45 thoughts on “The Allies May (but the Church Does Not) Have Cops

  1. Thabiti’s whole argument is deeply troubling, but that last quote you cited is downright frightening. Reinforces the notion that Thabiti and some of his likeminded colleagues are infusing the Gospel with a dash of Eric Holder.


  2. Am surprised at Thabiti’s comments. He’s usually pretty levelheaded whenever I’ve read his stuff. Even if he is a babdist.
    Try Steve Sailor or N Stix over at VDare for an alternate to Greene.
    My prediction, since this is the innernet and everbody is prognosticating (Sowell is here). Mike Brown is going to turn out like Trayvon Martin. He’s not the person to hitch a reasonable agenda to.
    But if any stick will do to beat a dead dog/white only racism, guess it will have to do.


  3. Follow the money. The latest demand from the Brown family is that there be an arrest. That is the key to a payday in civil suits, which this will soon be, against the police. Back in the 90’s I had a tax case that required me to be in LA on a fairly regular basis. I shared space with a mid-sized law firm and one of the partners there specialized in police brutality/wrongful death cases. As he explained it to me, once there was an arrest, you could file a suit that would withstand summary judgment. The name of the game was to settle with the insurance company before the criminal case ever was tried. The more heat you could generate from the community, the more pressure the jurisdiction that employed the cop would put on the insurance carrier to cave. SS, DD. Too bad the faith community gets sucked in to being pawns in this game.


  4. Let’s see, evangelicals are going to come up with a more just and righteous system than rule by law, uh huh. What will that look like, autocratic religious elders at City Hall making binding pronouncements, Presbyteries where nobody ever uses the system for their own ends and always makes righteous decisions? Maybe a group of celebrity pastors could provide the most righteous judgments? That might be better than trial by mob and the press, but I cannot think of a better system this side of the eschaton than rule by public law. It’s not perfect but it is improvable. If facts don’t matter that much I don’t suppose it matters much which a-factual justice system one chooses; it’s all a crap shoot. Maybe it would be best to pray that justice be done within the system of rule by law we already have, and “come quickly Lord Jesus.”


  5. TGC.

    Oh I don’t know. It is one of the few places where you can find recipes at least on their way to the banquet table of the Kingdom of the Son.


  6. I haven’t read Thaibiti’s post but what I have read from the Gospel Coalition is that Christians do have answers to these problems. And I partially agree with that. But the problem with TGC’s approach is that Christians should seek a privileged position to implement the solutions. Another approach would be to say that Christians do have valuable input for the solutions for these problems but they should be working as co-contributors rather seeking power or positions of authority.

    On the 2K side, for the Church to remain silent is for the Church to remain complicit in maintain the status quo. And perhaps instead of waiting for an epiphany where they wait to have the solution to our major problems to speak up, the Church should at least speak up and state what is wrong and what needs to be changed without endorsing a particular approach.

    One of the key differences between the first century church and now is that while the Church back then was introducing the Gospel to the world, the Church now has to address some horrible associations people have made with Christianity which have been caused by Christianity having privileged places in culture, economics, and government. The goal of both the first century Church and the Church today is to bring honor to the Gospel. However, because times and situations are different, we bring honor to the Gospel in different ways.


  7. TGC can’t even keep their own noses clean. *Cough Cough* Mahaney and Driscoll. Now they’re gonna solve racism and police abuse? Give me a break.

    The problem with Thabiti’s article is that it’s more Americanism than it is Christianity. The call to act without facts is more GWB in his calls to invade Iraq sans proof of WMD’s than it is Paul in his epistles.

    Facts? Who needs facts? We want action!


  8. A few days ago, Leon Brown referenced a link to a definition about racism. It turned out to be a one hour, 21 minute lecture by a Dr. Joy De Gruy.

    For the “correct” definition of racism you have to listen to the 1:08:27 point. After asking her audience, “How many think they understand what racism is?” she adds, “I’m not suggesting I know.” Early on in the lecture, De Gruy had it right — she stated that race was not a real concept but rather we are all one humanity. But from there she proceeded to attempt to connect the mistreatment of blacks in America in times past with the troubles in both the black and white communities today.

