“I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the "do nothingism" of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist…if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies—a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare.”
- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail (1963), Why We Can’t Wait
These are powerful and prophetic words from the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., words that should be heeded today; for we can no longer wait to wake up from this racial nightmare that we are now in where black liberation ideologies are being foisted on the minds of young Americans. A teacher’s organization is encouraging teachers to provide Black Lives Matter (BLM) curriculum in the classroom one day every week, along with wearing BLM apparel. One teacher who has gotten on board with this agenda says “Black Lives Matter functions with 13 principles that I think are good and healthy for kids to learn about.” Considering what the Black Lives Matter movement has publically stated, this is a frightening prospect. Instead, children should be learning about the inspiring leadership of Dr. King, whose philosophy and principles we have all benefited from today. BLM is the very “black nationalist” ideology he warned would try to fill the void for truth if left vacant.
The Black Lives Matter movement states that they are “a chapter-based national organization working for the validity of Black life and “to (re)build the Black liberation movement” (emphasis added). What does that mean? To answer that we need to look at who the Black Liberation movement was. The Black Liberation movement, more commonly known as the Black Liberation Army (BLA), was a splinter group developed after the Black Panther Party dissolved. Their four badges of honor were anti-capitalism, anti-racism, anti-sexism, and anti-imperialism. Secondly, they proclaimed “That we must of necessity strive for the abolishment of these systems and for the institution of Socialistic relationships in which Black people have total and absolute control over their own destiny as a people” (emphasis added). This is essentially a description of black anarchy. Third, “in order to abolish our systems of oppression, we must utilize the science of class struggle, develop this science as it relates to our unique national condition” (emphasis added). In other words, perfect the science of profiting at being a victim of society. The Black Liberation Army was reported to be involved in numerous police shootings and murders throughout the 1970’s.
Black Lives Matter also emphasizes the same social and economic struggles as the Black Liberation movement once did, calling its members to “live Black and buy Black” to create wealth only in the black community. Black Lives Matter has also extended the Black Liberation Army’s interest in being “anti-sexism” by affirming “the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, Black-undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. It centers those that have been marginalized within Black liberation movements. It is a tactic to (re)build the Black liberation movement” (emphasis added).
One of their core principles of being Queer Affirming states, “We are committed to fostering a queer-affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking or, rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual unless s/he or they disclose otherwise” (emphasis added). Sadly, the movement seems to be against the family model that is the foundation of society.
BLM also seems to be wholeheartedly committed to what they call “disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another…” A kind of America where innumerable government community programs are substituted for moral values taught by a mom and dad, perhaps?
The guiding principles of this movement take the African-American community in a downward spiral of black anarchy that erases the family and casts no vision for a sustainable future. These principles are neither good nor healthy and are vastly different from the successful principles of Dr. King.
The most successful model for social change we can draw from is itself the civil rights movement of the sixties, led by the late Dr. King. He was able to articulate what the real problems were and to cast a unifying vision for all Americans to move forward. Dr. King also called the collection of his brave volunteers an army, but “an army whose allegiance was to God … it was an army that would sing but not slay … no arsenal except its faith, no currency but its conscience.”
Dr. King took universal Christian principles that inherently speak to every human conscience and used them to make a crisis of conscience to promote action. He made sure the world televised his non-violent marches for the enforcement of equal rights, while dogs and water hoses were unleashed on their bodies, knocking them to ground only to be beaten down more with clubs and fists. The world saw the participants of these non-violent marches singing praises to God and stopping together to sink to their knees on the pavement to pray.
Dr. King led the fight for civil rights by calling for action through policy, not burning down buildings. After the 1956 Supreme Court ruling that overturned Alabama’s bus segregation laws, King co-founded the Christian Leadership Conference throughout the South which became the leading organizer for action in the civil rights movement. after many arrests, non-violent marches, sit-in’s and appeals, his leadership paved the way for the passage of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
What an astonishing difference King’s efforts have made. His movement has largely accomplished its goals, and we are alive to see it in beautiful ways today, from the first black president, to multi-ethnic families and churches, to endearing friendships that would have never taken place had segregation existed today. Why are we enjoying the success of the MLK movement today and not the BLA? I believe the answer is that any social movement not based on Christian principles cannot be sustained and will fail. Christianity operates in truth and is a benefit to all people, no matter one’s color, gender, or culture.
Dr. King cast this vision, stating:
“This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”
We must be the voice of truth and fill the void. We cannot afford to wait, hoping things will just get better. Our destination should be what it was always meant to be, “to sit at the table of brotherhood.”
For this was God’s eternal and mysterious plan since the beginning of mankind according to Ephesians 3, where the apostle Paul explains God’s advanced plan to make one unified body out of diversity, which displays His wisdom. Any plan that inherently goes against this will not succeed and cannot be blessed by God. We should seek out policies of righteousness and justice just as Dr. King so diligently fought for. Today we honor him and his contributions to all Americans, and pray that leaders like him will take up the mantle to be the alternative and distinct Christian voice for truth and justice.