InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Embraces #BlackLivesMatter

Black LivesEvangelical Christians have a long history of fighting for social justice in American society, but in the last several decades many evangelicals have hitched their wagons to Republican politics.  As a result, I think it is fair to say that they are no longer known as champions of a social justice agenda in the way that they were in the nineteenth century.

So when InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, an evangelical ministry to students at colleges and universities, comes out in support of #blacklivesmatter, it is worth noticing.

Here is a taste of Tobin Grant’s piece at Religion News Service:

(RNS) InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is an evangelical college ministry that is no stranger to social justice movements. Still, it took a bold step when, at its yearly student missions conference, which concludes Thursday (Dec. 31), the group issued a full-throated, unapologetic call to support #BlackLivesMatter.

What InterVarsity did was more than a nod to current events or the need to oppose racism.

In the U.S., there are just over 41,000 college students involved in InterVarsity chapters. Since the 1940s, InterVarsity’s Urbana missions conference has brought together thousands of its students for four days of seminars, worship services and meetings.

While the name of the conference still refers its longtime location at the University of Illinois, the conference is now located in St. Louis.

The location is 13 miles from Ferguson. Given that, InterVarsity’s commitment to both social justice and the diversity of its students (more than a third are ethnic or racial minorities), it was not surprising that there was some mention of racial inequality. But InterVarsity went further.

The first sign was the worship team. Its members wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts and sang gospel songs.

Then Michelle Higgins took to the stage. Higgins directs Faith for Justice, a Christian advocacy group in St. Louis (she also serves as worship director at South City Church).

She’s active in the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the St. Louis area, and she challenged the students to listen to the stories of the movement and get involved.

Read the rest here.