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Black Lives Matter: Social Justice or Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?


The opinions expressed by the below two authors do not necessarily represent those of the Clarifying Catholicism writing staff. We encourage healthy discourse in the comments below!

Whenever a major and divisive crisis pops up, we at Clarifying Catholicism enjoy encouraging our writers to engage in point-counterpoint discussions of them. Our last article was on the fate of the Pachamama statues that had been paraded in the Vatican. Today’s topic concerns the Black Lives Matter organization, and whether or not its mission and actions accurately represent the aims of social justice. Our authors are Luke Parker and Patrick Murray. We hope you enjoy their commentaries. Please feel free to vote in the survey below on the following question: Should Catholics support the Black Lives Matter organization?

Point: Black Lives Matter: Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Do the Riots in Minneapolis Forebode Greater Civil Unrest for the US?

by Lucas Parker, The Catholic University of America Alumnus

Peace be upon us!  Racial injustice has once again come to the forefront of societal concern.  The reprehensible murder of George Floyd has rightfully ignited questions and motivated possible reforms of policing engagement and management of police misconduct.  The death of George Floyd has riled a host of militants, constituted by all ethnicities and creeds, that has taken to the streets and social media to decry any semblance of racial injustice.  This well-meaning throng rallies under a single banner, a single hashtag: “Black Lives Matter.”  The irrefutable phrase, as a concept, is inherently good.  However, as a movement and organization, Black Lives Matter is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a wolf no Christian should feed.

The Black Lives Matter wolf (henceforth referred to as “BLM”) feasts on political expediency.  In this case, it seems that only certain lives matter .  BLM lustily rears its head when the result of a police encounter gone awry is the death of a Black person at the hands of a white cop.  The default assumption is that such brutality stems directly from racism, a vice rightfully intolerable to modern American culture .  The colossal response to and popularity of the BLM protests and Black Out Tuesday posts are Americans’ recoil from anything suspicious of racism, desperately fleeing in what they think to be the opposite direction.  The ensuing hysteria produces fertile soil in which to plant seeds of social and political upheaval.  While a Black death at the hands of a white cop is a viable seed, apparently  Black deaths from abortion and Black-on-Black crime are not. 

Black Americans have noticed this discrepancy, catching the scent of ambidexterity.  The latter afflictions on the Black community are indeed of much concern to some Black leaders, if not to BLM.  Dr. Alveda King is the niece of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and has witnessed the horrible racism of pre-Civil Rights America.  She has designated the greatest threat to Black lives in America to be abortions, 36% percent of which involved Black patients in 2015, according to the CDC.  Larry Elder, a Black radio show host who also lived through the Civil Rights movement, insists that one of the most significant  problems facing the Black community is Black-on-Black crime, noting in an interview with David Rubin that “half the homicides in this country are committed by and against Black people.” 

This is in addition to the many businesses and homes that have been destroyed in Black communities because of the violent protests, which should not be confused with peaceful protests, over George Floyd’s death.  Viral videos show the resulting carnage and the plight of a multitude of Black Americans who cannot fathom why they should be victimized, ironically, at the hands of those raising a ruckus over injustice against Black people.  Where is BLM, or the mainstream media for that matter, in effectively addressing this? 

While all innocent life is worth protecting and every wrongful death is a true tragedy to be rectified, it should raise our suspicions when an organization advocates for the lives of a certain ethnicity, when, in reality, only the destruction of a select few of these lives awaken the BLM wolf from its slumber.  On social media, we are often instructed to not say “all lives matter.”  But, to BLM, do all Black lives even matter?

BLM does not represent an accurate cross-section of the opinions of Black Americans.  Some would have us believe that all truly Black Americans subscribe to the BLM platform and the idea that police brutality and systemic racism are the top afflictions of the Black community in America.  This is far from the truth. 

Many Black Americans denounce BLM, believing it to be, as suggested earlier, a political ploy.  Dr. Derryck Green, a member of a Black leaders organization called Project 21, states in an interview with Prager University’s Will Witt that BLM and those who support it have “misguided intentions.”  Dr. Green goes on to say that BLM is “more of a political movement to try to create chaos and to use Black rage and White guilt to achieve their aims.” 

