A Baffling Inconsistency

This week America again confronts the consequences of its racist past and present. Jacob Blake has joined the too long list of unarmed Black men and women who were shot extrajudicially, most often by police.[1] The only difference between Blake and those already on this list is that it seems Blake will survive his encounter with those charged to protect and serve him. And so the cycle begins again. There are protests. Black people in America (myself included) raise the alarm of unjust and discriminatory treatment, only to be met with either sympathy, apathy, or disgust from society at large, but no meaningful move towards change, let alone justice.[2]

It is probably an unfruitful pursuit to continue to try and figure out how to get people to care about this injustice. It seems we will all have to live with the fact that there will always be those who see Black people shot by police and believe that the issue is either not important enough,[3] or worse – that it is the fault of those being shot as opposed to those doing the shooting.[4] The problem for me is that I find many of these same people are those who I am supposed to call brothers and sisters in Christ. When considering the apathy of the Adventist Church as a whole (and many local churches) on this issue I am still struggling to find a cause for this apathy. It is true that in a previous post I raised one theory, but that seems more like an indirect or unconscious cause.

One interesting theory comes from the realm of religious liberty.[5] The Adventist church is well known for its staunch conviction in the separation of church and state. It is that view which motivated me to choose religious liberty as my area of academic study. The church’s steadfast belief in removing itself from political questions often makes church leaders reticent to wade into what may be seen as political or partisan issues. While in seminary I anecdotally heard, several times, that the church did not take a bigger role in the American Civil Rights Movement because leaders did not want to be seen as taking sides in a political matter. It is certainly possible that Adventist history could be repeating itself in this moment. Addressing police brutality is certainly a political issue that will, by its very nature, have legislative answers. So the church walking into a potential minefield could certainly have unforeseen repercussions and might be more than the organization may want to take on. That seems plausible and understandable.

On the other hand, that theory seems weak for three reasons. One, the Church (or any particular local church) would hardly have to wade into political waters to take a strong stance on the matter. It should not take much to unequivocally state that the pattern of these murders is wrong and the church supports the safety of everyone in society to live free of fear, especially from state agents. The church could then hold itself out as a community resource and conduit to help improve the environment between police officers and citizens, in the communities where these churches are. Obviously a church could do more than that if they wanted. I present these ideas as mere examples of the least that could be done.

Two, in our zeal to protect the separation of church and state, we sometimes forget what it is for. The separation of church and state is a two-way principle. The church should have nothing to do with the state because the power of the state has the ability to corrupt the ideals of the church. The state should want to have nothing to do with the church because there should be no cause to use the imprimatur of religion to control the freedom of self-determination for members of society. The point is that none of these things are at issue if the Church (or a particular church) were to espouse the idea that there is no cause for unarmed citizens to be shot in the back by law enforcement. The church would just be another institution asking society to play by its own rules. A church is certainly within its purview to do that.

The third reason is also the reason why I think something more problematic may be at work in Adventism’s reticence to be involved in this issue.[6] Segments of the church (and the Church as a whole) have often felt it proper to be involved in political issues at particular times. For example, Adventist religious liberty organizations got involved in the same-sex marriage debate in California in the late 2000s. This involved advocacy to vote in a particular way on a state constitutional amendment. More recently, Adventist Church religious liberty people were involved in creating the Fairness for All Act, an attempt to balance rights for the LGBT+ community, with concerns about religious liberty. If the Church is willing to assert themselves on these questions then why don’t they want to do the same on issues of race specifically? The only apparent answer is that the Church (and many local churches) has calculated what it will cost – with their membership – to take such a stand. Some churches can afford to take no position because there is no one among their membership (or at least not a critical mass) who will really be hurt by their inaction. So they remain silent. In churches that are diverse we largely see the types of statements that attempt to straddle the line, hoping to address the issue, but also not offend the “very fine people on both sides.”[7] In my estimation the same can be said of the statement released by the Church in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.[8]