    If you make it that far into her lecture, you will certainly learn about some atrocities associated with slavery in the U.S. After all, her book is titled, “Post Traumatic Slavery Syndrome.” You will also learn that white supremacy and terrorism is something presently seen in the U.S. on a daily basis. One of the culprits is the “Klu [sic] Klux Klan.”

    Dr. De Gruy continues, “women of color have always been fodder for white men” and, “five percent of all cops, nationwide, are predators.” After repeatedly admonishing the women in the audience to beware the 5 percenters among America’s finest, she cautions that she is always “concerned about someone that deliberately wants a gun.”

    More than once, Dr. De Gruy tells her audience that white people think that blacks are inherently lazy — that whites hear that message on the evening news.

    No wonder Post Traumatic Slavery Syndrome and everything it entails is manifesting itself so strongly today. And it is not just affecting blacks — the cognitive dissonance created by the bad behavior of white Americans is eating them up as well. What to do? Leon Brown has an answer but he won’t share it here. And Thabiti Anyabwile is working toward an answer as well. No doubt, Dr. De Gruy will have the definitive answer in an upcoming tome.


  9. “So here’s my call: Let there be the founding of a new conservative evangelical body with the aim of (1) providing clear, understandable, biblical theological frameworks for the pressing problems of the marginalized coupled with (2) organized calls to action and campaigns consistent with that framework. Let there be a body tasked with answering, “What does the Bible say about justice and mercy for the vulnerable and weak (of which there are many such groups)?” and stating, “Here then is a biblically-informed campaign for a genuine evangelical church living out that faith.” Let the leaders of the movement stand as leaders in this moment.”

    Just what we need, another “conservative evangelical body”. Can’t we just fire up Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority to handle this? Oh, wait, this might not be that conservative evangelical body’s warp and woof…

    Nice photo of Jimmy & Bunk.


  10. Erik,
    Instead of participating in a new conservative evangelical body that tries to biblically address social injustice, we could follow how Israel approach social injustice as described in Isaiah 58-59.


  11. Here‘s why facts are important to justice, but depend not on the church but on the temporal powers:

    The drama over the killing of Michael Brown is moving from the streets of Ferguson to a St. Louis County courtroom, where a grand jury is reportedly considering whether to indict Darren Wilson, the Ferguson officer who shot Brown ten days ago. Brown’s family and their supporters have said they want “justice,” by which they generally mean they want to see Wilson face some kind of criminal charges. But whether that happens will depend on the enthusiasm of the prosecutor bringing the case and the quality of the evidence he can present.

    Right now, both are pretty big question marks.

    Here’s how the process will work, according to criminal law experts based or practicing in Missouri. The grand jury, which consists of twelve people plucked from the local population, will sit around a table in a deliberation room somewhere in the county courthouse building. It’s the prosecutor’s show: He will present the case, starting with an overview and then bringing forward evidence. But it’s not like a trial. There will be no attorney for the other side, no judge, not even a bailiff. For most of the time, they will be alone except for the prosecutor and, on occasion, a witness who will be providing testimony.

    The idea behind a grand jury is that it serves as the people’s voice—in effect, a democratic check on the enormous power of prosecutors to bring charges and force people into trials. And just to be clear, a grand jury can be a truly deliberative body if it wants to do so. Members can ask for witnesses to appear and testify—and ask those witnesses questions directly. Grand juries can also control their proceedings, deciding how much evidence to hear and when, finally, to vote on charges. In Missouri, it takes at least nine jurors to deliver an indictment, which is known as a “true bill.” Any less and the jury reaches a verdict of “no true bill,” which means no indictments.

    But grand juries rarely use such power. Instead, most just follow the lead of prosecutors, giving them enormous leeway. Not only do the prosecutors get to decide what charges to seek. They also end up choosing what evidence to bring forward—and how to present it. That’s particularly true in Missouri, I’m told, because it’s relatively rare for witnesses to provide testimony directly. Usually police officers read summaries of witness reports. Normal rules of evidence don’t apply; hearstay testimony is admissible. And of course there’s no opposing lawyer to make counter-arguments. “Grand juries are willing to exercise judgment and reject cases, but it doesn’t happen often,” says Frank Bowman, a professor of law at the University of Missouri. “They will be heavily influenced by the position of the prosecutor, whose views may be the only ones expressed—remember, there’s no representation of the defense overall.”