Larry Elder rejects the existence of systemic racism in America today, a stance shared by both Morgan Freeman, another Jim Crow laws survivor, along with Lil Wayne, who states that BLM is “bogus” and “phony”, further identifying the idea that Black people are routinely hunted down and killed by cops as “BS” based on statistics Elder has studied.  Elder holds that the greatest affliction in America is the disintegration of families.  Citing President Obama, Elder told David Rubin that, distinct from race, “any kid raised without a dad is five times more likely to be poor and commit crimes, nine times more likely to drop out of school, and 20 times more likely to end up in jail.”  He went on to say that “you are far more likely to end up in jail without having a dad than you are because of a White, racist cop.”  The lack of the strong family unit that a two-parent household provides inordinately plagues Black America.  David Webb, another Black radio show host, paints a vivid picture of the Black family landscape stating in a debate at Oxford University that, in the 1960s, eighty percent of Black Americans lived in two-parent households.  Today, that statistic is completely reversed.  Denzel Washington, a renowned Black actor, chimes in on the need for a father in the household, saying in an interview that the “system” may need fixing, but when young people get in trouble with the law, the primary question should be “where was their father?”  David Webb links this need for familial support to education: “Education comes from a strong or blended family unit.  That is your best path to success.” 

While a complete family unit is ideal, simply having a single parent bent on his or her dependent’s success can be enough to pierce through all adversity.  The lives of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Doctor Ben Carson attest to this.  Thomas’ grandfather’s unyielding emphasis on education and work ethic propelled the justice to his successful career, despite encountering racism in Catholic seminary.  Carson’s mother, who was illiterate for much of Carson’s childhood, showed no tolerance for excuses in his education, driving him to medical and political prowess, despite experiencing racism in medical school.  Thomas and Carson should never have faced any racial injustice, but they have blown past that evil and won utmost respect in the hearts of the American people, as their achievements hinged on their determination and devotion to self-improvement. 

The aforementioned list of celebrities and intellectuals just scratches the surface of the number of Black Americans who agree with Dr. Derryck Green when he tells Will Witt that there are other Black issues that should be prioritized above police brutality, and that BLM is doing nothing to help them achieve the American Dream.  Over the past few weeks, countless Black Americans have released videos expressing their disenchantment with BLM and the divisive harm they perceive it is inflicting on our society.  This shatters the notion that BLM spawns from sentiments common among all Black Americans.  For Americans of other ethnicities, it is our responsibility to recognize this and to realize that independent thinking, which is the greatest dignity a human can possess, transcends skin color.  Perhaps one of the most racist things possible is to assign a certain worldview to an individual solely according to his or her ethnicity.  When we make the streets and social media ring with “Black lives matter,” there is a whole population of Black Americans shaking their heads in disappointment.  

The BLM movement has espoused racial division that recent generations have worked hard to heal.  Chief concepts of the BLM movement are “White privilege” and “White guilt”, capitalizing on the good nature of those who want to right any wrongs afflicted on Black Americans.  BLM has proven itself to be a master of terminology.  It has named itself such that, if anyone opposes it as a movement, those in opposition automatically appear to think that Black lives do not matter.  As a generally virtuous society, a great host of Americans have clambered onto the BLM bandwagon, wanting to flaunt how non-racist they are to the rest of humanity.  We see White celebrities and protestors taking a knee and begging forgiveness from Black Americans.  Many of us are apologizing for pigmentation shared by previous Black oppressors, not for how we have actually treated other people. 

This public penance seems logically fallacious right away, and several Black Americans have expressed disgust over such groveling.  Thomas Sowell, a Black economist who has spent nearly a third of his life under Jim Crow laws, takes issue with White guilt: “Have we reached the ultimate stage of absurdity where some people are held responsible for things that happened before they were born, while other people are not held responsible for what they themselves are doing today?”  We get nowhere in lifting others up by tearing ourselves down.  David Harris Jr., a popular Black Instagrammer, has recognized the evil of racial shame, emotionally imploring all of his White listeners to not be ashamed of the skin color God has specifically given to each one of us. 

