Christians and Black Lives Matter

TW: To anyone who is LGBTQ+ in my audience, some of this post may be difficult for you to read. As you know, there are very intense feelings in the Christian community about your status, and I am not saying what I say in this post to devalue you or your feelings or your community. I value you. You are valuable and important, and your voice is valuable and important. I just want Christians to understand that BLM is not a LGBTQ+ movement, but that their defense of LGBTQ+ people makes sense with their mission. 

https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/

“Every human life is sacred, because every human person is sacred.”

-Pope John Paul II

Something that has been happening over the last couple of days on my facebook page is this trickle of christians proclaiming their opposition to Black Lives Matter, “I cannot support BLM as a Christian, just read their “what we believe.” I have seen this enough times for it to stop making me roll my eyes, and realize this is an actual danger.

Dear Christians,

No. You absolutely can support Black Lives Matter. In fact, many of the beliefs they are founded on are the same beliefs that Christianity is, and Christians should already believe at least most, if not all of the things that BLM teaches. 

“Black Lives Matter began as a call to action in response to state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism. Our intention from the very beginning was to connect Black people from all over the world who have a shared desire for justice to act together in their communities. The impetus for that commitment was, and still is, the rampant and deliberate violence inflicted on us by the state.”

This is the most important thing to understand about the BLM beliefs. This is their mission, their origin, their purpose. They are not called “Black lives matter,” to position themselves about other people, as many Christians are saying. To make themselves some sort of perfect race better than everyone else. The phrase is Black Lives Matter because they are not being treated like they do. Also, for those who believe this makes them Marxist, it is ridiculous to say that they are separating people out and saying only certain groups matter. First of all, because their focus is to help one certain group of people, that doesn’t mean that everyone else does not. Also, the divisions were already there, they are just pointing them out. 

“Every day, we recommit to healing ourselves and each other, and to co-creating alongside comrades, allies, and family a culture where each person feels seen, heard, and supported.”

This is such an important sentence. Here they are admitting that they are flawed and in need of healing, which is what Christians should be doing consistently. They are also are committed to working with others, including “family” which should be a beautiful testament to a desire to build up our community, and to emphasize the family which Christians should be excited about, considering how often we talk about “the family is under attack.”

We acknowledge, respect, and celebrate differences and commonalities.

God created us all different in so many ways. Christians believe that each part of the body of Christ is important and has a role to play, and since that is the case, we should be behind this statement.

We work vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people.

In some ways, this one is a given, but “by extension, all people,” will become more important as you read on.

We intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting.

So many people have used straw man arguments against BLM talking about how they want to stir up trouble, or they are so violent. The actual movement, wants to RESTORE not to deplete. They are clear that they are working towards beauty, not harm.

We are unapologetically Black in our positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position. To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a prerequisite for wanting the same for others.

(To the Marxist argument) It is not fair to expect an organization that is trying to help black people, to not talk about Black-ness, or be Black.

Also, Christians should be 100% behind desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a prerequisite for wanting the same for others because “love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

We see ourselves as part of the global Black family, and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black people who exist in different parts of the world.

Again, it takes so much humility and courage to speak this way. They are also setting an example for what they mean by white privilege, or by ‘privilege’ in any context. They are not saying that privilege makes you a bad person, just that there is a different impact on different people and that matters.

We are guided by the fact that all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status, or location.

Here’s where it gets a little trickier. All they are saying here is that, these LIVES MATTER. Many Christians tend to get offended whenever people talk about LGBTQ+ rights, but THESE LIVES MATTER. These are people, you may not agree with them, or like how they are living, but you should 100% believe that their life matters. Pro-life, from conception to natural death, MUST include these lives. In Jesus’ ministry, he sat with the sinners, and He saved an adulteress, we know that He valued all lives, even if you do think they are sinning. 

Also, did you notice they added religious rights in there? It’s easy to skim right past and forget that that is something we are fighting for too.

We make space for transgender brothers and sisters to participate and lead.

Again, they are not saying they are trying to make more people transgender, or that their focus is on them. They are saying that they make space for them to be a part of their community. Again, these people still matter, even if you disagree with their lifestyle, they should be allowed to be heard especially on these issues.

We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.

This is where it gets a little murky for some Christians. Here you are right, they are saying that they want to help Trans people. The fact that they want to “dismantle cisgender privilege” may be a concern, because many Christians are concerned that the Trans community is ‘destroying gender roles.’ I am not going there today, because that’s a huge issue that is going to take a lot of writing to talk about, and I am trying to focus on this for now(we will get there at some point). However, BLM encouraged their readers to understand the need for dismantling this privilege by citing trans-antagonistic violence. They are trying to help you to understand that whether you believe in what Trans do or not, they are getting hurt, and that is not ok. As I’ve mentioned earlier, we should agree with that wholeheartedly.

We build a space that affirms Black women and is free from sexism, misogyny, and environments in which men are centered.

For more on why this is amazing and super Christian, check out FemCatholic.

We practice empathy. We engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.

It is important to understand all of their beliefs in this context. 

We make our spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. We dismantle the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” so that they can mother in private even as they participate in public justice work.

