A veto-proof majority of city council members announced on Sunday their commitment to disbanding the Minneapolis Police Department. Their determination is the latest in a series of decisions to sever relationships with the city’s police. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board voted unanimously to terminate its relationship with the city’s police which includes stopping the park police from responding to police department calls and ceasing the use of police to staff park events. The University of Minnesota notified its students that the university “will no longer contract with Minneapolis Police for additional law enforcement at large events, such as football games, concerts and ceremonies, and also won’t use MPD when the university needs specialized services, like K-9 explosive detection units, at events.” Even the Minneapolis Police Department’s contract with the city’s public schools to provide school resource officers was terminated by a unanimous vote of the board.
These decisions follow nearly two weeks of nationwide protests and rioting in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer and a national movement to defund the police or disband them entirely, led by Black Lives Matter. What began as a collective cry for justice has become a societal wrecking ball intent on demolishing our country’s existing social order in the unfounded hope that a new and more equitable system can be established. However, history has proven this to be an effort in futility. When empowered, persecuted minorities often become the new persecutors, and governments that promised utopia have been some of history’s most oppressive regimes.
Racism is endemic to the human condition, and the preservation of power is a temptation to which any government or social system will eventually succumb. Because of this, injustice will be an inevitable reality in any social order. The question is not whether racism and inequality exist within America’s social fabric but, rather, how widespread it is. According to Black Lives Matter, racism in our American structure is pervasive. They maintain that the system is so corrupt that it cannot be reformed; instead, it must be replaced.
It turns out Black Lives Matter is right about one thing—the system does need to be replaced. However, the reason has nothing to do with whether America is a deeply racist country founded upon the backs of slaves and whose system of governance necessarily privileges one race at the expense of another. Whether or not this is true is irrelevant to the reality that our American system is broken beyond repair because it, like every other human institution, is fundamentally rooted in humanity’s brokenness.
Our hope can never truly rest in the prospect of humanity’s ability to create a new system. Instead, we must look beyond ourselves. We must look to God. When we do, we discover that God has already created this system for us.
Unlike the progressive system envisioned by Black Lives Matter, God’s system is not founded upon identity politics. In fact, God’s system ignores all racial, gender, and class distinctions (Gal. 3:28). It focuses on every person’s role of imaging God by representing His character, priorities, and methods through the way we live our lives. Most importantly, God provides people in this system with a means of exercising perfect love toward others (John 14:15–16; 2 Tim. 1:7).
Black Lives Matter is tapping into a felt need among all humans. It recognizes that our potential is being suppressed by a broken system. Unfortunately, it fails to realize that the solution is not to replace this human institution with another human institution. Because humanity itself is broken and systemically corrupt, humanity’s institutions will necessarily be broken and corrupt. However, God offers to fix our brokenness and to transfer our citizenship into His Kingdom which is rooted in love and perfect unity (Php. 3:20; Col. 1:13–14).
Our national conversation about what to do about police departments, injustice, and racial discrimination provide a wide-open door of opportunity for Christians who are intentional about using current events to having meaningful spiritual conversations. Rather than become angry at the protesters, police, or our American system, let’s strive to maintain perspective. Let’s ask God to grant us wisdom and opportunities to use this historic cultural moment to invite people into His kingdom and to join us in seeking to image Him to a broken world.
1. Willis, Jay. “Minneapolis City Council Members Announce Intent to Disband the Police Department, Invest in Proven Community-Led Public Safety.” Appeal, June 7, 2020. https://theappeal.org/minneapolis-city-council-members-announce-intent-to-disband-the-police-department-invest-in-proven-community-led-public-safety/.
2. KSTP Staff. “Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Unanimously Votes to Sever Ties with Minneapolis Police Department.” ABC 5 Eyewitness News, June 3, 2020, 8:19 p.m. Last updated June 7, 2020, 2:46 p.m. https://kstp.com/minnesota-news/mprb-unanimously-votes-to-sever-ties-with-minneapolis-police-department/5750313/.
3. Skluzacek, Josh. “U of M to Limit Collaboration with Minneapolis Police after George Floyd’s Death.” ABC 5 Eyewitness News, May 27, 2020, 6:41 p.m. Last updated May 27, 2020, 7:50 p.m. https://kstp.com/news/u-of-m-to-limit-collaboration-with-minneapolis-police-after-george-floyds-death-may-27-2020/5743000/.
4. KSTP Staff. “Minneapolis Public Schools Votes to Terminate Service with MPD for School Resource Officers.” ABC 5 Eyewitness News, June 2, 2020, 6:24 p.m. Last updated June 2, 2020, 9:04 p.m. https://kstp.com/news/minneapolis-public-schools-votes-to-terminate-service-with-mpd-for-school-resource-officers-june-2-2020/5749197/?cat=1.
5. Black Lives Matter Global Network. “#DefundThePolice.” Petition. Black Lives Matter, May 30, 2020. https://blacklivesmatter.com/defundthepolice/.
6. BlackLivesMatter DC (@DMVBlackLives). 2020. “This is a performative distraction from real policy changes. Bowser has consistently been on the wrong side of BLMDC history. This is to appease white liberals while ignoring our demands. Black Lives Matter means defund the police. @emilymbader say it with us.” Twitter, June 5, 2020, 9:53 a.m. https://twitter.com/DMVBlackLives/status/1268903712581464066.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.