On Thursday, during an episode of The 700 Club, Pat Robertson echoed fear-mongering conservative rhetoric against Black Lives Matter. He said the “radical” movement — which goes beyond the organization itself — is more interested in destroying the country than countering oppression.
You can hear it around the 15:45 mark:
“They’re talking about Marxist communism,” Robertson said. “They’re talking about destroying the nuclear family. They’re talking about destroying essentially Christianity as being racist. And all the way through, they want to upend the capitalist structure and destroy America.”
“People should be aware that they’re not just standing with the poor oppressed Black people,” Robertson added. “Of course we want to stand with people against police brutality. Of course we do. But we don’t want to go along with a lesbian, anti-family, anti-capitalist Marxist revolution. We don’t want that for America.”
He added that BLM was “anti-family” and “anti-God.”
Where is this coming from? The BLM website is unapologetically inclusive of LGBTQ people, “especially Black trans women,” and welcoming of different family structures beyond the traditional father-led stereotype. Some conservatives have taken that in bad faith to mean they’re out to destroy America As We Know It when the reality is they’re trying to create space for more Americans — the ones who have historically lacked power and a voice.
So when Robertson says they want to “upend the capitalist structure,” that’s a reference to activists who argue that our current system of capitalism hasn’t worked for a hell of a lot of people. (They’re right.)
When Robertson says they want to destroy the family, the truth is BLM wants to expand what we think of when we talk about families. (They’re making a valid point.)
When Robertson says they’re anti-God, he’s just using shorthand for people who don’t subscribe to his brand of conservative Republican Jesus.
Robertson is hardly the first to make these kinds of statements, but because of his prominence among right-wing Christians, yesterday, Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of the BLM movement, directly spoke out against Robertson’s ignorance and hate:
… The statements made by Pat Robertson are completely inflammatory and dangerous.
People are hurting all across this country due to the carelessness of comments made by individuals like Pat Robertson. At what point do those individuals who walk alongside him stop and say, enough is enough with the sexist, misogynistic, and supremacist way of displaying the bigotry that continues to flow from the souls of many of our leaders. Christianity was built on empathy; not hate. Until hate and racism is eradicated, America will continue to be a divided nation.
… It is our hope that Pat Robertson and anyone else who believes we are destroying Christianity with our work, would join us in our movement as we will continue to galvanize these moments of division and false character accusations as fuel to move our country and world forward.
The bottom line is this: If Pat Robertson’s religion can be destroyed by activists fighting for racial justice, then his religion deserves to be eradicated. But many Christians — including plenty of BLM activists themselves — would argue that their faith inspires them to fight for these values. There’s nothing about Black Lives Matter that’s incompatible with Christianity. Unless you’re the sort of person who thinks voting for a Democrat amounts to heresy.
(via Religion News Service)