation’s history. Supporting #BlackLivesMatter isn’t the proper or most effective and practical way for Christians to meet the challenge of fighting the vestiges of racial injustice. In many ways, supporting #BlackLivesMatter contributes to racial discord and perpetuates racial acrimony.

Additionally, part of fighting racial injustice is to resist the reflexive urge to label every socio-economic disparity a result of racial injustice — a characteristic of #BlackLivesMatter. Purposefully mislabeling every racial disparity between blacks and their racial counterparts, the result of “racism,” trivializes actual occurrences of racism, preventing these occurrences from being appropriately addressed. It also stifles constructive strategies (which have nothing to do with race) that can be implemented to diminish socio-economic gaps that continue to exist.

Trying to address racial discrimination is one thing. Trying to do so facilitated by the dishonest rhetoric and antagonistic behavior of the #BlackLivesMatter organization should be of no interest to Christians. Christians shouldn’t allow themselves to be influenced by the kind of overt deception that #BlackLivesMatter espouses, and they shouldn’t legitimize the tactics and secular agenda of such a duplicitous organization.

Sadly, InterVarsity undermined its religious credibility by granting unearned moral authority to #BlackLivesMatter. Shame on Michelle Higgins for conflating the fight against racial injustice — a worthy cause — with the questionable and unworthy cause of #BlackLivesMatter. And shame on InterVarsity for legitimizing this error by giving Higgins such a big platform to mislead so many Christians

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#Blacklivesmatter- but not to black people

black lives

#Blacklivesmatter is a new hashtag activism campaign that claims to be “a response to the ways in which [black] lives have been devalued.” This socially virtuous campaign has gained considerable momentum recently as the country awaited the results of the grand jury investigation into whether enough evidence existed to indict officer Darren Wilson for committing a crime- the murder of Michael Brown.

The objective of #Blacklivesmatter- as stated on at least one website associated with the campaign- “is a call to action…which Black people can unite to end state sanctioned violence both in Ferguson, but also across the United States of America.” It also “aims to end the insidious and widespread assault on Black life that pervades every stage of law enforcement interactions; be it in custody or in our communities.”

The campaign seeks to bring attention to the fact that black lives are every bit as important and worthy of respect as everyone else.

It’s a worthy goal but tragically misguided. The focus of the campaign would have much more moral authority and would be taken much more seriously if it focused on those actions that do devalue black lives- which have very little to do with white cops and everything to do with blacks themselves.

According to data collected from 1980-2008, in 2008, the homicide offender rate for blacks was almost 25 percent, seven times higher than the offending rate of whites (3.4%).   The homicide victimization rate for blacks was about six times higher than the victimization rates for whites. Blacks were also 47.4% of all homicide victims and 52.5% of all homicide offenders. During the same period, blacks accounted for 62% of all drug-related homicides compared to 37% committed by whites. Over 65% of all drug-related homicide offenders were black; whites comprised 33 percent.

Blacks were 44.1% of felony murder victims and almost 60% of felony murder offenders. For gun homicide rates, blacks were 51.4% of all victims but 56.9% of offenders. Black offenders committed 93% of all black homicides.

The FBI statistics aren’t any better. In 2012, of the 2,648 black victims of homicide, blacks were responsible for 2,412. Of the 14,581 total murder offenders that year, 5531 (38%) were black.

This qualifies as an ‘insidious and widespread assault on black life.’

The internecine war doesn’t begin here; it actually begins in the womb. As bad as black criminality is- and it’s bad- the most dangerous place for a black child isn’t the inner city or cities disproportionately populated by blacks. It’s in its mother’s womb.

According to one report, black abortions accounted for nearly 36% of all abortions performed between 2007 and 2010. The same report said blacks accounted for almost 54% (16,738) of all abortions performed in Georgia (31,244 total), even though blacks are less than a third of the population. In Mississippi, between 1995 and 2010, blacks accounted for almost 72% (39,052) of all abortions while comprising 37.4% of the population.

In a 2012, report from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, more black babies were killed by abortion (31,328) than were born (24,758) in New York City, totaling 42.4% of all abortions performed. In 2010, 60% of all viable, black pregnancies in New York City ended in abortion.

The babies fortunate enough to make it out the likely unmarried mother’s womb (black illegitimacy rate is 73%) appear resolute in their intent to finish the work of killing that many black mothers began.

Furthermore, the numbers of black abortions and the numbers of black murders at the hands of other blacks, respectively, both exceed- by far- the total number of blacks killed by lynching (3446) between 1882-1968.

Black lives matter? Not only is it questionable if black lives matter to blacks themselves, one wouldn’t be wrong if one sincerely questioned the depth of self-hate responsible for motivating blacks to kill themselves off with the type of reckless determination that pervades their actions.

When you combine the numbers of black babies aborted with the numbers of black victims who die by the hands of other blacks, you see that the attack on black lives has nothing to do with racist, white cops. If we blacks don’t take our lives seriously, why should we expect- or demand- anyone else to?

Again if #blacklivesmatter- and I believe they do- then black lives have to matter to black folk first, before they matter to others. And black lives have to matter just as much when they’re taken by blacks as they seem to matter when taken by others.