This is a wild time in our nation. Not to be colloquial but society is in a wilderness right now. The story of race has been cut open new again and everyone is trying to figure out what to do with it. I’ve been listening, praying, and reading the various voices in the conversation of race. Left, right, and holy. The 1619 Project, Thomas Sowell, MLK, The Breakfast Club, Candace Owens, BLM, Larry Elder, Kimberly Jones, and Allen West amongst others. I’ve listened to black voices in the Church about their experience around this issue, including a “Coffee Talk” conversation I had with Fr. Moses, you can find it here.
What this article is, a commentary and challenge to get back into a place of dialog and debating of facts. To think as an individual and break from whatever narrative you are immersed in is the foundation of civil discourse. That means educating ourselves beyond the spheres we frequent. We have carved out idealogical lines with our families, friends, social media, and news outlets. Made tribes armed with spears. This closes our minds. Let your fingers loosen and defang yourself. A return to prayer softens the heart and clears the mind. We need a lot more of God if we’re going to solve the problems we’re facing in the 21st century.
What this is not, a full treatise on the topic. I’d be kidding myself if I thought I could solve or dive into all of the facts or perspectives involved in a quick read blog post but I would like to encourage you to tune into the various links and sources in the post for more reading. There are much smarter people engaged and my perspective is limited but what I will rely on are some of the black voices advocating in the scene.
While discerning my way through the conversation, something has become abundantly clear. There is a struggle of message in 2020. I think everyone can agree what happened to George Floyd was a terrible and ugly moment for the country and it was. Nobody cheered. Nobody celebrated. But the following month would have made it seem that the opposite was true. The nation exploded with fervor. The country took hold of passions and ran with them.
A loud collective voice took over and led what should have been a peaceful movement of solidarity turned into chaos. Riots and destruction in the streets, proclamations that the nation is systemically racist, that police need to be defunded, and our history should be torn down. And you have advocates stoking the fire saying that it’s legitimate. I disagree.
As a white man in America, I find that it is a little intimidating approaching the conversation, not because I have a problem with talking about tough conversations or that there is any shame, but there is a pressure out there to think a certain way, to tow a line. Cancel culture is very real and limits discussion and opportunity. In a free and liberal society, free speech is one of the most important pieces of our heritage. This is the most difficult article I’ve written but my nation, my voice.
First off, if you are judging someone based on the color of skin, you need to check yourself. As Americans and Christians, that is not who we’re called to be. Judging on race is cheap and thin-skinned. It’s dehumanizing and embarrassing. It is important to remember to love one another, to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus told us this as the second greatest commandment (Matt 22:38-40).
Our history is steeped in our racial divide. Slavery and the proceeding hundred years before the overturning of Jim Crow was terrible. As history, it’s important to read and learn about where we came from and have fought to overcome. It’s important to also know the history so you are not fed lies. It’s important to remember that it was blacks and whites who worked together to solve these problems. This isn’t an us versus them game as common narratives would claim. It’s going to be a just us mentality to bring healing and better opportunity for all.
I want to provide some contrast. If you’ve been observing, a lot of voices are saying that we need to listen. As President Obama has challenged lately, “make people uncomfortable.” Challenge: to listen to the other side. I’ve put down just a few samples of some of the most intriguing voices at work right now. The challenge here is for you to break outside of your tribe for a moment and pick another side below and listen to the argument. Go ahead. Hear it through. Is it convincing? What about it do you disagree with? Is there a common ground? Stretch a little.
Next level is to compare and contrast, who do you align with, and why?
Baratunde Thurston – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZgkjEdMbSw
Kimberly Jones – https://youtu.be/llci8MVh8J4
Middle Ground – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VspjfNMPHyc
Thomas Sowell – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mS5WYp5xmvI
Eric July – https://youtu.be/pf_LQhcIO4g
Fr. Josh Johnson and Jeff Cavins – https://www.facebook.com/AscensionPress/videos/574652393191720/UzpfSTU4MDc3NTMwNDoxMDE2MzU1NjEyMDI5NTMwNQ/
Fr. Pierre Toussaint, CFR and Fr. Agustino Torres CFR – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVxcB1qEQqg
Black Lives Matters
I haven’t heard one argument that claims that black lives don’t matter. The phrase “black lives matters” is something everyone can get behind. Black people and culture of course has a place in this nation and should be protected and invested in. Yes, they matter.
Then there is the Black Lives Matters Movement, an ironclad identity that you would be foolish to oppose, because how could you ever get away with saying you don’t support Black Lives Matters? But here I am and here’s why I stand on this…
The ironclad wordplay is very clever, however there is much to BLM that I cannot get behind. First of all is in their mission, the disruption of the nuclear family, the unit on which society is built on. We know by stats that families that stay together have higher incomes, better health, and are overall happier. In a time when fatherlessness is at an all-time high for black families, why would we encourage otherwise?
