“The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh.” (Ecclesiastes 4:5, ESV)
Sometimes the Bible uses colorful ways to get a point across.
“Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts the land is scorched, and the people are like fuel for the fire; no one spares another. They slice meat on the right, but are still hungry, and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied; each devours the flesh of his own arm…” (Isaiah 9:19–20, ESV)
This is the foolishness of man which the preacher of Ecclesiastes mourns as vanity, “all is vanity.” One of the first problems with governments is that they forget they are ordained by God for his purpose and that they are not the practical social reality of man. This is just as true for any organization that denies God to serve man. The goal is to remake God and creation in the image of man.
Now I recognize that as a preacher, I’m not supposed to talk about political things. There are two sources for this ban on my freedom of speech. Sadly, the first is the church. I have been told more than once that my sermon is too political. Its too bad that we have forgotten the most basic principles that drove the men and women of this country to make serious sacrifices because “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Moreover, this rule of God providing for all to seek after Christ without interference is amplified in the very next sentence, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…”
As best as I can see, the founders of this nation, though many had differing ideas about the nature of God, agreed that the foundation of all social order is the unalienable rights provided by him. That means, there is nothing that is not within the realm of religion. In order to fulfill my duties as a minister of the Word and Sacraments, I must preach the truth of the whole gospel.
The second source is the Internal Revenue Service. There is no established law made by congress declaring that politics cannot be preached from the pulpit. In has not been infrequent for political candidates to arrange to address a congregation in a Sunday morning worship service. However, we are afraid of the IRS for their power to declare whether churches are tax free or not. Another way of putting it is that the IRS believes that it may bless the churches with tax free status allowing all contributions to be made with and get some form of benefit from it.
The hardest thing for one who has been scammed is to acknowledge that they have been scammed. And this is one of the biggest and best. The church has come to believe that if people don’t get a tax benefit from their contributions, the financial gifts will disappear. This is wrong on so many levels for first, we are not giving something to God if we expect something in return. Second, the one who controls the purse controls everything else. Churches are afraid to proclaim political truths from the pulpit because they are afraid of losing a government benefit.
One of the things that should be proclaimed loudly and clearly from every church is that the Government does not own us, our contributions, or our property ( I suggest this is true about all property privately owned). On top of that, the church should sound the trumpet that the role of the government is to protect the church from interference. This does not mean that the church gets a pass on obeying the laws that uphold godly morality. Frankly, with the emphasis on evolution, there is no justification for any morality beyond the advancement of the individual gene pool. Thank goodness we have not fallen that deeply yet.
Now, why did I spend all this time writing about government before addressing Black Lives Matter? Well, what is true for government is also true for the individual and for other groups of individuals. We all have to make the choice to either obey God or to remake God in the image we most like. The latter is the purpose of modern revolutions. The most obvious problem with Black Lives Matter is that if you disagree with any of their stated and unstated purposes, you are somehow saying that black lives don’t matter. Either you are a part of Black Lives Matter or you are a racist.
These are false claims and the assumptions are deceptive. The About page on the Black Lives Matter sight says the following,
“In the years since, we’ve committed to struggling together and to imagining and creating a world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic, and political power to thrive.”
What exactly is “anti-blackness”? In these days, we are told that if you are born white you are already a racist. To confuse the matter even more, there is systemic racism, fundamental racism, programmatic racism and many more. Unfortunately, it is easy to throw out a term if you don’t define it. It’s easy to slur a whole group of people if all you have to do is shout louder than they do. And it’s easy to make people feel guilty for things that they are not guilty for.
Here’s where Ecclesiastes states that “The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh.” We see it happening every day. The mayor of New York City is so focused on writing “Black Lives Matter” in front of Trump tower that when someone throws red paint on it, he is out there repainting it as fast as he can. At the same time, the murder rate in the city has risen dramatically, and it is black people who are dying. The message is that black lives do not matter to the mayor of New York City, though I am sure he felt good about himself when he went to sleep in his comfortably protected home that night.
The NFL plans to allow players to put stickers with the initials of those who have suffered “racism” at the hands of the police this year. An act that will make no difference to whatever problem they think they want to correct. However, the plan to play the “Black National Anthem” before the Star Spangled Banner at every NFL game has potential. The composer of the song is James Weldon Johnson who is the first black individual to pass the Florida Bar. Mr. Johnson was a strong Christian man with a good Christian ethic. He was a civil rights activist and began the NAACP. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was a poem he wrote in 1900. His brother added music to it in 1905 and in 1919 the NAACP dubbed it the “Black National Anthem.”
I assure you that the song will be played and hopefully sung. I’ll let the words resonate to close this blog.
Lift ev’ry voice and sing,
‘Til earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the list’ning skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on ’til victory is won.
Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chastening rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
‘Til now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.
God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God,
True to our native land. †
† accessed through https://www.naacp.org/naacp-history-lift-evry-voice-and-sing/