Posts Tagged ‘Defund the Police’

There is a weird practice called proof texting, where for some in the Christianities, for it to be “true” there must be a literal connection almost verbatim to a text of scripture (in these movements termed Old & New Testament, in an attempt to avoid dualism and implied anti-Semitism, I continue to use terms Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament). Now with large topics, it can be downright ludicrous to move forward with this proof text practice, which brings us to some thoughts of a cruciform response to defund the police.

I am not going to enter into the extremes of the argument presented from the alt-right of essentially gestapo or to the anarchist of complete personal responsibility with no concrete laws or enforcement for societal norms and safeties, neither of these arguments aid us. Throughout the history of humanity there has been some form of law, in the Commonwealth nations we hold to Common Law, which grew out of laws presented and outlined in Exodus-Deuteronomy of the Hebrew Bible. More so, because the laws around such things as murder, provide a variance of understanding. Obviously, the political usage of police and armed services, the over specifying of laws can create loopholes that allow for ease of exploitation, corruption, and abuse. Properly funded judiciary (that includes the scope of the courtroom, Crown Prosecutors, Defense lawyers, appropriate training of understanding the application of the laws for jurists) and enforcement is necessary within society.

What is not necessary is overfunding because we have shifted the burden of response for every emergency response for every situation onto the constabulary (which is unethical as it has them working outside the scope of their practice). Why is this a religious look? Because it has become a religious issue in that the current governance in Alberta has put faith front and centre and has diminished the evidence based response of what is communal good and belonging especially with the current justice minister interjecting into civic budget discussions of a 4% rollback on police budget (which was at the request of police services) to fund more preventative programming and fiscally have a healthier overall impact. Though this is the response seen federally by the Harper government in wanting to disrupt healthy restorative justice-incarceration programs for youth as it was leading to lower recidivism and incarceration rates. Also, we have heard of a bill to so-call end carding from our current provincial governance, the practice is street checking citizens at supposed random, what statistics show is that the practice is highly a racial profiling tool, and systematic use of power to oppress. What is not ending with the bill in my scope of understanding, is not the practice of street checks, but rather tracking racial data (the idea if we can’t see it, it is not happening) to end an issue.

Which leads to some touchstones of thought on the topic.  From the Hebrew Bible prophetic writers there is much around care for others, belonging and justice. This can be a blind spot for many in the Christianities as we want to read the prophets as future oriented, when in fact they are continuing the tradition of Judges, that is pointing our where society has gone amiss, the harm being done by these actions of those in power, and the power differentials and the need to admit, correct, repent and reconcile to move forward in God’s shalom and love.

Some thoughts, from Amos:

You twist justice, making it a bitter pill for the oppressed.
    You treat the righteous like dirt.

It is the Lord who created the stars,
    the Pleiades and Orion.
He turns darkness into morning
    and day into night.
He draws up water from the oceans
    and pours it down as rain on the land.
    The Lord is his name!
With blinding speed and power he destroys the strong,
    crushing all their defenses.

10 How you hate honest judges!
    How you despise people who tell the truth!
11 You trample the poor,
    stealing their grain through taxes and unfair rent.

-Amos 5:7-11 (New Living Translation)

Take time with this topic from your point of view, take time to enter a Lectio Divina from Amos. Hear the words in three readings, after each hearing take a few minutes to journal in your reflection whether that is through writing, drawing, doodling or all to come to an answer before moving into the next reading. If possible in your household cohort do this together to share thoughts and ideas between each reading and at the end, add in those on a speaker phone or video call to create a sound discussion in communal discernment.

First reading: What is the mind saying on the topic (the evidence)?

Second reading: What is your heart saying? Is this a bias that is acting counter to the honest judge?

Third Reading: What is the Holy Mystery saying to you in the silence? What does it mean to move into the light and forward?

From this reading, we move into action thought, as found in the prophet Micah’s words:

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
    and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God.

-Micah 6:8 (New Living Translation)

Take time to rest in God’s love, and what is the humble calling? Action is simple, for those who still have Christian Testaments with the words of Brother Jesus in Red, the call is to Love neighbour as ourselves. Take time in this love to make your voice heard to those that represent us politically.

Find your Calgary Councillor here.

Find your Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta here.

Let the voice of imagination, creativity, belonging, love, shalom, and justice be heard.