I have been processing the Mennonite support of BLM ever since I read an article by Ervin Stutzman and responded in a blog (https://mennonitemafia.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/judge-and-jury-folks/).
Today I learned that Mennonite Mission Network is giving money to Black Lives Matter. To be fair, it is a ‘The Voices Project to offer nonviolent direct action training and organizing strategies to the movement.” https://serve.mennonitemission.net/Stories/Pages/Mennonite-agency-agrees-BlackLivesMatter-too.aspx.
Let’s break this down and look at this issue from a “Mennonite” point of view:
Mennonites have historically rooted for the oppressed, downtrodden and poor. It’s easy to see that the church would want to lift these folks up. Mennonites also have strong connections cross culturally and have a large urban and non white membership. It makes sense for the church to support a civil group that many white people don’t relate too.
The other side of this issue is where it can get messy. Some will deny the anti-military and anti-police undertones in the Mennonite Church. I don’t know anyone who claims this is preached from the pulpit, but most will say it is an unwritten sentiment in the faith. I wasn’t “taught” by my Mennonite father (who was a pastor) that military and police professionals are evil but the fact that these professionals were not allowed to be Mennonites added up to the conclusion that they are not Christians or at least not Christians worthy of being Mennonites. Professions that carry guns were not on my slate for employment – they weren’t jobs desirable by true Christians. I didn’t know any military/police personally until I attended a Baptist Church with my wife. That was the first time that I really gave thought that there could be God fearing people even if they were required to kill someone. The thought of military/police service was so foreign that I wasn’t permitted to be a boy scout because the uniform and organization was too similar to the military.
So why would the Mennonite Church feel any need to support “Blue Lives Matter” when they are not given the same respect and support as the oppressed and downtrodden. A poor black man is gunned down. It can’t be his fault. It has to be the non Christian policeman who is abusing his power. When was the last time that you heard of a Mennonite Church supporting or ministering to police or military personnel? Do we have any missionaries in that field? Any chaplains in the military? Why would we? We don’t support them or agree with what they do.
Here is the danger. We may admit that some good comes from the police and military but we keep our distance so our hands don’t get dirty. We stress that our involvement in BLM is “nonviolent direct action training and organizing” but lets not forget that the reaction from protesters has also been very violent and causing social unrest. How many innocent police officers have been gunned down and killed even though they had no involvement in shooting anyone?
The Mennonite Church is rushing into support one side while again judging police. I would love to see MMN give $10,000 to an organization that is ministering to those called to serve while carrying a gun. Or don’t they deserve that?