Christianity and the Police State: Authority is NOT a Christian Value
Why hasn’t American Christianity rejected the growing police state, whose goals and activities so often differ from Christian beliefs? Recently Rand Paul was asked how he planned to sell police accountability to a group which polls show unquestioningly supports police tactics and activities–evangelical Christians. The interview was ended abruptly after a brief exchange between Rand and Paul Lewis from The Guardian that included the following dialogue.
“You’re standing for the Republican nomination, all the research shows that Republicans, white Republicans who are going to determine the outcome of this race, don’t think that the criminal law is applied in an unfair way. So how are you going to win the nomination with this group?” asked Lewis.
“I think your premise is incorrect. I think that I can take that message into a white evangelical church anywhere in Iowa and give exactly the same speech and be received well.” Rand responded.
I really hope that Rand can bring this message to evangelical Christians, because it is sorely needed. The abuse, misconduct and corruption occurring in our nation’s policing institutions is a blatant violation of Christian morality and theology. The principles and values which are the cornerstone of the Christian belief system are being violated by police on a daily basis. Whether we wish to consult the Ten Commandments or some more esoteric vision of evil like the Seven Deadly Sins, contrasting what police are doing with what Christians believe humans are supposed to strive to do, it becomes evident that the police state is in severe violation of Christian values.
I began life as a Christian. My great grandmother was the first woman in Iowa to preach at the Foursquare Baptist Church. My experiences of religion as a child are mostly all positive. Unlike many former Christians, I have not become anti-religion. My own experiences in life merely expanded my concepts of God or the Divine until they no longer fit within any single religion. Yet, I have continued to find value in religious teachings by studying the deeper theology and doctrine at a level most adherents are often unfamiliar with. I do not intrinsically find religions or religious people to be enemies of reason or liberty. Their beliefs are invaluable tools that can be used to transform the world into a better place. There is nothing wrong with religion or Christianity; there is a problem with Christians.
Why do so many Christians seem to unquestioningly support police and the state? To do so itself is rather blasphemous. To put the laws of man and their enforcement above the laws of God and his judgement is downright sinful. When police kill they commit a sin against the Christian God. Regardless of what the victim did or how they lived their life, the police are still guilty of breaking the Lord’s commandment. To forgive this murder while vilifying the victim, whose crimes are often non-existent or far less significant than killing, is to put the state before God. It is the very definition of Idolatry. When Jesus suggests that we give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and give unto God what is God’s, he is implying that all things are God’s. Caesar, or the state, is an unGodly construct. The state is an earthly idol whose judgements are wicked by virtue of believing itself to be more valid than God. To believe in God’s word and His law is to reject the inequities of men who seek the authority which only God can provide. To stand against the laws of God in support of the sins of the state is the most profoundly unChristian way of spending your time on Earth.
Jesus gave refuge to criminals. He preached for peace and non-violence. He threw money-changers out of the temple and warned his followers of the evil of authority. I could fill this article full of scripture supporting my theses, but I expect that Christians are already familiar with the teachings of Christ. Those teachings have a very clear and unmistakable message. If you believe somehow that you can still justify the abuse, misconduct, and corruption of police and the state while remaining a Christian, you are wrong. Those who follow the idolatrous state and its functionaries have lost sight of their religion, their morals, and their teachings. God does not recognize flags or badges or any of this worldly detritus. Jesus died to forgive our sins, so that we could peacefully share his message of love, devotion and faith. To support a paradigm that constantly violates Christian morals and theology is to belittle His sacrifice and reject His word.
It is of massive importance that Christians awaken to their religious duties. By standing with the police and the state, you are displaying epic hypocrisy. This hypocrisy shames you and your religion and drives people away from God. It makes you a sinner and a candidate for those eternal flames you believe in. Christianity can no longer afford to be caught in these double standards. Not while the lives and eternal souls of God’s children are in the balance. It is time to be consistent in the values, morals, and ideas that Jesus taught and that you claim to stand for. It is not your job to judge men and women or support those who do. It is your duty to live properly by following the message of Jesus.
By supporting the excesses of the state and police, Christians have lost their way. As I said before, unlike the stereotypical atheist trolls who wander the web, I believe in the goodness of religion to help people act in accordance with higher standards. This is not a call to bash Christians, but to bring them back to the message of the their religion. A message of Love, Peace and Autonomy, rather than the idolatry of Patriotism, State Violence and Bigotry, as expressed by the growing number of evangelical Christians, who have seemingly lost both their minds and their morals. I hope Rand Paul can reach these people and show them the importance of questioning man’s earthly authority, which by all accounts of Christianity, is what the biblical God’s children were intended to do.
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