In this country we often here how these two things are two of the most inflammatory subjects a person can engage in. And in recent months it seems that all the media can portray is politics and religion.
Jesse Jackson, and especially Al Sharpton, have been all over the media as “political” injustices” have been committed across this country. Three particular cases seem to be at the forefront. And in each case a police officer has come under scrutiny. And in each case, an African-American male has died. One cannot deny the similarities and if you know anything at all about these aforementioned religious leaders you know that they would be there standing by the families side.
You would have to live under a rock to not know what has been going on the past month or so as protests have risen up all across this country. Some have been nothing more than “die-ins” as they are calling them. Others have erupted into violence. Businesses were burned and looted and police officers have been attacked. Many are calling for a change in police policies, including our own president. There is no doubt about it politics and religion are all over these three incidents.
As I have heard rhetoric spoken on this situation I have wondered where the reasonable person is. It seems to me most people are reacting rather than acting. Most people have permitted their politics or their religion to respond in inflammatory things. Honestly, how many times have you heard these police officers likened to the KKK? How many times have you heard these alleged perpetrators (the three men shot and the ones acting with violence) nothing more than thugs. As I hear people offer their $.02 worth of information (which I get is exactly what I am doing here) I have often wondered how can their opinion matter if they don’t have all the facts? How can they know what happened if they weren’t there? How can they know what was said? How can they trust the “eye witnesses” when the eye witnesses themselves tell different stories? (which make me wonder if even the witnesses themselves told the story that would best set up the verdict they desired). Yes my friends people, while proclaiming that we shouldn’t take about politics and religion are doing a lot of it these days. But, as I said, where is the voice of reason?
It is a sad day indeed when the only religious voices being heard are the ones that are not condemning the violence that is out there. So, let me begin there. The bible doesn’t condone vengeance. Vengeance belongs to God (Rom. 12:19). Those that wanted to see the police officer suffer claimed they wanted justice. Justice was served. What they really wanted was vengeance. Vengeance wants to see blood spilled. Vengeance wants to see someone else suffer. Those that have placed death threats on these officers lives want vengeance.
We need to break this violent pattern. The reality is the police officers reacting in violent fashion has become more common place. But, have we really asked why? Why did a police officer feel like the best course of action was to fire a gun and a 12-13 year old boy playing with a toy gun? Is it because they are racist? Or has it become too common place for the perpetrators to be more and more violent. In the last two reported years (2012-2013) 220 police officers died in the line of duty. And nearly 30,000 were injured in the line of duty as a result of resisting arrest. (For more information see http://www.nleomf.org/facts/officer-fatalities-data/daifacts.html) This is a really scary reality. This doesn’t even include those that weren’t injured, but were attacked.
Our world has become increasingly more hostile towards authority. Whether it be the police, government, parents, judges, and yes even God. I am convinced that unless this culture changes, we will continue to see police officers assaulted and we will continue to see police officers react too quickly and hurt someone that didn’t need to be shot, choked, etc.
So, how do we change the culture? We need to be teaching others that being submissive is not a bad thing. In fact, it is just the opposite. They need to see that being submissive to a loving God benefits one’s life. And that type of submission will lead to other aspects of their lives. It might be their jobs, parents, spouses, or the occasional traffic stop. You see a submissive person doesn’t start on the defensive. He/she doesn’t assume everyone is out to get him. He/she doesn’t assume that no one understands what it is like to be poor, a woman, or African-America, or whatever. And he/she certainly doesn’t feel the need to attack a person just because they were questioned about a crime, something they have done, etc.
Grinnell church of Christ
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Violence in the System
Volume 6 Issue 2