There has been a lot of discussions lately as to whether Christians should be involved with social justice causes, especially surrounding the “Black Lives Matter”(BLM) movement. In an earlier entry, I wrote on how the gospel does not align with the message from the national group for the “Black Lives Matter” movement. This begs the question as to whether Christians should be aligning themselves with related causes that support law enforcement.
The bible has valuable insight into this topic. Take a look at Romans 13:1-5.
13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
I have an excerpt in my bible that digs deeper into this passage.
“There are some who do not believe that Christians can be soldiers or policemen, but the apostle Paul shows that such “rulers,’ if they serve good and do justly, are to be treated as if they are “God’s ministers” (vv. 2-7), appointed by Him. because they restrain evil. The police, as God’s ministers, provide as essential service to society. As long as there are sinful people, we will need policemen. As long as men and women will not submit voluntarily to the righteous commands of God, force will be necessary to keep them from murdering, raping, kidnapping, and stealing. Because of this it can be considered proper for a Christian to be involved in police work or in military service. In any society, there must be law and order; for without it there is anarchy, and then no one is safe. “
Law enforcement should be treated like God’s ministers.
You will notice that in this massage there is one caveat, “if they serve God and do justly.” Individual officers that engage in unjust actions need to be removed from their positions, but law enforcement agencies are a necessary establishment and serve a necessary purpose. They are given this authority for a righteous purpose, but they need to do what is correct and not behold prejudice against certain groups, or exert excessive force with anyone. We can and should be examining practices that will better equip law enforcement officers to do their jobs in a just way.
In our current social climate, our nation is painting all law enforcement officers with a broad brush. They are indiscriminately being blamed for the actions of individual people. As a nation and world, this is a truly remarkable and convicting passage because we are not treating our law enforcement officers with any dignity. The secular solutions for social justice reform call for violence, a “burn it down” attitude. Zero lives have been saved through the secular approach to social justice but so many precious ones have been taken. The fruit of the secular movement against police officers has only led to more segregation, hate, pain, destruction, and death.
“Back the Blue,” “Thin Blue Line,” “Defend the Police”, “Thank a Cop,” “or “Blue Lives Matter” are all pro-police movements but they have different origins and backgrounds that are important for understanding their purposes and goals. Unlike BLM there is no outlined manifesto online to study the ideology of these causes, so the meaning behind phrases may be unique to the individual.
The historical context of the Pro-police stance
Pro-police movements have been around since before any of us have been alive. They are not simply a response to the anti-police ideology. It is important to note that the phrase “thin blue line” began in 1854 to describe the British infantry. There is recorded use of the phrase “thin blue line” to describe police officers as early as the 1920s. The thin blue line has a flag with a thin blue stripe on it that is said to represent the small number of police officers that hold the criminals from terrorizing the rest of the population. The thin blue line flag was often seen at police funerals and has been flown by the loved ones of the fallen officers.
If you see someone displaying the thin blue line flag it may be someone that has lost a family member in the line of duty, which is important to be cognizant of.
Other people may see the thin blue line as a symbol of hate for several reasons. It has been flown next to the confederate flag, it has been used to graffiti over BLM symbols, and it has been flown by people that are believed to be white supremacists. Before the controversy with Black Lives Matter, the thin blue line symbol was even used under the Obama administration. A thin blue line was displayed in 2012 at a memorial for police officers. The flag has been adapted many times. A common version now is an American flag with a red stripe to represent fire departments, white to represent emergency medical teams, yellow to represent dispatch, and blue to represent law enforcement.
Without the police controversy, this would be a nice tribute to all our essential workers in honorable professions. COVID-19 is showing us how vulnerable we are to disease and the overloaded hospitals are showing us how thin that line is that holds back the darkness.
The Blue Lives Matter movement was a phrase that was briefly used as a response to the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
The Blue Lives Matter phrase was eventually dropped, and the movement adopted the phrase Back the Blue. The phrase Blue Lives Matter created more drama because it directed the debate onto which lives matter instead of the issue of the movement. Every life is precious and should obviously be treated as such.
In Tampa, Florida, a large “Back the Blue” mural was painted on the street outside of the police precinct. It was painting as a response to the multiple “Black Lives Matter” murals popping up across the country. These street murals on both sides of the debate are costly to taxpayers and likely a road hazard to tired or intoxicated drivers. Many people appreciate the murals as a tribute to their cause. Hopefully, no one gets hurt because of these murals. Defend the Police has been a response to the “Defund the Police” movement. Some secular solutions to police reform include removing the police entirely. The world does not understand the God-given authority and purpose for law enforcement.
For Christians, the main goal and purpose of their lives are to love God and make Him known. Even though we know law enforcement is given their authority from God and we know the secular solutions for social justice reform bare no good fruit, it is not our ultimate purpose. Sharing the gospel is still our primary purpose here on earth. Any decision to align ourselves with any social justice causes should keep that in mind.
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