By Mark Oppenheimer, the New York Times.
For some Christians, support for the Black Lives Matter movement is a no-brainer. After all, Jesus opposed violence, opposed the taking of life and opposed racial distinctions. As the apostle Paul taught in his letter to the Galatians, there is neither slave nor free, for “you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Many Christian groups have become active in Black Lives Matter as the movement has progressed. The website of the United Church of Christ, for example, offers “Black Lives Matter” buttons. A campaign by the Presbyterian Church (USA) “affirms the Black Lives Matter movement.” And the American Baptist Churches alluded to the movement in its resolution, passed last March, celebrating its denomination’s role in civil rights. “We affirm today that black lives matter,” the statement read. “Every life matters.”
But those denominations tend to be liberal in their thinking. The path is trickier for conservative evangelical groups. They would all agree that black lives, like other lives, matter. But evangelicals, especially those who support Republican candidates, are uncomfortable with the movement because of its embrace of liberal politics, associated with Democrats.
That was a lesson that 16,000 evangelicals, most of them student members of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, learned in the aftermath of Urbana, the group’s triennial student missions conference in St. Louis in late December.