The Duties of Christian Cops

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So we live in topsy turvy times, do we not? That being the case, we need to budget for the topsies turving, and turvies topsing. We all need to do a little better at anticipating what is coming down at us, especially since it looks to be medium-sized hellish.

A Few Alternatives

Some Christians talk about the thin blue line like we all still live in Mayberry, and the only reason that cops would ever pull you over is that a bank was robbed in Raleigh, and the description of your car matches the getaway car. So keep your hands on the wheel at 10 and 2, and just do what the nice officer says. If you get shot, then that would be your own dern fault.

Other Christians have ingested the BLM line, which is not a thin blue one, but is rather is a line of finely-powdered hokum, and which they have been snorting like it was crack cocaine. They don’t really object to the fact of police, but rather object to the fact that they are not allowed to be the police. They don’t mind jackboots at all, but just want them on what they deem to be the appropriate feet.

There is an alternative to these two hard partisan positions. A non-ideological Christian take is willing to state the obvious, regardless of which partisan faction is offended by it. And here it is. Criminals and policemen both share one important characteristic, which is that they both come of a fallen race. Both are capable of grievous sin, and this should be recognized and remembered.

So without vigorous and intelligent policing, there are many places in America that would descend into some kind of a hellscape almost overnight. Those who want to defund the police are yearning for a kind of life that Thomas Hobbes once described as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

And at the same time, there are a number of rotten cops out there, and there are a lot of cowardly cops. The latter are the ones who say and do nothing when they know that the rotten ones are lying on the stand, or when they obediently go out to arrest some pastor for holding church services, or submissively accept the degradation of training standards so that the requisite number of women can make it through.

So let me give a few words of advice to Christian cops, and here is the framework for it. No one is more deserving of our gratitude and respect than honorable cops, and no one is more deserving of widespread disgust than disreputable, lazy, or cowardly cops. And no fair toggling between the categories—the fact that you were restraining some wife-beater last night does not give you a free pass to harass the godly today.

How You Wake Up Every Morning

My advice to Christian cops is the same advice that I give to men going into the military. Wake up every morning fully and completely prepared to wreck your career that day. Absolutely everything needs to be on the altar. You should know what line you are not going to cross, no matter what, and be fully prepared for the consequences when you refuse to cross it. It might be the pronoun nonsense. It might be leading women into a fire fight. It might be refusal to countenance a superior officer’s requirement that you lie for him.

This is necessary in other professions also, especially as corporate America is taking a header into the woke sinkhole, but with the police and the military, you are dealing with institutions that still have the structures of their previous discipline in place, which means that if the admirals and generals and chiefs are craven, they can implement their radical social engineering schemes a lot more quickly, and can dispense with resistance a lot more readily. And that means that Christian cops need to be prepared for it.

So you do need to be prepared to wreck your career at Amazon too, and at Ford, and at Apple, but you really need to be prepared for it if you carry weapons on behalf of the state. This is because all our enforcement agencies are in the process of being redirected. I do not mean they are being weaponized, because enforcement agencies by definition are already weaponized. But they are being aimed in a different direction. In the older order, the policing was largely directed at the lawless. Now it is being aimed at the population generally. It is the difference between restraining outlaws and controlling populations.

If the ruling elites succeed in making COVID restrictions permanent, who is going to enforce that? I hope not you.

Seven Principles for Christian Cops to Remember

First, you must remember that you are a servant of God. You carry a badge and a gun, and this makes you part of the “existing authorities” that the apostles spoke of (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-17). But this makes you deputies. You have authority delegated to you by God directly, and Paul repeatedly calls you deacons, or servants. And as Rutherford pointed out, when you are sworn in, this means that you have your authorization from God directly, and you are answerable to Him for what you do. As you answer to your superiors within the department, you must remember constantly that you also answer to a higher authority all the time.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”

2 Corinthians 5:10 (KJV)

All of us will answer to God as creatures, and as Christians. But police officers will also answer to Him as His designated servants. The only reason any Christian should pay any attention to you as a cop is that you are an officer of God. Act like it.

Second, remember the oath you took. When you are sworn in, that oath is not supposed to be some kind of photo-op moment, so that your mother can be “so proud.” You said certain words, and those words meant something. Look up the words you swore when you first entered the force, and memorize them. Keep them. Keep your word. Obey your oath. Here is an oath in common use:

“On my honor, I will never betray my integrity, my character or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always maintain the highest ethical standards and uphold the values of my community, and the agency I serve.”

And if you think that you can haul pastors out of their pulpit without betraying the public trust, and you think you can keep your purity because you “disagree with it” somewhere down in your heart, then you are already a lost cause. And in our polarized time, when absolutely everything has been politicized, f you think that you can keep an oath like the above without conflict and controversy within your department, then you are being delusional.

Third, you must realize that there is a difference between what is lawful and what is legal. What is lawful is determined by the Scriptures. What is legal is determined by—scary thought—graduates of law schools who somehow got into the legislature, or up behind the bench. Sometimes the lawful and the legal overlap, and other times they don’t. So when you are tracking down thieves and rapists and child pornographers, you are doing the Lord’s work. When you are telling official lies about the grandsons of, say, a gadfly blogger, you are not.

Fourth, you must also understand that there is a difference between what is legal and what your chief says is legal. Just as you are being pressured, so is he. You got your last promotion without knowing very much about what is actually lawful, and it is quite possible that your chief got his last four promotions without knowing either. And you do not want the tip of the spear to be aimed at anybody on the sole basis of pressure and politics. So do your own homework. This is your vocation. It is your profession. Read a book.

Fifth, you must be vocal about various policing controversies that arise, as they arise. Talk about them in the break room, and let it be known among your fellow officers that you are not automatically on the side of the police. You are a servant of God, and not a member of some tribe that runs on blind allegiance. When it is clear cut in one direction, say so. When it is clear cut in the other direction, say so. When it lands in a gray area, wait for the trial, and say that this is what you are doing. Say some cop on the east coast kills a guy who was charging him with a knife, and you watched the entire video. Apply your training to the situation, and be vocal about what you would have done. If you are watching yet another Canuck pastor hauled off, say what ought not to be done by those cops. What you are doing here is more than just being garrulous. You are establishing, as a matter of discussion within the department, that disobedience to an unlawful order must always be an option.

Sixth, the rights and wrongs of any given situation do not depend in any way on whether or not you have bills to pay or mouths to feed. That is an entirely different subject, and should have nothing to do with whether or not you are willing to do something appalling.

Seventh, don’t choose the wrong part to play in the story. In this grand story that God is telling, we are given a role in helping to cast ourselves. What part do you want to play? Really? Do you want to be that guy?

‘This is what it is, Mr. Baggins,’ said the leader of the Shirriffs, a two-feather hobbit: ‘You’re arrested for Gate-breaking, and Tearing up of Rules, and Assaulting Gate-keepers, and Trespassing, and Sleeping in Shire-buildings without Leave, and Bribing Guards with Food.’

‘And what else?’ said Frodo.

‘That’ll do to go on with,’ said the Shirriff-leader.

‘I can add some more, if you’d like it,’ said Sam. ‘Calling your Chief Names, Wishing to punch his Pimply Face, and Thinking you Shirriffs look a lot of Tom-fools.’

The Return of the King