In a world where the family is not valued, and mothers who want to have children are mistreated, this is a true pro-life stance, and it should be applauded, as well as their work to help families to work with them. 

We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.

This is getting twisted and mixed up all over the internet and it is really sad. In America, we have developed this intense small-family structure that is just the parents and the children. Other cultures encourage extended families and other adults around to be involved in each others lives. Even in the very limited exposure to minority communities that I have, their families have a bond that I do not often see in the white community. They have aunts and uncles hanging out with them all the time, grandparents live with their kids, adults from other families help each other out with raising their kids. This community is so important and beautiful and something we should all be working toward. It is so frustrating to me that people are saying that they want to destroy the family. 

Also, it is important that they added “to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.” They are anticipating your fears and concerns and trying to let you know, you are safe.

We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).

If you are a Christian and you made it through my other comments, this may be the rule that makes you step back. Depending on your denomination, you may believe that people are created as man and woman and created for each other in which case their problem with heteronormative thinking may feel like an attack on you. My own beliefs on this are super complicated and I am not really ready to articulate them because it would be a mess of words in ten thousand directions. However, it is important to remember that over and over BLM has discussed the importance of empathy, and every person feeling included. That “every person” included people of different religious beliefs, which may mean YOU.

Empathy helps us to see other people who are suffering the same thing, or something similar to what we are. Queer people have been through so much violence and pain, it makes sense through the lens of empathy that anyone trying to achieve justice should affirm them too.  From their perspective, all they are saying here is that man/woman only, and being attracted only to the opposite sex makes people feel they do not belong, and they want to make sure those people feel like they belong. or these people have suffered too, and we do not want them to suffer more. That’s a natural movement of empathy, and even if you do not believe that heteronormative thinking is a problem, I think we can all learn from the place of love that inspired this.

We cultivate an intergenerational and communal network free from ageism. We believe that all people, regardless of age, show up with the capacity to lead and learn.

This is so beautiful in a world where the pro-life are fighting against euthanasia and other issues against older people. BLM is reinforcing our stance that all life matters including those who are older, and also younger. 

We embody and practice justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another.  Just…yes.


The End.

Okay, so that was long, if you made it through, thank you for reading. You have now read the beliefs of BLM along with my own commentary on them to help Christians to understand how they can still be a part of BLM. For any more information, please go to their website I cited above.

IN MEMORIAM. ❤


Thank you, Jussie Smollett: Sending love

 

The first thing I saw when I searched for news of your attack was,

He “turned down extra security before the event.”

My mind started spinning with conspiracy theories from every TV show I have ever watched. If this was the CW, you would have perfectly orchestrated the attack for some money-related reason, or some politician would have done the same, but so that they would get the vote. I caught myself, and I couldn’t believe that was where my mind went. Then, I felt myself question, what if he did make it up, what if I end up feeling stupid?

On the other hand, my heart broke for you, and I was so angry that someone would be so petty. What if you were in a meeting and they told you that they could provide you a second bodyguard, or third, or you could buy more time with one of them? I can honestly say, I don’t think I would have chosen extra security either. How could you have known that you would need it?

Then, I caught myself again while reading the accounts, “Oh, the rope around his neck was a thin one, how convenient,” and I recoiled at myself in shock. I don’t know when I became so un-trusting, that I would look for the smallest detail and use it as an excuse to believe the worst in someone. I used to believe that everyone was good. When I was a kid, I would have prayed for you every day, though I would also have been terrified for my life because my empathy couldn’t understand that I was not the victim of any and everything I witnessed. (Note: I am not exaggerating about this, I once had a dream the KKK tried to burn my house down, and I have never fully recovered.) Some people in my life scared me, though, and now I guess I have hardened my heart to keep from being embarrassed.

The truth is, though, Jussie, is that I am so upset that you would be hurt. You are such a beautiful light to the world, and I am so grateful for you. Your performance as Jamal in Empire inspires me, every time I watch it. Kindness, compassion, and empathy radiates from you through the screen. Your every word, your every song, echoes throughout my life, a butterfly effect of hope. I want to thank you for everything you do.

I saw your family on The Chew a while back, and each of you inspired me with stories of surviving financial struggles as kids. Your mother was your world, and I relished those stories, as I lay pregnant and sick on the couch with my first baby playing on the floor. I admired the joy you and your family brought to discussions of food and family, and I aspire to create a family with that kind of spirit.

Amidst the fear, anger, skepticism, empathy, and sorrow, I happened across articles about the support for you from your Empire family and twitter feeds, and then articles about what you do for people. I already admired your courage for playing a character that would make so many people feel so much that it would emerge as anger, hatred, or worse, but now I discovered that you live the values you perform. I admire your work for LGBTQ, and AIDS. In my own life, sometimes, I don’t know how to feel about the religious and political war of gender equality vs. the traditions with which I was raised, but you have always advocated KINDNESS, and anyone can get behind that.

Thank you for being that kind voice in the world. Thank you for having the courage to perform a role that would make others feel powerful emotions. Thank you for being the kind of person who would deny extra security, because you don’t live with all of your walls up. I am so grateful for who you are as a person, and I hope you know that the whole world is not made of these people, who are willing to hurt others. There is good in the world, and there is gratitude for your place in it.

Thank you.

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