The other day I caught Luke eating chips up in Caleb’s room, in his bed no less (Caleb isn’t home currently). I said, “Didn’t I just hear your mom tell you not to eat chips upstairs?” In typical teenage fashion he replied, “Mom told me not to eat chips in my room. I’m in Caleb’s room, so technically, I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Recently [I started this post a month or so ago], I have seen a disturbing trend – Christians using one truth to hide, mask, or distort another truth. The statements might be ‘technically true’, but obfuscate. In other words, they use truth to lie. This meme (below) tells two truths, but turns them into two lies.
The truth: Yes, all lives matter.
The lie: Saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ makes you a racist.
Does saying ‘unborn lives matter’ make someone an ‘ageist’ – as if they are saying ‘only unborn lives matter’? Of course not. When someone says the unborn matter, they are not saying that the living don’t matter. They are asserting the truth that unborn lives are currently being treated as if they don’t matter. The same is true when we say ‘Black Lives Matter’. That is not an assertion that only black lives matter, but that currently, black lives are not being treated as if they matter.
You may disagree with the statement that black lives are being treated as if they don’t matter (i.e. you don’t believe racism or systemic racism is real), but don’t hide your disagreement with a lie.
Second truth: There is only one race, the human race.
Second Lie: Using the word ‘race’ denies this truth.
Sociologists have, for decades, said that ‘race’ is an unhelpful concept, a social construct that masks the greater diversity among humans. But, race is still very much a part of our vocabulary, kind of like sunrise and sunset. The sun doesn’t technically rise, right. The earth rotates and brings the sun into view, then later in the day, removes the sun from view. But we still talk of sunrise and sunset.
Race is still a word common in use. A person might be biracial; a person who discriminates based on the color of someone’s skin is a racist. We still ask about race on our census surveys.
So saying that there is only one race may be true, but it’s being used to mask another truth – we aren’t all the same. Worse, it’s being used to dodge a more uncomfortable truth – one segment of the human race is treating other segments differently/oppressively. This happens individually and systemically. Do not hide this truth with other truths improperly marshaled and connected into what becomes, in effect a lie.
Christians should be known for a love for truth, for telling the truth and defending it. Jan Hus, a 14th century church reformer and martyr was asked and bribed to recant his views. He refused, saying “I would not for a chapel of gold retreat from the truth!” He also wrote, “Therefore, faithful Christian, seek the truth, listen to the truth, learn the truth, love the truth, tell the truth, learn the truth, defend the truth even to death.”
What happened Christian? Why are we so fast and loose with the truth today. God is not please. Proverbs 12:22, “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight.”