BLACK LIVES MATTER: What We Believe (An Evangelical Rejoinder)

The greatness and uniqueness of our country started in its being the destination for people who were dissatisfied and disenfranchised by their government’s civil and religious restrictions. Moving forward, an unappreciated and exploited populous rose up against a mighty empire and fought and gained its independence. A divisive civil war united this country on the thinnest of economic and racial lines which was held together by a Constitution which allows continuous amendments to ensure equality for every citizen and for those who desired to come and invest in this experiment of governance by and for the people.

Every step along the way has been challenged and debated by every conceivable philosophical, economic, religious, humanistic and political worldview whose origin dates back to the earliest of ancient times. The thinking of many who conclude that what we are experiencing in our country is unprecedented have no appreciation of world history nor American history. There have always been and there will always be movements to address and give redress to every conceivable political, religious, social, civil and racial differences and conflicts, not only in America, but globally. Since, in fact, every emendation of these factions is embedded in our nation, we are stronger, not weaker, in our quest for a governance model for civil rights and social and economic justice.

Black Lives Matter has come on the scene in the last two decades and their prominence, propelled by social media and the horrific death of Mr. George Floyd, is another welcomed voice in the struggle for social justice. Their recent 10-point Manifesto against police brutality and racial injustice is both insightful and well intentioned. Notwithstanding, like any movement that puts its agenda in the marketplace of ideas for acceptance as a viable strategy for social change, it must withstand the scrutiny and evaluation from other well-intentioned movements and suasions which have proven to be effective.

The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s stands as the most effective movement to date that has brought the historic racial inequities perpetrated against African Americans to the public’s eye. The effectiveness of their strategy has resulted in the celebrated advancement of African Americans in every walk of life. Consider a comparison between the historic Civil Rights movement and newly founded Black Lives Matter movement:

Historic Civil Rights Movement

Black Lives Matter

Founded & Led by Masculine


Founded and Led by Feminine


Christian in Scope

Humanistic in Scope

Major Accomplishments:

Constitutional Amendment and Voter Rights Legislation

Major Accomplishment:

-Yet to be Determined-

Every social movement that has as its agenda the alleviation of social injustice and racial inequities is welcomed into the arena of debate but it must be scrutinized by the community at large and judged by those who lend their support to the process. Key to this process is the support of the African American church.

The early Negro church became the first major institution which was under complete Black control. It is of no small wonder that it was through its influence that social change was initiated. It is also of no small wonder that it was unrivaled as a political, economic, social and cultural organism where the historic roots of Black people’s aspirations for liberation were collectively voiced.

The historic takeaway is that the first organized effort to unite African Americans for social change was religious and the leadership was predominantly masculine and Christian. Of equal consideration is how the African American church resisted compromise by not aligning itself with other competing movements that could diminish its efforts. Some of the more notable influences were radical theologies like Liberation Theology and Black Theology. The African American Church also resisted any umbrella association with the political entities like the Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam. Unfortunately, it was through the impact of Mahatma Gandhi that the leadership of the Civil Rights movement adopted the non-biblical strategy of non-violence as a sympathetic tool to garner emotional appeal. Nevertheless, this strategy got the desired results as the nation saw for the first time the brutality inflicted on African Americans in the South.

The Black Lives Matter movement will never garner such sympathetic appeal for two reasons. First, it has an imbedded humanistic ideology at its core, and second, it has the support of radical associations which take advantage of its popularity to foster their own agenda for change.

Historically, Humanism embraced a philosophical stance that emphasized the value and agency of human beings, both individually and collectively. It viewed humans as solely responsible for the promotion and development of individuals and emphasized concern for humans in relation to the world. However, in modern times, humanist movements centered on human agency while looking to science rather than revelation for a supernatural source to understand the world. “Secular” humanism is a comprehensive life stance or worldview that embraces human reason and human based morality and distributive justice. Important is the fact that it consciously rejects supernatural claims, theistic faith and religiosity. “Personal” humanism is an ethical life stance which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It too, is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality.

Whether knowingly or not, the founders of Black Lives Matters have embraced this ancient-to-modern philosophy that has reviled Christianity through the centuries. As in any well thought out activist document that expresses actions and desired outcomes, many of the adherents to that movement embrace the rhetoric without giving serious thought to its underlining core values. However, in their document, “What We Believe,” there are glaring assumptions, inconsistencies and implications that run afoul of evangelical Christianity. Consider two observations:

  1. Throughout their document, imbedded expressions such as sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, transgender, cisgender privilege, Black trans folk, Black trans women, queer-affirming network, and freedom from the tight grip of heterosexual thinking send a clear and unambiguous orientation about their stance on human sexuality.
  2. The assumption that the nuclear family is a Western construct is incorrect. The nuclear family is the foundational institution in every society. It is the demise of the nuclear family in the Black community that has produced fatherless households, genocidal levels of abortion, and the proliferation of gangs resulting in Black-on-Black violence. All of which is a clear indication that the Black community is still struggling with the historic psychological chains of slavery.

In spite of their compelling message, another reason why Black Lives Matters will not garner widespread support is that it has not, or better yet, was not able to protect its brand from the more radical organizations which marched with them and under their banner. Some of these groups not only have a different message but they also have a more radical approach to social change which boarders on anarchy and Marxism. It’s too late and practically impossible now to separate the Black Lives Matter agenda from the hateful rhetoric and pictures of rioting and anarchy in spite of their eloquent and passionate denunciations.

The whole world is watching our nation. How we handle our social and racial problems will impact the whole world. The global issues of racism, ethnic violence, destructive tribalism, casteism, mistreatment and abuse of immigrants, enslavement of the vulnerable, and the glorification of gratuitous violence manifest themselves in many forms in every culture. Is there a global strategy and solution that can bring peace to a world that has been traumatized by hatred? Yes. The only solution is the global impact of the gospel of Jesus Christ which the Church has been commissioned to initiate.

Rev. Dr. Olah L. Moore

Senior Pastor

Faith Community Church

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