    For these reasons, it’s no exaggeration to say the grand jury system is rigged in favor of prosecutors who want to get convictions



  12. Here‘s why cops get special treatment and were such treatment can lead:

    Within reason, legal protections for, and presumptions in favor of, policemen acting in the line of duty make sense. Society has chosen to give these men and women guns, after all. And if we expect these officers to put their lives on the line, we owe them some measure of trust and due deference. But trust cannot become a license to kill. We have a word for a situation where killing is the default, where violence is so expected that the burden is no longer on a killer to prove his actions are justified. That word is war. It has no place in suburban St. Louis.


  13. No new evangelical organization is needed. This calls for a spinoff of The Gospel Coalition. I can see it now — The Social Gospel Coalition. Someone check if the web site domain is available. Coffee mugs, keychains, tee-shirts, the whole nine yards. Tim Keller rubbing his chin and discoursing on how racism is wrong because it doesn’t increase human flourishing. John Piper on how when he was a boy he used to witness people acting racist and looking unhappy. Someone can dig up Driscoll making inflammatory statements on race under a pseudonym 9 years ago. Tullian can go off the reservation with a race-related post and then be brought back on the reservation a week later. Bethany can move from the cooking beat to the grievance beat. The infrastructure is all in place.


  14. I remember Piper’s book on racism, “Bloodlines” to be pretty decent. But I was a Piperian-istic Babdist then. I might be worth revisiting.


  15. Note also how The Gospel-Industrial Complex selectively allows comments on their blogs. They seem to be turned off on Thab’s last three posts — often happens if there’s a whiff of controversy. Just like here at OL.


  16. Paul: “Early on in the lecture, De Gruy had it right — she stated that race was not a real concept but rather we are all one humanity.”

    GW: “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place” (Acts 17:26, ESV). Race relations in the US are complicated by the deeply regrettable history of black slavery and by continuing racialist attitudes found among some whites AND some blacks. (No, I don’t accept the self-serving, politically-correct, emotionally-manipulative notion that blacks can’t be racists simply because they are a minority and whites supposedly hold the power. Racism is an irrational prejudice against someone simply because of the color of their skin; it is a human problem, not only a white problem, and it can be found among all the races of mankind.) The only “race” that matters is the human race, of which we are all a part.

    Paul: “More than once, Dr. De Gruy tells her audience that white people think that blacks are inherently lazy — that whites hear that message on the evening news.”

    GW: Because of our sin we are all “inherently lazy.” Again, this is not a black problem; it’s a human problem. Dr. De Gruy may have a point about white perception, but are we suppose to just pretend problems like high unemployment rates among inner city black men don’t exist? I think a realistic way of looking at this is to recognize that such problems are not at all due to the color of one’s skin, but to fallen human nature (the ontological factor) combined with environmental and cultural factors like: growing up in a dysfunctional, single-parent home environment where dad is not around, living in a dangerous neighborhood where gangs and drugs dominate the scene, and a multi-generational cycle of government dependency which fosters an entitlement, “you owe it to me” mindset. Such factors do not tend to contribute to a healthy community culture or a good work ethic.


  17. CW – Just like here at OL.

    Erik – Yeah, if you insult the host’s mother 72 times, commit at least 6 felonies, and post photos that would make Anthony Wiener blush you might just get a warning to tone it down a little.

    Meanwhile at Baylyblog if you type the phrase “lace doily” you’re banned for life for promoting feminism.


  18. DGH, the issue to me isn’t who reads TGC, but what the THC should read before sounding off on this mess.


  19. Not waiting for all the facts is par for the course for TGC. They didn’t wait for all the facts with Mahaney before issuing support and now that the facts on Driscoll are coming in they are silent. Not surprising to see the same rhetoric applied to social issues too.

    I feel sorry for Thabiti’s kids and coworkers if that’s how he runs his family and ministry.


  20. I know what you mean, BHJ, i copy and paste only the text to Word to print.

    I cannot begin to count the blessings of a year without TV and being spared even two seconds of people yelling on the boob tube to try and make selfish points on tragedy.


