Rejecting the Idolatry Inherent in BLM

Marxism, like communism and socialism, is not merely a political ideology, but a utopian vision that is best understood as a religion.

Folks with even a shred of common sense and propriety can see that the antics and actions of those associated with Black Lives Matter are debased, wicked, and counter-productive to earthly peace and harmony. However, we Christians should recognize not only the manifestly obvious evils of BLM but also the deeper ways in which such an organization and movement oppose God’s Word. Let us evaluate BLM according to the Decalogue—especially in regard to the 1st Commandment.

To begin with, we ought to recognize that BLM is a revolutionary communistic/socialistic organization and movement. This can be recognized by the statements and training of the leaders of BLM. For example, Patrisse Cullors, one of the co-founders of the organization, has described herself as a “trained Marxist.” She was mentored by Eric Mann, a member of both Students for a Democratic Society and the Weather Underground. For fuller details, one can read a good summary on Breitbart News in the article “Black Lives Matter Founder Mentored by Ex-Domestic Terrorist Who Worked with Bill Ayers” by Joshua Klein.

Perhaps more importantly, one can see the revolutionary spirit in the BLM organization and movement in their use of common communistic/socialistic imagery and language. The raised fist, seen in BLM-associated artwork and held high at rallies, is a universally acknowledged symbol of communistic or socialistic movements. The frequent references to “liberation,” “justice,” “equality,” “human rights,” and “comrades” in slogans, cheers, and statements betray the same spirit. If one wishes to see the radical BLM agenda laid out in their own words, the infamous “What We Believe” page, which was recently scrubbed off of the official website, was archived and can still be accessed. It calls for the disruption of “the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure” and the fostering of “a queer-affirming network…with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking.” Those who would attempt to make an artificial distinction between the BLM organization and the BLM movement inevitably run into the reality that a revolutionary spirit enlivens and dominates both the official organization and the broader movement.

Marxism, like communism and socialism, is not merely a political ideology, but a utopian vision that is best understood as a religion. What I mean by this is that these “-isms” are not merely ideas about how best to shape and structure a community, but ideologies fundamentally based upon (false) beliefs concerning God and man. The religion behind these “-isms” is humanism. Humanism tries to make a god out of man and holds up equality, freedom, and perfect happiness on earth as idols—goals defined by man himself and fulfilled in this earthly life.

In “Slavery, Humanism, & the Bible,” C. F. W. Walther defined humanism in this way: “We define humanism as the belief in a human ideal, a belief that man within himself has the ability to develop into a state of completeness and achieve happiness. Therefore, in order to reach this ideal state nothing else is needed than to grant each person as much room as possible to develop freely and without restraint. Freedom and equality, equal rights, equal possessions, equal enjoyment and pleasure, are thus the goal of man’s striving, the attainment of which will eradicate poverty and suffering from this earth. Happiness will have found its domicile on earth, there will be heaven on earth.” This is what utopianism means—trying to make heaven on earth. But as history shows, when you try to create heaven on earth, you only wind up making earth more hell-like.

Ultimately, this idolatry arises from unbelief. Unwilling to trust in God’s Word, in His fatherly goodness and mercy, in His plan and providence for what is truly best for us, men turn from contentment to the covetousness of their own sinful hearts and desires. As Walther says, “This humanism is as old as the fallen world itself. As soon as man had fallen away from God, he became aware of the bitter consequences of his sin, of the curse under which God had placed this earth because of him. Despite all that still had remained for man, he felt dissatisfied, unhappy, and wretched. However, instead of recognizing his sin as the cause of his wretchedness, seeking to return to God and His help, he saw the consequences themselves as the cause, and deemed that he could achieve happiness by gaining what this world has to offer.” Here is where we Christians must recognize how in the last two commandments God points us back to the first, from which all the others flow. The opposite of coveting is being content with what God has provided. And what He has provided is more glorious than anything we could ever think up in our fallen dreams. He gives us Himself: to be our God, to be our Savior, and to provide for us in all things according to His fatherly wisdom. What more could we ask for? What greater thing could there be to desire? Therefore, we should have no other gods, and fear, love, and trust in Him above all things.

But the depth of our depravity and the snares of our sinful hearts are not to be underestimated. Again, listen to Walther’s wisdom, “However, humanism, which wants to be independent of God and men, wants that man renounce happiness and the life to come as something which is dubious. It wants that man find this happiness within himself, which will surely change the earth into heaven and promises equal happiness to all. This humanism is the chiliasm [millennialism/utopianism] of the secular world; it is its religion. It always appears with force wherever Christianity wavers.” [emphasis mine]

We do sinfully waver, both individually and corporately. Yet as we tremble like Peter when he took his eyes off His Lord and heeded the troublesome winds and waves, we are to fix our attention back upon our Savior and cry out, “Lord, save me!” And our faithful Lord, who brings true contentment, true liberty, true happiness, and eternal peace through the forgiveness of our sins will indeed provide all things needful—including the strength to resist the idolatries of humanism and the covetousness of our sinful hearts.

Note: Readers are encouraged to read “Slavery, Humanism, & the Bible” and “Communism and Socialism” by C. F. W. Walther, both of which can easily be found in English translation online.

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David Ramirez

Rev. David Ramirez is Pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Union Grove, WI and is on the Planning Committee for the Bugenhagen Conference.

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