Black Lives Matter is Ushering in a New Religion

Katelynn Richardson
4 min readAug 22, 2020

If the obsessive and unquestioning holding to social justice doctrine or pious bending of the knee in tribute to black lives all seemed faintly cultish to you, recent statements from Black Lives Matter leaders confirm you were probably on the right track.

“Spirituality is at the center of Black Lives Matter…If I didn’t do that, it would be antithetical to this work.” said BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors in a June 13th conversation.

That’s not fake. Watch the conversation yourself. It’s available on the Facebook page of the Fowler Museum at UCLA.

Melina Abdullah, professor of Pan-African Studies at California State University and founder of BLM Los Angeles, responds to Cullors’ statement with more insight into the spiritual nature of the movement. “We become very intimate with the spirits we call on,” she says.

What kind of spirits are they calling on? The dead, of course. When they ask you to “say their name,” it’s not just an innocent way to honor their tragic loss of life. According to Cullors, they’re chanting those names to summon their spirits. “When we speak their names, we invoke that spirit, and those spirits actually become present,” she says.

Even the most basic practices are infused with this religious belief, even their use of social media. When the movement started to really pick up back in June, there was a lot of debate online on whether using the hashtag necessitated supporting the organization, or whether it could be used in isolation. Cullors answers this question, in a manner so clear it’s almost shocking. “The hashtag is way more than a hashtag, it is literally almost resurrecting a spirit so they can work through us.”

Though the new spirituality rising out of the Black Lives Matter movement hasn’t got much attention, it is, by the co-founder’s own words, at the core of what they do — even if not recognized.

Hebah Farrag, assistant director of research at the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture, writes this in an article for the Berkley Center:

The movement for Black lives works towards the goal of not just racial justice, but freedom of the mind and the spirit. It encourages “healing justice,” so that people can heal from trauma and engage as the best version of themselves. The movement infuses a syncretic blend of African and indigenous cultures’ spiritual practices and beliefs, embracing ancestor worship; Ifa-based ritual such as chanting, dancing, and summoning deities; and healing practices such as acupuncture, reiki, therapeutic massage, and plant medicine.

They’re not mincing words here. The ideology of this organization is very clear, and we should not be confused as to what we are supporting by signing on. (It should also be noted that it’s not just BLM. The whole social justice movement is infused with religious language and practices, as I’ve written on before here.)

Just one more reason Black Lives Matter isn’t really about black lives.

Aside from the fact that they’ve openly stated that they are trained marxists; that their premise is entirely grounded in storytelling and not facts; that they routinely undermine their claims to protect black lives by supporting practices like abortion that kill human life; that they actively support dismantling the nuclear family structures that are statistically proven to reduce crime and poverty; that their proposed solutions have no definitive measurements — aside from all that — they add to their growing list of red flags the practice of idolatry.

How is this helping save lives? It’s not. Plain and simple. You don’t need to turn to radical, false, idolatrous religions to love people and value life. The Bible affirms that much more than any pagan religion ever could.

Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Each human is created by God in His own image and is to be cherished — never taken for granted or killed unjustly at the hand of another. That’s true. But we are not to call on the dead, worship ancestors, or summon spirits, as Black Lives Matter does. There is nothing redemptive in that.

Rhetoric doesn’t make right.

Black Lives Matter will continue to bully people into submission, making them feel bad and labeling anyone who opposes the organization on ideological grounds a racist or a bigot. They’ll lure people in with talk about justice, equality, love, and acceptance, and keep them there because activism and whatever spirituality they’re peddling is promising to fill a void in their life. But it won’t.

Cultural movements and false spirituality can’t provide true meaning. There can only be one truth about the way this world works and about the solution to our problem. Black Lives Matter isn’t it.

They can’t save you. They can’t make you righteous. They can’t bring the dead back to life. They can’t achieve true justice.

If you’re looking for meaning, a solution to the pain of death, or the true reason life is valuable, you might as well go right to the source. I leave you with this:

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”- John 11:25



Katelynn Richardson

Writer, poet, bibliophile, & sticky note addict. Lending my pen to stories on Christian apologetics, philosophy, and culture.