Black Lives Matter / Blue Lives Matter / All Lives Matter
Although the statements written above are fairly timeless in their expression of Systemic Racism, we do want to address a current expression in our culture that may change over time. Applying the principles above, what would we say about the current relationship between civil authorities and certain minority cultures who feel uniquely mistreated? We could write a book on this topic, but in a few brief statements, we want to encourage all of us to wrestle well with these ideas.
- Police have a very difficult job keeping the peace in a sinful world. As ministers of justice on the earth under the sovereign hand of God, they should be respected and obeyed within the confines of the law.1 Every time a police officer has to use force to subdue someone engaged in criminal behavior it is not always unfair, no matter what race the perpetrator may be. And although every police officer will struggle with their own inherent biases, they are not all unfair in how they apply the law.
- In light of the above, the statistics, testimonies, and video footage cannot deny that there are police officers who are sinful in their application of the law. At times, officers have treated those of minority culture with unfair bias, suspicion, harassment and violence. To pretend that the current arrest rates, conviction rates, and prison sentences are perfectly just is to believe that some races are exponentially more “law- breaking” than others and some races are exponentially more “law-abiding” than others. That is not Biblical. Blacks and other minorities are targeted in unfair ways at times by some authorities and we should all care about fighting against those injustices.
- Finally, just because minority culture cries out for justice, that does not mean there are no other kinds of injustices that affect everyone, even majority culture. We all live in a fallen, broken world and we all have experienced injustice at times in our lives. But there have been especially hurtful injustice in our country’s history between whites and blacks. Slavery, Jim Crow laws, segregation, and the resulting generation poverty experience in black communities, are realities that whites cannot minimize or explain away. In general, those in power in our country do what they can to stay in power, and those considered unequal have had to fight an uphill battle to gain the equal rights that our constitution claimed were there from the beginning. This is true of more than blacks, but we should not diminish blacks’ desire for justice by acting like we are all fighting for justice ourselves in the same way. Of course, all lives matter equally, but it is appropriate to acknowledge when one group is experiencing injustice without having to defend your own injustices, or pretend they are the same.