The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
"Why all the cry about police brutality and defying authorities, even from ministers? Aren't Christians supposed to respect peace officers and respect government authority?" T. A., Eugene, Oregon
People don't just naturally love laws and respect authority. Many who call themselves Christians - even ministers - don't like the inspired teachings of your Bible. They stir up people to flout, not obey, these God-ordained admonitions. That is why God inspired Paul to write: "Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates... to be no brawlers but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men" (Titus 3:1-2). What a far cry from today's civil commotions! True Christians respect authorities and obey civil laws! The Apostle Paul was inspired to exhort the Church to give thanks "... for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life" (I Tim. 2:1-2). Why such concern for civil authority? Because that is God's way of insuring that we have a peaceful land in which to live. Notice: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil" (Rom. 13:1-3). In the year of 1966, 99 policemen were murdered by criminals in the United States. A total of 335 policemen have been murdered in the direct line of duty in the past 7 years. One hundred and twenty-four additional policemen have died in accidents while in the line of duty (sometimes involved in chasing speeders or criminals) and, incredible as it may sound, ONE OUT OF EIGHT POLICEMEN IN THE UNITED STATES WAS ASSAULTED IN THE CALENDAR YEAR OF 1966! Think of it, EIGHTEEN THOUSAND law officers were assaulted in the United States of America, the "land of the free and the home of the brave" in one year! Thirty-eight out of every 100 assaulted in 1966 were injured. The FBI statistics are for city, county and state police only, and do not include Federal law officers, firemen, national guardsmen, or other officers called out 10 the case of riots or uprisings. Just WHO is being "brutal" to WHOM? Federal and state laws authorize a policeman, who, remember, is sworn to uphold and PROTECT the law against violation, to use whatever "reasonably necessary" force he must in order to arrest a lawbreaker! A policeman is granted the same rights and privileges of self-defense when attacked as is any other citizen. But with one significant difference: a policeman is trained to use force if it is necessary. Therefore, when an officer of the law is resisted, or even assaulted, the person perpetrating the offense usually comes out the loser. Not always, however, as the grim death toll among law enforcement officers proves. Policemen sometimes lose their tempers. And usually, there is great provocation - not that such provocation JUSTIFIES abusive language, or foul words - but anyone in his right mind should have no difficulty understanding WHY some law enforcement officers are on rare occasions driven to such intemperate conduct. In our rebellious, hostile, crime-ridden cities of today, the rookie policeman finds himself becoming a member of a persecuted, hated, disrespected, ridiculed minority. A strange state of affairs - but all too true. Policemen's wives and families live in just as much fear of some terrible tragedy as do the families of many a civil rights worker. It is rampant, lawless, hate-filled human nature they fear - and crime is no respecter of color. Most charges of "police brutality" stem from use of the force which MUST be used to disperse crowds during a riot! Somehow, each member of the crowd feels he is only an " innocent bystander" when a policeman must shove, prod with a nightstick, or loudly shout at him in an attempt to disperse a potential mob - he feels unjustly abused. Human nature, which is hostile toward, which HATES authority, and especially those who stand behind badges or any other symbols of authority, RESENTS being told what to do! Youths, both white and black, in depressed and poverty-stricken areas, scream "police brutality" because officers tend to patrol such areas with more frequency than they do the quieter residential areas of town. Unless a person is deaf, dumb and blind - he knows the exact reason why! Because idleness, poverty in the cities, the latent hatred and jealousy in the human heart combine to spell trouble for the rest of society. In such areas, it is evident in the slack-jawed, greasy-haired, bewhiskered youths who hang around corner malt shops, drugstores, hamburger stands or drive-ins - and frequently engage in gang fights, or are involved in numerous episodes of vandalism and crime. Because of this very OBVIOUS threat to any peaceful society, policemen must patrol such areas much more heavily than they do the quieter neighborhoods. Most citizens are happy they do. But such patrolling leads hostile people toward more and more resentment. So what of the charges of "police brutality"? Most charges have been proved to be completely without foundation. There have been isolated cases of an officer misusing his authority, true. But THINK about it. You see a picture in a leading magazine. It shows a policeman with his knee on the neck of a kicking Negro woman. And it's a pitiful sight. But, seeing the picture, you have NO IDEA of what had been occurring only seconds before it was snapped. Policemen are human, too. When cursed, kicked, spit upon, or assaulted with sticks, bottles, bricks, or even knives and guns, they FIGHT BACK! Time and again pictures have shown policemen overpowering rioters, or holding them at bay with dogs, preventing murder - and without really getting the facts many scream, "police brutality!" Again, human nature, which HATES authority, lies at the bottom of the cries of "police brutality!"