For starters, I’m talking about the organization. If you don’t understand why Catholics must agree with the statement “Black lives matter,” you need a hell of a lot more than a blog post. Now then.
A lot of Catholics are leery of BLM. Some are actively opposed to it. It’s probably no secret what side I’m on, but I want to go through a few common accusations made against BLM,1 and see if there’s any merit to them. Criticisms even of good organizations can be valid and useful, after all. And since politics is always strategic and usually involves compromise, it’s important to know what sorts of compromises you’re prepared to make, and whom exactly you’re allying with.
The accusations made against BLM that I’ve seen tend to come in four kinds:
1. BLM is atheistic and Marxist.
2. BLM supports violence.
3. BLM is anti-family and supports the gay agenda.
4. BLM supports abortion, or is a distraction from the issue of abortion.
Assertions like these will naturally put Catholics on their guard, since they touch on major flash-points of the culture war. But it is worthwhile to lower our guard long enough to listen and make sure we’re viewing things fairly.
Now, BLM is a big movement, and I’m sure that a person who looked hard enough could find individual members or supporters of BLM who are violent trans Marxist atheist abortionists in bisexual polycules. But I’m not going to treat that as defining BLM—for the same reason I don’t treat violent misogynistic fascist Catholic racists in abusive marriages as defining the Catholic Church. No matter what group or belief you’re dealing with, you’ll be able to dig up dirt2 on some of its members. But that doesn’t really tell you much about that group or belief, except that its adherents are human. I take for granted that everyone involved with BLM is flawed somehow or other. So I’m going to stick to the question: What does BLM actually believe and promote?
1It’s worth pointing out that BLM is not the only active anti-racist advocacy group in the country! There are many others, and have been for decades. However, BLM is a convenient representative (since it’s well-known), and it has drawn specific criticisms—fairly or not—so I’m talking about it here. My points doubtless have broader application than just to BLM.
2Or stuff that you and your allies regard as dirt, at least. Handily enough, people who disagree about ethics sometimes live differently from each other. It will always be easy to condemn a person for not living up to a standard of conduct they don’t believe in.