Being truthful makes a person or a group trustworthy. To be trusted, an openness and honesty is required. To present a truism but then hide other agendas may attract listeners at first, but when what is hidden is exposed, trust will be lost, cynicism will grow, and the community will be wounded.
As a church leader I should know. I have felt betrayed by the hidden evils perpetrated by the groomers and paedophiles that have haunted the darker corners of church history. Perhaps, naïvely, I thought such evil could not exist where Christian slogans were so righteous. While the slogan may be right and good, life offers evidence of the insidious nature of those who hide behind slogans with ulterior motives.
Naivety is an odd mistake for a person who has 62 years’ experience in observing sin in others and in himself. Sin is that behaviour which defies the living God before whom we must all one day give account. It is the behaviour that values one’s personal kingdoms at the expense of others. It is the ultimate separator that sets the boundaries between heaven and hell, separating people from God and people from each other. Sin is the worst of human epidemics.
Perhaps my naivety is born out of a desire to want to believe that people are trustworthy and transparent. However, the truth is that some people deal in deceit and their lack of transparency makes them dangerous, using good and right slogans to mask more insidious agendas.
I write about this because I innocently appreciate the banner that says “Black Lives Matter”. All lives matter but there are occasions where the circumstance requires more specificity and the slogan, “Black Live Matter”, from a Christian perspective, is perfectly appropriate given the context of race discrimination. As a Christian, I attended an abortion protest in 2019 where the banner could have read, “Babies’ lives matter”. There are times that require specific protest and a banner can offer this.
But I want to offer a warning. A truism on a banner may not indicate the inherent dangers that lie in the protest group that goes by this name.
“We are trained Marxists”, says Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement. A brief Google search introduces you to a movement that speaks of revolution, immigration, LGBTQIA+, environmental injustice, defunding police, abolition of prisons and much more.
Some of these things you may be able to support. The danger is that by supporting one aspect of the movement you appear to be supporting all aspects of the movement. It is a cunning conglomerate of revolutionary ideas that makes you complicit by your support of any one issue, which the intelligent protestors will see inevitably endangers the issue at stake. Adopting the slogan, “Black Lives Matter” as the title of a movement is a clever marketing tool, lacking transparency. The movement by this name then purports to have your support in things that go way beyond the slogan.
Sometimes the banner carrying activists of our day are simply not transparent, with over reaching agendas that the individual cannot support, even agendas that could undermine the very freedoms that allow us to carry banners and protest issues. I believe that black lives matter but a real danger exists to such a cause by way of unhelpful associations. Unhelpful associations will make people sceptical while the crucial issues surrounding the value of black lives will be lost to the less than transparent ideologies of a movement that carries your innocently true slogan. The great danger here is that the conflicting nature of such agendas will prevent the generally good hearted Australian from joining in with what should rightly be supported.
Of course that won’t matter should a Marxist ideology win the day. You can bet your life that the impact of another Marxist revolution will not profit our world. But should such a day come, there is no way you will be able to protest your freedoms then. On that day, the bet of your life will be lost.
To present a truism and hide other agendas may attract listeners but when what is hidden is exposed, trust will be lost, cynicism will grow and the community will be wounded. God calls us to repent should we desire salvation!