In a severely divided nation, can the George Floyd verdict help garner healing and unity? It would appear not. In the wake of Derek Chauvin's conviction, many on the Left are clamoring for more police defunding. But as FRC's Pray Vote Stand broadcast revealed, the pullback from law enforcement has very little public support and highly lethal consequences.
Only 18 percent of Americans want to defund the police (including only 28 percent of African Americans). Most disturbing is the fact that there were 20,000 homicides in the U.S. in 2020, 4,000 more than in 2019 and the highest single year increase since the FBI began tracking the numbers. What's more, the decrease in police funding and activity has had devastating consequences for cities across America, particularly in Chicago (53 percent decrease in arrests and a 65 percent increase in murders), Milwaukee (120 officers cut from the force and a 98 percent increase in killings), Louisville (42 percent drop in arrests and an 87 percent rise in homicides), and Portland ($12 million cut in police funding, 173 percent rise in shootings, and 255 percent rise in murders).
Scott Erickson, former Acting Chief of Staff, Department of Homeland Security, joined the broadcast and gave a frank assessment of how our current moment is affecting the people who take up the vital task of enforcing the law.
"You have police officers who are demoralized who are retracting [and] pulling back from the type of proactive police work that doesn't just respond to crime but actually reduces crime, and the numbers bear it out." Erickson went on to point out the crucial error that many are making that is only widening our cultural divide. "People will take one incident and try to extrapolate from that to create a moral panic where people then believe that an entire institution is corrupted, in this case law enforcement, and that's been the mantra for a number of years now by left-wing activists."
So is the Left's mantra of a "racist" system of law enforcement actually accurate? With decades of experience at the highest levels of police work, former Assistant Director at the FBI Wiley Thompson should know.
"The [law enforcement] system is not racist," Thompson said. "Could we have racists in law enforcement when there are 800-900,000 police officers and agent? Of course, that's possible, because there is sin in the world, we live in a fallen world. But the system itself is not broken and it is not racist, and we should never believe that. That is what the enemy wants us to believe. There are good men and women who are in law enforcement who put their lives on the line every day, every night, to defend us ... we should never believe or fall for that lie that policemen are racist."
Even so, there is no denying that there are a number of individuals in law enforcement who are there for the wrong reasons, and there are certain reforms that need to be made. So how can the public faith in law enforcement be restored? "I believe from the top down, our leaders in law enforcement ... set the culture for their agencies and departments. They really have to have an emphasis on building a department that has a culture that is righteous [and] has good training and accountability."
While law enforcers have great responsibility to act with justice, so do citizens. It's clear that our current volatile situation is a microcosm of the larger problem our society has in the breakdown in the understanding of right and wrong. "It begins in the family, it begins at home," Thompson said. "That's where the correction needs to begin ... [We] have an obligation, beginning with our immediate families, to teach right versus wrong."
As the former mayor of Cincinnati, Ken Blackwell knows full well how important police are for families and for a functioning city. "The first responsibility of government at any level is to make sure that its citizens are safe," he said during the broadcast. "That is first and foremost in the minds of elected leaders at the city level. And there is a thin blue line between chaos and disorder and safety. And that thin blue line is made up of human beings, men and women who are dedicated public servants. They're not all perfect, but most of them, 98 percent of them, take the training and then make the effort to keep our neighborhoods safe."
Bishop Vincent Mathews, World Mission's President for the Church of God in Christ, closed the broadcast with a plea for unity: "As believers, we must first pray because -- black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, First Nation -- it doesn't matter who we are. Sin is at the root of activity. There are murderers of all hues of ethnicity. But one thing is for sure, we're all a part of the human race." He went on the emphasize how all peoples of all churches have a responsibility to fight the skewed sense of justice that is often perpetuated in the culture: "When we ... recognize that we are citizens of the Kingdom of God, that no one should suffer injustice, that law enforcement is designed and put in place by God, and that law enforcement officers must fulfill that sacred task in a way that glorifies God ... There should be no black church, white church, Hispanic church -- the church [should] be one. That's what Jesus prayed, 'May they be one even as we are one.'"
Mathews went on to offer three practical steps for believers to bring about God's justice and unity in the culture. " Really get to know God for who He is. Read the Bible and follow that ... we must first know the Lord God is one and He is God ... We must have an intimate relationship with God;  Build our families ... we must pour into our families. We must not only provide materially for our children, we must raise them [rightly] ... we must be adamant about loving [our spouses] and children and binding together as one;  Really fulfilling the Great Commission, making sure that we are looking out for our brothers and sisters, spreading the good news, and discipling ... not just church members, but we got to make disciples."