Every murder is an abomination for presuming to extinguish what belongs only to God. Assaults on police officers, and on other civil authorities, are especially evil because they fundamentally attack all society and public order. Anarchy is the enemy of all justice and aspirant public good. Every citizen’s life, security and livelihood depends upon the protection of civil government and its agents. Vulnerable persons are particularly dependent. The physically strong can more successfully defend themselves. The rich can hire private protection. But the very young, the very old, the sick and the poor typically live closer to the edge of human depravity and are the chief victims of crime and mayhem.
A society that seeks justice and security for all assures lawful police protection from crime and vice. According to traditional Christian teaching, the civil authorities are ordained by God to uphold order, to restrain and punish evil. The police and other law enforcement, with the judiciary, have a sacred vocation, established by God, and central to human happiness everywhere and at all times. Saint Paul in Romans 13 describes the divine appointment of civil authority, even though His Savior had been executed by the penultimate in unjust police and judicial administration. The apostle himself would later be imprisoned and martyred by perverted civil justice. Yet the human perversion of civil justice does not obviate God’s mandate for it but instead underscores the imperative of human law to correlate with divine law. The sacred calling of law enforcement, in a world that’s always dangerous, can never be minimized or casually assumed.
The murders and woundings of Dallas police officers are special horrors to their families, friends and colleagues. But they are also an aggression against all people of Dallas and ultimately our nation. Very likely the murderers had this very intent in mind. Police and civil magistrates, since they are consecrated by society, and God, to special powers involving force and coercion, also labor under special authority and high standards, temporal and heavenly. Corruption and misadministration of justice by law enforcement are uniquely pernicious. Malefactors and their facilitators who fail to administer the law equitably to all should themselves face resolute prosecution for their crimes.
Yet the faults and failures in law enforcement, present even in the best situations, should not rhetorically or politically undermine the rightful authority of police, whose powers are a shield against countless evils.
God bless and protect all honorable police officers who strive to serve the common good. They are God’s ministers for earthly justice and civil order. Even in their failures they are preferable to disorder, which precludes justice and peace for all. The pursuit of approximate justice, even by sinful men, will always fall short of heavenly justice, but still is an expression of divine love and the extension of divine grace.