The ministry that I am privileged to lead, Risk Takers for Christ, operates a twice-weekly basketball program for at-risk youth. We call it the Living H2O Initiative, based on the story of the woman at the well in the Gospel of John, Chapter 4.
Recently, one of the young men that attends our program wore a shirt that bore the colors and pattern of BLM. However, the message on his shirt went far beyond, “Black Lives Matter.” Instead, it read, “Racist Lives Don’t Matter.”
I strongly disagree… and here is why.
First, let me state unequivocally that I detest racism in all its forms. That is one of the main reasons why, as founder and director of two different prison ministries, I have spent the past 34 years ministering to a half-million mostly minority inmates in hundreds of correctional institutions across North America and Africa. I have also coordinated four county-wide Racial Reconciliation Conferences and made a pilgrimage to Memphis TN in 2018 to visit the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel and pay my respects to Dr. King on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.
Yes, I hate racism and everything it stands for. And yet, I value the lives of racists because they, like the rest of us, were created in the image and likeness of God Himself.
No, that doesn’t mean that God is racist or tolerates racism. On the contrary, racism is a sin that is morally repugnant and spiritually indefensible. But which of us sinners hasn’t fallen short of God’s ideal standard of perfection?
The bottom line is this: I don’t have to agree with someone in order to value their existence. In fact – like Voltaire, Patrick Henry, and many others have said more eloquently before me – I can vigorously and vehemently oppose everything you say but still defend your constitutional right to be wrong.
That is what it means to be a constitutional conservative. We don’t pick and choose which part of the Constitution we support even when it’s difficult to do so. It’s all or nothing. And yes, Mr. Biden, the Bill of Rights is absolute, the Second Amendment is not to be abridged, and the First Amendment is not to be tampered with or trampled underfoot.
Once we start believing that the only lives that matter are those of people with whom we see eye-to-eye, we have started down a very slippery slope. Where does one draw the line? Do we start shutting down and canceling out those whose convictions conflict with and contradict our own?
There’s also another related problem: who gets to decide who, and what, is racist? Most of us can thankfully agree that the act of believing one race is superior to another is racist (and evil). But what happens when the culture’s definition of racism changes to include anything that the cultural elites believe has a remote or indirectly inequitable impact on society? Or simply anything the cultural elites don’t like or disagree with?
Sadly, that is exactly what is happening on college campuses these days. Colleges and universities were once bastions of free thought and free expression, but no more. Today, if you dare to take a politically incorrect position or voice a viewpoint counter to Progressive teaching, you will be shouted down in short order… or doxed, demonized, and disinvited.
Big Tech and the mainstream media are just as guilty, censoring dissenting opinions at a rate that would make Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong blush with envy.
In the 1930s, Adolf Hitler was able to convince enough Germans that Jewish lives didn’t matter. That is why it was so easy for them, 10 years later, to stuff them into cattle cars, concentration camps, gas chambers, and ovens.
It is also why Americans abort 1,000,000 unborn babies each and every year… because we have decided that their lives don’t matter. Or, at the very least, they matter less than ours.
Let me go on record as saying that all of the following lives matter: Conservatives, Libertarians, Progressives, Liberals, Socialists, Communists, and yes, even those in the mainstream media!
Instead of trying vainly to pull up those espousing repugnant beliefs by the roots – only to see them reappear like so many dandelions on a once manicured lawn – we need to win them over by the logic and power of our arguments, the sincerity of our beliefs, and the integrity of our lives.
Dale Glading is an ordained minister, a long-time prison minister, and a former N.J. Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives.