Skip to main content
Either BLM or Christ - You Cannot Serve Two Masters

by Hiram R. Diaz III

The Primary Focus of Black Lives Matter

If you haven’t checked out the Semper Reformanda Radio podcast over at
ThornCrownMinistries, I suggest you do so. We have produced quite a bit of material that you may find useful. Among the podcast episodes dealing with current affairs, you’ll find discussions on Critical Race Theory, Social Justice, and, most recently, Black Lives Matter. These topics are relevant to Christians because there are many within the visible church who are actively seeking to integrate those ideas with the faith delivered once for all unto the saints. We are to dismantle those ideas, and subject them to the Lordship of Jesus Christ – the Lord God of Truth.

Most recently, we decided to talk about Black Lives Matter because whereas CRT and SJ are somewhat removed from one’s everyday experience as they are more “abstract” and less personal, Black Lives Matter is concrete, with its leaders, members, and supporters involved in flesh and blood socio-political activism. Repudiations of Black Lives Matter – as a movement as well as a slogan – are often met with negative knee-jerk responses from the movement’s professedly Christian supporters. Christian supporters usually think that BLM is motivated by a desire to right racially motivated social, judicial, and political wrongs. And if that were truly the case, there would be at least a prima facie justification for supporting the movement. Racism – by which I mean the hatred of anyone who is judged as not belonging to one’s phenotypically distinct ethnic group, the flip-side of which is the showing of partiality to those who are judged as belonging to one’s phenotypically distinct ethnic group – is wicked. We ought to preach that hatred is murder. We ought to preach that God condemns partiality. We ought to remind ourselves daily that all men – even those against whom we have what we perceive to be justifiable grievances – bear the imago dei and, therefore, are to be shown respect and honor as such.

However, this is not what Black Lives Matter is primarily endorsing. Rather, BLM is a spiritual movement that is antagonistic toward the truths of the Christian faith. As Hebah H. Farrag and Ann Gleig note in their article “Despite what conservatives think, Black Lives Matter is an inherently spiritual movement” –

Since its inception, BLM organizers have expressed their founding spirit of love through an emphasis on spiritual healing, principles, and practices in their racial justice work.

BLM leaders, such as co-founder Patrisse Cullors, are deeply committed to incorporating spiritual leadership. Cullors grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness, and later became ordained in Ifà, a west African Yoruba religion. Drawing on Native American, Buddhist and mindfulness traditions, her syncretic spiritual practice is fundamental to her work. As Cullors explained to us, “The fight to save your life is a spiritual fight.”1

The leaders of BLM

…see themselves as inheritors of the spiritual duty to fight for racial justice, following in the footsteps of freedom fighters like abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

BLM leaders often invoke the names of abolitionist ancestors in a ceremony used at the beginning of protests. In fact, protests often contain many spiritual purification, protection and healing practices including the burning of sage, the practice of wearing white and the creation of sacred sites and altars at locations of mourning.2

Thus, while some Christians are led to think that marching, chanting, and singing with BLM protesters are merely political activities, the organization does not agree. The organization views participation in its various forms of activism as participation in spiritual practices.

Some have argued that the movement’s spiritual focus takes a backseat to its primary socio-political focus. However, Farrag elsewhere recounts that BLM’s leaders have stated that it is “first and foremost a spiritual movement.” She writes –

On June 2, 2020, Black Lives Matter’s Los Angeles Chapter sponsored an action in front of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s house…The action, what many would call a protest, began like a religious ceremony. Melina Abdullah…co-founder of BLM-LA, opened the event explaining that while the movement is a social justice movement, it is first and foremost a spiritual movement.

She led the group in a ritual: the reciting of names of those taken by state violence before their time—ancestors now being called back to animate their own justice:

“George Floyd. Asé. Philandro Castille. Asé. Andrew Joseph. Asé. Michael Brown. Asé. Erika Garner. Asé. Harriet Tubman. Asé. Malcom X. Asé. Martin Luther King. Asé.”

As each name is recited, Dr. Abdullah poured libations on the ground as the group of over 100 chanted “Asé,” a Yoruba term often used by practitioners of Ifa, a faith and divination system that originated in West Africa, in return. This ritual, Dr. Abdullah explained, is a form of worship.3

By the admission of its own leaders, BLM is “first and foremost” a “spiritual movement” engaging in worship rituals that take the form of political activism.

BLM vs. “Institutional” Christianity

What is more, according to its leaders, BLM’s

…approach necessitates that communities work to dismantle systems of oppression not only in the state, but also between communities, within communities, in families, in gender relations, in religious practice, and ultimately, within oneself.4

To be opposed to “white supremacy,” in other words, is necessarily to also be actively opposed to, and actively seeking to dismantle, systems of oppression in “religious practices.”

Lest one think that BLM is simply opposed to “religious practices” that are legitimately sinful (e.g. hating one’s neighbor under false pretenses of piety), we must note that it is not merely the wicked actions of Christians in the past that are identified as constituting a “system of oppression” but “institutional Christianity” in general. Farrag and Gleig tell us that –

The history of white supremacy, often enacted within institutional Christianity, has often vilified and criminalized Indigenous and African beliefs...5

Note how this ties together “White supremacy” and religious exclusivism, thereby indirectly indicting biblical Christianity – in which there is only one God (namely, the Trinity) and one way of salvation and communion with God (namely, the perfect life, death, burial, and resurrection of the Son of God) – as a tool of systemic oppression that must be dismantled.

Given that the postmodernist wholesale rejection of “metanarratives” is embraced by the founders of BLM, it follows that “institutional Christianity” – by which we may assume it is meant “orthodox Christianity” – has neither an innate nor bestowed right to deem other religious beliefs and practices as illegitimate, immoral, demonic, and of no benefit to any person. This view reduces the Word of God to a mere cultural production that has no claim to universal applicability. Consequently, Christians who declare that the gods of all the nations are demons,6 and who declare that those who follow their false gods become like them (viz. foolish, deaf, dumb, and blind)7 are viewed as purveyors of “cultural genocide,” illegitimately applying their local “truths” universally.8

Institutional Christianity, BLM founder Patrice Cullors, explains “policed the way [blacks] are allowed to commune with the divine.”9 For instance, whereas Christianity explicitly and overwhelmingly predicates masculine attributes of God, understands man’s role to be that of the head of the household, and explicitly teaches that women are not called to the ministry of Word and Sacrament, the Ifa religion places woman at the center of its practices.10 As Oyeronke Olajubu explains –

…[in] the practice of divination among the Yoruba […] female aesthetics feature prominently in all domains of Yoruba religious life. Ifa poetics, symbolism, iconography, and indeed the Odu (the oral texts that constitute the Ifa corpus, which is the wisdom storehouse of the Yoruba and the core of the divination focus) are symbolized as female, often as the essential wives of Ifa.11

Whereas “institutional” Christianity “polices” the roles of women, Ifa gives women numerous prominent religious roles from which to choose.

The Divine Self?

Additionally, whereas the Scriptures teach God and man are ontologically distinct beings,12 and that the desire to be God is the root sin of all sins,13 the Ifa religion teaches that the self is divine. As Wande Abimbola explains –

…the Yoruba religion…is based on what can be described as a worship of nature. We believe that when our divinities, known as Òrìsà, finished their work on earth, they then changed themselves to different forces of nature. […] The earth itself (herself) is a divinity. Human beings are themselves divine through their Ori (soul or unconscious mind) and Èmí (divine breath encased in our hearts), which are directly bestowed on humans from Òlódùmare, our High God.14

Hence, from Oct 2nd – Oct 4th of this year, BLM held “Black Women are Divine” events in which black women were encouraged to “reclaim [their] Divinity in the name of…the countless women [they’ve] lost.”15

BLM is Not Spiritually Neutral

At this point, it should be clear that BLM is not religiously neutral but actively promoting a syncretic form of the Ifa religion that, through political activism, engages in the following practices –

Idolatry
Ancestor worship

Prayers to the dead
Drink libations
Exorcisms16
Healing Ceremonies

All of these behaviors, we must note, are strictly forbidden by God in his Word. As it is written –

Leviticus 19:31 – “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.”

