|Donald Rogers Police Brutality|
by Donald Rogers
I am a black minister and a father of five adult children weighing in on a highly volatile subject of police brutality in America. I feel as an African American pastor, our voices need to be heard in this troubled hour for our country.
There are two opposing sides representing a racial divide both in secular and religious America. USA Today reported between 2006 and 2012 there is an average of 96 black people who are killed each year. In 2011 there were over 4000 officers charged for committing a violent crime and 1 out of 3 was actually convicted. So, clearly our country has an issue concerning brutality that many minority Americans feel are being ignored. As a man of color, I along with my sons have witnessed firsthand racial profiling by law enforcement officials.
Conversely what the media fails to report is out of the 700,000 cops in America and the 13 million arrests made each year, there are many good police officers who put their lives in harm’s way for all races of people every single day.
The media fails to report that in many instances (not all) where a black person is shot, there were preceding circumstances where the officer felt his life was in danger. The media reports the sensationalism of the black person dying but will not report responsible Journalism that captures the full story of a shooting.
My question to the black religious community is this: Where are the ministers that should be coming out publicly to denounce people swearing, yelling and physically fighting a law enforcement official? Have we forgotten the real message to all of this is to place the blame of responsibility back on the parents and the extended family for teaching fundamental respect for authority? I taught my four sons to hold a respect for the law at all times. There are systems and processes in place to deal with the minority of bad cops, despite the police corruption that goes on. Where are the religious leaders who should be telling their community not to burn down or deface property as a response to police brutality? Are these not the tenants of Bible based values? I understand the true anger that many black Americans feel, especially for the parents who have lost their children by the excessive force of a police officer! However, we as parents and leaders of the home must look at our own value system and ask some painful questions. Are we preparing our children for dealing with institutional racism? Are we preparing our children for dealing with inevitable injustices? This is a part of life for every color of skin. Should we remove the entire police department of a city and blame all 700,000 police officers across America? If we do, who will be there to protect the angry black citizen when a burglar breaks into their home? Most likely a white officer will show up to put his life on the line to serve and protect.
I challenge black America to sit down for discussion between clergy, associations and our law enforcement and demonstrate to our children how to intelligently solve entrenched issues of institutional racism. We must leave a legacy behind that clearly speaks to our children how to face difficult challenges as a melting pot country. The media will paint a picture of the rapid killing of blacks throughout America by white cops. The statistics do not bear this out even though one wrongful death is one too many.
We have come a long way in race relationships in America and we still have a long way to go. However, we should not allow irresponsible media reporting and a minority of bad cops to dictate our race relationships with other.
It’s time to go back to traditional family values. This means train the children to respect all authority and the human life of one’s neighbor. This means to diffuse a rude officer with a yes sir and a no ma’am with a proper tone of voice. Why not invite the police force to the inner city churches for real grass roots discussions? This might prove far more effective than some sermons if the minister fails to model to the sheep respect for authority in his own life. For the Book of Romans, chapter 13 says, “let every soul be subject unto the higher powers, for there is no power but of God. For the powers that be are ordained of God." This includes corrupted cops that are in authority! If we discontinue teaching our children to believe and honor our President, and city government, then we ourselves will face the same rebellion by the hands of our own children.
Pastor D.L. Rogers
Pentecostals of Wisconsin
West Allis, Wisconsin
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