October 19, 2015,

Dear Friends and Family of the Diocese of Eau Claire,

In last Tuesday’s Democratic Party Debate, the five candidates for President of the United States were asked a question. “Do Black lives matter, or do all lives matter?” The question was politically charged, for the Black Lives Matter movement insists that only Black lives matter, and the phrase, all lives matter, distracts from their movement. Four candidates emphasized that Black lives matter and would not say anything about the phrase, all lives matter. One candidate, James Webb, said that all lives matter.

Words are important. The members of the Black Lives Matter movement probably did not consider the phrase, all lives matter, when they began. Now the language has backed them into a corner, for in the name of their movement the leaders appear to say they don’t care about other people. I don’t think this is true, but the words come out that way.

From a common sense perspective all lives matter, but there are more profound reasons for this. Christianity is based upon every life having value. We start with the premise that each person is made in the likeness and image of God. Our Baptismal Covenant in the Book of Common Prayer, page 305, asks, “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?”

When Jesus was arrested he appeared before the High Priest, Caiaphas. According to John 18:14, “Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that It was better to have one person die for the people.” That one person was the Son of God. Obviously Caiaphas was in error. Our American Declaration of Independence proclaims, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Because of these reasons, Black lives matter, and all lives matter. When we devalue or disregard any person it is an affront to us all. By God’s grace we can live into the Gospel truth that each of us is unique and loved by God. We are God’s daughters and sons. We are truly members of a holy family! Hallelujah! With my love and best wishes, I am,

Your brother in Christ,