Deuteronomy 18:9-12 – “When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.”

Isaiah 8:19-20 – And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.

God very clearly detests the actions that BLM is engaging in; consequently, he condemns their actions as abominable.

Concluding Remarks: 
You Shall Not Be Unequally Yoked

Despite all that has been covered in this article, there will be some who argue that it is possible to work with BLM without engaging in their sins. However, what does the Scripture say?

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 – Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,


“I will make my dwelling among them
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.

Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;

then I will welcome you,
and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,

says the Lord Almighty.”

  Ephesians 5:11 – Take no part in the unfruitful works of     darkness, but instead expose them.

1 Timothy 5:22 – Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.

Revelation 18:4 – Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues…”

God’s Word is by no means unclear on this matter – Christians are forbidden from engaging in the spiritual rituals practiced by BLM through political activism. Ironically, however, it is BLM, and not contemporary Christian supporters of BLM, that correctly notes its political activism allies are not neutral participants in a secular demand for a non-spiritual end. One cannot serve two masters – Either one is with Christ and, therefore, against the paganism of BLM (expressed through its slogan chanting, name chanting, marching, singing, protesting, etc); or one is with BLM and against Christ.

There is no third option.


1https://www.mic.com/p/despite-what-conservatives-think-black-lives-matter-is-inherently-spiritual-movement-33913424, Accessed Oct 10, 2020. (emphasis added)

2 ibid. (emphasis added)

3 “The Fight for Black Lives is a Spiritual Movement,” Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs, June 9, 2020, https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/responses/the-fight-for-black-lives-is-a-spiritual-movement. (emphasis added)

4 ibid. (emphasis added)

5 Despite What Conservatives Think. (emphasis added)

6 cf. Ps 96:5.

7 cf. Ps 115:4-8, 135:16-18; Rom 1:18-23.

8 For more on this subject, see Turpin, Katherine. “Christian Education, White Supremacy, and Humility in Formational Agendas,” in Religious EducationVol.112, No. (2017), 407-417.

9 ibid.

10 This notwithstanding, Yoruba culture is patriarchal. Women are considered to be less than men not merely with respect to physical strength but moral capacities as well. For more on this, see Familusi, O.O. “African Culture and the Status of Women: The Yoruba Example,” in The Journal of Pan African Studies, Vol. 5, No. 1 (March 2012), 299-313.

11 “Seeing through a Woman's Eye: Yoruba Religious Tradition and Gender Relations,” in Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Vol. 20, No. 1 (Spring, 2004), 45. (emphasis added)

12 cf. Gen 1:26-27 & 2:7; Num 23:19; Job 33:12b; Pss 90, et al.

13 cf. 2 Pet 2:4 & Jude 6; Eze 28:11-19 & Isa 14:4b-21; Gen 3:4-7.

14 “Religion, World Order, and Peace: An Indigenous African Perspective,” in CrossCurrents (September 2010), 308-309. (emphasis added)

15 https://blacklivesmatter.com/black-women-are-divine.

16 BLM leaders believe that through their political activities they can “exorcise” evil from various geographical locations. Elise M. Edwards, in her paper “’Let’s Imagine Something Different’: Spiritual Principles in Contemporary African American Justice Movements and Their Implications for the Built Movement,” writes –

Cullors…is inspired by indigenous spiritualities and Ifà…She explains that the spirituality of many Black Lives Matter activists is not based in traditional or formalized religious communities. Many of the activists felt rejected or even “pushed out” of churches because of their queer identities or challenges to patriarchy. Nevertheless, they continue to practice their spirituality through “healing justice work,” working to exorcise their communities of racism, sexism, and homophobia.

[Religions (2017), 8, 256. (emphasis added)]

Comments