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The Big Picture Podcast 79: Christian Parenting & Societal Watchdogs

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So much has been thrown at us, as a society, such as biased media pushing their agenda instead of objectively reporting the truth, Black Lives Matter and police officers being shot and killed on a regular basis. It begs the question: how do we deal with this, as Christians? As followers of Jesus, we want to deal with it in the proper manner – in a way that is pleasing to God and that serves our fellow man. In my pursuit of an answer to this, I haven’t seen anyone asking police officers – especially Christian police officers for their perspective. Many Christian leaders are telling us that we need to listen to what the protesters have to say and take it seriously, but on the other hand, some of the things that are being thrown at cops today are testing the limits of their service. As Christians, this tests our commitment to truth. And, I want to make sure that we don’t get caught up in the lies that our culture and our media is throwing at us. We need to hear from honest, Christian police officers who are out on the front lines of society – our brothers and sisters in Christ who put themselves on the line for us. That’s why I have asked my neighbor and friend, Chris to come and share his thoughts.

Jefferson Drexler, e2 media network producer: Now, I recently had a discussion with a good friend of mine – and if I were coming at the topic from a totally “right wing” position, he was coming at it from as far “left wing” as you can imagine. Yet, the one thing that we could completely agree on, especially in regards to last month’s Presidential Election, was… “This is the best we could come up with??”

Chris, Southern California Police Officer: I totally agree… regarding either party.

Jefferson: So, my friend summed it up perfectly – the reality is that having the best of the best run for President is a thing of the past. Who would want to put themselves and their family under that kind of scrutiny? Even if you had the best motives and even the best actions, you and your loved ones will get shredded in the media and social media. Therefore, being leader of the greatest country on the planet isn’t something the best of the best even aspires to anymore.

Similarly, it used to be that the smartest of the smart would become doctors. But, thanks to all the malpractice suits and insurance issues doctors face today, that is no longer where we find the smartest of the smart kids aspiring toward.

And, on the same note, it was once admirable for your son or daughter to want to grow up to become a police officer. But, not anymore.

Chris: I personally fear that. And, we should all fear that. My dad was a 30-year law enforcement officer who rose to the rank of Chief of Police at two different agencies. When I retire, I will have at least 30 years on the force.

Yet, I have two daughters and a son and I thank God that none of them have any desire to enter into the profession of law enforcement, even though I still believe it is an honorable profession.

My fear – and I think that everyone should share a similar concern – is that we aren’t going to have the right people entering into this profession. Instead, we will have people who, in years past, wouldn’t have made the cut – wouldn’t have passed background checks or wouldn’t have exceeded the baseline criteria – and we will move toward third-world law enforcement.

Christian parenting advice

Image: Michael Osborn

I’m aware of multiple agencies who have had recruits enrolled in their academies. But, when there were officer-involved shootings – either where the officer was killed or where it was heavily scrutinized by the media – several excellent recruits left the academy. My own agency has experienced a spike in instances where officers graduate the academy, begin field training, and shortly into their training decide that this job is not for them. There’s simply too much risk today.

When I started out, we were taught that if we saw someone walking down the street at 3:00am, in an area that had recently experienced a high amount of break-ins, and they were wearing bulky clothing that could easily hide burglary tools or weapons, then we were encouraged to find a legal reason to stop that person.

Now, of course, we were responsible for protecting and preserving their Constitutional rights and we had to work within the confines of the law.

But, today, there are officers who will literally look the other way in such a circumstance, because they fear either the public outcry, an unfounded complaint filed against them, or worse. We are moving toward a point where our officers are going to be more reactive than ever – not proactive. And, proactive law enforcement deters crime. Look at the escalating crime rate in Chicago and other cities like it. Consider the aftermath of every single officer-involved shooting incident where law enforcement has failed to properly engage in fighting crime. Whenever police withdraw from their communities, crime rates go up.

Sadly, I think this trend is going to continue.

Joel Fieri, Big Picture Podcast Host: And to hear Chris, of all people say, “I’m glad my kids aren’t going into law enforcement” makes me concerned. I know his kids and they are really great kids. They’re the type of people that I would like to see a pool drawn from for law enforcement. And, I hear the same from my military friends. They tell me that they don’t want their kids going into military service.

OK, fine.

But, who will hold the wolves at bay? Who are we going to leave it to, if not our kids… who are great kids?

Christian parenting advice

Image: Paul Moseley

And that goes for myself, too. Am I willing to say to my son, “You may want to consider going into the military or law enforcement”? Am I willing for my children to be the ones to put their lives on the line in order to serve and protect others?

As parents… that is a very difficult thing to do.

Yet, as Christians, we need to ask ourselves, “Are we the redemptive force in society? Do we really want to shine God’s light in our communities?” If so, then we must be willing to have our kids be the ones who are the sheepdogs, standing between our society and the wolves.

I don’t see a lot of Christians that have that mindset in regards to their children.

Jefferson: Yeah, wouldn’t it be enough for my kids to be prayer warriors? Isn’t that where we are headed as a Christian community? The “Christian Bubble” of today seems like mighty fortress walls compared to years before.

Chris: We are called to action, though. And we are called to serve. As Isaiah 6:8 says, “Here I am, Lord. Send me.”

Joel: Yeah. The walls are down. Who is going to say, “Send me, Lord… or send my kids”? It’s a hard question. But it’s one that, as Christians, we can’t skirt around. We can’t go into our “holy huddles”, listen to our rock concerts on Sunday mornings, listen to sermons about bettering our self-image, and avoid these tough issues. If we don’t have well thought out, realistic, and non-naïve, truthful answers, the world will look for answers elsewhere.

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