The funeral for New York City Police Officer Wilbert Mora was held yesterday morning at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Midtown Manhattan.
He and his partner, Officer Jason Rivera, were fatally shot while responding to a domestic violence call last month. Officer Rivera’s service was held last week. In what is being called “a final act of heroism” and at his request, Officer Mora’s organs were donated to save the lives of others.
In related news, a memorial service was held Tuesday morning for Harris County Corporal Charles Galloway, who was shot and killed during a traffic stop on January 23. The same day Corp. Galloway was honored, two police officers were killed Tuesday afternoon in a shooting on a college campus in Virginia.
According to the FBI, fatal felony attacks on officers spiked 31.6 percent last year. Ed Wojcicki, Executive Director of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, said, “People seem to feel more emboldened to prod the officers, in some cases [to] physically harm them.”
Why is this?
Many factors are contributing to this epidemic of violence against police officers, including George Floyd’s murder, the Defund the Police movement, anger over police shootings, political agendas and more. But there is another issue that is also contributing to this tragic escalation and is vital to the future of our democracy.
Jeff Zucker resigns and Whoopi Goldberg is suspended
CNN President Jeff Zucker resigned from the cable news network yesterday, citing his failure to disclose a consensual relationship with a close colleague. ABC News suspended Whoopi Goldberg for two weeks, citing what it called her “wrong and hurtful comments” about the Holocaust.
And former Major League Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent wrote a Wall Street Journal editorial calling Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens “steroid-tarnished stars” but criticizing the fact that they were not elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He complained that “the Hall of Fame aimed to maintain the old-fashioned view that honors should accrue to the honorable” (my emphasis).
These stories together illustrate a growing problem for our postmodern culture: a society that rejects the notion of objective truth and morality should not be surprised when people act in immoral ways that damage themselves and the institutions they serve.
Yesterday, I discussed the American founders’ vision of a nation in which a Supreme Court holds Congress and the White House accountable to our Constitution and laws based on its principles. As a nation of laws—as opposed to a nation governed by a king, a despot, or an unelected ruling class—we depend on a consensual morality that our laws reflect and require for enforcement.
When this consensual morality is abandoned, laws then become the “unfair” imposition of subjective morality.
A compass with no “north”
For example, many progressive prosecutors are choosing not to enforce state laws enacted through due process but backed by the GOP. Manhattan’s new district attorney has listed criminal offenses he will no longer prosecute, including prostitution and resisting arrest. The Los Angeles County district attorney will no longer prosecute crimes including resisting arrest, drug possession, and making criminal threats.
Relatedly but unsurprisingly, the percentage of Americans who say they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the police has fallen below 50 percent for the first time. Rather than being viewed as heroes willing to die that we might live, they are seen by many as enforcing unfair laws in unfair ways.
When a cultural compass has no “north,” it will point in the direction it is pointed. In the absence of “the” truth, we are left with “your” truth and “my” truth. And when your truth disadvantages my truth, I will do what it takes to ensure that my truth wins.
In fact, however, we both lose.
“There’s no bargaining with him”
This is why God’s word emphatically teaches, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:1). In the American form of government, we have a system for protesting injustice and reforming our laws as needed. This system can be agonizingly slow and is still unfair in many ways, but ignoring it or taking its enforcement into our own hands exacerbates rather than solves the problems we face.
Nonetheless, there is something in fallen humans that recoils at submission to authority. We all want to be our own god (Genesis 3:5), to rule our own kingdom on the throne of our hearts. The “will to power” Friedrich Nietzsche described lives in each of us.
This is why you and I need to submit our lives each morning to God, inviting him onto the throne of our hearts and surrendering ourselves to his Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). It is why we need to make his word “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” all through the day (Psalm 119:105). When we must choose, our prayer must be that of Christ: “Not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).
This is actually a very reasonable way to live. A God who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving can only lead us into our best lives (Romans 12:2). He can settle for nothing less for us because he loves us.
In C. S. Lewis’ last sermon, “A Slip of the Tongue,” he states that God “claims all, because he is love and must bless. He cannot bless us unless he has us. When we try to keep within us an area that is our own, we try to keep an area of death. Therefore, in love, he claims all. There’s no bargaining with him.”
Are you trying to bargain with God today?