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Police under criticism: a call to prayer

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Irving police Chief Larry Boyd delivers a statement regarding Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old student detained by police on Monday, during a news conference, September 16, 2015, in Irving, Texas. Police detained the 14-year-old Muslim boy after a teacher at MacArthur High School decided that a homemade clock he brought to class looked like a bomb, according to school and police officials. The family of Ahmed Mohamed said the boy was suspended for three days from the school in the Dallas suburb. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

I am writing today to ask for your intercession regarding a developing issue in our area. Here’s the story.

You have likely read or heard about Ahmed Mohamed, perhaps America’s most famous 14-year-old. Ahmed lives in Irving, a community near my home in Dallas. He recently created an electronic clock, then brought it to school to show his engineering teacher. However, the invention looked enough like a bomb that authorities were called in. Ahmed was detained by police until they determined that the device was harmless.

Response was immediate. President Obama tweeted, “Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House?” Mark Zuckerberg invited Ahmed to come to Facebook for a meeting. Twitter offered him an internship.

Many are now accusing school and police officials of prejudice against Muslims. A Muslim leader in the community said, “I think this wouldn’t even be a question if his name wasn’t Ahmed Mohamed.”

I watched the coverage unfold today and wondered if Ahmed was in fact the victim of discrimination. Then I heard the Irving police chief speak to the media. His name is Larry Boyd, and he is a close personal friend. Last summer Chief Boyd arranged an event to discuss racism in law enforcement and invited me to be the keynote speaker. He is a good and godly man. I am certain that he is not responding with prejudice against Ahmed.

As he explained, “Under Texas law, a person is guilty of possessing a hoax bomb if he possesses a device that is intended to cause anyone to be alarmed or a reaction of any type by law enforcement officers.” As soon as police determined that Ahmed did not intend to create alarm, they released him and refused to press charges.

I am not writing to criticize Ahmed Mohamed, who is obviously a very bright and creative young man. Rather, it is to ask you to pray for the authorities involved. This story has gained national coverage, and is sparking significant criticism of Chief Boyd, the Irving police force, and school leaders. Theirs is a very difficult and often thankless job.

To be clear, Chief Boyd has not asked me to respond to this issue. I am writing because I feel compelled to ask for your intercession. Scripture calls us to pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Please join me in asking God to bring clarity to this situation, prevent disorder and confusion, and protect those who risk their lives to protect us.

S. D. Gordon: “the greatest thing anyone can do for God or man is pray.”