Do All Lives Really Matter?

To all my white, Christian friends, I want to tell you a story. I once worked for a company that considered itself a Christian business. I, as I am most places, was a bit different from the norm. If you had visited my office, you would have found the lights out in a room lit by a lava lamp and salt rock. I had all my eighties memorabilia adorning the bookshelves in all its rightful glory and one of the best Marvel office collections around.

My staff loved to hang out in my office. Other managers told stories of my office around the company. Once, an Orkin guy came to spray the building. When he got to my office, he stopped, called his brother, and asked if he could take pictures of my original Nintendo I had set up in the office. I’m talking about the original, deluxe set up with the Robot gyroscope, gun, and all.

Another thing my staff loved was the music. I had Pandora on the entire time I was at work. More often than not, my computer played the classic hits from my 70s channel or my 80s channel.

Once a month, my boss would show up to do a visit and rate the business metrics. On one particular occasion, he sat down in my office, and apparently notice my Pandora station did not play any commercials. He looked up from his iPad and said, “You have a paid subscription to Pandora?” “Yes,” I replied. He then made a statement that sadly did not shock me based on my years of history with him. He stated, “You know they support Black Lives Matter.” I looked at him and asked, “OK?” He went on, “I didn’t know that. When I found out, I canceled my Pandora subscription. I try to remember to tell everyone I know that has a subscription that I canceled mine because they support it. I thought you’d like to know so you can cancel yours as well.”

I share this story to illustrate the dichotomy between Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter. Through the events following the death of George Floyd, I have seen a proliferation of rebuttals to Black Lives Matter by my fellow white people with All Lives Matter. This morning, I saw a post from a pastor I respect pushing the All Lives Matter mantra.

I’m exhausted. I wish my fellow white Americans could get this. Saying, “All Lives Matter,” as a response to Black Lives Matter does not make you better than others or some great humanitarian. It’s also nonsensical.

Black Lives Matter is also not antithetical to All Lives Matter. Can we agree that black lives are part of all lives? Let me say, if we can’t get that far in agreement, we have more significant issues than this post is going to discuss. But for the sake of this conversation at the least, let’s conclude that black lives are part of all lives. If someone says, “Black Lives Matter,” and you believe that all lives matter, there should not be an argument here as black lives are part of all lives. You can agree that black lives matter without saying all lives matter.

The problem is, All Lives Matter comes off as a dog whistle. Some of the people I see post All Lives Matter also post things like “Blues Lives Matter.” There are two problems with this. If you tell someone All Lives Matter in response to Black Lives Matter, you are asking them to be inclusive – they should include all people in their fight – they should use “All” instead of “Black.” But then, you turn around and post something like Blue Lives Matter showing that you do believe a label can differentiate a cause. Do Blue Lives Matter? Of course. Are blue lives not part of all lives? Of course. However, when you call it wrong for one group to say their lives matter, then you single out another group, it’s hypocritical.

Also, if you are willing to say All Lives Matter, Blues Lives Matter, or Unborn Lives Matter, but are unwilling to say or acknowledge Black Lives Matter, it comes off as if there is only one word in the “Lives Matter” slogan you have an issue with – Black.

Now is the time to listen, not lecture. If you genuinely believe that all lives matter, then black lives matter. You don’t have to cancel it out. There are times when people just need to be heard. Hurting people don’t need to be corrected all the time. Sometimes, they just need someone to understand, even if that understanding is made up at the start.

I am begging you, please, stop with the All Lives Matter right now. Especially pastors. It’s not helping. I see it over and over, and it makes me wonder if all lives really do matter. Be the light. Be the hands and feet. Jesus listened. He had compassion. Let’s try to do the same.


God and Country


Mere months ago, many who called themselves, “Christian,” found themselves severely upset over the removal of monuments dedicated to individuals who fought against the American flag. These people, Robert E. Lee, etc., formed a rival government and led a Civil War against the country of the United States of America. This group of people founded their own flag and killed American Patriots dedicated to preserving the nation. Hundreds of “Conservative Christians” lined the streets of America and pontificated on social media against the removal of monuments and statues honoring these individuals who lead a revolt against the American flag.

