Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Christian Cops?

Can a christian (some one who is actively seeking Christ, and wants to please him) be a Cop (Constable On Patrol)? If so, what does a christian cop look like. How would he maintain his Christ likeness, while on duty?

Of course a Christian can be a police officer. Many cops are. It is difficult to be faithful in that occupation, as many secular occupations, but it is possible.

One of the difficulties is that cops are enforcing a different law than the Law of Christ. Sometimes-- although rarely-- you have to punish people who were only doing what they were doing because they were loving their neighbor. You often have to punish people for disobeying a law apart from Christ's law (such as ticketing a person for not wearing a seat belt).

Another issue is that the way officers are trained to enforce is different than Jesus'. Jesus taught us to love our enemies, and to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of the other. Cops are trained to protect themselves at the cost of the "bad guys". For this reason there are unjust police shootings. These unjust shootings are not so much the fault of the cops as their training. They are trained to attack people who run away from them or who act violently in any way. As Christians, we are taught (although not trained) to accept violence in order not to harm others, or to protect others. Jesus' way of approaching "bad guys" is radically different than enforcement agencies.

But I know that cops can be both faithful Christians and good cops. Actually, I think that a faithful Christian-- who is willing to sacrifice himself for others, who is gentle with everyone, who assists the poor as well as the middle class, who tries to understand the other instead of making an enemy out of them-- makes a better cop than others.I also think that police officers are different than the army. The purpose of the army is to kill and destroy. The purpose of cops is to preserve. I don't think that a faithful Christian can really be a part of a system whose goal is to kill the enemy-- which is just the opposite of Jesus' command. But a faithful Christian can be a part of a preservation system, although they would have to act with a different attitude than is the norm.

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