To be clear – these pastors and leaders know that there are people in their church who believe that police brutality against Black people in this country is not an issue. That the murder of unarmed Black people by the state, and the resultant conversation about the way racism continues to affect our present in this country and in our church, is a myth – a hoax. Thus racism is a problem our nation already solved, according to people who rarely have any experience on the subject. And so pastors find themselves in what amounts to a Catch-22 – they either agree with their members or they have to decide whether to cause division in their church by doing the right thing and addressing this divisive issue in all its fullness. I may be wrong, but it certainly seems like many of these pastors and leaders made their decision – and in both outcomes Black people, and Black members of this church, lose. “Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

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[1] Two notes here. One, at some point even the most ardent detractors will have to ask themselves why this happens so often. Two, there may be a need to clarify terms. I tend to use the word extrajudicial to describe these shootings because it allows for the inclusion of incidents where the perpetrators assumed the prerogatives of law enforcement in murdering their victims (the murders of Trayvon Martin and AhmaudArbery are examples of this inclusion). Moreover, in both of these cases we see the assistance of state actors in delaying adjudication after the fact, which only further justifies their inclusion in a list of this type.

[2] In case anyone needed evidence of discriminatory treatment, I present the case of Kyle Rittenhouse. Mr. Rittenhouse came armed to the protest in Kenosha, shot three protesters (killing 2) and the police on scene allowed him to pass right by them without so much as a backward glance despite the fact that several people pointed him out and let police know what he did just moments prior to him moving past the police.

[3] I am being charitable to those who raise the issue of violent crime in cities where Black people are often the victims. I find it very rare that someone who raises the issue of “Black on Black” crime in Chicago, for example, actually cares about crime and Black victims in Chicago.

[4] Though I often wonder how this would be different if White people were being shot disproportionately to the general population. I think now is a good time to explain (again) that the issue with police shooting unarmed Black people is that police are actors of the state, meting out punishment without due process of law. And they are rarely tried, let alone convicted, for their crimes.

[5] Of course for the sake of argument I am excusing out of hand the most obvious reason for the apathy of White Adventists on this issue.

[6] And also why they didn’t want to be involved in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s either.

[7] I hope everyone hears the sarcasm and cynicism in the use of this quotation.

[8] In all candor, this piece was written before I saw the NAD’s statement about Jacob Blake. I believe that statement is at least a small step in the right direction.

 

Jason Hines is a former attorney with a doctorate in Religion, Politics, and Society from the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University. He is also an assistant professor at AdventHealth University. He blogs about religious liberty and other issues at www.TheHinesight.Blogspot.com.

Previous Spectrum columns by Jason Hines can be found at: https://spectrummagazine.org/author/jason-hines 

Image Credit: Unsplash.com

 

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/10684
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It isn’t enough to be neutral in the fight against racism. Being non-racist–“color blind”–won’t provide sufficient motivation to overcome the sin of social stereotypes or get beyond the so-fast-you-can’t-see-it-coming emotional response to someone of another race. As people who have grown up surrounded by racism, we know the stereotypes, and we share, in part, in the prejudices. How we got to this point may not be our fault, but as Adventist Christians making things better most certainly is our responsibility.

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Thank you, Dr. Hines.
There seems to be scores of questions to be asked (re-asked) and answered.
Why do we even have to say “black lives matter”?
Do we somehow still believe, after all that has gone down after all these decades that a black person is still 3/5 human?
Why do police find it necessary to continue to use these questionable tactics?
What are we whites really protecting ourselves from?
How far will we go in denying there are problems with equality issues?
Police apparently believe there is more crime among blacks. If this is so, why would that be?
There are many more questions that could be asked.

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Demographics tell us that the tide is changing and whites are ever more moving toward minority status. When that happens and blacks treat whites as they have been treated, and we protest the injustice, will the response to that protest be, “You taught us well?” How we behave when we have the power is a lesson to others about how they should behave should they have the power. What lesson then do we want to teach?

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Blake’s (black) girlfriend/family called 911 on him, warning the operator that he was violent. The police responded to the emergency call already on guard that they might be dealing with a violent suspect. The suspect was wanted for a felony. When confronted by police, Blake resisted arrest violently. The police attempted to non-violently restrain Blake with a Taser. It was ineffective. He moved toward the car and was reaching for something on the floorboard. The Wisconsin AG initially refused to say whether or not Blake was armed. He has now affirmed that there was a knife in the car. Last I’ve known, a knife is a deadly weapon. In such an event, the police must be given the benefit of judgment that a violent suspect was escalating his resistance to a lethal level.

