How Have You Honored George Floyd?
It has now been little over two months since George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin, and I’m left wondering what Floyd would think of the “activism” that has been done in his name. I personally did not know Floyd, but people close to him have shared about the kind of person he was. Once a destructive young man, he eventually discovered the grace of Jesus Christ, changed the course of his life, and helped others do the same. Floyd’s understanding that he was a sinner saved by Jesus’ sacrifice and reconciled to God gives us an important insight into the kind of justice he would want others to strive for.
I’ll describe that vision shortly, but I’ll pause here briefly and say I’m aware of the details surrounding his death — that he died with drugs in his system and counterfeit money in his possession, so it’s clear that he was not acting in accordance with his Christian principles in the moments leading up to his unjustified death. This is deeply unfortunate, but I would like to treat George Floyd how I’d hope to be treated if my various sinful inclinations and actions came to light after my death. I hope others would still remember that Jesus saved me and changed me for the better despite the many times I’ve failed to honor or obey Him — which is why I will extend that grace to Floyd as well.
Back to the Christian vision of justice: Because Floyd was a Christian and his identity was primarily found in being forgiven and motivated by Christ rather than some worldly identifier like class or skin color, we have many reasons to believe that he would be greatly disturbed by the national response to his death. It’s clear that in many people’s haste to avenge him they have idolized him, exploited him, or grossly warped the gospel message that ultimately saved him.
Given the emotional impact his death had on many people, I understand why some of have used art or other kinds of media to create powerful tributes. However, the line from paying one’s respects to flagrant idolization was clearly been crossed when Floyd’s body was paraded around crowded streets in a golden casket in various “tours” throughout the country. Especially given the fact that, for months, various tyrants have limited the public’s ability to assemble, worship at their churches, or see their dying loved ones. All while restrictions were eased when it came to Floyd or the Black Lives Matter protests.
These aren’t the only instances of idolization. Perhaps one the most bizarre and eerie displays is a recently unveiled traveling hologram which features a gold, glittering, larger-than-life George Floyd projected into the sky. It seems increasingly obvious that even our secular culture, people are still clamoring to worship. America magazine (a Catholic publication) opined at length about the many false similarities between Floyd and Jesus Christ and ultimately concluded that “the crucifixion of a black man on a street-corner Golgotha” answers questions about how “racial oppression infests our history, our culture and our institutions.”
Sadly, it’s obvious that many people have twisted history, reality and reason in their efforts to fashion Jesus into the image of what they believe Floyd represents rather than humble themselves before a real and perfect God who has nothing to say about so-called “social justice” and everything to say about real justice. Unlike many of these unsuspecting worshipers, George Floyd knew he was grievous sinner like everyone else, so such extreme levels of misguided adoration do not honor his memory.
Another abhorrent response to Floyd’s death is widespread exploitation and manipulation on the part of Black Lives Matter Leaders, anarchists and criminals, and Democrat politicians. As we’ve seen for months now, various individuals and groups have used protests as an excuse to antagonize and harass people, destroy property, loot and murder. ANTIFA members have used protests as a springboard for their communist brand of violent “activism,” while many BLM supporters have justified the death and destruction taking place in major cities as a valid form of protest.
Corporate media outlets have covered for both groups’ terroristic actions to a comical degree by insisting that “peaceful protests” somehow entail flames and dead bodies. Perhaps more than any other group, Black Lives Matter (the official nonprofit) has used the death of George Floyd to further their openly Marxist agenda and raise millions of funds for progressive politicians (their hope being that by electing more Democrats that they’ll finally be able to enact a more radical anti-American agenda.) Ironically, Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed, is a Democrat-controlled city in nearly every way.
Rather than address their mounting policy failures in black communities across the nation, Democrats instead donned colorful Kente scarves and knelt in apparent reverence for a man whose name they can’t even remember. If that awkward photo-op wasn’t a perfect picture of exploiting a tragedy for political gain, then I don’t know what is.
A Counterfeit Gospel
As a whole, the results of social justice-related activism have been as devastating (if not more) than the actual death of George Floyd. Major cities are experiencing soaring violent crime rates. Businesses have been destroyed in difficult economic times. People (including numerous children) have been murdered. People are insisting that justice will only be achieved by forcing equal outcomes through governmental coercion, unwittingly chipping away at their own freedom and autonomy in the hopes of achieving an unattainable version of “equality.”
It’s clear from these things that the social justice gospel is not the true gospel. Its fruits are self-pity, envy, partiality, and hatred for one’s neighbor under the guise of intersectionality — the theory that people can be hateful and controlling towards others depending on which victim class they belong to. By all accounts, it appears that George Floyd rejected this counterfeit gospel and tried to help others understand the truth.
Sharing the Truth
One of the most praiseworthy responses to his death has come from black Christians who have taken a stand against the Black Lives Matter movement and boldly pushed back against the false progressive distortions of Christianity. Monique Duson, Voddie Baucham, Darrell B. Harrison, and many others have used their platforms to draw people closer to God’s divine justice rather than distract them with worldly grievances. Writer Samuel Sey communicated their message simply but powerfully in a recent tweet: “The most liberating event in history for black people isn’t the end of the slave trade, the end of segregation, or the end of colonialism. The most liberating event in history for black people (and all sinners) is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
George Floyd was a Christian, which means his primary identification was with fellow saved sinners and not with an ethnic group or a particular skin color or a popular political movement. As Christians, God desires that our lives yield good fruit, and this should be true of our deaths as well. Will those who claim to care about Floyd please stop and consider: Have you truly honored his Christ-inspired vision of justice? And, more importantly, have you honored the God who saved him?
Carmen Schober is the editor-in-chief of Staseos. She is a wife, mother, fiction writer, cultural commentator, and MMA fan. She earned her Master’s in Creative Writing and English Literature in 2015, and she enjoys writing about theology, culture, and storytelling.