  21. Yet, another take:


    “It’s not just African-Americans who are stuck in the sixties. Reporters are still seeking out the Kerner Commission’s white racists, who are ultimately to blame for all racial problems. Historians and sociologists are offering structural explanations for the violence; whites in general, and small businesses in particular, have little to say but simply flee to safer climes. In Ferguson, after a week of unrest that included looting and rioting, we know very little about the incident that resulted in Michael Brown’s death, despite the release of the first pathology report. The officer involved is in seclusion and has given no public statements. The Grand Jury, should one be convened, will likely have only a vague picture of what happened.”


  22. EC, the funny thing is the experimental Calvinist would conclude your comment is cynical. They can be cynical about word-and-sacrament ministry. Fine. But don’t dare be suspicious of their activities. Why? They’re sanctified. How do we know? They exude holy unction.


  23. I do think the police are heavy handed and there does need to be reform. There’s just way to many news stories of cops abusing their position of power… in regards to all races.

    But the idea the TGC, an organization that had two members who abused their position of power, is going to lead us to a promised land of racial harmony and police reform is laughable. Maybe once they get their house in order I’ll give them a listen.


  24. I realize this thread is more 2K oriented, along with issuing warnings about TGC perspectives.

    But, for those of you historians (DGH, are you there?) and sociologists out there, may I ask a question. The societal challenges of blacks having to overcome slavery and racism is well-documented and oft-discussed. They are offered as reasons why blacks have disproportionate poverty, unemployment, and crime rates, and have a tougher road at “making it” in the world.

    But there aren’t any groups, to my knowledge, that can light a candle to the millennia of persecution that the Jews have endured. Surely, they’ve been a persecuted minority for virtually their entire history, not to mention that the memory of the holocaust remains vivid. And yet, from a worldly standpoint, they enjoy success in the world (wealth, positions of influence in govt and in business, etc) that is vastly disproportionate to their numbers.

    How did Jews so dramatically overcome, and rise above, their people’s history of persecution? How do historians and sociologists understand and explain this phenomenon?


  25. Petros, I’m not that kind of historian, but I think it might be possible to imagine that working in banking (which was considered sinful for Christians) has lots of skill sets for advancement in the modern world that pulling weeds and cleaning toilets doesn’t have.


  26. Petros,

    There are various studies attempting to explain the disproportionate success of Jews in history, and while there are a number of factors, literacy rate is likely the most important. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/the-chosen-few-a-new-explanati/

    Secondly, IMO, it is expectations. All Jewish children, myself and all I knew, were expected to succeed in life. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I’d add charm and wit, but that probably wouldn’t fly.


  27. CW – The evangelical zeitgeist on this issues: The feelings & perceptions will set you free.

    Erik – It’s basically all about figuring out which rubber bracelets, ribbons, or lapel pins to wear so that people with complaints about X leave you alone and move on to the next guy.


  28. By a long shot, this is the most balanced and reasonable treatment of this incident and the chaos which has followed it that I have read yet. Nice work, Mr. Hart.


  29. Head on over to TAC, and you’ll see that Thabiti sent a chill up Rod Dreher’s leg. Then again, Rod’s very excitable.


  30. CW:

    Oh, I know – I grew up SBC. Rod is pining for apocalype and thinks the Christian life is on of duty – no wonder he’s buds with Russell Moore.


  31. DGH – “…the funny thing is the experimental Calvinist would conclude your comment is cynical. They can be cynical about word-and-sacrament ministry. Fine. But don’t dare be suspicious of their activities. Why? They’re sanctified. How do we know? They exude holy unction…”

    Right-o. And the best supporting quote for these kinds of events came from Zrim in response to a blog thread a little over a year ago: “…curious how cultural transformation and humility never seem to coincide…”

    Pretty much says it all. And the usual figure heads in the world of social justice have all checked in on the national media and proved the point completely.


  32. Anyabwile has ZERO formal theological training. He has ZERO language training. He doesn’t exegete, he rationalizes like most Neo-Cal Neo-Reformed (Tim Killed the prime example) which inevitably leads to errant theology, in thus case Race Based Special Interest (liberal/leftist) Theology.

    Very few Bible Teachers and theologians in the Protestant/Evangelical/Fundamentalist world are recognizing the leftist social gospel and its errant byproducts of TGC and specifically Thabiti Anyabwile, never mind taking it and him on directly.


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