Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Fatherlessness and Ferguson

"Fatherlessness is the bane of the black community."

Thus says Voddie Baucham in a powerful piece today, Thoughtson Ferguson. I rarely post in response to a another post anymore and even more rarely to one I agree with. This one is powerful and deserves your attention, not least because it says what almost no one else is willing to. Here are the key paragraphs (emphasis added):

Rest assured, I do believe there are systemic issues plaguing black men. These issues are violence, criminality, and immorality, to name a few. And all of these issues are rooted in and connected to the epidemic of fatherlessness. Any truly gospel-centered response to the plight of black men must address these issues first and foremost. It does no good to change the way white police officers respond to black men if we don’t first address the fact that these men’s fathers have not responded to them appropriately.

There is indeed an epidemic of violence against black men. However, that violence, more often than not, occurs at the hands of other black men. In fact, black men are several times more likely to be murdered at the hands of another black man than they are to be killed by the police. For instance, in the FBI homicide stats from 2012, there were 2,648 blacks murdered. Of those, 2,412 were murdered by members of their own ethnic group. Thus, if I am going to speak out about anything, it will be black-on-black crime; not blue-on-black. I want to apply the gospel and its implications in a way that addresses the real issue. If a few black men being killed by cops requires a national “dialogue,” what in the world does the overwhelming number of black-on-black murders require? If the police do not see black men through the proper gospel-centered, image-of-God lens, what does the black-on-black murder rate say about the way we see ourselves?

The root problem in much of the plight of the black community is fatherlessness. Not insufficient welfare payments or school funding or "white privilege" or institutionalized racism or a minimum wage that is supposedly too low. Many on the "progressive" left in the church think that parroting back leftist political dogma is all we can do, even when that rhetoric does nothing more than assuaging the misplaced guilt they carry around. The church ought to instead be modeling a different way, a way that is becoming more and more jarringly contrary to the world, a way that sees the glory of Christ reflected in the marriage between a husband and wife that have become one flesh. That doesn't mean there is no place in the church for the singles, the unwed mothers, the divorced. It does mean that without triumphalism or arrogance we assert that a loving home with a father and mother married for life to one another is the very best possible family, both for the married couple and for any children they might be blessed with. Family does come in all sorts of iterations but they are not all equal and we shouldn't be apologetic about saying so.

We don't need more guilty white self-flagellation nor do we need more race based politics dressed up in religious language. We need more black leaders to speak up and address the real problems, problems that are not solved by more governmental replacement of men in the black community. We need Christian families of all races and every ethnicity to intentionally model the one-flesh, married for life union of man and woman that reflects the beauty of Christ and His Church, Getting married is not just something to do, not just another check box to mark off in your life list. It is for many of us the single most visible witness, for good or for ill, we will have in our communities and if Ferguson has taught us anything it is that that special witness of the Gospel lived out is all that stands between this country and a future of either fascism or lawlessness. 

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