Black commentators not only pity White people who are subjecting themselves to such demeaning behavior, some also find it inadvertently disrespectful of Black people.  Dr. Derryck Green tells Will Witt that “it’s so patronizing to kneel, because what it says is that we can’t deal with a Black person like regular human beings.”  Brandon Tatum, a Black former police officer, addresses his White audience members in a Prager University video, saying “your public confessions don’t make you look virtuous; they make you look disingenuous.”  So many of us think we are heroically coming to the aid of Black Americans without recognizing that our pride could be blinding us from the possibility that we are creating a bigger problem.  Mr. Tatum continues, “to acknowledge your White privilege is supposed to make you feel bad.  Only it doesn’t.  It makes you feel good, because by acknowledging your white privilege, you are declaring yourself to be enlightened.  And, as a virtue bonus, it also makes you a better person than those Whites who don’t acknowledge their White privilege … meanwhile, the real damage is to Blacks.” 

The countless “black square” posts on Black Out Tuesday were perhaps meant to show solidarity, but came across as an en masse susceptibility to herd mentality, a collective sprint to see who could stand out as the least racist and, thereby, the most virtuous.  What real change was intended by everyone who made such posts?  Or was it to get a high-five from their friends, earning a seat with the cool kids and the virtue bonus Brandon Tatum was talking about?  David Harris Jr. took Black Out Tuesday to task on social media, ridiculing it as nonsensical and that participants were “being duped.”  Many other Black Americans have also expressed virtual eye-rolling over Black Out Tuesday.  Some Americans deliberately refrained from posting the “black square” on their social media, determined to find real answers to the issues we face, not meaningless virtue signals, however vogue they may be. 

Now is as good a time as any to thoroughly scrutinize our advocacy for peace and justice.  Do our actions lead to the desired outcome?  The most direct path to racial harmony is by thinking of our skin color, literally the most superficial aspect of any us, last.  This obsession over how bad or privileged we are gets us nowhere in affirming the dignity of our fellow man or woman.  The only person we have to blame for our skin color is God, and it does not seem like anyone is prepared to pit him or herself against the Almighty.

Finally, if Christians have not found a wolf yet in BLM, this organization of sweet veneer has a rotten core that tastes ungodly.  One only needs to look at the BLM “What We Believe” page on its website (found here) to discover that it is not compatible with the Catholic outlook on family life and sexuality. 

One of the BLM tenets is “we disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”  The Church fiercely defends the proper order of having a mother and a father present in the lives of children for their proper physical and spiritual nurturing, reflecting the earthly model of divine love.  What is considered the oppressive “Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement” is, indeed, the model prescribed by our faith.  Collective raising of children should not be encouraged, as a child’s parents are the primary physical and spiritual guardians of their offspring in accordance with the Church’s proper familial composition.

Further attacking proper Christian living, BLM states that “we foster 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).”  Church teaching is clear on human sexuality and how we are to use it for the glory of God.  Our Lord had “heteronormative thinking” when creating us and devising the function of spousal love, which is aimed toward marital union and procreation. 

BLM hardly seems to be only about protecting innocent Black lives anymore; it now seems to be the devil’s lackey.  The devil has been known to be a master of disguises, and he has surely swindled Catholics into betraying their Mother Church in their zeal for racial justice. 

In addition to these explicit affronts to our faith, the BLM movement does not seem compatible with Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of racial harmony rooted in the dignity of personal character.  He told an enraptured crowd “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  It seems that BLM is doing everything it can to bring judgement by skin color back into style, detracting from the proper assessment of character MLK longed for.  It must sadden Our Lord to see us bicker over the wonderful attributes that he gave us.  He has made us with much more dignity than we realize.  “I don’t see color” is another verboten phrase, but it seems like it is something Christ would say as he gazes lovingly at us.  What He sees is His beloved son or daughter.  It is high time we act like Christ and  do the same for each other.

