6 Ways Christians Can Respond to the Growing Police Dilemma

When we heard about the shootings last week, my wife and I were heartsick. Seven people died in what feels like an escalating national crisis. Two people died at the hands of police officers, while five officers died at the hands of a single suspect. The tension and distrust between African Americans and police officers is at the highest level in my lifetime. As my son Jimmy (a third-generation police officer himself) flew as a member of the Honor Guard to represent our agency at five officer funerals in Dallas this week, I began to gather my thoughts about how we, as Christians, might respond to the growing dilemma. I’ve tried to accurately communicate the nature of police work, but for every person who asks for my police perspective, there’s another who wants my advice as a pastor and Christian Case Maker. In this article, I’d like to outline six things each of us, as citizens and Christians, can do to respond to the growing dilemma:

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Speaking Out While Sitting Down

(this is part 3 of 5 of a series dealing with leadership in an interconnected world)

In the last post, I discussed the power of words and the legacy that our words can leave behind. The example being, Thomas Jefferson, whose words have transformed our country and have often been the envy of other nations. In this piece, part of leading in the 21st century will not only be linked to skills, but also to a sense of timing as well as self awareness. And here, the example for me is Rosa Parks because she linked both timing and self awareness.

Parker Palmer in his book Let Your Life Speak speaks of Rosa Parks in the following terms:

"Rosa Parks sat down because she had reached a point where it was essential to embrace her true vocation -- not as someone who would reshape our society but as someone who would live out her full self in the world. She decided, "I will no longer act on the outside in a way that contradicts the truth that I hold deeply on the inside. I will no longer act as if I were less than the whole person I know myself inwardly to be."
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PROP 8 TRIAL: Strange Bedfellows

While no one can predict the outcome of the Prop 8 trial, the unlikely pairing of conservative lawyer Theodore Olson with his former liberal foe, David Boies, is making plenty of headlines.   They faced off in the famous Bush vs. Gore Supreme Court battle.  Together, they are now arguing against the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8 which outlawed gay marriage.   

Newsweek features a fascinating first person account from Ted Olson.  Rather than discussing how and when he reversed his position, the former solicitor general for George W. Bush maintains that conservatives should inherently affirm individual liberty and any legislation that promotes marriage, stability and family.     It is also intriguing that liberal lion David Boies relishes the opportunity to put the Obama's administration's equivocating on the issue on trial.    He told Newsweek, "The current administration has been decidedly halfway on this issue," he says, "and I think the specter of having George Bush's lawyer out in front of a Democratic president is something that, shall we say, might stimulate people to rethink their positions."  Conservative scion Edwin Meese offered an editorial protesting the particulars of the trial (including its San Francisco venue) in the famed venue of the left, The New York Times.   

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