Now you have the temerity to jump to the conclusion that the police response was an “injustice” and an act of racism for which community outrage is justified. Yet there is no evidence that this was the case. I suggest that you remove the chip from your shoulder and await all the facts. Meanwhile, anyone being arrested must comply with police instructions and not react with violence. You are fomenting the kind of senseless street crime on display by those bent on destruction, looting, anarchism, and violence under the cover of those who would justify it, as you have. Arson, property destruction, and physical attacks should be condemned. Will you do so?

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Thanks, @JasonHines.

In the words of TwinsthenewTrend, you’re back with another banger!

HA

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Good afternoon,

As always, thanks for reading. To be clear, I am responding to this comment, not because I think any of the “points” made here have any merit, but because someone passing along on these internet pathways might see silence and think it assent. Let’s work through this because I think this line of argument is emblematic of the type of myopic thinking that permeates this debate from those unwilling to see what has become clearly obvious to most.

“Blake’s (black) girlfriend/family called 911 on him, warning the operator that he was violent. The police responded to the emergency call already on guard that they might be dealing with a violent suspect.” - If true fair enough. Though I don’t think it much to ask police to keep cooler heads when addressing a violent suspect. In fact I know that they can do this, as the same police force treated Kyle Rittenhouse, an armed suspect who already murdered people, much differently. (Quick note: Of what consequence did you think it was to mention that Blake’s girlfriend was Black? What were you hoping to accomplish there?)

“The suspect was wanted for a felony.” - This is the type of statement that makes me suspect you’re arguing in bad faith. This fact, if true, has no bearing on how the police addressed the situation. Also see above, where a white kid shot two people practically in front of the police and somehow cooler heads prevailed.

“When confronted by police, Blake resisted arrest violently.” - If true, a crime not punishable by summary attempted execution.

“The police attempted to non-violently restrain Blake with a Taser. It was ineffective.” - Isn’t it amazing how strong the random Black man can be once he is surrounded by several police officers? Did he fight them all off one at a time individually like a martial arts movie? Amazing to me that several people with training can never seem to subdue one random man. Oh wait,they do it all the time with White people. Also, was there only one taser on site amongst the police officers who were there?

“He moved toward the car and was reaching for something on the floorboard. The Wisconsin AG initially refused to say whether or not Blake was armed. He has now affirmed that there was a knife in the car.” - This fact is in dispute. However, even if I grant that it is true we still know this - James Blake was not holding a knife when he was shot, and he was not brandishing it, and he did not make any movement to attack an officer. I think it’s more than justified to say we should probably live in a world where police don’t shoot you because of what they think you might do (obligatory Minority Report reference here). What if James Blake got in his car and drove away? Both of those options are equally plausible at the time he was shot. What makes you think he was planning to attack gun wielding policemen with a knife?

“Last I’ve known, a knife is a deadly weapon.” - This is true. Not as deadly as a gun though.

In such an event, the police must be given the benefit of judgment that a violent suspect was escalating his resistance to a lethal level." - WHY!??! He just escaped the police! Why in the name of all that’s holy is the assumption that he is now going to turn around and reengage? If a guy had just fought me off and started going to his car, my first assumption is that he is planning to leave. At the very least, why can’t the police wait and see what happens before they decide to try to kill somebody?!

“Now you have the temerity to jump to the conclusion that the police response was an “injustice” and an act of racism for which community outrage is justified.” - Yeah, and I feel like I was on pretty good ground both when I made that leap and when I landed. Nothing you’ve said has convinced me otherwise.

“Yet there is no evidence that this was the case.” - Actually the 7 bullet holes in Jacob Blake’s back is all the evidence I need. The question is why that is insufficient for you. I’m willing to state as a blanket rule that police should never shoot anyone in the back unless they are somehow being attacked with deadly force while that person is moving away from them.

“I suggest that you remove the chip from your shoulder and await all the facts.” - I think it would’ve been better if the cops at the scene waited to see whether Jacob Blake actually had a weapon.

