As a Christian pro-life advocate, I often hear the words,“You’re not really Christian unless…” According to thinkers on the left side of the spectrum, what you must support to claim the title “Christian” is extensive. The most common arguments typically boil down to, “You’re not a real Christian unless you solve every social ill known to man.”
One recent derivative of this assertion is, “You can’t be Christian unless you affirm that black lives matter.” On the surface, it seems obvious that to properly represent a position that states all men are created in the image of God you would, indeed, need to affirmatively declare black lives matter.
Our Christian faith requires we believe in the intrinsic value of all life. Love for our fellow man is the motivation for promoting life-affirming culture. If our black brothers and sisters feel they’ve been disenfranchised, addressing this carefully is paramount to getting to the truth and healing wounds. Loving and supporting black people’s goal of equity in opportunity is vital for those who hope to see a universal acceptance of the sanctity of all life. As hashtag advocacy goes, #BlackLivesMatter seems self-evident and as nonpartisan as declaring #MeToo if you’re a sexual assault survivor.
But while BLM the organization declares their movement a “natural phenomenon” and its organization decentralized, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter was intentionally marketed to a specific cause. As such, we must be cautious to clarify that affirming “black lives matter” is different than supporting Black Lives Matter, the 501 (c)(3), its chapters, and its partners.
Christians should limit our use of popular hashtags — primarily #BlackLivesMatter and #HandsUpDontShoot — to share messages regarding equality. Hashtag advocacy leads back to the organizations that create the hashtags. In this case, it means directing friends and family to an overt effort to fundamentally remake the world with socialist ideas—ideas that often directly contradict the message of the gospel.
The Origin of Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter began as a social media hashtag intended to bring attention to the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was shot by George Zimmerman. The words were a desperate cry for justice. As arguments regarding white supremacy and gun control policy dominated the airwaves, black women were burying their sons. In a country that believed it had finally broken the race barrier, electing our first black president just a few years before, this contradiction was unacceptable.
In her famous 2013 “Love Letter to Black People,” Black Lives Matter founder and community organizer Alicia Garza wrote: “I continue to be surprised at how little black lives matter.” Her friend and fellow organizer, Patrisse Kahn Cullors, created the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Another organizer friend, Opal Tometi, saw the marketing potential, purchased the domain name, and created a social media presence. The three formed the official Black Lives Matter Network after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
Since July 2013, Black Lives Matter has grown to 40 chapters worldwide, with 16 located in America. Famous faces and influencers like John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, and Beyoncé Knowles openly support and promote BLM. As a movement, it is here to stay. Yet despite its seeming newness, Black Lives Matter is just part of a movement that has been in existence for decades under different names.
BLM Founders Openly Support Socialism
While it’s considered lazy scholarship to declare those who have left politics “socialist,” all three founders of the Black Lives Matter movement have openly shared their desires to end capitalism. In their online articles, videos, and interviews, all three allude to concepts that originate in socialism, communism, or Marxism.
Garza started her organizing career working in abortion advocacy before moving on to groups like NDWA, SOUL, and POWER—which merged with CJJC in 2014, and RTTC—all of which focus on worker and housing activism via anti-capitalist activism.
Cullors works in jail and policing activism as the founder of Dignity and Power Now. Her philosophy rests on the concept of prison abolition and reparations in financial compensation and land redistribution. She promotes BDS—the leftist, antisemitic boycott, divest, and sanction movement—both as a signatory to public statements supporting Palestinians and in articles she’s written. She speaks eloquently about “peoples-led socialist movements” in South America and once was “mentored” by Eric Mann, a former agitator of the Weather Underground domestic terrorism organization.
Opal Tometi focuses almost exclusively on immigration activism. She has spoken at Left Forum events, shared a stage with Venezuelan dictator Nicholas Maduro, and helped oversee “fair” elections in Venezuela in 2015.
Virtually all of the spaces Black Lives Matter and its founders inhabit are associated with leftist or openly socialist worker’s movements. All three women have spoken at Left Forum, a think tank for socialists, which engages high-profile communists, socialists, and Marxists as keynote speakers. Speakers include luminaries such as Marxist Silvia Federici and Frances Fox Piven.
Black Lives Matter has sponsored town hall meetings with leftist extremists even the leftist agitation group Southern Poverty Law Center finds objectionable. They’ve written touching eulogies for mass murderers who brutally suppressed Christianity.
They’ve recreated narratives to characterize a law enforcement officer as inherently aggressive and deceptive, even when forensics have shown their position to be inaccurate. While I agree that criminal justice reforms are needed, BLM’s misleading coverage forced the police officer involved in the Brown shooting to go into hiding due to death threats. Although we’re six years removed from 2014, he remains in hiding.
This Is an Extremist Left Organization
Black Lives Matter’s founders and its political demands are overtly socialist. Socialism is an ideology that has caused the violent political suppression and mass murder of millions.
Thus, if we are not careful in our social media interactions, we may end up inadvertently supporting a repugnant political ideology responsible for mass killing on a scale multiple times that of the Nazis, not to mention some of the worst oppression against Christians we’ve seen in modern times. We would be supporting an overtly pro-abortion movement whose founders previously worked in abortion advocacy. We would be paying homage to women who have stood on stage with political leaders who are starving their citizens to death.
While I understand the desire to promote a consistent life ethic as a Christian, doing so by supporting Black Lives Matters, rather than supporting black people whose lives matter, would be as valueless as joining the ranks of the same leftists we’ve seen on stage for the last 60 years. This is nothing new, and it’s not compatible with Christianity.
Co-opting our goodwill to promote a political agenda regularly happens on both sides of the aisle. This time, the leftist Black Lives Matter controls the narrative. Opinions will shift, and maybe a conservative movement will take the stage next. Whichever way the pendulum swings, protecting the timeless lessons that teach us how to love our neighbor should remain the highest priority of Christians, not irresponsible hashtag activism.