The world that forgets God, brothers and sisters, is ruled by injustice toward neighbours and inhumanity toward the weak … Do not use force because you rule, nor commit extortion because you are able to do so, but show the qualities of justice even while the means of authority are available to you.
~ St Basil the Great, “On Mercy and Justice,” in On Social Justice (Popular Patristics Series Book 38). St Vladimir’s Seminary Press. Kindle Edition, Loc. 1718, 1745.
Is there a “Christian approach” to the current swelling of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in response to the death of George Floyd? The issue of social inequality of non-whites is a deeply political one, especially at the moment. I want to make some observations on two questions in this brief post: should Christians get involved in politics?; and how might Christians—particularly Coptic Orthodox Christians—approach the BLM movement?
Should Christians Get Involved in Politics?
As I understand the life and teaching of Jesus and His apostles, to be a follower of Jesus is to rise above the fleeting and ever-changing political attitudes and movements that human beings create for themselves. Jesus’ Jewish listeners saw in Him a political figure, a messiah to liberate them from oppressive Roman rule and restore a Jewish kingdom under God. Jesus refused. His vision was far above this narrow human hope. The Kingdom Jesus established is certainly under the True God, but although it is in this world, it is not of this world—it is not about political or military power, or economic management, or legislating laws. It is not about Roman or Jewish rule, or political rule at all. Jesus did transform society, but He didn’t do it through political lobbying and power plays—He did it by changing hearts.
Jesus didn’t take sides on the political issues of His time. But that doesn’t mean He had nothing to say about those issues. Continue reading “A Coptic Priest’s Thoughts on Black Lives Matter.”