BLM touts itself as a positive force that is fighting for justice.  However, it does not seem to be addressing the problems that many Black Americans consider more important than debatable systemic racism or police brutality.  A sizable host of Black Americans do not appreciate BLM’s tactics, and they find this movement to be causing more racial tension, watching pitifully as White Americans repent for sins they never committed and engage in self-loathing.  What is more, BLM’s raison d’etre is opening a backdoor in society for the devil to sneak through.  As Catholics, it is incumbent upon us to seek the truth in all things, including looking out for poison in what appears to be a harmless organization.  We should not let our zeal for justice get the best of us.  True occasions of injustice and bigotry should be met with resistance, and peaceful protest against legitimate, articulated grievances should be encouraged.  But support for BLM should be thoroughly discouraged, especially among Catholics, as it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Author’s Note

This is by far the most emotionally taxing article I have ever written.  It hurts my heart to see our American family at odds over racial grievances.  I fully recognize that what I have written does not reflect popular opinion.  My outlook on life is that humanity is more beautiful and intricate than the most elaborate tapestry – we are woven together by divine hands.  Yet, we often dismiss our mysterious complexities and nuances in favor of groupthink.  We must hear our brothers and sisters in Christ whenever injustice is in question.  I never want to downplay anyone’s hardships, and I think most of us want everyone to have a prosperous and happy life in this country.  Where we often disagree is which path leads to this ideal state.  What I want to show is that personal opinion does not depend on race, and that there is an underestimated force of Black Americans whose voices have, for the most part, gone unheard when they express dissent over the current trajectory of the Black Lives Matter organization.  I have seen people say that, in this case, conservatives will only listen to Black people that agree with them, yet it is apparent that liberals only listen to Black people that agree with them.  Identity politics has closed our ears to those with whom we disagree, causing us to forget the unfathomable dignity of the human intellect, a faculty that is in no way bound by skin color.  Far be it from us to perpetuate the very racism we seek to destroy by discounting anyone whose skin color does not match the worldview we think they should have.  I want my mind to listen intently for the whisper of truth, unadulterated by the din of popular opinion.  However, when I see something I am convinced is true, I will never waver, I will never back an inch, and I will never betray my conscience.  It is my duty to all of humanity and to the loving Father who created us.  God bless and keep anyone who may be reading this, and know of my prayers for your peace and joy.

 Luke Parker

 

Counter-Point: Black Lives Matter: Blessed are the Meek

Raw video: Police kneel with protesters in Portland, Oregon | kgw.com

By Patrick Murray, University of Alabama

Whenever a current event shakes the collective consciousness of America, many people rely on the media to tell them what to believe and how to feel. This approach to the “news” works for the multitude of people who label themselves as “conservative” or “liberal,” but Catholics are unlike these people. As Catholics, we are bound to a robust ethical system that transcends the secular, modern labels of “liberal” and “conservative.” Thus, we are not free to accept these ready-made liberal or conservative ideas.

This “pro-protest” section of the article will focus heavily on the Beatitudes as a formula for behavior in the face of perceived injustice. Then, it will address the legitimate concerns which have been raised about the protests and offer criticism to those who prefer inaction to action with mixed consequences.

The Beatitudes demand justice

In Satan’s final temptation of Jesus in the desert, he offered to give the Son of Man “all the kingdoms of the world” (New American Bible, Revised Edition, Mt 4:8). Have you ever realized that he could only make this offer if all the kingdoms of this world already belonged to him? The Devil won this world when he successfully tempted Man to abandon God and commit sin, thus becoming enslaved to sin. The Devil and sin were defeated in Our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross; however, he still lingers on Earth, especially where sinfulness and malice invite him in. It is our duty as the Body of Christ to defeat the Devil wherever he is found, as this is the work of love and obedience to God.