“Meanwhile, anyone being arrested must comply with police instructions and not react with violence.” - I would say “should” instead of “must” but I don’t necessarily disagree with you here. The problem is that resisting arrest is not a crime punishable by lethal force. And the one thing we know is clear is that objectively the police officers on scene had no cause to fear for their lives when one of them shot Jacob Blake.

“You are fomenting the kind of senseless street crime on display by those bent on destruction, looting, anarchism, and violence under the cover of those who would justify it, as you have.” - No I’m not.

“Arson, property destruction, and physical attacks should be condemned. Will you do so?” - I’ll condemn the destruction of property when you condemn the unwarranted destruction of Black lives by police officers and agents of the state.

Thanks again for reading.

God Bless,

Dr. Jason Hines

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Jason, thank you for your timely and helpful response. You did not have to write it but I am glad you did. What impresses me the most is that you cared enough to share your clarity and insight. Communication is the transfer of meaning. You have shared what this subject of racial relations means to you and all of us.

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These are the difficulties that I see:

  1. Seventh-day Adventist churches are not capable of doing things. A typical church board meeting will often include a forty-five minute discussion about something as inane as what vacuum cleaner to buy. Most of our churches are populated by low-class and menial workers. Very few of our churches have a solitary member who is spiritually gifted in governance. Asking the local church to implement a social justice plan of action is like asking the local church to build the Hoover Dam.
  2. Our pastors are ignorant. They spent their undergrad years studying beliefs rather than the human sciences and then having gotten their MDivs still have no understanding of the world. And these are the pastors who actually went to school. Our other pastors, who are on stipend having attended some school of evangelism, are in worse shape.
  3. Fundamental Belief No. 14–Unity in Christ–is a dead letter. Seventh-day Adventists have learned how to denude this doctrine of all force and vitality in the context of the women’s ordination issue. Ted Wilson and his ilk have ignored the doctrine in its entirety and taught a generation of Seventh-day Adventists all of the sophistical arguments to justify the bigotry we find in Seventh-day Adventist communities and the world at large.
  4. Seventh-day Adventists though claiming to be historicists in their interpretation of prophecy are operationally futurists. It is inconceivable to Seventh-day Adventists that prophecy is being fulfilled right now. They are baffled that Donald Trump could be an anti-Christ. They read Matthew 24:24 and are incredulous that Jesus would warn that individual anti-Christs will arise. Consequently, our faith community has never formally identified any individual as an anti-Christ, and thus has rendered this text a dead letter. And our faith community has failed to contextualize racism and the routine murders of black people in our prophetic understanding. It is a joke to claim that the Seventh-day Adventist Church, inert and feckless as it appears to be, is God’s remnant church of biblical prophecy. There is no sense of urgency. What a remnant church of biblical prophecy would do in the present moment is beyond our interest and capabilities.

We trial lawyers do not attempt to effect a metamorphosis in the people sitting on the jury. You might be surprised to learn that we don’t really appeal to the law. What we do is engage in what is called Reptile Theory. The questions that run through the mind of the jury members at the reptilian level are these: Can I eat this or will this eat me? Will what I decide to do make me feel safe or unsafe? Right now, most white Seventh-day Adventists do not feel threatened by the routine slaughter of black people in this country. We need to find a way to advance the notion that this slaughter ultimately puts at risk the health and safety of all of us.

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Thanks, @phil.

But I think what you forgot to state, and have not included as part of your summary, is this:

HA

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Thanks for your response. I waited to continue until more facts came out. Now they have.

In answer to your question, “was there only one taser on site amongst the police officers who were there?” yes, more than one police officer had a Taser. In fact, two of the three officers employed their Tasers without effect. This can occur when a subject is under the influence of a drug such as crystal meth or PCP, though we don’t know this was in his system. We do know that the two Tasers didn’t incapacitate him.

Had he actually grabbed his weapon? It would now appear so, since one of the officers can be heard screaming, “Drop the knife!” The Wisconsin justice dept has confirmed that there was a knife, so your statement “This fact is in dispute” is in fact now falsified.

I have watched the videos over and over in slow motion. It is apparent to me that Blake wasn’t trying to enter and sit in the car. Rather, he was reaching down toward the floorboard.

Once a suspect who is resisting arrest with violence arms himself with a deadly weapon, everything changes, and lethal force is authorized.

