Glenn Beck has convinced 20,000 folks to show up in Alabama for a march declaring that all lives matter. That’s a lot of people. I’d be more convinced by this declaration of altruism if we could occasionally see 20 White people of conservative and Christian bent show up and declare their outrage when an unarmed Black American is gunned down by a policeman or, say, a self-anointed neighborhood watchman like George Zimmerman.
This is where the hypocrisy of such cant by the right wing cabal in this country is so vividly illustrated. Let’s consider the paradox in a few simple statements.
1. The only reason there is the chant “all lives matter” is in response to an assertion by others that Black Lives Matter. That is to say, the chant is meant as a denunciation of the previous assertion. We know this. We see you winking. We get it.
2. Imagine someone telling Jesus, who just finished saying, “the least of these matter,” hey, Jesus, all lives matter. Not just the least of these, Jesus, but all of these matter. That’s what you’ve done, Glenn and Becktians. And by doing so, you’ve pretty much given up any authority to tell us how to understand Christ.
3. You really don’t believe all lives matter or you would have shown up and supported mothers in their grief when their children, husbands, fathers, daughters and mothers were killed by police. Heck, you may have shown up and supported the parents of Sandy Hook in their grief when their first graders were slaughtered, but you basically rallied ‘round the NRA. In other words, “all lives matter” is a cloak or a robe, if you will. It hides the crasser message of a racial animosity. And Black folks in this country are quite keenly aware of how robes and sanctimony hide devious and demonic agendas.
4. You have used God and Jesus to promote what on the surface is a positive message (after all, who can reject a message that “all lives matter”?), while continuing to support policies and strategies that harm African- Americans disproportionately. That’s not just wrong, it’s devilishly wrong.
All lives matter, except your (Black) lives matter less, otherwise we would have been marching and speaking out for your protection instead of joining a right wing radio talk show host who has worked tirelessly to promote an agenda that denies poor Americans—White and Black–healthcare, rejects the President as a legitimate American citizen and otherwise embraces policies that roll back civil rights in our country.
Holding signs that declare, “God is the Answer,” in an effort to lend sacred legitimacy to that agenda is a rather daft and awkward and even embarrassing display, but mostly it is a violation of the third commandment. All lives matter? Of course. Except when they don’t and there’s the rub.