Secondly, Patrisse Cullors, the founder of BLM, claims the ideological framework of the movement is Marxist. That they are trained that way. Marxist? The same ideology that is responsible for over 100 million deaths in the 20th century? That sought to enslave the world in an unjust economic system where liberty and opportunity are snuffed out? I’ll have more to say on this in the fourth installment in this series, “Socialism the Great Enslaver”.
Thirdly, one of the founding members, Shaun King is openly advocating for the destruction of Christian property and holy imagery. He’s not the only one. Aside from the fact that nearly every society has portrayed the Lord in local imagery, including Black and Asian Jesus, the Lord is someone who we are made in the image and likeness of. Christian art reflects that. The removal of national sites should be a democratic process with a vote where people in a community have a say, not the roving bands of brigands with an ax to grind. Most importantly, we need to recognize this for what it is, a hate crime against religion. You have no right to the destruction of other’s property and this level of incitement to violence to a specific faith, is actually a crime. There have been reports around the country of churches being vandalized. The St. Louis reports of Catholics being assaulted by praying by the statue of St. Louis himself is terrifying. They didn’t fight back. This is Marxism.
I’m all on board with the fact that black lives matters. If you think BLM is worthy of a knee, look again.
The greatest thing we can do as a country is to pray. If we’re going to solve anything, we need to put away our swords and do it together. If we are one nation, under God then let’s call ourselves back to that. Ourselves. Before we point out the splinter in someone else’s eye, we better work on the log in our own. For some reading this, you might roll your eyes at the God thing, but one thing is clear, we certainly don’t get our rights because of man.
It doesn’t matter what side of the lines you find yourself, this is a good time to check and see how you treat people. It starts in us and at home before we can ever go and change the world. If you have struggled in the past with seeing others who are different, through skin or ideology, gut check yourself. No, you don’t need to make a pressured social statement, just work on it. Stretch and learn. Lead with love. We have one home, let’s live up to what the country has set as our mission statement, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
If I can boil every conversation I have heard down to one point, it’s this. I hear a black community in desperate need of fair and fearless opportunity. We’ve been trying to solve this problem for the last sixty years through a liberal/progressive government ideology with terrible results, beginning with the Great Society. As Lyndon B. Johnson, a true racist, was heard saying, “I’ll have those $#% voting Democratic for 200 years.” I highly recommend Thomas Sowell, famed economist and advocate, to hear what he has to say about that experiment.
It’s time for a free market and entrepreneurial approach. Everywhere the free market principles are executed there is a rise of opportunity to those people. England, America, post-war Germany and Japan, South Korea, Israel, and more. We are the land of opportunity and we don’t need to burn it to the ground, we need to turn it up around the country in places like Chicago, St. Louis, and Baltimore. Let’s give more opportunities to support black small businesses and incentivize raising families and communities. Let’s teach free-market principles and entrepreneurship at young ages and inspire and encourage the vision through.
In addition, perhaps the most insidious is the long-running scourge of abortion in low-income communities. Planned Parenthood, founded by eugenist Margaret Sanger, is still targeting minorities with two out of every three surgical abortion sites in black/minority communities. The mindset of the Confederacy and White Supremacy, eugenics is the disgusting discipline of selective breeding. It is sadly still alive and well-disguised as women’s rights today. When black women represent 13% of the population and receive 30% of the abortions, there is a problem. As of 2008, that was over 1,000 babies a day. Over nineteen million since Roe v Wade. However, you won’t hear this on the news. If there has been a single effort at keeping the black community a minority, it’s this. I highly recommend you read Sanger’s words and read the abortion stats and not ignore this. This needs to end.
Lastly, we don’t need to defund the police and remove key protections for at-risk communities. What we need to do is have reform and better equip our police with the right training and accountability so they can do a better job at protecting justly. The vast majority of police are good but we do need to hear the fears of innocent people whose trust has been broken. Police do good work. Oversight, training, outreach, and reform can help rebuild relationships with police and the communities they serve. If we learned anything from CHOP/CHAZ, it’s that lawlessness is a disaster. We need to protect our communities because we’re only hurting ourselves. I’ve seen too many interviews where black business owners had their lives ruined because of lawlessness.
The benefit of hearing all sides of the situation and educating yourself is that you don’t just hear what one narrative is trying to sell you. There are so many problems facing our black brothers and sisters in society. It’s all of our jobs to make sure that we all rise together. This isn’t a black versus white issue. This is an us issue. We the people won the Civil War together. We the people beat Jim Crow and segregation together. We the people beat redlining and exclusionary banking together. And as we pursue the goal of “a more perfect Union”, we’ll beat our next hurdles together too.
Adam loves living out the vocation of marriage with his wife Ani, and proud father to Izzy and Wyatt. He loves God, getting outdoors, doing work that matters, and writing about things true to the heart.