Eliminating Police Departments: A Biblical Caution (Matthew 15:19)
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s tragic death at the hands of a rogue police officer, several large cities are responding to public outrage by threatening to eliminate their police departments. This is a mistake for several reasons. In this article I focus on just two. First, decisions of this magnitude should never be made in the heat of the moment. As a professor of business for more than 40 years, I have taught many college classes and seminars on decision making. One of the cardinal rules of the process is this: Never make important decisions when in the grip of anger and frustration. Decisions made during periods of emotional upheaval are often regretted later.
Second, before eliminating police departments, city leaders would do well to consider the sinful nature of man. Human nature is summed up succinctly in Matthew 15:19 where we read: “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, and slander.” Until all people turn their hearts to Christ and commit to obeying his admonition to “…love your neighbor as yourself..” we will need police departments. Never forget, the reason we need the police in the first place is because people are not willing to police themselves. If all people obeyed the Ten Commandments as well as the Greatest Commandment, police departments would be unnecessary. Unfortunately, we don’t, we haven’t since the Garden of Eden, and we aren’t likely to this side of the grave.
Unless municipal leaders have somehow discovered a way to alter the nature of human beings, crime is going to be a problem in their cities. The fewer police these big cities have on the streets, the bigger their crime problem will be. This being the case, here are a few questions based on Matthew 15:19 city leaders would do well to ask themselves before defunding their police departments:
Will eliminating your police department reduce the murder rate in your city? Without police, how do you plan to deal with murders?
Will eliminating your police department reduce the domestic violence associated with adultery in your city? Without police, how do you plan to deal with domestic violence?
Will eliminating your police department reduce the various manifestations of sexual immorality and the drug trafficking associated with them in your city (i.e. prostitution, sexual abuse of children, sex trafficking, sexual slavery, and drug trafficking)? Without police, how do you plan to deal with these problems in your city?
Will eliminating your police department reduce the various manifestations of theft in your city (i.e. burglary, robbery, muggings, home invasions, etc.)? Without police, how do you plan to deal with theft in your city?
Will eliminating your police department reduce the problems caused by people who lie to advance their nefarious agendas (i.e. domestic disputes, personal disagreements, business disputes, etc.)? Without police, how you plan to deal with these problems in your city?
Will eliminating your police department reduce the problems caused by people who slander each other (i.e. fights, brawls, revenge killings, turf wars, etc.)? Without police, how do you plan to deal with these problems in your city?
Finally, city leaders might want to ask themselves one more question before taking any rash action concerning the police: Will eliminating the police department in your city somehow cause people to begin loving their neighbors as themselves? If not, the wise course of action is to postpone making decisions about your police force until cooler heads have a chance to be heard.
Dr. Goetsch is the author of Veterans’ Lament: Is This the America Our Heroes Fought For? and Christian Women on the Job: Excelling at Work without Compromising Your Faith, Fidelis Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press: www.david-goetsch.com