A meme going around on social media depicts a thirty year old, or so, white male accusing African Americans for causing their own deaths at the hands of the police. The idea being presented in the meme is that, if the African Americans being stopped and killed by police had responded with respect and humble obedience to the officer’s command they would still be alive. Too many videos have destroyed this thinking, and too many innocent lives are being lost. This meme really reveals the log in the eye of many who have not experienced the reality that is everyday life for our Black brothers and sisters. It also reveals the schism between different colored human beings that has given birth to the “Black Lives Matter” movement. This meme inherently promotes a police state. It is not, however, the police that are totally responsible, for most are honorable human beings trying to keep the peace in a terribly chaotic mix of cultures and societies that is the United States.
Within the police man/woman is exactly where hearts of cultures and the law enforcement of cultures meet. In this meeting we may see the results of our inherent illnesses which are many. What is happening between the police and our Black brothers and sisters is the result of a sickness that must be admitted runs deep in our culture. This sickness shapes our laws, made and interpreted by the ultra-rich and powerful, which in turn shape how we react to them. Laws that are passed because of fear and suspicion beget a society filled with fear and suspicion. This illness is racism. Racism is the result of the impossibly, ignorant idea that God favors, or makes better, some races and types of people, while making others subservient to these imagined favored, whoever they are.
There has been a rebuttal of the, “Black Lives Matter,” movement by changing it to, “All Lives Matter.” From a subjective point of view, “all lives matter,” seems to be said with not just a little smugness. After all, it is true; all lives matter.
Jesus says that it is God who seeks out the, “least of these,” or those who are, “lost,” in order to bring them into full life. They need special attention as persons and groups. Even though “the lost” are one with all of God’s creation they have been left out, or have gone astray, or do not realize their relationship to the Divine, or how to live life in a way that recognizes one’s place in it. The idea of being lost has to do with not recognizing the humility with which life should be lived. The lost, whoever they are, need to be recognized just as a wound on the hand, or elsewhere, needs special attention on one’s body.
“Black Lives Matter,” because there is a crippling injury to the body of our common humanity which is effecting the health of the human body as a whole. The pain and loss of dignity felt in our body within this blessed branch of our family must be addressed so that we may be healed properly; it must be named – “Black Lives Matter.”
No one wants to admit to the degree of racism that exists in our nation. Here, in North Idaho, there are those who still fly the Confederate flag proudly, while completely ignorant, or maybe not, of why it is an anathema to the dignity of humanity.
For the religious and those interested in how God might think about our racist problem, Jesus says, “Blessed are you who are poor…, Blessed are you when people hate you…, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…” But there are also some warnings for those who are perpetuating the existence of the poor, the hungry and hated, the slaves and poor in spirit.
In the hearts of those human beings who are calling out to their neighbors for justice and safety, is a blessing. They are the ones whose voices would bless all of us as they, more often than not, teach us to turn the other cheek as they reach out with love in their voices for equity and justice for all. They return love for hate, mercy and understanding for fear, and treat folks like they want to be treated. Maybe they are God’s lesson and blessing for those of us whose eyes are closed to the reality that is everyday life for our Black brothers and sisters, lives that are filled with unexplainable hate and fear. This fear for their lives is especially acute when their paths cross with law enforcement. Our Black sisters and brothers teach us how to love our enemies and to do good to those who hate us. Maybe we will learn how we are all responsible, in some way, for creating the fear that envelopes whites as well as our Black neighbors, so as to enable us to help heal that part of our humanity that is hurting.
Who is God seeking? The lost. Who are the lost? Those who are perpetuating fear, inequity, injustice and proclaiming themselves to be righteous with, “All lives Matter,” and blaming the victims for their deaths while promoting a police state in which no one has any rights and no real police want. Just as all parts of one’s body contributes to the whole body, the whole body needs to contribute to those parts that are hurting the most. Right now, Black Lives do Matter.