Archived Story

Hug a cop today

Published 9:43am Thursday, January 10, 2013

To the editor:

I would like to begin this letter by quoting a few lines from a lady named Tammy Towe who lost her dear husband in a tragic accident.

“Two years ago, tomorrow, was the day for me and my family that no one sees coming, especially at Christmas. December 22, 2010, my husband Randy was driving home alone. He went into cardiac arrest and crashed. He left us (his family of seven) three days before Christmas. For two years I have wanted to thank each of you that gave and spent your Christmas week with us. I wanted to wait to write this article until I could find all the right words to say to show you just how special you are to me and how much you have meant to us. It has taken me this long to realize that all the words in the universe, wrote perfectly, could never describe or show how much you gave me and our kids that week. Many of you put your happy white Christmas away to spend a sad Christmas with us. I thank you.

My first strengthening moment happened at the scene when you, Highway Patrol Officer Jason Metcalf carried me from the scene, took your hat off and knelt with me by the car. While holding my hand, you spoke the most humbling words as you asked for strength and wisdom for me to get through those difficult days. Your empathy, integrity and compassion will always be remembered. It is certain God had you working that area, that day, for me. I thank you.”

Most of us get a queasy feeling when we look in our rearview mirror and see a law enforcement officer right behind us (especially if we’ve been going a little too fast). Have we ever stopped to think just how brave these men and women are, and how they put their lives on the line every single day? Much of their lives are spent staring evil in the face, and many times they see humanity at its lowest point.

That person the officer stops for speeding on the interstate, who has lost his home, his family, his job — everything lost except his dog in the seat beside him, and oh, the gun that he plans to end his life with. The officer spends much time with him, and ends up getting him the help he needs to save his life.

Or maybe the elderly nursing home resident, who has slipped away from the facility and plans to step out in front of a car, so that he will stop being a burden on others.

Romans 13 is explicit in establishing authority and why we should obey the authorities. They are God’s servants for our good. I would like to challenge you to begin this new year by praying daily for all those in authority — especially those in every area of law enforcement (also our firefighters and EMS personnel), so that we may lead quiet and peaceable lives, in all godliness and honesty. First of all, pray for their protection according to Psalm 91. Pray that God will give them wisdom and the ability to make split-second decisions.  Pray that they will be men and women of integrity and will be compassionate toward others. Pray for the peace of God that passes all understanding to keep their hearts and minds. Pray also for their families, that fear would be replaced by peace.

By the way, the highway patrol officer referenced above happens to be my nephew. I remember standing by my sister’s side 30-some years ago, when hands were laid on her and petition was made for a special anointing to be imparted to the unborn child. God has certainly been faithful to his word.

Thanks to all who will join me in this special assignment.

– Tina Melton, Columbus

  • DoNotGiveInToEvil

    Dear Tina,

    I know you love your nephew, and I’m sure he is a fine man in many respects. But as a fellow Christian, please step back and consider for a moment just how the police whom you support operate in this country today. Think with me about how they are funded and exactly what they do — by biblical standards.

    First of all, nowhere in Scripture is it written that police ought to have their salaries paid by expropriating wealth that belongs to others. That practice is actually addressed in the commandment, “You shall not steal.” No, democratic elections that legalize such confiscations do not change the commandment. Police should be paid for their services the same way that all other peaceful businesses operate: by voluntarily payments from willing customers, not by the force. Good news: For the cops eager to really serve and protect others, there is a high demand for protection from bad guys, for justice when crimes are committed, etc. Just because the police shouldn’t be tax-funded doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have police at all; as Genesis 9:6 indicates, we need good men to bear arms for justice.

    As to their mode of operation, this very paper regularly reports that our local police departments are heavily involved in enforcing the abominable federal war of drugs, setting up unconstitutional “license checkpoints” (I’ve personally been subjected to these intrusions without any “probable cause” four times in just the last three months!) and our area is known for having several blatant revenue-hungry speed traps. The list of other aggressive actions by the local police against the very people they are supposed to be serving could go on and on… Why do they need to a high tech device to rapidly scan our license tags to make sure we’ve been milked for every last dollar? Is that really what “serving and protecting” is all about? Of course, in some areas the police have military equipment, riot gear, and other even more dangerous equipment, all designed to be used against non-violent citizens.

    I’m thrilled that there are some Sheriffs around here that say that will stand up against any executive order given by the President to grab the people’s guns. I hope they will. Still, I can’t help but wonder: If these officers were so concerned about only following the Constitution and morally acceptable orders, why haven’t they drawn a line in the sand a long time ago and refused to participate in the jailing of people who own a prohibited plant and the like? Thus I don’t place much confidence in Sheriffs, either.

    In spite of the above offenses, do I support my local police anyway — as one subject to authority? Well, if I had any choice about it, I’d fire them all immediately and seek out police protection from another more citizen-friendly group. But I’m not free to do so, and competition in this area in prohibited. I think you’ve misunderstood Romans 13. It isn’t a proof-text for unlimited submission to unjust laws or unjust rulers (sometimes I worry that Christians quoting this text would have us reverently bowing before Mao and cheerfully funding Hitler’s camps…). Authorities are to wield the sword for justice, not injustice. Hence, if cops have their salaries paid by using treats of force to take what does not belong to them, then they do not deserve any honor, respect, or “a hug” any more than they are entitled our expropriated wealth.

    That being said, I believe we are called to love our local police and all other enforcement arms of the state as our enemies — that they might repent and believe in the Lord Jesus, who gave His life for us while we were still sinners. A living faith in this Christ will produce fruit, such that “he who has been stealing must steal no longer”(Eph 4:8), with the redeemed man refusing to initiate violence against his neighbor — even if his neighbor is foolish, for not all sins are crimes.

Editor's Picks

Editorial: Divisive prayer alienated citizens

Everyone deserves the right to free speech. Few will argue this point more staunchly than those who work in the newspaper industry.  Even we have ... Read more  | 2 comments

Bathanti will judge Lanier Library’s poetry competition

North Carolina’s Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti will judge for this year’s Sidney Lanier Poetry Competition. Bathanti is the author of eight books of poetry as ... Read more