You ask, “why can’t the police wait and see what happens before they decide to try to kill somebody?!” First, I would point out that the police weren’t “deciding” to kill somebody. They were in fast motion with adrenaline pumping, having just been physically assaulted. The action taken was by necessity one which happened in a split second. “Wait and see?” This could only come from someone who has had no training in dealing with a violent assailant.

You stated, “one thing we know is clear is that objectively the police officers on scene had no cause to fear for their lives when one of them shot Jacob Blake.” You would be surprised how quickly an armed and desperate individual can spin around and wound or kill.

While not a professional by any means, I have spent years engaged in both Kung Fu and Tae Kwon Do (in which I have a black belt). I have trained with deputy sheriffs in handgun safety and use. Allow me to relate an anecdotal experience. In training, it was asked, “How far away must a knife wielding assailant be to allow time for a trained officer to draw and fire his weapon?” Some guessed 6 feet, some 10. When played out, a lunging attacker at those distances could close and engage before the gun even came close to coming out. We had to keep expanding the distance until the necessary minimum distance was determined to be 25 feet plus. In the case at hand, all officers had their weapons drawn. This act itself would require probable cause and result in an intensive after action investigation. There must have been a good reason why all three had their weapons out. But now, what about just assuming a wait and see stance? The wait and see event had occurred. Blake had a weapon in hand. You asked, “the 7 bullet holes in Jacob Blake’s back is all the evidence I need.” Why so many shots? Unlike the movies, a single center mass shot rarely has immediate stopping power. Only a head shot will insure an immediate stop. Even a lethal center mass wound may not stop an attacker for 15-20 seconds, during which time great damage can be done. An attacker under the influence of drugs may not even experience the shock that would cause a sober person to go down. The police are trained to fire at least two shots, and more are acceptable until the attacker is incapacitated. Remember, the police have the absolute right to self defense. They have a duty to go home at the end of the day.

It is very easy to second guess the event, but the fact that the perp was black is irrelevant and should not color our interpretation. My reaction would be the same no matter the race of the assailant. It is difficult to avoid the suspicion that you are motivated to make something out of this event that is not justified.

Now, in answer to the final challenge, you stated, “I’ll condemn the destruction of property when you condemn the unwarranted destruction of Black lives by police officers and agents of the state.” I will condemn the unwarranted destruction of black lives by police officers. I will go even further and condemn the unwarranted destruction of anyone. The operative word is “UNWARRANTED”. We will see how the investigation comes out in this case, but it would be unwarranted to jump to the conclusion, as you did, that the event was an act of racial injustice. Now it’s your turn. Please condemn the looting and property destruction taking place by the opportunists hiding behind the “moral” shield of outrage and protest.

There are of course events where racial motivation and unwarranted police violence occur. Rodney King’s beating was a clear example. The Selma bridge was another. But when one seizes upon far more questionable events as a pretext to express outrage, you weaken the argument.

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Very well said. And done in a way that is not reactionary to a post that was at best inflammatory. Thank you.

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Dr. Hines, I appreciate your article.

I will suggest that perhaps the real reason the Adventist church is not speaking out forcefully on these issues is that perhaps we are more “of the world” than we care to admit, even to ourselves.

As part of that “worldly” perspective, we often break down in demographic groups similar to the rest of the US. Growing up, I attended mostly white SDA churches, some of whom would be considered liberal, both theologically and related politically; as well I attended SDA churches that were conservative, both theologically and politically. I also spent 17 years in a predominately black SDA church and found that although it doesn’t quite match up entirely with white SDA churches in terms of progressive or conservative theology, it was significantly liberal politically.

Those divisions within the SDA faith, both theologically and politically appear to me to have hardened over the last several decades just as the political divisions in the country have hardened. As such, we tend to sort ourselves to churches with similar viewpoints. As an example, the rural, white SDA church my mother-in-law has attended for 60 years is generally against women’s ordination, absolutely against any involvement with LGBTQ issues (other than praying that God will heal them of this affliction) and also overwhelmingly supportive of President Trump.

Dr. Hines, I would suggest that in your framing of the issues you are doing so from your perspective and someone with a different worldview is just not equipped to see it your way, it’s like the Tower of Babel, we speak incomprehensively to each other and then get mad and frustrated when the conversations don’t make any sense.

