By Marty Owen
Across the country, business owners, employees and private individuals are being pressured in various ways to affirm, either verbally or in writing, that "black lives matter." I would like to explain why I have made a decision not to utter those words, mantra like, at the present time. It is not because I disagree with their content, but because those words are being co-opted by a highly dangerous revolutionary movement to mean something other than what they would mean if they were understood in the context of a Christian worldview.
Let us be clear about this: The words "black lives matter," as they are being used at this critical moment of history in the service of a political agenda, do not refer to the biblical truth that all human beings have intrinsic worth because they are made in the image of God. No Christian would deny that; it is the reason why we should treat people of all skin tones with dignity and respect, since all lives – including black lives – matter to God. If that´s what those words meant, then the expression "all lives matter" would not be interpreted as a racial slur or insult, as it is being interpreted by leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Advertisement - story continues below
The fact is, "black lives matter" means something else in our present cultural context; though strictly true in their denotative meaning, those three words are being used as a tool of social control to compel agreement with a particular narrative. That narrative says that black people are being deliberately targeted by law enforcement, which, as a general rule, is racist, brutal and contemptuous of the lives of black people. I regard that as a baseless and indeed an outrageous slander against police officers. That is why I refuse to be pressured into affirming that "black lives matter" – as if it were necessary to say those words on cue to show that I am "sensitive" toward the experience of minorities and, therefore, not a racist.
Of course I believe that black lives matter! But I will not be compelled to agree with a narrative that I believe is factually false, unsupported by the statistical evidence and dangerously divisive. To do so would be an act of weakness motivated by fear of reprisal or by a sycophantic desire to be applauded by men as virtuous.
I must confess that I despise the "anti-police" rhetoric one hears these days from the brainwashed masses on America's streets; it reminds me of the anti-Jewish rhetoric with which the Nazis swept a deceived German populace into an anti-Jewish frenzy during the rise of Hitler. As I watch the streets of America set ablaze on television, shop windows shattered, monuments toppled and the word "PIG" written by violent anarchists on police cars, I see anything but social justice! As I hear criminal thugs threaten to smash religious symbols and "burn down the system" if they don't get what they want, and I see sniveling, cowardly politicians yield to their outrageous demands, I feel like I am watching America's own version of "Kristallnacht." How history repeats itself!
Watching this unravelling of America's social and cultural fabric, I think to myself, as a Christian, how lost and hopeless is this world without Christ! How unable it is to rise above it's own depravity! To my fellow Christians, I say, don't you dare lend any support, by your words or deeds, to this self-destructive national hysteria! When you hear others "bad mouthing" the police and calling for the abolition of police departments, don't you dare have any part in such "evil speaking"! To do so would be to contradict the apostle Paul himself, who teaches quite plainly in Romans 13 that God has equipped the governing authorities with the "power of the sword" to enforce the law. Without the power to use physical force, law enforcement officers would not be able to enforce compliance with the law. The law, in that case, would be reduced to mere advice, leaving hardened criminals free to rape, loot and murder people to their hearts' content. It would leave street gangs free to rule neighborhoods and impose their tyrannical will on terrified citizens. A Christian should never lend his support to anarchy. Neither should he give any credit to the unjustified and negative slander of police officers as a class, which is what underlies, like a snake in the grass, the seemingly unobjectionable affirmation that "Black Lives Matter."
Advertisement - story continues below
We should never impute to any group of people as a class – without clear evidence to support our claim – negative stereotypes simply because their skin or the suit they wear to work is of a certain color. A policeman's blue suit tells me no more about what is in his heart than a black person's skin color. The image of policemen as being – as a class – racist, brutal and uncaring toward black people describes accurately only a small minority of policemen; the majority are self-sacrificing, hard-working, diligent, responsible, humble public servants who merit our respect and our honor.
To treat the police with contempt in a bid to defund police departments and welcome anarchy, as the Black Lives Matter movement proposes, is reprehensible. I refuse to have any part in this madness. To slander policemen in this way is most unfair, most unjust and most un-Christian. It is why so many policemen are quitting their jobs – they can't take any more the thankless hatred, prejudice and slander. They have no desire to spend their lives being spat on, shouted at, threatened, called "pigs" and made the butt of all sorts of atrocious, evil acts of disrespect, abuse and violence, which at the present time are being committed against them.
Black lives certainly matter – but I will not recite submissively any phrase used as a shibboleth while anarchists continue to launch attacks on the established order with terrorist acts and threats of violence. I will not aid and abet with my tongue anyone who demands compelled speech of others. Nor will I cease to protest assaults on liberty and the rule of law until the present cultural revolution has decisively ended, along with the coronavirus pandemic, that other great crisis of 2020, which mirrors in its deadly effects the social and legal meltdown we are witnessing on America's streets.
Marty Owen has served in pastoral ministry both in the southern United States and in Europe. He is currently serving as a missionary pastor in southern Spain, where he lives with his wife and daughter.