All Lives Matter—Except If We Disagree

Vantage Point

All lives matter,” my neighbor said to me as he walked up my drive and nodded toward the Black Lives Matter sign in my front yard. “You should get rid of that.”

“All lives do matter,” I agreed, “but if I said to my husband, ‘I don’t think I matter to you,’ and he replied, ‘Honey, all wives matter,’ I don’t think that would be helpful. It wouldn’t address my hurt. In fact, his comment would intensify my hurt.”

When those of us outside the Black community—and those of us in the Christian community—say “all lives matter” in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, we deny the legitimate hurts of the Black community. As German Lopez says in Vox, The point of Black Lives Matter isn’t to suggest that Black lives should be or are more important than all other lives. Instead, it’s simply pointing out that Black people’s lives are relatively undervalued in the U.S.—and more likely to be ended by police—and that the country needs to recognize that inequity to bring an end to it.”

But after my neighbor left, I continued to think about the phrase “all lives matter.” In a sense, I had embraced All Lives Matter as a movement many years ago.

For most of my adult life, I was pro-life—or, as I now define it: pro-birth. I always voted for the pro-life candidate, no matter who, no matter what. But over the years, I became universally pro-life. In other words, I became pro-life on every issue because all lives matter. So today, keeping all human life in mind, I ask, “What does this candidate believe about the environment?”  “How will this candidate vote regarding health care?” “What will this candidate do for those who are marginalized in our society?”

After all, if we say “all lives matter,” then all lives must matter—not just the lives of the unborn.  Thousands die from lack of clean drinking water, from hunger, poor nutrition, violence, poverty, and inadequate health care in the U.S. and around the world. As Christians, our pro-life stance cannot extend only to the unborn if we say and believe all lives matter.

I left my church in 2008 after discovering that Christians in my church cared more about the unborn than people who disagreed with them on various issues, including people like me. I felt ostracized because of my differing opinions, and my fellow church members called me a “murderer,” a “baby-killer,” and a “non-Christian.”

I learned the hard way: all lives matter, except if we disagree.

About the Author

Patty Hoezee Meyer is a former educator and current executive director of the nonprofit Friends of the Felt Estate (feltmansion.org). She lives in Hudsonville, Mich., with her husband. She has written two books: 150 Rules for Carefree Living and The Felt Mansion: A Story of Restoration.

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Comments

Why does The Banner publish such articles?  Are we to learn anything from this?  The article suggests police are the bad guys in confronting armed criminals. When Church members are rude and unkind they're behaving unbecoming a child of God - and that's who they are. However, they're not threatening or killing anyone, unlike those who kill millions of unborn babies though abortion. The unborn are people too - from conception. (Psa. 51:5).    

Well said. I share your perspective. 

Q. Does this commandment refer only to murder?

A. By forbidding murder God teaches us that he hates the root of murder: envy, hatred, anger, vindictiveness. In God’s sight all such are disguised forms of murder.

The current cultural context of sides, tribalism, and partisanship have led us to a place that does not recognize the image of God in the other. I lament the author's experience and grieve the divisions that a complex world of sin that cannot be addressed through a simplistic lens or one party platform exact upon the church.

  • Thank you, Ms Meyer, for stating what I and so many others feel and believe.  There are so many more Reformed folks who feel as you do, and as I do, but they have been made to feel shame for their views so they keep silent. Thank you for not keeping silent!

Thank you, Ms. Meyer. This is a topic that is so misunderstood in the church, the neighborhood, the world today. And so many people so easily turn it upside down, as the first respondent did. We need to learn to talk to each other without getting defensive.

Yes, the enivornment matters, racism is a sin, and there are host of other things that need to be dealt with, but what is the greatest injustice happening right now in our culture and society?  It is abortion.  The killing of innocent human life.  No matter what race you are, you have the law behind you, you have protection you can appeal to.  Even if you are unjustly killed, as George Forman, you get your day in court.  But the unborn have no such protection.  They are indiscriminately killed.  They do not get their day in court.  Who is going to stand up for them, if not Christians?  Imagine someone saying during the time of abolition:  I'm upset with the church because they are so focussed on freeing the slaves, there are other bondages as well.  Yes, there are, but what is the most pressing issue / injustice of the day that everyone else is ignoring or doing their best to perpuate?  When we stand up for the unborn, we are not justifying any sins of racism, pollution, etc.  We are dealing with THE greatest injustice of our time.

Corrections to my comment.  I should have proofed before clicking

1.Forman:  Floyd

2. Perpuate:  perpetuate

Sorry

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