In his recent editorial, Eric Black makes some great points about three national questions affecting our local churches: Black Lives Matter, Christian Nationalism and QAnon. Black is wise to suggest pastors and church leaders need to educate themselves on these three issues so they can shepherd their flocks well.
Regarding Black Lives Matter, however, he makes a serious mistake that could have grave implications for how church leaders—and by extension, parishioners—approach the issue.
Black’s mistake is equating the Black Lives Matter movement with the Black Lives Matter Foundation. Despite having the same name, these are not the same.
The BLM movement is decentralized and does not have a definitive set of commitments. It began when Alicia Garza first used the hashtag “#BlackLivesMatter” in response to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014. This hashtag, and the underlying message that Black Americans are not receiving just and equitable treatment in our society, has been shared by millions of Americans since 2014. It is, if anything, more relevant today in light of the shooting of Jacob Blake.
The BLM Foundation is centralized and has a definitive set of 15 commitments—those Black linked in his editorial. Some of these commitments—or aspects thereof—may be contrary to Christian commitments. However, supporting the BLM movement does not entail support of the BLM foundation.
Christians can—and should—say, “Black lives matter.” We can—and should—find ways to help our society change to reflect the truth of that statement. We can—and should—do all of this without fear we also are endorsing the Black Lives Matter Foundation.
The editorial has been updated to reflect the clarification made by Jared Brandt.