A Catholic should always remember this fact when forming an opinion of current and past events. When remembering that America was once fueled by the abuse of African slaves, Chinese immigrants, and indigenous peoples, we note that it was because of the Devil’s rule over this country. When we observe the economic plight of black people in this country today, we realize that their suffering is ultimately caused by the Devil – even if, as some conservatives claim, this inequality is somehow self-inflicted and not a result of systemic inequity. And (most apropos), when an officer of the law murders a man while three other officers stand by, prompting a wave of protests, a Catholic does not analyze the moral status of its protesters, nor wrap his knuckles and prepare for a debate over whether the protests are good or bad. No, we look at the news today and see the Devil at work. And we mourn.

“Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Mt. 5:4)

When the Devil ceased his temptation of Our Lord, Jesus immediately withdrew to Galilee, gathered disciples, and quickly gained a large following because of his message and his healings. When this following grew large enough, Christ delivered the Sermon on the Mount, which contains his response to the Devil’s challenge: the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes provide clear perspective on both the George Floyd protests and every current event which involves the influence of evil.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit… Blessed are they who mourn.” (Mt. 5:3-4) 

The first beatitude involves poverty in spirit. We see the Devil at work in the world and in ourselves, and we acknowledge the poverty and need for God in each. Then, we consider how beautiful life could be without sin, and we mourn; this is the second beatitude. Indeed, blessed are they who mourn the death of George Floyd. They have tasted an ounce of the tragedy which sin pierces into Sacred Heart of Christ.

“Blessed are the meek… Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” (Mt. 5:5-6)

While a meek person, like Christ, bows his head to personal affliction, accepting pleasure and suffering as they come, one who hungers and thirsts for righteousness will not tolerate when these same afflictions are placed upon another person undeservedly. The third and fourth beatitudes form a person internally and strengthen him to do what is right.

 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Mt. 5:9)

When the Son of God teaches us this method to be called children of God, we really ought to listen. This Beatitude is especially key because it is the visible action which follows the first four. Prompted by poverty in spirit, motivated by mourning the losses of sin, tempered by meekness and driven by hunger and thirst for righteousness, a person can do nothing but give all his effort to ending the injustices he perceives, thus making peace.

The George Floyd protesters have perceived a real and pressing threat to the safety of black people in America, and they are responding by crying to the government for changes that will ensure peace. This is not merely justified: This is THE ESSENCE of life in Christ. Hence, the protests should and – dare I say – must continue until the real injustice of American police brutality against black men is appropriately addressed.

Addressing objections

Popular issues are rarely one-sided, especially in a society where the popular media profits from obscuring the truth and exacerbating social divisions. (Indeed, the corruption of sin is very apparent in popular media!) This section of the argument will address various popular reasons to criticize the George Floyd protests.

Objection one: The problem of police violence against black people does not exist, and was invented by the media. Therefore, there is no need to protest.

The objection:

Many conservatives claim that the systemic racial injustice decried by George Floyd protesters does not, in fact, exist. There is significant basis for this claim: In an interview on the Ben Shapiro Show, the political commentator Larry Elder cites a series of statistics which convincingly show that police are not biased toward violence against black people. A Harvard economist, Elder states, has found that “the police not only were not using deadly force disproportionately against black people, but that the police were more hesitant to pull the trigger on a black person than a white person.”

Elder goes on to state that greater numbers of unarmed white men were shot and killed by the police than unarmed black men in the past year, and that other studies have even found a seventy-five percent drop in police shootings of black men in the last fifty years. (This last fact is especially notable due to the fact that, in the same time period, police shootings of white men have remained constant. This shows that racial bias has undeniably fallen since the 1970’s.)

Since all these facts show that American police officers are not systemically biased toward violence against black people, there is no need to protest the few occasions of violence which have been popularized by the media.

The response:

The cited evidence does not prove that police are disproportionately violent against black men.

The referenced study “by a Harvard economist,” which is the foundation of this racial-bias-denial argument, was actually written by a professor who is currently suspended without pay by Harvard University. The paper, “An Empirical Analysis of Racial Differences in Police Use of Force,” was quick to gain attention after its publication because of its surprising conclusion that contradicts academic consensus established by many other studies. However, the paper was just as quickly debunked by two other studies (“Knox, Lowe, and Mummolo” (2019) and “Ross, Winterhalder, and McElreath” (2018)), which both point out “major theoretical and methodological errors” in the study and reveal the misleading way that its results were communicated to the media. Many studies have been done on police violence against black people in the past fifty years, and almost all indicate that racial bias is indeed a problem.

