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3 Christian Denominations' Stance on Police Issues

By    |   Sunday, 03 May 2015 05:13 AM

Law enforcement is a polarizing issue for America's churches, especially those separated into predominantly white or black congregations. One needs look no further than the recent riots in Ferguson, Missouri, or Baltimore to realize that our nation is in the midst of a tumultuous time in which the effects of law enforcement and the role of police are constantly being called into question.

As the Religion News Services noted, "The unfortunate reality is that many predominantly black churches have thrown up their hands and decided that the police departments just are not willing to respect communities of color and so they've given up. And then, there are many predominantly white churches that don't see a problem. Therefore, they see no reason to work with the police."

With the issue of law enforcement on many people's minds in our country, it is natural to turn to our religious leaders for guidance and inspiration. Separated into specific denominations, here is what some of the more conservative religious groups have had to say.

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1. Baptists

One of the more conservative Christian denominations, they currently call for a "clergy demonstration of 'relationships of equality' to resolve racial injustice." This is what a trio of African-American pastors told a multiracial audience during an April 9 Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission panel discussion, as reported in the Baptist Standard.

2. Evangelical

Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, had a very direct opinion how to deal with law enforcement. On March 12, 2015, he posted on Facebook to "Listen up – Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and everybody else. Most police shootings can be avoided. It comes down to respect for authority and obedience. If a police officer tells you to stop, you stop. If a police officer tells you to put your hands in the air, you put your hands in the air. It's as simple as that. Even if you think the police officer is wrong – YOU OBEY."

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In response to Graham's comments, a group of African American, Hispanic, and Asian American leaders that included several Evangelicals concurred that Graham's stance is not so simple: "As a leader in the church, you are called to be an ambassador of reconciliation. The fact that you identify a widely acknowledged social injustice as 'simple' reveals your lack of empathy and understanding of the depth of sin that some in the body have suffered under the weight of our broken justice system."

3. Roman Catholics


The Catholic Church recognizes the effort and sacrifice that law enforcement officials make to protect our nation's citizens. There is a specific prayer for them on Catholic Online, part of which reads: "Watch over all police officers and law enforcement officers everywhere. Protect them from harm In the performance of their duty To stop crime, robbery, riots and violence."

While Catholics support our law enforcement, a number of Catholic representatives have spoken out on police issues recently. According to U.S. Catholic, "A group of 275 Catholic theologians have signed on to a statement calling for police reform and an end to racial injustice. The theologians also call upon the Catholic community to examine their own complicity in the sin of racism and ask the U.S. bishops to speak out on the issue."

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With the issue of law enforcement and polic on many people's minds in our country, it is natural to turn to christian leaders for guidance and inspiration. Separated into specific denominations, here is what some religious groups have had to say.
christian, police, brutality, religion, church
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2015-13-03
Sunday, 03 May 2015 05:13 AM
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