Fast forward a month later. Suddenly, “Christian Patriots” are offended that football players are either taking a need during the National Anthem or not coming out to the field at all. My first question is, where were these offended before 2009? Why 2009? Well, let’s look at a bit of history.

Before 2009, not a single football player took the field before the National Anthem being played. Up until 2009, every single player on every single team remained in the locker room until AFTER the singing of the National Anthem. Until this point, the National Anthem would be played or sang, then the team would charge out onto the field in a grand spectacle of fireworks, fanfare, and paper displays strategically placed for that key player to burst through in a great display of domination. No one was offended, and no was in the news decrying the absence of football players on the field during the National Anthem. What changed? What made football, and every other sport, put their players out for display during the Star-Spangled Banner? Marketing. Good ole fashioned Capitalism.

The average cost of a Super Bowl ad was $5 million for thirty seconds of the 2017 game. That is $167,000 per second for an ad in the Super Bowl. Advertisers must see value in broadcasting to football fans. Consider, from 2011 to 2014, the Department of Defense paid the NFL $5.4 million to put players on the field during the National Anthem and flag ceremonies. The National Guard followed suit, paying the NFL $6.8 million from 2013 to 2015 for player representation during military presentations. Before 2009, NFL players stayed in the locker room for the National Anthem, but no one seems to remember that. So, why the change?

This subject is a much deeper topic than I can get into on this individual post. However, we cannot overlook the relationship between the effect of Super Bowl ads and the paid presentation of NFL football players during the National Anthem. The DoD and the National Guard began a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign in 2009 to the fans of sporting events. Much like Michael Jordan selling Nikes, the thought was that sports fans watching their heroes saluting the flag would become more patriotic as a result. This performance was billed in government documentation as a “recruitment expense.” Even the “surprise welcome home” events are a part of this paid marketing. Yes, the government pays the NFL, MLB, and others to do these “surprise” welcome home events during their games. John McCain himself penned a letter condemning this practice. The current outrage that players do not participate in the government-funded activity is proof their marketing dollars are worth the expense.

This attempt to gaslight the public, and us as Christians, to become enraged over a football player not coming out to the field, or taking a knee during the National Anthem, is nothing more than a successful attempt to lure us into blind, unconditional support of the government institution. This manufactured anger over a flag that we wear as bikinis or use to wipe the ketchup from our mouths as a napkin at Fourth of July BBQs takes our focus away from what is real and relevant. Jesus never swore allegiance to the Jewish State. Our Christ never got offended at someone kneeling before the Flag of Rome. Jesus respected Caesar and what belonged to the government, but His allegiance was to the Kingdom of God.

We as Christians have become easy prey in attempts to gaslight groups into outrage over things that are wholly insignificant relative to the Gospel. There is a significant difference between, “God and country,” and “Christ and Kingdom” and Christians need to understand that every issue does not require a response. Jesus spent most of His ministry ministering in silence. We as Christians have become debaters instead of demonstrators. The “Take a Knee” issue has become but one in another matter in a long line of misguided attempts to drag us into the secular culture war. Jesus never fell for this, and neither should we.

The “Take a Knee” issue is not about patriotism; it’s about racism. Racism is wrong, and we as Christians should stand against it, and we need to stop hiding it behind things like patriotism. If you are uncomfortable with diversity, you’d probably hate Heaven anyway. The issue of black football players taking a knee has nothing to do with patriotism and everything to do with racism in America. Christians should not allow patriotism to cover the sin of racism.

I fly an American flag in my front yard every day of the year. I love my country and admire patriotism. However, the National Anthem is not a hymn. Patriotism is not forcing people to stand and salute the flag. Patriotism is creating a country where people want to stand and salute the flag. Veterans fought for freedom, not a flag. We as Christians need to live lives that draw people to Jesus and taking to social media over every issue is not the way to do that. Jesus did not address every issue. In fact, most of His ministry was worked out in silence. We should be so wise as to model His behavior.