Some of these studies include simulations in which police officers are significantly quicker to shoot potentially hostile black targets than those of other races.

It is undeniable that American police are, in fact, biased toward violence against black men. This fact, which should not be surprising in the slightest, gives the protesters a legitimate moral cause to seek social change. “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”

Objection two: The protesters’ demands, though well-intentioned, do not improve the situation. Therefore, the protests should cease.

The objection:

Although protesters are motivated by a good cause, they generally promote solutions that do not actually improve the situation, or may even make it worse. For example, a vocal group of protesters demand to defund police departments entirely; this demand is clearly impractical. Others demand the removal of historical statues such as Albany’s Philip Schuyler, a slave-owning Revolutionary War hero; at best, this demand does not address the issue of police violence against black people, and at worst, it is an insult to the legacy of a good man. The protests are taking advantage of social unrest to push unrealistic and unhelpful demands.

The response:

Unlike social movements of the past, the George Floyd protests have no single leader. Rather, they are an amalgamation of many groups of protesters, each with their own goals: Some, yes, push radical ideas such as the defunding of the police and even the liberation of youth jails, but others seek more realistic goals. For example, Louisville protesters are demanding the conviction of just a few police officers who they believe caused an unjust death, and Philadelphia protesters desire a recent police budget increase to be diverted to public schools and community programs instead. The protests sweeping America are united in their outrage against racial injustice, but they differ in the specific goals they pursue. For this reason, we cannot dismiss all protests at once on the basis of a few that make unhelpful or unrealistic demands.

Another reason not to criticize the protests for making unrealistic demands is that such a perspective does not understand the civic effect of protesting. While it is the role of protests to identify an injustice and ask for the government to make a change, it is not their role to identify the single most prudent solution to the problem; this is the role of the government.

This principle can be seen in the United States government’s response to the police violence situation: Due to the protests, the House and Senate are in bipartisan agreement that action must be taken to address the problem. Neither party is blindly obeying the protestor’s demands; rather, like the father in the parable whose son asks for a fish, they are prudently addressing the needs of the people.

Would any reform be occurring without the protest movement? Would it be progressing this quickly? The protests are effective at producing good results, even if they, in their ignorance, promote foolish demands. Therefore, the protests cannot be condemned on the basis of their demands.

Objection three: Protests inevitably lead to the evil effects of riots and looting. Therefore, the protests are evil and should cease.

The objection:

Instances of rioting and looting at protests have been reported by the media, largely in the form of personal anecdotes and video recordings. These reports damage the legitimacy of the protests, making them look like mere excuses for people to steal and destroy. Furthermore, the likelihood of a riot breaking out makes it immoral even to organize a peaceful protest.

The response:

First, although it is not the nature of this objection, it is important to address the ignorant and prejudiced view that George Floyd protests are uniformly violent, and that the word “riot” may be substituted for the word “protest” in a serious discussion about them. The reality is that the vast majority of these protests are peaceful; most notably, thousands of protesters have been gathering in Washington, D.C., each day, and even the once-violent protests in New York have become peaceful due to the diligent efforts of the police. It is extremely disrespectful and ignorant of the truth to continue to characterize peaceful protesters as the rioters and looters who use them for cover.

It is troubling to consider that continued efforts to peacefully protest are likely to cause more incidents of rioting and looting. However, the Catholic principle of double effect dictates that the unintended evil effect of a peaceful protest, which is violence, is tolerable because its directly caused good effect, which is positive social reform, proportionately compensates for these bad effects. Since the action of peacefully protesting an injustice is morally good as to its object, motive, and circumstances, the current situation meets all the standards of this principle which Aquinas first used to justify the act of killing in self-defense.

Objection five: Protesters put themselves and others at risk of contracting COVID-19, which is an evil effect. Therefore, their actions are dangerous and must cease.