Someone posted here that Donald Trump is the anti-Christ. And yet I have many God fearing friends who are entirely convinced that God sent Donald Trump to save America and this world.

Dr. Hines, may I humbly suggest that telling those who have a different worldview that they are wrong and you are right will not be effective in communicating your message. For my white, conservative friends who point to the protestors (and the violence) as evidence of a world that is adrift from God, I suggest that they spend time with any black people that they know and ask them to honestly explain what they perceive the situation to be. This may not result in a change of thinking, but it’s the only thing I know that might be work. It is the saying that “people don’t care how much I know until they know how much I care”. If I can create enough of a relationship that we can honest with each other, then perhaps real dialogue can happen and real understanding can occur.

Okay, I’m done sermonizing, just really wanted to say that while I agree with you, I also don’t think your arguments will actually cause people to change their thinking, just harden it one way or the other.

Blessings…

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Thanks, @eyethink2.

I pretty much agree with you. Though there is no way I can, or reason to, speak for @JasonHines, I dare say that he might probably mostly agree with you, also.

I’m confident that Dr. Hines is writing to express a little-heard viewpoint; to get his ideas “on the board.” Now, that they’re here, they’re no longer merely in his head, and are part of the discourse of ideas, to be debated, accepted, advanced, or ignored.

If Jason Hines is like me, he’d also agree that there are opposing views, and, at present, it seems that there is little middle ground in the U.S.

If he’s like me, he’s aware that, as you put it, there are many people “who are entirely convinced that God sent Donald Trump to save America and this world.”

To me, however, such a proposition, literally, has as much validity as the idea that God sent the Avengers to save America and this world. In other words, everyone has different ideas, but not all ideas are equally valid.

HA

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Thanks, @bartwillruth.

I appreciate your analysis, and breakdown, of this event. Your response to @deuce710 is thoughtful, and it’s clear that you’ve paid a lot of attention to the nuances and details of this incident.

I may even agree with you. I’ve only watched the video a couple of times. But it seems that the cops may have had a reason to think Jacob Blake was about to use deadly force. I’m not sure, of course, and I think that the event requires more study before conclusions are drawn.

I would like—and I’m utterly serious about this—to see you provide a breakdown, with as much subtlety, as to why we have never seen a coven of Black cops gathered around a white guy, who is acting irrationally, and who, subsequent to going to the driver’s side of his car, is shot at by one of the police seven times, hitting him with four slugs.

In other words, I’d like to hear your analysis of “the national social context,” for lack of a better term; why we don’t see Black cops—there are such people—shooting unarmed white guys—there are such people.

Or why we don’t see Black cops pointing guns at terrified white shoppers, as they and their children are screamed at.

I mean, subsequent to the shooting of Jacob Blake, in the same city, Kenosha, a white teenager shot and killed two people. Yet, despite being pointed out by standers-by as he walked away, despite carrying the semi-automatic rifle he’d used in the lethal events, he was waved along by cops. (He was arrested the next day, at home.)

Put another way, if these events are racist, or even if they aren’t, if there is racism, and if it exists in greater-than-trace amounts, it may be detectable at, or near, the site of conflict; perhaps even pressing in on it. Which would make the event racist.

HA

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Just sayin’ Jason @deuce710 , in answer to a previous thread, you made the comment to effect that you will agitate until blacks can have a “lasting wealth” on this godforsaken planet suggest you are banking at the wrong credit union. There is a savings and trust where such a thing IS promised.

To answer the present thread-as you exasperate so desperately that

as you try to figure out how to get people to care about this injustice

I can understand exactly what you mean, because it is the same perhaps more arduous task to try to get people to care about the far more prevalent risk of being killed by black on black (or black on cop) crime. Lets not even consider that in NY city, for the first time, more black babies were aborted than were allowed live birth. Shall we also entertain examination of absent fathers? Could that contribute to the larger view of the problem? How about if we consider the enabling aspects of this “social guerilla war” being waged against whites, conservatives, and cops?

No, the instrument of sin is not melanin-nor the lack of it.
But it is certainly and unsurprisingly handily being employed as such again.

