If you haven’t seen them yet, check out the new outdoor banners at Hope UCC. The Mission & Action Committee wants to highlight one in particular that reads, “Black Lives Matter.” Given the current activity going on across the country, we wanted the Door County community to know that Hope UCC stands firmly with our brothers and sisters of color in seeking racial equity and justice; and an end to the oppressive and violent systemic racism upon which America was founded and built. Some in the community might see this banner and ask, why not a banner that reads “All Lives Matter”? The statement below is taken from our denomination’s website, the United Church of Christ, and conveys a strong response to the question:
Our faith’s teachings tell us that each person is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and therefore has intrinsic worth and value. So why when Jesus proclaimed good news to the poor, release to the jailed, sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed (Luke 4:16-19) did he not mention the rich, the prison-owners, the sighted and the oppressors? What conclusion are we to draw from this? Doesn’t Jesus care about all lives?
Black lives matter. This is an obvious truth in light of God’s love for all God’s children. But this has not been the experience for many in the U.S. In recent years, young black males were 21 times more likely to be shot dead by police than their white counterparts. Black women in crisis are often met with deadly force. Transgender people of color face greatly elevated negative outcomes in every area of life.
When Black lives are systemically devalued by society, our outrage justifiably insists that attention be focused on Black lives. When a church claims boldly “Black Lives Matter” at this moment, it chooses to show up intentionally against all given societal values of supremacy and superiority or common-sense complacency. By insisting on the intrinsic worth of all human beings, Jesus models for us how God loves justly, and how his disciples can love publicly in a world of inequality. We live out the love of God justly by publicly saying #BlackLivesMatter.