Fear God or Fear the Police

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I don’t have a lot to say about this video by Clayton M. Christensen sent around by Troy University chancellor Jack Hawkins. We all know it’s a ridiculous notion that somehow democracy would crumble without religion.

But there was one part of the video that really did bother me. It was at the very end when Christensen says, “If you take away religion, you can’t hire enough police.”

Think about what an awful thing to say that is. And think about the awful and tone-deaf timing for Hawkins to spread this message around.

Think about the gut-wrenching tumult that has transpired in the past few months regarding our relationship to the police, to the racism that infects so much of our legal and policing systems, the astounding overuse of violence, the military-style siege on Ferguson, the New York City police union’s brazen contempt for a democratically elected leader, and not to mention countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, where the police are tools of theocracy, not the keepers of order for the maintenance of democracy.

This, of all periods of modern human history, is not a time to say that people without religion, people who reject the status quo, or dissenters are the antithesis of democracy, and that the only option for containing them is either obedience to a cosmic overseer or “enough police.”

Imagine that mindset. It’s either fear the retribution of God, or fear the police. I’m so glad that that’s a fictional construct. I wish very much that so many people didn’t believe it to be real.

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