Tribalism-from either vector-will tear us apart more surely than any other.
This has been historically proven time and again.

To summarize broadly-we can not win a social war with the objective of providing equality of result. And we are the only nation on earth who has done so may remarkable things to ensure equality of opportunity. But I will leave you to your Sisyphean task, and shall choose another slope. I will also challenge the underlying unjustifiable (with prejudice) biases, psych-premises, and blatantly false assumptions being used. Are you sure you want to be ruler of Corinth? Tartarus may be this nations waterloo.

Jason, the list is not that long, in fact, really short, and often the one killed is not exactly a paragon of virtue.

I really want to know why this disturbs you so. Most of the ones killed, are really bad poeple. Blake was a bad guy, with multiple offenses. He was a sex abuser, and his girlfriend called the police on him, etc. He was not like you.

Why go to the carpet for such a one? You want the church to take a stand on police brutality, but a guy like Blake was a brutal guy, with multiple offenses. He resisted arrest, and appeared to be going for a weapon, even after being tased twice! He is a dangerous man!

It is just problematic to try to stand up for police brutality when, if I were in the same situation as they, I might do the same thing. You just can’t ignore that and make your point.

Here is what I see in the Bible–time after time God calling for justice and for defense of those who cannot defend themselves.

God hating Amalek because the Amalekites did what was unjustified even in those brutal times: they fell on the stragglers in the column of marching Israelites, those who were lagging behind because weak or disabled, or old, or pregnant, or disorganized and having a hard time keeping up, or vulnerable for some reason, the hindermost, the disadvantaged. Not only that Amalek did not fight fair, but that God here as in other places in the Bible sticks up for the “little guy,” those who just don’t have as much going for them, the marginalized in the company, those who are struggling to “make it,” and to manage in life. Of all the enemies of Israel, Amalek is singled out as provoking the LORD’S special displeasure for this tactic employed.

Who did Jesus spend most of his time with, other than His disciples, and praying to His Father? It was not in many cases the up-and-coming in society, but those less well off; in helping people with conditions that worked against them. He healed the blind, the deaf, the lame, the paralyzed, the disabled, the sick, the mentally ill; and those rejected or neglected by the world at large were subjects of his care. The nonentities of that day, such as women and children, Jesus paid attention to and encouraged. He noticed little Zaccheus and honored him with a visit to his home. He preached the gospel to the poor, and taught those who were not dressed in the sumptuous clothing of wealth. He scandalized the successful and the elite by enjoying eating and fraternizing with hated tax collectors and unworthy prostitutes. It was the comfortable that he challenged and tried to shake up, to get them to wake up to the needs around them as well as the potential of spiritual realities. The King of Heaven lavished his attention on people not viewed as distinguished.
He reached out to lepers. He consoled the sorrowing, the bereaved, the widowed, the poor in spirit. He empathized with and intervened for the challenged and those knocked about by this life.

How did this sector of society not recognized by those blessed with advantages receive more than its share of watchcare from the LORD of heaven? They deserved His special regard, and needed Him; He appreciated them. The Man of sorrows could identify with them. And contrary to society’s convention, heaven’s justice, instead of being from the top down, takes root in ordinary life and grows from the bottom up. This is “where the ruuber meets the road.” This is where the really privileged are found, however ignored or scorned or put down, damaged or mistreated they may be by the “more fortunate.”
If we want to meet Christ, that is where we may find Him. (Matt. 25)

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Allen, really? Would you shoot a person on their back seven times? I can’t believe I am reading this. :scream: Being part of a shooting squad would be less dishonorable than that. But, I guess “It is what it is,” uh?

By the way, be careful with your comments of a thread like this. Remember last time?.. I don’t want you to get in trouble.

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I am just saying that I am not sure what I would do in such a situation. During the Nuremburg trials, when Eichmann was brought in, one of the reporters fell to the floor. He later said that Eichmann was such an ordinary man and had done such atrocities that he felt he could have even done them himself, being an ordinary man. Most of ud do not know what we would do.

Thank you for your concern. It is a kind sentiment. I’ll try to stay out of trouble.

I was wondering, Jason, if you were the defense lawyer for this officer, if you would dismiss a juror for such a comment? Or would you be looking for someone who would take other things into consideration?

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