The objection:

The coronavirus will spread very well at the protests, which are close-proximity mass gatherings to which some people have travelled across states or even countries. Although the effect of increased coronavirus infections is not intentional, it is a negative effect of far higher proportion than the intended good effect of positive social change. Thus, the protests are not even justifiable under the principle of double effect.

The response:

Although not the most popular, this objection to the protests may be the most troubling. Although the first three conditions for a morally good action with a double effect are met, the fourth condition, that of proportionality, is extremely difficult to measure. How can a person weigh an unknown and possibly immense public health repercussion against a long-term social benefit whose good effects are also near-impossible to quantify?

If there were no way for each individual protester to protect himself from contracting the virus, then the protests are surely immoral and should not be conducted! But since it is possible for individual protesters to protect themselves by wearing masks, washing up, and strictly adhering to the guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization specifically for police reform protesters, then the entire protest as a whole cannot be considered immoral. Rather, it is only immoral for the individual protesters who do not take all the necessary steps to prevent spread of the virus. Since its potential for spreading the coronavirus is preventable on an individual basis, the protest movement is still morally justified despite the global pandemic.

Objection six: Too many objections!

I agree, reader. Let’s wrap this up!

Parting shot

Overall, there is one major issue with the conservative response to the recent rash of BLM protests: uncharitability. Even if a person has rationally concluded that no protests, violent or non-violent, should be conducted today – that the people on our streets have no good reason to be there – he should not be satisfied to condemn these people as mere “rioters” and express no sympathy for their cause. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” (Mt. 5:43-44)

Regardless of our political stances, and regardless even of our opinions of protest movement, let us all persist in loving both our neighbors and our enemies, and especially to seeing the humanity of all people involved in these trying times. We all mourn our world’s brokenness to sin, even if we disagree about the extent or nature of this sin. But we also take heart, for we remember the words of our Savior:

“Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Mt. 5:4)

 

So, after reading these two articles, what do you think? Should Catholics support the Black Lives Matter organization? What are your thoughts on the matter? Be sure to vote and comment below!

2 comments on “Black Lives Matter: Social Justice or Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?

  1. “Elder holds that the greatest affliction in America is the disintegration of families”? How can you distill the systemic murder and disregard for human life when women, children, and men were dragged out of their homes and lynched by white individuals based on this obtuse statement? This is ridiculous. For example, Mary Turner, in the year 1918 was not only murdered, but here’s the history: “Thirty three year-old Mary Turner (m.n. Hattie Graham), 8 months pregnant at the time and whose husband had been killed in this “lynching rampage” on Sunday, May 19th, publicly objected to her husband’s murder. She also had the audacity to threaten to swear out warrants for those responsible. Those “unwise remarks,” as the area papers put it, enraged locals. Consequently, Mary Turner fled for her life only to be caught and taken to a place called Folsom’s Bridge on the Brooks and Lowndes Counties’ shared border. To punish her, at Folsom’s Bridge the mob tied Mary Turner by her ankles, hung her upside down from a tree, poured gasoline on her and burned off her clothes. One member of the mob then cut her stomach open and her unborn child dropped to the ground where it was reportedly stomped on and crushed by a member of the mob. Her body was then riddled with gunfire from the mob. Later that night she and her baby were buried ten feet away from where they were murdered. The makeshift grave was marked with only a “whiskey bottle” with a “cigar” stuffed in its neck.” To those that say that the past is past need to realize that just because the past is gone choose to not realize that its events effect the future. Using the phrase Black Lives Matters isn’t and never has been used to proclaim that ONLY Black Lives Matter. That’s ridiculous and a false claim. It’s to highlight and underscore the fact that there are still individuals walking this earth, like the ones who murdered Mary and her baby, that have never and will never believe and act upon the fact that all lives matter — including the lives of black people. These same evil people that lynched, raped, and murdered didn’t just disappear with history, but had children, who had their own children, thus passing on this wicked mentality.

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  2. Pingback: To Receive or not to Receive: The Eucharist in a Pandemic – Clarifying Catholicism

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