This will be a relatively brief post because it was unplanned and I mainly want to respond to a common criticism of my last post, “Why Don’t Black Lives Matter to White Christians?”
The point of that piece was that post-Judaic Christian theology, especially in regards to concepts such as original sin and substitutionary atonement, have stripped the importance of justice from Christian morality. Social justice was the cornerstone of the Kingdom movement, but when Christianity moved first from Jerusalem into the Diaspora, and then to Gentile God-worshipers, and finally to Gentiles with no background in Judaism whatsoever, it morphed into a completely different movement with a completely different focus than its founder intended.
Simply put, if Jesus was put on this planet by God in order to die on the cross for our sins, then the actual, historical reasons he ended up there do not matter, because they were simply a means to an end.
If, however, Jesus was a man who was crucified for his radical religious, social, and political beliefs, then any religion based on him must take those beliefs extremely seriously.
Many commenters on various platforms took issue not with my theology, but with the actual title of the post, as if I were attacking all white Christians, ever.
Guys? I am a white Christian.
But a particularly common response gave me some pause. It was something to the effect of, “Because God doesn’t play favorites.”
Doesn’t He, though?
Leaving aside the obvious fallacy that saying “Black Lives Matter” somehow implies that other lives don’t (this is linguistics, not philosophy), it’s a bad argument because clearly God plays favorites all throughout the Christian Bible.
First off and most obviously, Christianity stems from Judaism (Jesus was a devout goddamn Jew, people, get that through your thick skulls), which, as a religion, is literally predicated on the supposition that one specific people are God’s “chosen people.”
I mean, seriously? God doesn’t play favorites?
But okay, they think that Jesus came to institute a new covenant, or something like that. I get it.
But here’s the thing: Jesus also played favorites, many times.
Remember what he said to the Syrophoenecian woman? “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)Whoops. That sure sounds like playing favorites to me.
Also, how about, “Blessed are the poor…those who mourn…the meek…those who hunger for righteousness [better translation: justice].” It certainly sounds like there are some specific people or groups of people that Jesus is particularly interested in helping or that he believes are particularly loved by God.
So here’s what I’m saying:
The black community is clearly in mourning, for the countless lives taken too soon, for the families destroyed, for the rampant injustice they face on a daily basis.
And the fact that Black Lives Matter even exists is proof of a tangible hunger for righteousness all across America.
In other words?
If Jesus were alive today, he would proudly proclaim “Black Lives Matter.”
If you care at all about following in the footsteps of the man you claim is God, then you need to say, “Black Lives Matter.”
If you hunger for righteousness and loving justice, you must say, “Black Lives Matter.”
Black lives matter to God. Do they matter to you?
Philando Castile, Facebook
Alton Sterling, Facebook