And the soldiers (police) likewise demanded of him, saying, “And what shall we do?” And he said unto them, “Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.”
Take a minute. Think of the the stress put on Christian police officers who follow that particular scriptural injunction. Adrenaline alone nixes the no injury clause, and since violence makes a mess, the temptation to protect Blue with a false word must be an ongoing danger. It is a challenge other Christians don’t face.
After all, we pay police officers pointedly not to turn the other cheek. Of all Christians, only of them do we urge, Peter, pick up your sword. We may legitimately ask, is lying to a suspect false witness or good interrogation?.
We ask the police to protect us from the contagions of the soul without becoming infected themselves. We expect the police to engage with real, live, parasitic, murderous evil and to emerge untainted by contact. Christians officers, true believing Christians, have the miraculous antidote, but in the heat of of the moment will they always remember that syringe?
Some diligent and resourceful researcher should take up this two part challenge: What percentage of US police officers are Christian and what percentage of those are corrupt? My intuition says that a dwindling majority are still Christian, although generational and demographic shifts could be taking a toll. Of the percentage involved in wrong doing, my intuition gives way to a prejudice. I really don’t want to believe it’s significant.
Yes, Luke 3:14 is clear about God’s expectation of righteous police officers and deviation can bring tragedy, such as that in Baltimore. But jump up a couple of lines:
And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”
If we Christians who are not the police, we who are the crowd in that story behaved as instructed, in that passage and throughout scripture, not only would there be no “poor neighborhoods”, there would be no call for Blue.
The destruction in human lives caused by poverty, the temptations multiplied by urgency, are burdens which other Christians should help bear. He who has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and shuts up his heart against him, where is the love of God in him? Those in power will not escape judgment: What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor, says the Lord God of Hosts… Those of us who believe the time is really late, might consider abandoning a worldly economy for a Biblical one:
Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
Imagine a time when the only reason we’d have to flag down a patrol car in Baltimore is to share some Lake Trout sandwiches; aka loaves and fishes.